BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

29 October 2014
top of the Pops 2 top of the Pops 2

BBC Homepage
  Video Quiz
  Decades Quiz
  Flick Books
  Fancy Dress
  Show Clips
  Classic Shows
  Top 5s
  School Reports
  Where Are They?
  Show History
  Titles & Themes
  Pan's People
  Ruby Flipper
  Legs & Co
  Contact Us
  BBC Music
  BBC News
  Radio 2
  6 Music

TOTP Online

Contact Us

Five working titles which thankfully got changed...

Throughout their career, Abba were always regarded as being a bit Bennynaff in certain quarters of the music industry. Finally, by the summer of '75 they developed a groovy little number, based on George McRae's 'Rock Your Baby'. Unfortunately, 'Boogaloo' wasn't exactly the coolest name for their latest oeuvre. With it's pounding disco beat and chord changes that could melt the coldest heart, the band's lyricist Bjorn felt sure that this new song would enrapture dancing queens the world over. If only he could think of a better title...

Agnethano 2HONEY PIE
Having failed to pass the Swedish heats for Eurovision the previous year, Bjorn & Benny reckoned that this stomping rock tune would take them that crucial step further in 1974. The only problem was the lyrics, which Abba's manager Stig Anderson had plucked from a cookery book. This was in the days before Delia Smith had mesmerised the nation with her culinary expertise and the band realised that their dessert-flavoured ditty was unlikely to capture the Euro audience. The words were hastily rewritten to compare a romance with Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo. And as we all know, Abba met their destiny in quite a similar way. Oh yeah!

no 3FridaBILLY BOY
Inspiration for the final lyrics to this song came when Bjorn was out jogging (a pastime prompted after splitting his costume during Eurovision). "I started with a combination of consonant sounds going round in my head," says Bjorn in 'The Complete Recording Sessions'. "'t-k-ch, t-k-ch', which I felt were really rhythmic and sounded great. Then I had to find words that contained those sounds, and eventually I landed on 'take a chance' and simply added 'on me' to that" Bravo! Award a No.1 single to the man in the platform boots!

In 1979, Abba set to work on a new track to be included on their second greatest hits compilation. Bjorn explains the original title in 'The Complete Recording Sessions': "It's an old expression that means you have got married. It was a nice idea, but in the end I thought it was a bit too old fashioned." Several rewrites later, the band settled on more catchy, if slightly long, title of 'Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)' and a generation of young men were warmed by the thought of a lusty Agnetha pounding the streets in search of love.

Ok, not really a bad title, but considering that this rather metrical sounding disco track had a lead vocal by Bjorn sung in French, we can only thank our lucky stars that the band re-recorded it as 'The Winner Takes It All'. "I was drunk," says Bjorn in 'Bright Lights, Dark Shadows'. "The whole lyric came to me in a rush of emotion in one hour." But he stresses that although it's a slightly autobiographical song, it shouldn't be taken too literally. "Neither Agnetha nor I were winners in our divorce." But the song remains proof that from every bad situation, great things can happen.

  The Gardener's Delight  
  Mary, Mary quite contrary, how does your Top 5 grow ....  
  Fatboy Jims & Lardy Ladies  
  The singers who took their sex, drugs & rock 'n' roll with a slice of cake...  
  Britpop Busters  
  Five facts about the legendary Britpoppers...  
  Filmed In Technovision  
  Enter the world of experimental telly according to the Pet Shop Boys
  Punk Pretenders?  
  Perfectly Punked? Nah, at heart they were all a bunch of old softies...  
  Front Bottom!  
  We name and shame the bands named after a lady's privates...
  Bring Your Gran  
  Golden oldies who joined forces with youthful pop people...  
  2003's Demented Predictions  
  TOTP2's bonkers ball-gazer predicts this year's pop ups and downs...  
  The Erasure Story  
  Trip through the history of the UK'S top synth duo...
  Rubbish Xmas Songs  
  What not to play at your Christmas party...  
  Bag Of Bones  
  Legends that should have eaten their greens. Bring out the lard...  
  Banned by the BBC  
  The songs that were just too hot to handle ...  
  Fortune Smiles Upon Them  
  Be they works of genius, accident or stealing, these songs are lucky to be alive.  
  Elton John  
  Drugs, Diana, dirty deeds. It's a wonder that he's still standing...  
  Inxs-ive Lifestyles  
  We examine Australia's biggest export since Fosters...  
  Poodle Rockers  
  Gravity-defying perms and spandex trousers, they're the Poodle Rockers...
  Welcome to the house of factual fun...  
  Status Quo  
  We take a trip down memory lane with the mighty Quo...  
  Pop Activists  
  Top pop people who fight for the rights...  
  Singing Drummers  
  Drummers who got sick of looking at the lead singer's wiggling bum.  
  Rolling Stones  
  Headline-grabbing moments from Britain's lippiest band.  
  David Bowie  
  Follow Dave's top 5 looks through the years - including the mullet action!  
  Hot Chocolate  
  Indulge yourself in the pleasure that is Errol and the gang  
  "Secret" Drug Songs  
  "It was inspired by this crazy picture my son painted." Yeah, right...  
  Abba-nother Go  
  You were going to call it what? 5 working titles from the Super Swedes...  
  In & Out Of Bed With Madonna  
  Collaborations for the Queen of Pop that didn't end at 5.30...  
  Songs that gave a whole new meaning to 'Born To Hand Jive'...  
  For those that glam-rocked, we all salute you...  
  A trip through the lambchop elite's glory story...  
  '80s Revival Hell  
  Alas, some pop icons just wouldn't let that decade go.  

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy