Ring Ring (ABBA song)

"Ring Ring" is a song by Swedish group ABBA, released as the title track of their 1973 debut album. The single gave the group their big break in several European countries (although the rest of Europe, North America and Australia would be introduced to ABBA the following year). The song was written in Swedish by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, along with their manager Stig Anderson, with an original title of "Ring Ring (Bara du slog en signal)" ("Ring Ring (If Only You Called)"). Translation into English lyrics was helped by Neil Sedaka and his collaborator Phil Cody. The Swedish version reached No. 1 in the Swedish charts.

"Ring Ring (Bara du slog en signal)"
Ring ring by ABBA side-A 1974 Australian single remix.png
1974 Australian remix single of English recording
Single by ABBA
from the album Ring Ring
B-side"Åh vilka tider"
Released14 February 1973
Recorded10 January 1973, Metronome Studio, Stockholm
GenrePop rock, glam rock, europop, schlager
Length3:00
LabelPolar (Sweden)
Epic (UK)
Atlantic (US)
Songwriter(s)Benny Andersson
Björn Ulvaeus
Stig Anderson
Producer(s)Benny Andersson
Björn Ulvaeus
ABBA singles chronology
"He Is Your Brother"
(1972)
"Ring Ring (Bara du slog en signal)"
(1973)
"Another Town, Another Train"
(1973)
Official audio
Abba – "Ring, Ring" on YouTube
Alternative release
1974 UK remix single of English recording
1974 UK remix single of English recording

"Ring Ring" tells of a lover waiting alone by the telephone for the object of her desire to call.[1]

HistoryEdit

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 enter a song into Melodifestivalen 1973, whose winner would represent Sweden in the 1973 Eurovision Song Contest. After several days, Andersson and Ulvaeus came up with the music for the Swedish version of "Ring Ring", with the working title "Klocklåt" (Clock Tune). Anderson wrote the lyrics with the intention of making a pop-oriented song, trying to remove the pomp and circumstance surrounding the Eurovision Song Contest at the time.

After this, the song was 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. Sedaka was estranged from his lyricist Howard Greenfield at the time but, with the help of his then-current lyricist Phil Cody (who did not usually write in that style), wrote a set of English lyrics.

On 10 January 1973, the song was recorded at the Metronome Studio in Stockholm. Studio engineer Michael B. Tretow, who later collaborated with Andersson and Ulvaeus on many singles and albums, had read a book about record producer Phil Spector (Richard Williams' book Out of His Head: The Sound of Phil Spector),[2] 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, such a technique would be far too expensive for the recording of "Ring Ring". Tretow's solution was to simply record the song's backing track twice in order to achieve an orchestral sound. Changing the speed of the tape between the overdubs, making the instruments marginally out of tune, increased the effect. This was unlike anything that had been done before in Swedish music.

When ABBA performed "Ring Ring" in the Swedish Eurovision selection competition on 10 February 1973,[3] they only finished third. Nevertheless, the song fared much better in the Swedish charts, both in its Swedish and English language incarnations, hitting No. 1 and No. 2 respectively.

The quartet then 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 Melodifestivalen 1974 with "Waterloo".

Reception and other versionsEdit

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 very well on the Swedish charts, giving ABBA their first No. 1 hit. The English version fared almost as well, peaking at No. 2 in Sweden, Norway and Austria, and reaching the Top 10 in the charts of the Netherlands, South Africa and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). On the official South African year-end chart for 1974, "Ring Ring" placed 13th and its successor "Waterloo" finished 14th. It topped the charts in Belgium, becoming the first of 16 No. 1 hits for ABBA there. "Ring Ring" was the group's first release in the UK in October 1973, but failed to chart, selling only 5,000 copies.[4] in 1973 the single won a gold record in Sweden for selling 100,000 copies.[5] In Scandinavia the single has sold 200,000 copies.[6] A remixed version of the song, with saxophone by Ulf Andersson, was later described by Carl Magnus Palm as having a "superfluous saxophone overdub and leaden sound".[7] This version reached No. 32 in the UK in July 1974,[8] with "Rock'n Roll Band" issued on the B-side. The remix later hit No. 7 in Australia. A second remixed version, based upon the one that had been released in the UK, was included as a bonus track on the original North American release of the Waterloo album. A German-language version of the song was also recorded but failed to chart in West Germany. A Spanish version was also recorded (with lyrics by Doris Band), but 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, the remix did not appear on the 1994 four-CD box-set Thank You for the Music. In 1999, a CD box set of singles was released that included the remix, but it had been mastered from a vinyl single rather than the unavailable master tape. 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 master tapes from Epic Records in the UK. This had presumably occurred between 1999 and 2001.

Track listingsEdit

  • Sweden
A. "Ring Ring (Bara Du Slog En Signal)"
B. "Åh vilka tider"
  • UK, Spain, Brazil, Italy, France, West Germany, Peru, Austria, Netherlands
A. "Ring Ring" (English version)
B. "Rock'n Roll Band"
  • Sweden, Denmark, Columbia
A. "Ring Ring" (English version)
B. "She's My Kind of Girl"
  • West Germany
A. "Ring Ring" (German version)
B. "Wer Im Wartesaal Der Liebe Steht"

PersonnelEdit

ABBA

Additional personnel and production staff

ChartsEdit

Original English version
Chart (1973–1974) Peak
position
Australia (Kent Music Report)[9] 92
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[10] 2
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[11] 2
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[12] 17
Denmark (IFPI) 1
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[13] 25
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[14] 5
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[15] 5
Norway (VG-lista)[16] 2
Rhodesia (Lyons Maid)[17] 12
South Africa (Springbok Radio)[18] 3
Sweden (Kvällstoppen)[19] 2
Remixed English version
Chart (1974–1975) Peak
position
Australia (Kent Music Report)[9] 90
UK Singles (OCC)[20] 32
Chart (1976) Peak
position
Australia (Kent Music Report)[9] 7
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[21] 17
Swedish version
Chart (1973) Peak
position
Sweden (Kvällstoppen)[19] 1

Official versionsEdit

  • "Ring Ring (Bara du slog en signal)" (Swedish Version)
  • "Ring Ring" (English Version)
  • "Ring Ring" (English Version) – (1974 Remix, UK Single Version)
  • "Ring Ring" (English Version) – (U.S. Remix 1974)
  • "Ring Ring" (German Version)
  • "Ring Ring" (Spanish Version)
  • "Ring Ring" (Medley of Swedish, Spanish and German Versions)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Scott, Robert (2002) 'ABBA: Thank You for the Music – The Stories Behind Every Song', Carlton Books Limited: Great Britain, p. 26
  2. ^ Vincentelli, Elisabeth (31 March 2018). "The Year Abba channeled Phil Spector and conquered the world". Salon. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  3. ^ Faltskog, Agnetha & Ahman, Brita (1997) 'As I Am: ABBA Before & Beyond', Virgin Publishing, p.46
  4. ^ Scott, Robert (2002) 'ABBA: Thank You for the Music – The Stories Behind Every Song', Carlton Books Limited: Great Britain, p.26
  5. ^ "From the Music Capitols of the World – Stockholm" (PDF). Billboard. 18 June 1973. p. 52. Retrieved 18 June 2020 – via World Radio History.
  6. ^ "Sweden Music" (PDF). Billboard. 8 December 1973. p. 52. Retrieved 10 June 2020 – via World Radio History.
  7. ^ Carl Magnus Palm (20 February 2014). Abba: Bright Lights Dark Shadows. p. 344. ISBN 9781783230495. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
  8. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 50 - 7 July 1974-13 July 1974". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  9. ^ a b c David Kent (2006). Australian Charts Book 1993—2005. Australian Chart Book Pty Ltd, Turramurra, N.S.W. ISBN 978-0-646-45889-2.
  10. ^ "Björn + Benny + Anna + Frida – Ring Ring" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  11. ^ "Björn + Benny + Anna + Frida – Ring Ring" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  12. ^ "Björn + Benny + Anna + Frida – Ring Ring" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  13. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2021). "ABBA". Sisältää hitin - 2. laitos Levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla 1.1.1960–30.6.2021 (PDF) (in Finnish). Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava. p. 8. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  14. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Björn & Benny + Anna & Frieda" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  15. ^ "Björn + Benny + Anna + Frida – Ring Ring" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  16. ^ "Björn + Benny + Anna + Frida – Ring Ring". VG-lista.
  17. ^ Kimberley, C. Zimbabwe: Singles Chart Book. Harare: C. Kimberley, 2000
  18. ^ "SA Charts 1969 – March 1989". Retrieved 23 June 2021.
  19. ^ a b "Kvällstoppen 1972–1975" (PDF). www.hitsallertijden.nl. Retrieved 15 June 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  20. ^ "ABBA: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  21. ^ "Björn + Benny + Anna + Frida – Ring Ring". Top 40 Singles.