"Ring Ring" is a 1973 single by ABBA, which gave the group their big break in several European countries (although the rest of EuropeNorth America andAustralia would be introduced to ABBA the following year). "Ring Ring" was originally written in Swedish by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, along with their manager Stig Anderson, and the translation into English lyrics was helped by Neil Sedaka and Phil Cody. The Swedish version reached #1 in the Swedish charts.

The song tells of a lover waiting all alone by the telephone for the object of their desire to call.[1]


 [hide*1 History


After the success of "People Need Love" in 1972 by Björn & Benny, Agnetha & Anni-Frid (as the group was then known), the group's manager, Stig Anderson, realised the potential of coupling the vocal talents of the women with the writing talents of the men. It was then decided that the quartet would record an LP. This eventually turned out to be the album Ring Ring.

Andersson, Ulvaeus and Anderson were invited to submit a song for the Swedish selection process in order to choose their entry for the 1973 Eurovision Song Contest. After several days, Andersson and Ulvaeus came up with the tune for the Swedish version of "Ring Ring", with the working title "Klocklåt" (Clock Tune). Stig Anderson wrote the lyrics with the intention of making a "poppy" song, trying to remove the pomp and circumstance surrounding the Eurovision Song Contest at the time.

After this, the song had been retitled "Ring Ring". To make it more accessible to a universal audience, Anderson asked American songwriter Neil Sedaka to pen the lyrics for an English version, together with his songwriting partner, Phil Cody.

On January 10, 1973, the song was recorded at the Metronome Studio in StockholmMichael B. Tretow, the studio engineer, collaborated with Andersson and Ulvaeus over many of their subsequent singles and albums. Tretow had read a book about record producer Phil Spector, famed for his "Wall of Sound" treatment to the songs that he produced. While Spector used several musicians playing the same instruments in the same recording studio at the same time, this was far too expensive for this case. Thus, Tretow's solution was to simply record the song's backing track twice, in order to achieve an orchestral sound. By changing the speed of the tape between the overdubs, making the instruments marginally out of tune, this increased the effect. This was unlike anything that had been done before in Swedish music.

However, when Björn & Benny, Agnetha & Anni-Frid performed "Ring Ring" in the Swedish heats on 10 February 1973,[2] they only finished third. Nevertheless, the song fared much better in the Swedish charts, both in its Swedish and English language incarnations, where it hit number one and number two respectively.

It was only now the quartet decided that performing as a group was a serious and realistic idea. They toured Sweden, and despite the failure of "Ring Ring" to represent the country at the 1973 Eurovision Song Contest, they began to prepare themselves for 1974's competition, with "Waterloo".

Reception and other versions[edit]Edit

Though "Ring Ring" did not get the opportunity to represent Sweden in the 1973 Eurovision Song Contest, the subtitled Swedish Version ("Bara Du Slog En Signal") performed extremely well in the Swedish charts, giving the quartet their first #1 hit. The English version did almost as well, peaking at #2 in Sweden,Norway and Austria, and reaching the Top 10 in the NetherlandsSouth Africa and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) charts. (On the official South African year-end chart for 1974, "Ring Ring" was placed 13th; while its successor "Waterloo" was placed as the 14th best selling singles for that year). It did, however, top the charts in Belgium, becoming the first of 16 chart-toppers for ABBA in that country. It was the group's first release in the UK in October 1973, but failed to chart, selling only five thousand copies.[3] A remixed version of the song reached #32 in June 1974, with "Rock'n Roll Band" issued on the B-side (after the #1 success of "Waterloo"), and would later hit #7 in Australia during the height of "ABBAmania". A second remixed version, different than but based on the one released in the UK, was included as a bonus track on the original U.S. and Canadian release of the Waterloo album. A German-language version of the song was also recorded, and was released in what was then West Germany, but failed to chart. A Spanish version was also recorded (with lyrics by Doris Band), but this was not released until the 1993 CD compilation Más ABBA Oro in selected countries, and internationally on the 1999 edition of ABBA Oro: Grandes Éxitos.

The master tapes of the 1974 remix were presumed missing, or at least unobtainable, for some years. For this reason, it did not appear on the 1994 4-CD box-set Thank You for the Music. In 1999, a CD box-set of singles was released. The 1974 single remix was included, but had been mastered from a vinyl single as the master tape was still not available. However, in 2001, The Definitive Collection was released which finally included the 1974 single remix sourced from the master tape. It was later revealed on Carl Magnus Palm's website that Polar Music had acquired the single master tapes from Epic Records in the UK. This had presumably occurred between 1999 and 2001.

Track listings[edit]Edit

Swedish Version

  1. A. "Ring Ring (Bara Du Slog En Signal)"
  2. B. "Åh vilka tider"

English Version

  1. A. "Ring Ring" (English Version)
  2. B. "Rock'n Roll Band"

English Version'

  1. A. "Ring Ring" (English Version)
  2. B. "Merry-Go-Round"

English Version (Swedish Single)

  1. A. "Ring Ring" (English Version)
  2. B. "She's My Kind Of Girl"

German Version

  1. A. "Ring Ring" (German Version)
  2. B. "Wer Im Wartesaal Der Liebe Steht"

English Version (Dutch Single)

  1. A. "Ring Ring" (English Version)
  2. B. "She's Just My Kind Of Girl" (Even though it says "Rock ´n´ Roll Band" on the record)

Chart positions (Swedish and English versions)[edit]Edit

Chart (1973) Position
Australian Singles Chart 92 (First), 7 (1976 re-release)
Austrian Singles Chart 2
Belgian Singles Chart 1
British Singles Chart 32
Dutch Singles Chart 5
French Singles Chart 82
New Zealand Singles Chart 17
Norwegian Singles Chart 2
Rhodesian Singles Chart 12
South African Singles Chart 3
Swedish Singles Chart 1 (Swedish)

2 (English)

Preceded by

"Goodbye My Love, Goodbye" by Demis Roussos

Belgian Flemish VRT Top 30 number-one single

August 18, 1973

Succeeded by

"Hurt" by Bobby Vinton

Official versions[edit]Edit

  • "Ring Ring (Bara Du Slog En Signal)" (Swedish Version)
  • "Ring Ring" (English Version)
  • "Ring Ring" (English Version) - (1974 Remix) / (Single Version) / (U.S. Remix 1974)
  • "Ring Ring" (German Version)
  • "Ring Ring" (Spanish Version)
  • "Ring Ring" (Medley of Swedish, Spanish and German Versions)

Cover versions[edit]Edit

  • Magnus Uggla recorded a rock version of the song in 1979.
  • In 1977, Tina Arena and John Bowles recorded a version for their album "Tiny Tina and Little John".
  • In 1978, a Swedish country band called Nashville Train (which included some of ABBA's own backing band members) recorded the song on their album ABBA Our Way.
  • In 1992, Swedish alternative rock band Sator recorded a version for the Swedish tribute album ABBA: The Tribute.
  • In 2000, Swedish band The Black Sweden included a cover of the song on their ABBA tribute album Gold. The beginning of this version includes a riff from the Judas Priest song "Breaking the Law".
  • The 1995 New Zealand compilation Abbasalutely includes a cover by Breast Secreting Cake.
  • eurodance cover version can be found on the 1999 album ABBAdance by Angeleyes.
  • Studio 99 released two versions of the song on their ABBA tribute albums, one performed in the traditional ABBA style & the second a slower, techno-oriented mix, heavily based off the U.K. remix.
  • Australian rock band Audioscam covered the song on their 2008 album Abbattack. Samples from the album can be heard on their official MySpace page.[4]
  • In 2012, Norwegian band The Dahlmanns [5] recorded a version for a fund raising cd titled "Super Hits Of The Seventies" for radio station WFMU.

In popular culture[edit]Edit

  • The song features in the film "ABBA: The Movie" (1977), during a girl's ballet class.

On 5 December 2010 on a poll on British channel ITV1 for The Nations Favourite ABBA song Ring, Ring (1974 version) was voted #25.

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