The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has announced their 2010 inductees, and one of them will definitely spark debates among fans who consider their music too pop.
This year’s class includes Genesis, Jimmy Cliff, The Hollies and The Stooges. The surprise pick is ABBA.
You can’t deny the 1970s sales power of ABBA, especially outside the U.S. But, one of the main keys to being voted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is how influential the artist has been on the music world. In that regard, ABBA does fit the bill. One of Elvis Costello’s biggest hits, 1979’s “Oliver’s Army”, was inspired by ABBA’s “Dancing Queen”. Check out Steve Nieve’s piano parts in the Costello song. In the 1980’s, Doctor and the Medics and Bananarama both covered ABBA’s Eurovision winning song, “Waterloo”. Synth pop duo Erasure had a UK number one hit in 1992 with their cover version of “Take A Chance on Me” off of the “Abba-esque” EP. U2 performed “Dancing Queen” during their 1992 Zoo TV tour. ABBA’s Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Anderson, in fact, joined the Irish rockers on stage in Sweden to play the song. Also, Madonna used a sample of ABBA’s “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” in her 2005 hit, “Hung Up”.
It can be argued that ABBA was the first major internationally popular band from a non-English speaking country. Their success paved the way for other Swedish acts to hit the charts. Roxette had successful chart runs in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s with “The Look” and “It Must Have Been Love”. Ace of Base were popular in the 1990’s with such songs as “The Sign” and “All That She Wants”. The Cardigans “Love Fool” was a hit in 1996 and 1997.
The recent popularity of the “Mamma Mia!” film and stage show may have also played a role in ABBA receiving their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nomination and induction.
ABBA won’t be the only pop oriented act to be inducted into the Hall, either. In 1997, The Bee Gees, another pop band who achieved massive success in the 1970’s, were voted in. Their greatest fame came from the disco music oriented songs of the “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack. Madonna was selected to the Hall of Fame in 2008, and her songs are pop and dance pop oriented. The Mamas and the Papas are Hall of Famers, too, but known more for folk pop than rock.
Actually, there is rock history associated with ABBA. Led Zeppelin recorded their last album, 1979’s “In Through the Out Door” at Stockholm’s Polar Studios. At the time, the building was jointly owned by ABBA manager/mentor Stig Anderson and band members Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson.
The 2010 induction ceremony takes place on March 15 at New York City’s Waldorf Astoria hotel, and will air on the Fuse cable network.
“The Stooges, ABBA and The Hollies honored as inductees for Hall of Fame” by Robyn Chelsea-Seifert. examiner.com. http://www.examiner.com/x-33295-SF-Music-News-Examiner~y2009m12d16-The-Stooges-ABBA-and-The-Hollies-honored-as-inductees-for-Hall-of-Fame, December 16, 2009.
“Oliver’s Army” by Mark Deming. All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=33:0zfrxblrldje.
“Abba sang ‘best’ Eurovision song”. BBC News, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/4565061.stm , May 20, 2005.
“Swedish Pop” , The Swedish Institute-www.sweden.se,, http://www.sweden.se/eng/Home/Lifestyle/Culture/Music-room/Poprockindie/Facts/Swedish-pop// March 5, 2008.
“Chart Beat Chat: Erin Hamilton, Katy Perry, Jill Sobule, ABBA, Madonna” by Fred Bronson. Billboard.com,http://www.billboard.com/news/chart-beat-chat-erin-hamilton-katy-perry-1003834387.story#/news/chart-beat-chat-erin-hamilton-katy-perry-1003834387.story.