I mentioned this song earlier this week when I played Hooked on a Feeling so I thought I’d play it today. Nina Pretty Ballerina was recorded by Abba in 1973, pre-Eurovision and was released to promote their first album, Ring Ring. It’s not exactly the most well known of Abba tracks, but I hope you enjoy it nonetheless!
Today’s song is Abba’s Hasta Mañana. This song was almost chosen as their 1974 Eurovision entry in favour of Waterloo as it was thought that Waterloo may be too risky and Hasta Mañana represented more the style of Eurovision. Waterloo won out in the end and the rest was history! This seems like a simple song, but I think the chord pattern is pretty sophisticated. It’s definitely not a three-chord song! In my E major version the chorus goes like this: E – G#m – C#m – C#7 – F#m B – F# – B – E – G#m – C#7 – F#m – A – Am – E – C#7 – F#m – B – E. So if you want to strum along you’ll be fine. At least until the modulation but that’s what capos are for!
I’m following up yesterday’s Norwegian song with another Scandinavian classic: Abba’s The Day Before You Came was released in 1982 as a follow up to the Visitors album and was actually their last song to be recorded, although Under Attack was released later. According to Guardian journalist Stephen Emms at the time, the “ordinariness [and] universality [of the] first-person account” of a depressing day is what draws the audience in, and “morphs [the song] into an unusually poignant parable of what modern life means”. The song actually came in #6 in the NME Greatest Pop Songs in History countdown.
There is much discussion as to the meaning of the lyrics and whether they refer to the imminent arrival of a lover or the narrator planning an alibi following a murder! Indeed, while the lyrics refer to the mundane happenings of “the day before you came”, the accompanying video seems to suggest that there were several hours unaccounted for: it takes 1h15 minutes to get to work and yet she leaves work at 5 and arrives home at 8. We see Agnetha driving a car at one point in the video, and there’s no mention of this in the song, so what exactly were you doing between the hours of 5 and 8, Miss Fältskog, other than “picking up some Chinese food to go”?
For me, I’ve always thought of this song from a language learner / teacher’s point of view: with lots of examples of “must have” in the lyrics, the sequence of tenses requires a bit of thought if we were translating it from English into another language!
I hope you enjoy The Day Before You Came.
Today I’m playing the Abba song Our Last Summer from the 1980 album Super Trouper. It was sung by Colin Firth and Amanda Seyfried (with contributions by Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgård and Meryl Streep) in Mamma Mia. Trivia of the day: the original guitar solo features a melody which was reused in Anthem in the musical Chess.
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Today’s song is one of the few Abba songs which I didn’t play in my 2010 challenge! It dates from 1974 and was the second single from their second studio album, and the first track to be released after the success of Waterloo winning the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest.
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