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The Definitive Collection [2 CD] Extra tracks, Original recording remastered

4.6 out of 5 stars 181 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Extra tracks, Original recording remastered, November 6, 2001
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  • The Definitive Collection [2 CD]
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This collection digs deeper than previous hits collections to take you across 37 key cuts by these Euro-Pop kings/queens. That's the 2-CD version; the DVD has every video they shot plus a previously unseen Dancing Queen performance at the Royal Swedish Opera. Hits on both releases: Dancing Queen; Take a Chance on Me; Waterloo; The Winner Takes It All; The Name of the Game; Fernando; SOS; I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do; Knowing Me, Knowing You; Does Your Mother Know; When All Is Said and Done; Mamma Mia; Chiquitita , and more!


Is there anything that simply screams the 1970s' most indelible pop cultural clichés--the sunny romanticism, perfect vocal hooks, feathered hair, stacked heels, and flared sateen britches--more than the Swedish pop phenomenon Abba? And while many a pundit snootily dismissed them during their prime as some sort of prefabricated aberration, their worldwide popularity peaked somewhere just south of Beatlesmania. Indeed, Abba's music was as finely tooled and crafted as anything to come from a Volvo or IKEA factory--if occasionally more economically potent. This double-disc, 37-track anthology comes neatly on the heels of Mama Mia!, the smash, if unlikely, Broadway show based on the band's hits, and documents every single released by the band's Polar label in their home country as well as key tracks released internationally.

This is the canon from whence the term "Europop" sprang. With a continental sense of vocal neoclassicism, informed by just the right ethnic clichés (and oft wed to the era's insistent 4/4 disco beat) to make songs like "Mama Mia," "Fernando," "Chiquitita," and "Voulez-Vous" work on a global scale, the writing team of Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson and their respective partners in music and life, Agnetha Faltskog and Frida Lyngstad, developed the seamless, wall-of-sound productions contained herein. The Definitive Collection features a rare single remix of "Ring, Ring" and a 1979 promo-only extended mix of "Voulez-Vous" as bonus tracks, as well as a concise, illustrated history of the band and each track. --Jerry McCulley

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. People Need Love
  2. He Is Your Brother
  3. Ring Ring
  4. Love Isn't Easy (But It Sure Is Hard Enough)
  5. Waterloo
  6. Honey, Honey
  7. So Long
  8. I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do
  9. SOS
  10. Mamma Mia
  11. Fernando
  12. Dancing Queen
  13. Money, Money, Money
  14. Knowing Me, Knowing You
  15. The Name Of The Game
  16. Take A Chance On Me
  17. Eagle
  18. Summer Night City
  19. Chiquitita
  20. Does Your Mother Know

Disc: 2

  1. Voulez-Vous
  2. Angeleyes
  3. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)
  4. I Have A Dream
  5. The Winner Takes It All
  6. Super Trouper
  7. On And On And On
  8. Lay All Your Love On Me
  9. One Of Us
  10. When All Is Said And Done
  11. Head Over Heels
  12. The Visitors (Crackin' Up)
  13. The Day Before You Came
  14. Under Attack
  15. Thank You For The Music
  16. Ring Ring (1974 Remix, Single Version)
  17. Voulez-Vous (Extended Remix, 1979 US Promo)

Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 6, 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Extra tracks, Original recording remastered
  • Label: UTV
  • Run Time: 145 minutes
  • ASIN: B00005QJFL
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (181 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,193 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Gavin Wilson on November 6, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Believe it or not, there are some of us who have never bought an Abba album. Well, not until this week, anyway.
I was certainly around during the 70s, but I fell into the category of being far too serious about Deep Purple etc to be seen dead with an Abba LP. I was certainly aware of Abba -- it was one of the many contradictions in the British teenage bloke psyche that we watched 'Top of the Pops' whenever we could. And anyway, my Dad fancied the blonde one -- Agnetha, not Benny.
So buying this marvellous compilation is part nostalgia, and part demonstration for my own children of what pop used to be like.
This 2CD set takes us chronologically through Abba's history. There are four tracks which precede the historic 'Waterloo' Eurovision winner. Even after that 1974 victory, you sense that the group are still feeling their way towards a defining formula. To my ear, it's only when they created 'SOS' (track #9 here) that they found the correct gear, and from then on they never looked back.
Abba stood for very high production values, attractive videos, middle-of-the-road pop and wholly inoffensive lyrics. (As revealed in the sleevenotes, Bjorn was always more concerned with the sound of a word than its meaning.) From that point, the lead vocals on all the singles would always be performed by the girls. Abba absorbed disco, but never pretended to be creating black music.
My favourite Abba song is one of the last, 'One of Us', which has many flaws but a gorgeously plaintive chorus. Agnetha really meant those words as she sang them on the video. It was 1981, the band was nearing the end and, by that stage, even I fancied her.
To people who haven't already purchased an Abba CD, I cannot recommend this highly enough.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It was interesting to hear the songs in chronological order. Also the inclusion of the slower, throatier, American single version of Ring Ring was something only a die-hard ABBA fan that actually HAD the original American LP release of Waterloo(which is where it originally appeared) would appreciate. The major disappointment here was the trebel-heavy, bass-deprived remastering of these songs for this compilation. They were not remastered at the same standards as the "Thank You For the Music" Box Set or the REissue of ABBA GOLD. I would not recommend this when higher quality ABBA collections are available. Instead, pick up Forever Gold and get a thoroughly entertaining, quality compilation.
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Format: Audio CD
When I was a teenager in the 70's, I sort of liked ABBA's music...I just never told anybody. I stayed inside the musical closet. If I had admitted I liked ABBA, I would have been immediately shunned and banished from the rock n' roll community at my high school...and that was a big price to pay!
So now, some 25 years later, I pick up a copy of THE DEFINITIVE COLLECTION with a little nervousness. Sure, nobody's around to criticize my musical choices...but still, I felt a sense of trepidation...So I hit PLAY...and I was liberated!
Now I know this is pop music, much of it happening right in the middle of the Disco Era. I realize there won't be any screaming guitars, no 9-minute drum solos, no anti-establishment lyrics...But darn it, these tunes are good!
I think one reason people are still crazy about ABBA is that their music fills a void left by much of today's pop music. These ABBA tunes for the most part celebrate uncomplicated love, friendship, and a positive future. I mean, listen to "He Is Your Brother" and "People Need Love" and tell me those aren't great messages. And the tunes themselves - They're ALL catchy, easy to latch onto, and stick with you.
The songwriters had the ability to write great tunes, which is difficult enough, but they didn't stop there. The thing that most people remember about ABBA songs, whether they recognize it or not, is the vocals. Not just the individual vocals, but the way they layered vocal tracks on top of each other, creating great, tight harmonies. The tunes are also arranged well with little subtle touches of color that make the songs really sparkle. Just listen to the interplay between the piano and strings on "Dancing Queen." It just sparkles.
But best of all, these tunes are just plain fun. So go ahead, get yourself a copy. It's okay, you can come out now.
DISC ONE: 71:52
DISC TWO: 76:06
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Format: Audio CD
This collection includes all the songs that were released as singles in Sweden, plus re-mixes of two of them. All their British and American hits can be found here, though some songs were not released as singles outside Sweden, while others were released in some other countries but not others.

The set begins with the pre-Abba track People need love - all four members perform this but Agnetha and Frida are credited as Svenska Flicka. Ring ring was Abba's first real single, while He is your brother is an interesting song, but Abba only really hit the big time with Waterloo, which was their first British number one and also reached the top ten in America. Subsequent singles met with varying degrees of success and it was not until Dancing queen was released in 1976 that Abba had another hit that could be called truly international. It went all the way to number one in Britain, America and many other countries.

Their other British number ones were Mamma Mia, Fernando, Knowing me knowing you, Name of the game, Take a chance on me, Super trouper and Winner takes it all. Many of their other singles went into the top five, including I have a dream, which spent a month at number two. In America, Take a chance on me was a huge hit but the others were markedly less successful.

This is a wonderful collection of Abba's music. If you only want one Abba collection, this is a good one to choose.
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