Arrival (ABBA album)

Arrival is the fourth studio album by the Swedish pop group ABBA. It was originally released in Sweden on 11 October 1976 by Polar Records. Recording sessions began in August 1975 and continued until September 1976 at Metronome and Glen studios in Stockholm, Sweden. It became one of ABBA's most successful albums to date, producing three of their biggest hits: "Dancing Queen," "Money, Money, Money" and "Knowing Me, Knowing You." Released as a single earlier the same year (in March 1976), the track "Fernando" was included on the Australian and New Zealand versions of the album. Arrival was the best-selling album of 1977 in the United Kingdom and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America.[1]

ABBA - Arrival.png
Studio album by
Released11 October 1976, 15 November 1976 (UK)
Recorded4 August 1975 – 18 September 1976
StudioMetronome Studios, Stockholm
GenrePop, euro disco
54:56 (The complete studio recordings)
59:00 (Deluxe edition)
ABBA chronology
Greatest Hits
ABBA: The Album
Alternative cover
French edition using the inner sleeve image
French edition using the inner sleeve image
Singles from Arrival
  1. "Dancing Queen"
    Released: 16 August 1976 (Sweden), 21 August 1976 (UK), 12 November 1976 (US)
  2. "Money, Money, Money"
    Released: 1 November 1976
  3. "That's Me"
    Released: 1977 (Japan only)
  4. "Knowing Me, Knowing You"
    Released: 14 February 1977

The album was first released on compact disc (CD) in 1984 and then re-issued in digitally remastered form a total of four times; first in 1997, then in 2001, 2005 as part of The Complete Studio Recordings box set, and again in 2006 (as a special Deluxe Edition).

On 7 October 2016, the album was released as a double vinyl mastered at Abbey Road Studios using Half Speed Mastering.


By the time ABBA began working on their fourth album in August 1975, they had achieved a modest level of success around the world. It was with Arrival however, that they would achieve global superstardom. The first song to enter the studio was a track called "Boogaloo" on 4 August. Taking inspiration from the current disco sound (and in particular George McCrae's "Rock Your Baby"), the backing track was laid down.[2] The group knew that they had something big on their hands, as member Agnetha Fältskog remarked: "We knew immediately it was going to be massive." With re-written lyrics, the song became known as "Dancing Queen," and would go on to be ABBA's biggest ever hit. Work on the song continued intermittently until December 1975 as the group's activities were increasing in the latter half of the year as they saw a sudden surge in popularity in the United Kingdom and Australia. During this time they also recorded a song (in Swedish) for member Anni-Frid Lyngstad's solo album, "Fernando." In March 1976, with "Fernando" re-written with English lyrics, it was released as an ABBA single, becoming the group's biggest hit to date - hitting No.1 in many countries, including a 14-week stay at No.1 in Australia.[1] It was featured as the brand new track on their Greatest Hits album which was selling in huge numbers around that time, becoming the biggest-selling album of the year in the UK (in Australia, it was featured on the "Arrival" album placed between "Why Did It Have To Be Me" and "Tiger"). In the midst of this success, the group finally found time to return to the studio in late March. The next song they began working on was "Knowing Me, Knowing You," which was to become yet another major hit worldwide. Member Benny Andersson has said that it is "one of our five best recordings."[2]

By the end of April two other songs had been laid down: "That's Me" and "Why Did It Have to Be Me." The latter was reworked into "Happy Hawaii" before ultimately arriving back at its original title with completely different lyrics and member Björn Ulvaeus on lead vocals as opposed to Faltskog and Lyngstad ("Happy Hawaii" would later be released as a B-side). A similar situation occurred with the next recording when a song entitled "Money, Money, Money" became "Gypsy Girl" and then back to its original title. "Money, Money, Money" would also be released as a single and become a major hit some months after the album's eventual release.[2]

In June 1976, a TV special dedicated to the group (entitled ABBA-dabba-dooo!!) was filmed. Around the same time they recorded a song called "When I Kissed the Teacher," which would become the opening track on their new album. Late July saw the next two tracks, "Tiger" and "Dum Dum Diddle" recorded. Considered by biographer Carl Magnus Palm as the "complete antithesis" of each other, the former being a hard rocker against the pure pop of the latter, both Lyngstad and Ulvaeus have expressed dissatisfaction with "Dum Dum Diddle," with Ulvaeus admitting that it was a nonsense lyric he'd come up with in desperation.[3] The next song to be recorded was "My Love My Life." Originally titled "Monsieur Monsieur" and more upbeat, the song soon became a lush ballad with backing harmonies inspired by 10cc's hit "I'm Not In Love."[2]

The final track to be recorded was an instrumental piece entitled "Ode to Dalecarlia." Featuring Andersson prominently on keyboards, the track was renamed "Arrival" - a word that had already been decided as the title of their new album. By September 1976 work on the album was finished just as "Dancing Queen" was topping the charts all over the world. The album cover shots were taken of the group posing in and out of a Bell 47 helicopter at the Barkarby Airport, northwest of Stockholm.[2] The now-renowned "mirrored-B" copyrighted ABBA logo, an ambigram designed by Rune Söderqvist in 1976 was also premiered on the album cover. Arrival was released on 11 October 1976.

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [4]
Blender     [5]
Q     [7]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide     [8]
Spin Alternative Record Guide9/10[9]
The Village VoiceC[10]

In a contemporary review for Rolling Stone, music critic Ken Tucker panned Arrival as "Muzak mesmerizing in its modality" and wrote, "By reducing their already vapid lyrics to utter irrelevance, lead singers Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Agnetha Fältskog are liberated to natter on in their shrill voices without regard to emotion or expression."[11] Robert Christgau of The Village Voice gave the album a "C",[10] indicating "a record of clear professionalism or barely discernible inspiration, but not both."[12]

In a review upon the album's 2001 reissue by Universal Records, AllMusic editor Bruce Eder found the material "brilliant" and complimented the reissue's "upgraded sound," as well as "those dramatic musical effects that this group played for maximum effect, which gave their music a raw power that their detractors usually overlooked; in the new edition, it's impossible to ignore."[13] In The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004), music journalist Arion Berger recommended its Universal reissue to consumers.[8]

The album became a major seller all over the world,[14] becoming the top-selling album of 1977 in both the UK and West Germany for example.[15][16] It housed three of ABBA's biggest hits; "Dancing Queen," "Money Money Money" and "Knowing Me Knowing You," and in some territories a fourth with the inclusion of "Fernando" (which in most markets had featured on their earlier Greatest Hits album). "That's Me" was released as a single in Japan only.

The album was included in Robert Dimery's 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Arrival re-entered the UK album charts at #94 for the week of August 3, 2018, for the first time since 1979.[17]

Track listingEdit

All tracks written by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus except where noted.

Side one
1."When I Kissed the Teacher" 3:00
2."Dancing Queen"
3."My Love, My Life"
  • Andersson
  • Anderson
  • Ulvaeus
4."Dum Dum Diddle" 2:50
5."Knowing Me, Knowing You"
  • Andersson
  • Anderson
  • Ulvaeus
Side two
1."Money, Money, Money" 3:05
2."That's Me"
  • Andersson
  • Anderson
  • Ulvaeus
3."Why Did It Have to Be Me?" 3:20
4."Tiger" 2:55
5."Arrival" 3:00
Total length:33:09
Cassette edition
1."When I Kissed the Teacher" 
2."Dancing Queen" 
3."Dum Dum Diddle" 
4."My Love, My Life" 
6."Money, Money, Money" 
7."That's Me" 
8."Why Did It Have to Be Me" 
9."Knowing Me, Knowing You" 
1997 CD edition bonus track
2001 CD edition bonus tracks
12."Happy Hawaii"
  • Andersson
  • Anderson
  • Ulvaeus
The Complete Studio Recordings bonus tracks
13."La reina del baile" (Spanish version of Dancing Queen)
  • Andersson
  • Anderson
  • Ulvaeus
  • Bobby McCluskey
  • Mary McCluskey
14."Conociéndome, conociéndote" (Spanish version of Knowing Me, Knowing You)
  • Andersson
  • Anderson
  • Ulvaeus
  • B. McCluskey
  • M. McCluskey
15."Fernando" (Spanish version)
  • Andersson
  • Anderson
  • Ulvaeus
  • B. McCluskey
  • M. McCluskey
2006 deluxe edition (The Classic Album) bonus tracks
13."Fernando" (Spanish version)
  • Andersson
  • Anderson
  • Ulvaeus
  • B. McCluskey
  • M. McCluskey
14."La reina del baile" (Spanish version of Dancing Queen)
  • Andersson
  • Anderson
  • Ulvaeus
  • Bobby McCluskey
  • Mary McCluskey
15."Conociéndome, conociéndote" (Spanish version of Knowing Me, Knowing You)
  • Andersson
  • Anderson
  • Ulvaeus
  • B. McCluskey
  • M. McCluskey
16."Fernando" (Frida's Swedish solo version) 4:14
2006 deluxe edition DVD
1."ABBA-DABBA-DOOO!!" (one-hour television special, SVT) 
2."Dancing Queen" (Musikladen, Radio Bremen) 
3."Fernando" (Top of the Pops, BBC) 
4."Happy Hawaii" (FremantleMedia) 
5."Dancing Queen Recording Session" (Mr. Trendsetter, SVT) 
6."ABBA in London, November 1976" (Young Nation, BBC) 
7."ABBA's 1976 Success – News Report" (Rapport, SVT) 
8."Arrival Television Commercial I" (UK) 
9."Arrival Television Commercial II" (UK) 
10."International Sleeve Gallery" 


  • "Fernando" was released in the original track listing for the Australian and New Zealand version of the original record after "Why Did It Have to Be Me?" and before "Tiger." This added more than 4 minutes of playtime to Side 2.[18]


Additional musicians (original album)

  • Ola Brunkert – drums
  • Roger Palm – drums, tambourine and hi-hat percussion on "Dancing Queen"
  • Malando Gassama – percussion
  • Rutger Gunnarsson – bass
  • Janne Schaffer – electric guitar on "My love, my life", "Knowing me, knowing you" (rhythm), "That's me" and "Why did it have to be me?"
  • Lasse Wellander – acoustic guitar on "Dum dum diddle", electric lead guitar on "Knowing me, knowing" you and "Tiger"
  • Anders Glenmark – electric guitar on "Money, money, money"
  • Lars Carlsson – saxophone on "Why did it have to be me?"


  • Benny Andersson – producer, arranger
  • Björn Ulvaeus – producer, arranger
  • Michael B. Tretow – engineer
  • Sven-Olof Walldoff – string arrangements on Dancing Queen
  • Rutger Gunnarsson – string arrangements on My love, my life
  • Anders Dahl - string arrangements on Arrival
  • Ola Lager – cover design, photography
  • Rune Söderqvist – cover design
  • Jon Astley – remastering (1997 re-issue and 2001 re-issue)
  • Tim Young – remastering (1997 re-issue)
  • Michael B. Tretow – remastering (1997 re-issue and 2001 re-issue)
  • Henrik Jonsson – remastering (The Complete Studio Recordings box set)

Chart positionsEdit

Certifications and salesEdit

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia 900,000[40]
Canada (Music Canada)[41] 2× Platinum 200,000^
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[43] Gold 330,000[42]
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[44] Platinum 86,420[44]
France (SNEP Charts) 140,000[45]
Germany (BVMI)[47] 2× Platinum 1,500,000[46]
Hong Kong (IFPI Hong Kong)[48] Gold 10,000*
Ireland 150,000[49]
Israel[50] Platinum 40,000[51]
Japan (Oricon Charts) 645,000[26]
Latvia (LaMPA)[52][unreliable source?] Gold 4,000* 
Netherlands (NVPI)[54] Gold 500,000[53]
New Zealand 60,000[55]
Norway (IFPI Norway)[57] Gold 167,000[56]
Poland 800,000[46]
Sweden 692,569[58]
Taiwan 3,500[59]
United Kingdom (BPI)[61] Platinum 1,700,000[60]
United States (RIAA)[62] Gold 500,000^
Yugoslavia[63] Platinum 70,000 

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


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External linksEdit