Saturday, February 5, 2011

Single Spotlight: The Day Before You Came

"The Day Before You Came" was ABBA's 31st single, released in October 1982.  It was the first single from the forthcoming double album The Singles, The First Ten Years.  This track was different from all of the group's other singles, in that it was nearly 6 minutes long, featured no chorus (a staple of all of the big ABBA hits) and only seemed to feature Agnetha's vocals.  In truth, it was the last song that the group ever recorded.  The song was reportedly created in the studio over two days.  All four ABBA members did contribute musically.  Frida and Björn's backing vocals are there if you listen, Benny's synthesizers take center stage as the sole source of the backing track (except for a snare drum which was added later) and Frida supplies a breathtaking operatic solo during the instrumental breaks.  Lyrically, "The Day Before You Came" didn't break any new group for the group like "The Winner Takes It All" or "The Visitors."  The song dealt with a woman reflecting on the routine and dull life she lived before meeting a lover.  The unusual musical structure of this song, coupled with it's length and lack of the typical sing-along, hook-laden ABBA chorus all hurt its performance on the charts of the world.  It's also important to note that musical tastes were changing with the emergence of groups like Duran Duran from Britain and Michael Jackson's new Thriller album from the US.  With "The Day Before You Came," ABBA (all now well into their 30's) seemed out of touch with the pop music scene.  Still, Northern European countries did make the song a top 10 hit.  Looking back, it was clear that the group was nearing the end of their wildly successful run.

"The Day Before You Came" Chart Positions
#48 Australia
#38 France
#32 UK
#12 Ireland
#06 Austria
#05 Germany
#05 Norway
#05 Canada (Adult Contemporary Chart)
#04 Switzerland
#03 Belgium
#03 Holland
#03 Sweden
#02 Finland

In November, 1982, ABBA made one of their very last television appearances performing "The Day Before You Came" (plus "Cassandra" and "Under Attack") on Germany's Show Express.  It is arguably one of their most dramatic performances in front of the cameras.

Clip Courtesy Of

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