The Beatles inspired countless bands with their music throughout their ten-year career. ABBA was, naturally, one of them, but the Swedish quartet pointed at the Fab Four’s inventive way of releasing music as one of their most inspiring features. Benny Andersson explained that, if it wasn’t for The Beatles’ “diversity”, ABBA would not have come to light.
The Beatles split up officially in 1970 after being together for just over a decade. ABBA started up shortly thereafter in 1972. With the Fab Four’s legacy in their rearview mirror, ABBA learned what they could from the kings of the music industry.
Andersson explained to Record Collector Magazine that The Beatles revolutionised the music industry by releasing songs that were distinctly different.
“That’s something we learned from The Beatles,” he explained. “They were always with their style in a way, much more than we were. But what they did was, you heard a song with them, then the next single was nothing close to the previous one, or the third, or the fourth, or the fifth.”
For example, throughout the 1960s The Beatles released From Me To You, She Loves You, I Want to Hold Your Hand and Roll Over Beethoven consecutively. All of these tracks – while they are without question iconic Beatles tracks – are all decidedly different.
“At that time,” Andersson went on. “You needed to have some diversity, no?” (Via Music News)
Andersson went on to point out some examples of this song release theory in ABBA’s own discography.
“So, you have Fernando,” he explained. “You want a song like Dancing Queen or My Mama Said, or whatever on that album, to give it some listening value.”
He also explained how the building blocks of The Beatles were a key part of the inception of ABBA.
Each member of the Eurovision quartet has sung different parts of their repertoire over the years, and this division of responsibilities was also brought on by the two founding members of The Beatles: Paul McCartney and John Lennon.
Andersson said: “And another great thing, I have to say, that goes for many of the bands that I like, is that you have more than one singer; it helps you.”
“You have John [Lennon] and Paul [McCartney],” he continued. “Or you have Fleetwood Mac, you have the Eagles: it’s great to have two singers because that makes a difference between the tracks as well.”
The pop band worked hard to hone their craft, but Andersson explained that they didn’t realise they had something special until 1975 when they released perhaps their biggest hit of all time: Mamma Mia.
Andersson said: “I think Mamma Mia was when we realised: ‘Well this is special, now we find out exactly what we can achieve with a song if you work enough on it’, you know?”
Once again, it was the creativity that spurred them on, the desire to make things different at every turn. “You’re in the studio,” he recalled. “And you see: ‘Oh, there’s a marimba there, let’s see if we can use it’ – that’s sort of special, there’s not much marimba [in pop music].
“But then also it was really arranged, you know? It wasn’t just strumming along. Everyone was playing exactly the notes that were needed.”