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5 Things You Probably Don’t Know About ABBA’s “Happy New Year” Song

If you think “Happy New Year” is the most famous New Year song in the world then you are wrong. In fact, this song by ABBA is especially popular in only a few countries. Here below are 5 things about the song that you might now know.

The legendary band ABBA

1. Released in the time when Abba was about to disband

Founded in 1972, Abba-a Swedish pop group is one of the most popular and best-selling bands of all time with more than 500 million records. During the band’s main active years, it consisted of two married couples: Fältskog and Ulvaeus, and Lyngstad and Andersson.

ABBA’s 4 members: Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad

In 1979, at the peak of their careers, Björn Ulvaeus and Agnetha Fältskog announced their divorce which had a negative effect on the whole band’s activities. Not long after, the band’s remaining couple,Benny Anderson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad got a divorce,too. As a result, Abba officially disbanded in 1982 and never reunited. The “Happy New Year” song was created during this sad period (1980).

2. “Happy New Year” is not the first name

“Happy New Year” is a song from ABBA’s 1980 album Super Trouper. Super Trouper was the group’s seventh studio album.

Initially,the song’s working title was the more festive and humorous “Daddy Don’t Get Drunk on Christmas Day”. At that time, Abba did not highly appreciate this song. It was not even released as a single until 1999. Benny Anderson once talked about the song: “It’s a song close to Christmas but not to celebrate the new year”.

“Felicidad” was the Spanish-language version of the song. The single charted in the top 5 in Argentina. 

In 1999, taking advantage of the whole world eagerly preparing to enter a new millennium, Abba officially released ‘Happy New Year’ as a single to promote their other albums. However, the song was modestly ranked 34th in Sweden (Abba’s hometown), 15th in the Netherlands and 75th in Germany.

3. A sad song on vibrant music

“The End of the Party”  scene in the MV of ‘Happy New Year’

Happy New Year’s melody is cheerful, bustling and warm, but the meaning behind each word is not so joyful. Agnetha’s sweet voice started the song with the sentence: “No more champagne. And the fireworks are through. Here we are, me and you. Feeling lost and feeling blue. It’s the end of the party. And the morning seems so gray. So unlike yesterday … “.

Sadness seemed to creep into every word. The song brings listeners a feeling of loss as it faces up with the infinite flow of time. Nevertheless, the chorus and the second half of the song shows a better feeling when expressing one’s hope for the future ahead with friends and happiness.

4. Reflecting a turbulent decade

Many people believe that in addition to Abba’s personal element, ‘Happy New Year’ also created in the context of the world having just ended the 70s with a series of crises from all continents such as: the Vietnam War, the arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union, the conflict in the Middle East, the Polpot genocide, the energy shortages and the rampant famine. Therefore, the song partly reflects the disappointment that Benny and Bjorn (co-composers of the song) had for a fluctuating decade.

5. Happy New Year is not the most famous New Year song.

The popularity of ‘Happy New Year’ in several countries has made many people believe that it is always listened to on New Year’s Eve. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The most popular New Year song in the world belonged to ‘Auld Lang Syne’.”Auld Lang Syne” is a Scots-language poem written by Robert Burns in 1788 and set to the tune of a traditional folk song. It is well known in many countries, especially in the English-speaking world, its traditional use being to bid farewell to the old year at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. Meanwhile, ‘Happy New Year’ is particularly popular in Vietnam, Sweden and some non-English speaking countries.