"The Visitors"
Single by ABBA
from the album The Visitors
A-side"Head over Heels (double A-side)"
ReleasedApril 1982
Recorded22 October 1981 at Polar Music Studios
GenreElectronic, art rock
Length5:49
LabelPolar Music
Songwriter(s)Benny Andersson
Björn Ulvaeus
Producer(s)Benny Andersson
Björn Ulvaeus
ABBA singles chronology
"Head over Heels"
(1982)
"The Visitors"
(1982)
"The Day Before You Came"
(1982)

"The Visitors" (originally "Den första", meaning "The First"), also known as "The Visitors (Crackin' Up)",[1] is a 1981 song by the Swedish pop group ABBA. It is the title track from the band's studio album of the same name, and was released as the second single in the United States in April 1982. The lead vocal was performed by Anni-Frid Lyngstad.

Meaning

The official stated theme is a protest against the mistreatment of political dissidents in the Soviet Union at the time, as ABBA seemed to put political issues into their lyrics in the final days of the group.[2] Björn Ulvaeus has stated that at the time of release he preferred that the song should have a sense of mystery so did not explain the exact meaning.[3]

In 1982, the album The Visitors was banned in the Soviet Union[citation needed], possibly due to the band allowing a video of "When All Is Said and Done" to be shown in the United States Information Agency television special, Let Poland Be Poland, along with a spoken message from Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson,[4] broadcast via satellite around the world on 31 January 1982. The show, which also featured Frank Sinatra, Paul McCartney, Orson Welles, Henry Fonda, UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and US President Ronald Reagan, was a public protest against the then-recent imposition of martial law in Poland.[5] However, ABBA's segment was not included in the broadcast, the official reason given being time restraints. However, it is likely that the segment was omitted because Ulvaeus and Andersson exemplified, in addition to Poland, US-supported dictatorships Chile and El Salvador as countries where citizens' human rights are routinely violated.[6]

Reception

"The Visitors" was released as the album's second (and final) single in the US instead of "Head over Heels," which remained as the B-side.

The single peaked just outside the Top 60 at No. 63 on the singles chart in the U.S., and a double A-sided "The Visitors/When All Is Said and Done" 12" single reached No. 8 on the Billboard dance chart. The song was also remixed by Greg Silva subscription DJ remix service, Hot Tracks, into a much longer version that brought additional club play. This was the single most-requested remix by Hot Tracks, and was featured in Volume One of The Best of Hot Tracks.[7] AllMusic reviewer Bruce Eder retrospectively described the song as "a topical song about Soviet dissidents that also manages to be very catchy."[8] Even though the song did not have any success in some countries, "The Visitors" was No. 1 in Costa Rica.

Personnel

Cover versions

Charts

Chart (1982) Peak
position
US Billboard Hot 100 63
US Cashbox Top 100 Singles[11] 81

References

  1. ^ "The Visitors (Crackin' Up) – ABBA". AllMusic. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  2. ^ abba for the record – vinyl singles
  3. ^ "The Visitors Deluxe Edition - liner notes, part 1".
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 10 March 2016. Retrieved 19 January 2021.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ Time Magazine article "Better to Let Poland Be?"
  6. ^ Carl Magnus Palm - Bright Lights, Dark Shadows p.454
  7. ^ Billboard chart positions AllMusic.com. Retrieved 31 August 2009.
  8. ^ The Visitors album review AllMusic.com. Retrieved 31 August 2009.
  9. ^ "Abbacadabra | The Visitors". Almighty Records.com. Retrieved 28 May 2010.
  10. ^ "Damaged Goods Records: Television Personalities". Damagedgoods.co.uk. Retrieved 28 May 2010.
  11. ^ Downey, Pat; Albert, George; Hoffmann, Frank W (1994). Cash Box pop singles charts, 1950–1993. Libraries Unlimited. p. 1. ISBN 978-1-56308-316-7.