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Sunday 24 February 2019

Top tens: This week in 1976

Mamma Mia’ was Abba’s first No. 1 since their Eurovision win in 1974.
Mamma Mia’ was Abba’s first No. 1 since their Eurovision win in 1974.

By late 1975, Abba had been plying their trade for five years. Their 1974 Eurovision win with 'Waterloo' brought international fame and the number one spot in many territories, but subsequent singles failed to ignite chart interest in the UK and Ireland.

When 'I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do' landed on top of the Australian charts and stayed there for ten weeks in mid 1975, Epic Records in the UK saw huge Abba potential and started heavy promotion of their singles.

'SOS' reached No 6 in the UK (and 4 in Ireland) and then Mamma Mia - the opening track on the band's third album - climbed to number one in both countries (ending the reign of Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody').

It marked the start of five years of Abba chart dominance and a further seven UK number ones would follow for Sweden's finest. With over a half a million sales, 'Mamma Mia' ranks eleventh in the list of Abba best sellers in the UK.

Abba's music was less successful in the US market where 'Mamma Mia' reached No. 32 in the Billboard Hot 100 and 'Dancing Queen' remains their sole number one.

• The number two song in our chart from 1976, Slik's 'Forever and Ever' (which knocked Abba from the top in February) was the only top 20 hit by the Scottish band fronted by Midge Ure. 'Forever and Ever' was written by songwriting partners Phil Coulter and Bill Martin and offered to Slik after the Bay City Rollers had turned it down. Slik split in 1977 and Ure joined Ultravox whose 'Vienna' - voted Single of the Year at the 1981 Brit Awards - fell just short of a No. 1, famously denied the top spot by Joe Dolce's novelty song 'Shaddap You Face'.

Midge Ure would go on to have two more number ones: as co-writer with Bob Geldof on Band Aid's 'Do They Know It's Christmas' in 1984, and as a solo artist with 'If I Was' in 1985.

1 Mamma Mia Abba

2 Forever and Ever Slik

3 Bohemian Rhapsody Queen

4 Love Machine The Miracles

5 Glass of Champagne Sailor

6 Love To Love You Baby Donna Summer

7 We Do LT R and J Stone

8 In Dulci Jubilo/On Horseback Mike Oldfield

9 King of the Cops Billy Howard

10 Evil Woman Electric Light Orchestra

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