But what exactly makes ABBA so timeless? Because even today, 30 years later, you can still hear their songs at bars and clubs – and not just on disco nights. As someone who has bartended hundreds of wedding receptions, I can attest that “Dancing Queen” is one of the most-played songs at such events.
I challenge you to listen to “Dancing Queen” or “Take a Chance On Me” or “SOS” and see if you don’t start humming along or tapping your foot. With a whole catalogue of catchy, danceable music, it’s no wonder that “Mamma Mia!” was a success.
I think part of the attraction is that their music doesn’t sound as dated as many other songs from that era do. Some disco songs sound as if they belong on a bad porno soundtrack.
The ABBA catalogue, on the other hand, doesn’t have quite the ’70s-ish sound that might relegate them to the oldies backburner with some of their contemporaries. This can partly be attributed to their wall-of-sound technique of layering the harmonies of their vocalists.
It doesn’t hurt to have catchy tunes, which ABBA had, but so do many other acts. I once watched a VH1 special, and even KISS’ Gene Simmons was extolling the virtues of ABBA’s harmonies. That’s not something that just any act can replicate – musicians know this. It just goes to show that no matter the genre or era, good music knows no boundaries.
Mamma Mia! releases in theaters July 18.