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Voulez-Vous (pronounced [vule vu]; French for "Do you want?") is the sixth studio album by the Swedish group ABBA, released in 1979. It features a number of hits such as "Chiquitita", "Does Your Mother Know" and "I Have a Dream" and showed the group embrace disco music, which was at its peak at the time. The album topped the charts in a number of countries and was one of the top five-selling albums in the UK for that year.

Voulez-Vous
ABBA - Voulez Vous.jpg
Studio album by
Released23 April 1979
Recorded13 March 1978 – 29 March 1979
Studio
Length41:43 (original release)
Label
Producer
ABBA chronology
ABBA: The Album
(1977)
Voulez-Vous
(1979)
Greatest Hits Vol. 2
(1979)
Singles from Voulez-Vous
  1. "Chiquitita"
    Released: 16 January 1979
  2. "Does Your Mother Know"
    Released: April 1979
  3. "Voulez-Vous/Angeleyes"
    Released: 2 July 1979
  4. "I Have a Dream"
    Released: 7 December 1979
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[1]
BBC(positive)[2]
Uncut4/5 stars[3]
Smash Hits6/10[4]

It was the first ABBA album to be mainly recorded at Polar Studios in Stockholm, and the only ABBA album to include a studio recording made outside Sweden: the instrumental backing track for the title track was partly recorded at Criteria Studios in Miami.

Voulez-Vous was first released on CD in 1984. The album has been digitally remastered and reissued four times; first in 1997, then in 2001 and in 2005 as part of The Complete Studio Recordings box set, and yet again in 2010 for the Voulez-Vous Deluxe Edition.

BackgroundEdit

In early 1978, ABBA were at the peak of their success and having just completed promotion for their latest album and theatrical film release, thoughts were turned to the next album, which was planned to be released in time for Christmas. Sessions however proved to be difficult and after starting on 13 March 1978 with the ultimately unreleased track "Dr Claus von Hamlet", a number of compositions were demoed and rejected. Indeed, after six months, only two songs that would end up on the finished album ("The King Has Lost His Crown" and "Lovers (Live a Little Longer)") were completed.[5]

During this time the group opened their own recording studio, Polar Studios in Stockholm, which were among the most advanced in the world at the time and would be where ABBA would work from here on. Two songs recorded at this time were "Lovelight" and "Dream World". However, neither song would appear on the Voulez-Vous album ("Lovelight" would be used as the B-side to the single "Chiquitita", while "Dream World" would remain unreleased until 1994; both songs are now featured as bonus tracks on re-issues of the Voulez-Vous album). Other tracks started but subsequently scrapped included "Crying Over You", "Free as a Bumble Bee", "Rubber Ball Man" and "Just a Notion".

By September 1978, ABBA had been silent in the charts for some months, and so a song from the recording sessions, "Summer Night City", was released as a single. Never happy with the finished song, members Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus regretted the release and lamented the fact that it peaked lower than previous singles in the charts, not being released at all in the US. They considered the UK to be their most important market, and there it had ended a run of No. 1 hits by stalling at No. 5 - their smallest hit for three years. A full-length version was however still planned for the upcoming album, but ultimately never used. By this time, tensions were growing within the group due to the low productivity of the period, as member Agnetha Faltskog commented; "I can tell from the look in Björn's eyes when he gets home how the day's work has been. Many times the boys have been working for ten hours without coming up with one single note". Andersson talked to a reporter at the time saying; "The prospects are not good. It’s worse than ever...We have no idea when we’ll be finished".[5] It became obvious that the album wouldn't be completed by the end of the year and the deadline was extended into 1979. In late 1978, further indication of internal struggles became widely known when it was announced that married couple Ulvaeus and Faltskog were to divorce. Rather than spelling the end for the group however, this freed up a lot of the tensions between the two and in late 1978, work suddenly took off apace for the album.

In October, two tracks were completed: "Angeleyes" and "If It Wasn't for the Nights". Although seen as an archetype ABBA track, the former of these was deemed dated by Andersson, labelling it "back to the sixties". The second track however featured an all-out contemporary vibe, being quite disco-orientated and considered the strongest song that had been recorded for the album. It was intended to be not only the next single but also the song that ABBA would perform at the Music for UNICEF Concert in January 1979. This plan was changed however when an even-better song came along in December. With the original title of "In the Arms of Rosalita", "Chiquitita" was the song the band performed. Although rather more schlager in style, Andersson considered it the best of their new songs, despite the feeling that it was very out of style with the rest of the acts performing that night. "It was pretty strange, but we felt it was the best song we had and that's why we chose it, however wrong it may have been", he said.[5] In early 1979, "Chiquitita" became one of ABBA's biggest hits around the world, reaching No. 1 in many countries, although just being clipped by Blondie's "Heart of Glass" in the UK at No. 2.[6]

At the end of January, Andersson and Ulvaeus left Sweden and rented an apartment in the Bahamas where they felt they could get some inspiration by listening to American music and experiencing a whole different vibe to the rather conservative Stockholm. Two songs emerged from this time; "Voulez-Vous" and "Kisses of Fire". Excited by the former, they went to Criteria Studios in Miami to record the backing track with the disco band Foxy — the only time they recorded a song outside Sweden.[5] Upon returning to Sweden to finish the songs, another track, "Does Your Mother Know", was recorded - a song that was to be the next single, and also the only mainstream release to feature Ulvaeus on lead vocals. The single would not become as big a hit worldwide as "Chiquitita", but was the most successful release from the album in the US.

By the end of March, the final two tracks were finished; "As Good as New" and "I Have a Dream" (the latter featuring a local children's choir).[7]

At the end of April the album, titled Voulez-Vous, was finally ready for release and to emphasize the shift towards a disco sound, the album cover shot was taken at Alexandra's night club in Stockholm.[7] Released on 23 April 1979, Voulez-Vous topped the charts all over Europe (including the UK, where it entered the charts at No. 1 and remained there for a month),[8] and was a Top 10 success in countries including Canada,[9] New Zealand[10] and Australia.[11] In the US, Voulez-Vous became ABBA's third album to reach the top 20 (peaking at No. 19).[12]

In the following months, ABBA released a number of other singles from the album. The title track was released as a double A-side with "Angeleyes", while "I Have a Dream" was belatedly released in December 1979 following their recent world tour. A track recorded in August 1979 (four months after the release of the album), "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)", was released as a single in October and was later included as a bonus track on CD versions of Voulez-Vous.

Track listingEdit

All tracks written by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus[13] except where noted.

Side one
No.TitleLength
1."As Good as New"3:22
2."Voulez-Vous"5:11
3."I Have a Dream"4:44
4."Angeleyes"4:20
5."The King Has Lost His Crown"3:30
Side two
No.TitleLength
1."Does Your Mother Know"3:13
2."If It Wasn't for the Nights"5:13
3."Chiquitita"5:26
4."Lovers (Live a Little Longer)"3:28
5."Kisses of Fire"3:16
Total length:41:43

Notes: [a] mislabeled as 4:12.

PersonnelEdit

Additional musicians

Production

  • Benny Andersson; Björn Ulvaeus – producers
  • Michael B. Tretow – engineer
  • Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus, Anders Eljas, Rutger Gunnarsson – arrangers
  • Rune Söderqvist – design
  • Ola Lager – photography
  • Jon Astley, Tim Young, Michael B. Tretow – remastering for the 1997 remasters
  • Jon Astley, Michael B. Tretow – remastering for the 2001 remasters
  • Henrik Jonsson – remastering for The Complete Studio Recordings box set

ChartsEdit

Sales and certificationsEdit

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[31] 2× Platinum 200,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[32] 2× Platinum 200,000^
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[33] Platinum 82,340[33]
Germany (BVMI)[34] Platinum 500,000^
Hong Kong (IFPI Hong Kong)[35] Gold 10,000*
Japan (Oricon Charts) 623,000[20]
Netherlands (NVPI)[36] Platinum 100,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[37] Platinum 15,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[38] Gold 50,000^
Sweden 289,925[39]
United Kingdom (BPI)[40] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[41] Gold 500,000^

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

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Eder, Bruce. "ABBA – Voulez-Vous". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 11 January 2012.
  2. ^ Egan, Sean (31 May 2010). "ABBA Voulez-Vous – Deluxe Edition Review". BBC Online. Retrieved 11 January 2012.
  3. ^ Roberts, Chris (July 2010). "Uncut Review". Uncut. No. 158.
  4. ^ Starr, Red. "Albums". Smash Hits. No. 31 May – 13 June 1979. p. 25.
  5. ^ a b c d Palm, Carl Magnus (6 May 2011). "Liner notes, part 1". Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  6. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 75: 04 February 1979 – 10 February 1979". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  7. ^ a b Palm, Carl Magnus (6 May 2011). "Liner notes, part 2". Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  8. ^ a b "ABBA | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  9. ^ a b "Top RPM Albums: Issue 6833a". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  10. ^ a b "Charts.org.nz – ABBA – Voulez-Vous". Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  11. ^ a b c Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970-1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  12. ^ a b "Voulez-Vous – Awards". Archived from the original on 12 September 2012.. AllMusic.
  13. ^ "Voulez-Vous". Abbasite.com. Polar Music International. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  14. ^ "Who sings this song?". ABBA Omnibus. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  15. ^ "Austriancharts.at – ABBA – Voulez-Vous" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  16. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – ABBA – Voulez-Vous" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  17. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin - levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. ISBN 978-9-5112-1053-5.
  18. ^ "Le Détail des Albums de chaque Artiste" (in French). InfoDisc. Select "ABBA" from the artist drop-down menu. Archived from the original on 7 May 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  19. ^ "Officialcharts.de – ABBA – Voulez-Vous". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  20. ^ a b c Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970-2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  21. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – ABBA – Voulez-Vous". Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  22. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – ABBA – Voulez-Vous". Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  23. ^ "CHART: CLUK Update 12.06.2010 (wk22)". Zobbel.de. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  24. ^ "Jahreshitparade 1979" (in German). Austriancharts.at. Hung Medien. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  25. ^ "Top Albums/CDs – Volume 32, No. 13, December 22 1979". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  26. ^ "Les Albums (CD) de 1979 par InfoDisc" (in French). InfoDisc. Archived from the original on 21 February 2014. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  27. ^ "1979年アルバム年間ヒットチャート" [Japanese Year-End Albums Chart 1979] (in Japanese). Oricon. Entamedata.web.fc2.com. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  28. ^ "Top Selling Albums of 1979". Archived from the original on 11 May 2015.. Nztop40.co.nz.
  29. ^ "Chart Archive – 1970s Albums". Everyhit.com. Archived from the original on 6 October 2009. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  30. ^ "Top Albums/CDs – Volume 34, No. 6, December 20 1980". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  31. ^ "International Briefs – Australia" (PDF). Billboard. 24 May 1980. p. 72. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  32. ^ "Canadian album certifications – ABBA – Voulez-Vous". Music Canada.
  33. ^ a b "ABBA" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
  34. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (ABBA; 'Voulez Vous')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie.
  35. ^ "IFPIHK Gold Disc Award − 1980". IFPI Hong Kong.
  36. ^ "Dutch album certifications – ABBA – Voulez Vous" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Enter Voulez Vous in the "Artiest of titel" box.
  37. ^ "The Official New Zealand Music Chart – 07 October 1979". Archived from the original on 1 March 2016.. Nztop40.co.nz.
  38. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  39. ^ Schulman, Leif (8 September 1979). "ABBA the World > Sweden". Billboard. p. ABBA-38. ISSN 0006-2510.
  40. ^ "British album certifications – ABBA – Voulez-Vous". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type Voulez-Vous in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  41. ^ "American album certifications – ABBA – Voulez-Vouz". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 

External linksEdit