ABBA and Their Influence on British Culture

Abba

ABBA holds a place in the hearts of British people that not many other bands can match. Their up-tempo songs, complete with catchy melodies and powerful lyrics, allowed the group to capture the imagination of the UK public in the last 50 years. This popularity has led to their songs permeating several different parts of British culture in the past couple of decades. In this article, we’re going to look at different industries that have embraced the world of ABBA  and the power their songs hold over people in the UK.

Modern and Traditional References

ABBA’s songs have become intertwined with gambling over the years. For example, the bingo call for 17 is Dancing Queen, one of the group’s most popular songs. Online casino company, Buzz Bingo has also taken advantage of this connection and created an ABBA Bingo Tour. The UK-based casino chain, which also offers online services like slingo, bingo, and traditional gambling games like poker and blackjack, brought the iconic music of the Swedish foursome to bingo halls across the UK in the ‘Disco Wonderland’ event. Although not written about gambling, their song, voted most popular by the British public, takes its name from a phrase synonymous with gambling, ‘The Winner Takes It All’.

Football Chants and Odes

In recent years, it has become more and more common to hear football fans rework popular pop songs into odes to their favourite footballers. It’s no surprise then to hear ABBA songs being sung around grounds in the top flight of English football. Kostas Tsimikas of Liverpool and Dejan Kulusevski of Tottenham are regularly serenaded with personalised versions of ‘Gimme, Gimme, Gimme’. Diogo Jota has had good form since joining Liverpool a few years ago, rewarded with a version of ‘Mamma Mia’ sung mentioning his goalscoring exploits. While his former teammate, Sadio Mane, who now plays football in Saudi Arabia, had a song dedicated to him by the same fans sung to the tune of ‘Voulez Vous’.

Theatrical Adaptations and Fan Favourites

The big screen adaptation of ‘Mamma Mia’ was released in 2008, and although many critics didn’t react favourably to the storyline, casting, and general production, it didn’t matter to the British public. They flocked to see it, and the movie ended up breaking various records, including the highest-grossing opening weekend for a movie based on a Broadway musical.

ABBA’s music was brought to Broadway in 2001, and its immense popularity has seen it gross over $4 billion in the past two decades. The group have also helped develop a virtual reality offering in recent years. Held in London the ABBAtars, who look like the group did in the 70s, showcase the biggest hits in the ABBA Arena.

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It’s difficult to see the popularity of the group dying out in Britain. Upon their return to performing in 2021, the Guardian interviewed fans, and the reaction was one of joy, nervousness, excitement, and everything in between. It seems that not many foreign bands could elicit this sort of reaction, especially after so long out of the game, but that is the power of the Scandinavian group that conquered the world so many decades ago.

 

Xsnoize Author
Mark Millar is the founder of XS Noize and looks after the daily running of the website as well as hosting interviews for the weekly XS Noize Podcast. Mark's favourite album is Achtung Baby by U2.

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