"Take a Chance on Me"
Single by ABBA
from the album ABBA: The Album
B-side"I'm a Marionette"
ReleasedJanuary 1978
April 1978 (U.S.)
Recorded15 August 1977 at Marcus Music Studio
GenreEuropop, disco
Length4:05
LabelPolar (Sweden)
Epic (UK)
Atlantic (US)
Songwriter(s)Benny Andersson
Björn Ulvaeus
Producer(s)Benny Andersson
Björn Ulvaeus
ABBA singles chronology
"The Name of the Game"
(1977)
"Take a Chance on Me"
(1978)
"Eagle/Thank You for the Music"
(1978)
Music video
"Take A Chance on Me" on YouTube

"Take a Chance on Me" is a song by the Swedish pop group ABBA, released in January 1978 as the second single from their fifth studio album, ABBA: The Album. Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad share the lead vocals on the verses and choruses, with Fältskog singing two bridge sections solo. It reached the top ten in both the UK and US. The song was notably covered by the British band Erasure, and was performed by Julie Walters in the film Mamma Mia!.

History

The working title of "Take a Chance on Me" was "Billy Boy".[1] (An excerpt of “Billy Boy” was released on the 1994 box set Thank You for the Music, as part of the track ABBA Undeleted, which consisted of demos, early and alternate versions of completed songs, and unfinished songs.) Written and recorded in 1977 by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, the song was one of ABBA's first singles in which their manager Stig Anderson did not assist with writing the lyrics, confirming Andersson and Ulvaeus as a songwriting partnership.[2]

The song's origins sprang from Ulvaeus, a keen runner, who would repeat a "tck-a-ch"-style rhythm to pace himself.[2] This evolved into "take-a-chance" and the eventual lyrics.[3] Roger Palm, the drummer on the track, described the song as "ABBA at their most energetic and forceful".[2]

The single's B-side was "I'm a Marionette", which, like "Thank You for the Music" and "I Wonder (Departure)" (the B-side to their previous single, "The Name of the Game"), was part of a mini-musical entitled The Girl With the Golden Hair performed during their 1977 concert tour.[2]

Reception

Billboard Magazine described "Take a Chance on Me" as "one of [ABBA's] most busy, fast paced productions."[4] Cash Box said that the vocals "are intricately arranged to produce a wall of sound."[5]

"Take a Chance on Me" proved to be one of ABBA's most successful chart hits, becoming the group's seventh UK #1 (and third consecutive chart-topper in the country after "Knowing Me, Knowing You" and "The Name of the Game").[6] It was also ABBA's final #1 in the UK of the 1970s, and gives the group the distinction of being the act with the most chart-topping singles of the 1970s in the UK. It sold over 500,000 copies and was awarded a gold disc.[7] As of September 2021, it is the group's fourth-biggest song in the country with 950,000 chart sales (including 882,000 pure sales).[8]

In the United States it reached #3 and was certified gold for 1 million sales.[9] The song peaked at #3 in Canada and West Germany as well.[10][11]

Personnel

Additional musicians

Charts

Certifications and sales

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[36] Gold 75,000^
Kenya 10,000[37]
Portugal 20,000[38]
United Kingdom (BPI)[40] Gold 882,000[39]
United States (RIAA)[41] Gold 1,000,000^
United States
Digital
234,000[42]
Summaries
Worldwide
physical sales
2,000,000[43]

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

Erasure version

"Take a Chance on Me"
Single by Erasure
from the album Abba-esque
Released1 June 1992
GenreSynthpop
Length3:45, 3:26 (radio edit)[44]
LabelMute Records
Songwriter(s)Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus
Producer(s)Dave Bascombe
Erasure singles chronology
"Breath of Life"
(1991)
"Take a Chance on Me"
(1992)
"Who Needs Love Like That (Hamburg Mix)"
(1992)
Music video
"Take a Chance on Me" on YouTube

The track was covered by English synthpop duo Erasure in 1992, as part of their Abba-esque EP, with an additional ragga-style toast performed by MC Kinky added to the song. The cover topped the UK Singles Chart for 5 weeks in 1992. In a few countries, the song was credited to “Erasure featuring Special K”. In the United States, it reached number 51 on the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay chart.[45] Although it had earned enough charting points to reach the publication's main Hot 100 chart, it was not eligible to enter as it had not been released commercially as a single.[46]

The radio edit omits the raga-rap.

Critical reception

Larry Flick from Billboard wrote, "Venerable U.K. pop/dance duo lovingly covers a favorite from now-legendary Swedish pop act Abba's catalog. Track maintains the cool kitsch of the original, while giving it electro-hip instrumentation and a jolting-but-pleasing toast interlude by MC Kinky. A must for adventurous popsters, while remixes have considerable club potential."[47] Amy Linden from Entertainment Weekly said that Erasure "reverently tarts up "Take a Chance on Me", as keyboard whiz Vince Clarke pumps the '70s gems full of '92 club aggression." She also stated that the duo "digs that ABBA were Euro pop gods, and they pay respect with a frothy testimonial that has its tongue in the right place."[48] Tom Ewing of Freaky Trigger noted that "the whole project roars to life exactly once, when MC Kinky takes over for thirty delightful, crass seconds in the middle of "Take A Chance on Me" and shows the song a little creative disrespect at last."[49] Dave Sholin from the Gavin Report asked, "Abba goes techno?" He added that this updated version "retains much of the flavor in the original with hip production elements added."[50] Howard Cohen from Knight-Ridder Newspapers deemed it a "bouncy remake".[51]

Music video

Erasure members Vince Clarke and Andy Bell played dual roles – as themselves and in drag (Clarke as Fältskog and Bell as Lyngstad) – in a music video heavily influenced by ABBA's original. It was directed by Philippe Gautier.[52] MC Kinky (aka. Caron Geary), who sings the reggae/dancehall rap part, also appears in an interlude in the video. It was later published on Erasure's official YouTube channel in February 2009. The video has amassed more than 10 million views as of October 2021.[53]

References

  1. ^ Cole, Ian (23 February 2020). ABBA: Song by Song. Fonthill Media. p. 97.
  2. ^ a b c d e Palm, Carl Magnus (2005). Abba : the complete guide to their music. London: Omnibus Press. pp. 44–50. ISBN 1-84449-505-1. OCLC 60589495.
  3. ^ "Frida and Bjorn Interview - The Nation's Favourite ABBA Song - Part II". YouTube. 12 December 2010. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  4. ^ "Top Single Picks" (PDF). Billboard. 29 April 1978. p. 80. Retrieved 10 July 2020.
  5. ^ "CashBox Singles Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. 22 April 1978. p. 52. Retrieved 1 January 2022.
  6. ^ Oldham, A, Calder, T & Irvin, C: "ABBA: The Name of the Game", page 122. Sidgwick & Jackson, 1995
  7. ^ "BRIT Certified".
  8. ^ UK Official Charts ABBA's Official Top 20 biggest songs
  9. ^ "Gold & Platinum". RIAA.
  10. ^ Canada, Library and Archives (17 July 2013). "Image : RPM Weekly". www.bac-lac.gc.ca.
  11. ^ "Suche - Offizielle Deutsche Charts". www.offiziellecharts.de.
  12. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970-1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  13. ^ "ABBA – Take A Chance On Me" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 5 October 2021.
  14. ^ "ABBA – Take A Chance On Me" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 5 October 2021.
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  16. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 4590." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 5 October 2021.
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  22. ^ http://home.zipworld.com.au/~callisto/zimbabwe.html Archived 8 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
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  43. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1985). Million selling records from the 1900s to the 1980s : an illustrated directory. Arco Pub. p. 451. ISBN 0668064595. It sold over 500,000 in Britain, over 1,000,000 in the U.S.A. and with sales elsewhere an estimated tally of over two million
  44. ^ https://img.discogs.com/FlLwbO793aHOoR8NiDlNFPkROeg=/fit-in/350x356/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-1131393-1195006343.jpeg.jpg
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