Blackpool Grand Theatre Dancing Queen
Each Wednesday night, the Grand Theatre becomes a tribute to the dancing days of the 70s, with the Dancing Queen show. Smashing all box office records in 2010, this is the hottest ticket in town for a mid-week boogie.
The first half of the show invites you to ‘shake that thing’; or whatever James Brown meant; as you sizzle to the top dance hits of the 70s. I have to warn you, remaining seated is a challenge equivalent to resisting a plate of Belgian truffles.
The second half of the show invites you to don your musical white flares and dance to the canon of hits from Swedish super-group ABBA. If you have teenagers with you, explain that the Singstar Karaoke version is not the equivalent of hearing ABBA songs sung live. You may even be responsible for teaching today’s youth the meaning of 70s ‘cool’ if you can drag them along.
ABBA the Eurovision Contest legends
When the national Eurovision Song Contest was broadcast from Brighton in 1974, Britons and the rest of Europe voted Abba the winners for their song “Waterloo”. This was the group’s third attempt at the contest, with Benny Andersson, the keyboardist, finally receiving reward for this determination to bring this European group to the international stage.
He did not rest for long. With the follow up release of “Honey, Honey”, the song charted in the US at number 27. This was not convincing enough for most music pundits who viewed the group as Eurovision one-hit-wonders. Determined to keep going, ABBA re released their Swedish hit “Ring, Ring”, to modest success and in 1975 “I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do” reached number 38. All that seemed to be evident about ABBA to music critics was their ability to repeat words in their song titles.
A steady following was emerging however, and in 1976 the single “SOS” charted at number 6 in the UK and the third album, the self titled “ABBA”, charted at number 13. The performance of the band was still considered sluggish; everywhere apart from Australia; where both the single “Mamma Mia” and the “ABBA” album hit number one and stormed the charts for several months.
This broke ABBA to the world, and the subsequent Australian Tour and production of ABBA: The Movie, told the story of the couples, their marriages, and their fabulous costumes and choreography. The group stormed the world with the chart success that broke, ironically, on the other side of the world, down under.