Rhino Factoids: Erasure, Abba-esque
Hey, you know that how that musical Mamma Mia! has all those ABBA songs in it? And you know how, after in premiered on Broadway in 2001, Americans were all, like, “Oh, man, I had forgotten how great these songs were,” and they were all grateful because it reminded them about the awesomeness of stuff like “Lay All Your Love on Me,” “S.O.S.,” “Take a Chance on Me,” and “Voulez-Vou”? Well, 22 years ago this month, Erasure tried to remind them, but not enough people were paying enough attention.
That’s in the States, mind you. In the UK, Erasure’s Abba-esque EP – which, not coincidentally, featured the exact same four ABBA songs cited in the above paragraph – hit the top spot in the single charts (that’s where EPs chart across the pond) and stayed there for five weeks, giving Vince Clarke and Andy Bell their first chart-topper. The duo also topped the charts in Austria, Finland, Ireland, and Sweden while earning not-unimpressive placings in Germany (#2), Switzerland (#3), and on the Dutch charts (#4). But here in the States…? Well, in fairness, Billboard includes EPs on the Top 200 Albums rather than the Hot 100, but no matter how you look at it, #85 is still a relatively lukewarm reception.
To our way of thinking, though, not to mention the thinking of numerous ABBA and Erasure fans alike, Abba-esque was a major impetus in the world at large beginning to revisit the back catalog of Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. You can call it coincidence if you wish, but in short order, we saw the release of ABBA Gold, Muriel’s Wedding, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, and – by 1999 – the premiere of Mamma Mia! in London’s West End. To us, it seems like Erasure started a trend.
With that, our fellow Americans, we present you with Abba-esque. If you missed it 22 years ago, now’s your chance to make up for lost time.