” SOS ” is by ABBA, the Swedish pop group. Established in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1972, the group consisted of Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. ABBA is one of the best-selling music artists of all time. Estimates of total record sales vary, they range from over 140 to over 500 million. They are the best-selling band of all time from continental Europe and the most successful to have competed in the history of the Eurovision Song Contest.
The song was written by Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus who both co-produced the track, and Stig Anderson ( Stig Erik Leopold “Stikkan” Anderson ).
Benny Andersson had an interest in music from an early age, learning to play the piano when he was ten years old. Along with helping to form, and write for, one of the most successful groups in history, namely ABBA, he also co-wrote successful musicals like Chess, Kristina från Duvemåla and Mamma Mia!
Björn Ulvaeus was born in Gothenburg, Sweden’s second-largest city. He began his music career as a member of the Swedish Schlager music band the Hootenanny Singers in the 60s, who had a massive following in Scandinavia. With the writing partner, Benny, he formed ABBA and co-wrote the successful musicals Chess, Kristina från Duvemåla and Mamma Mia!
In 2008 Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus were awarded by the Swedish Ministry of Industry and Trade the ” The Music Export Prize “. They also received the ” The Special International Ivor Novello Award ” from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors and the ” Lifetime Achievement Award ” from the Swedish Music Publishers Association (SMFF).
Stig was born on the 25th of January 1931 in Hova, Västra Götaland County, Sweden. At the age of sixteen, he wrote his first song and entered the music business as a music producer and manager.
During the 1960s, he published over 3,000 songs, becoming one of Sweden’s most prolific songwriters. In 1963 Stig co-founded Polar Music with Bengt Bernhag. Their first signing was the Hootenanny Singers, which featured Björn Ulvaeus.
Before forming ABBA, Stig also managed Benny Andersson, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Agnetha Fältskog and Björn Ulvaeus. He brought them all together to build what was to become one of the most successful bands in music history. Stig Anderson died of a heart attack on the 12th of September 1997 at the age of 66.
” SOS ” was released in June 1975 in Sweden, 8th of September 1975 in the United States and the 20th of September 1975 in the United Kingdom by record labels Polar ( Universal Music Group ) in Sweden, Epic ( Sony Music Entertainment ) in the United Kingdom, Atlantic ( Warner Music Group ) in the United States and in Australia and New Zealand the song was released on RCA Victor ( Sony Music Entertainment ). The song was released as the third single from ABBA’s self-titled Album.
ABBA, the Album, was released on the 21st of April 1975, was recorded at the Glen, Metronome and Ljudkopia Studios in Stockholm, the capital city of Sweden. The Album features, along with this track, ” I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do ” and ” Mamma Mia “, both of which reached Number One in Australia.
The Album was a commercial success for the group, reaching the top of the Albums chart in Australia, Norway and Sweden. In the United States it peaked at number 174 on the Billboard 200 Chart, and in the United Kingdom, it peaked at number thirteen on the UK Albums Chart.
” SOS ” began life with the working title of ” Turn Me On “, which was coined by Stig. The lyrics were later re-written Björn Ulvaeus into the song that is now very recognisable. The song opens with an unaccompanied classical keyboard and then moves into a solo performance by Agnetha Fältskog.
Although the song had a commercial potential due to its catchiness, the track was passed over as the Album’s lead single. Instead, it was decided to use ” So Long ” as the lead single from the Album, is it had the same uptempo beat as ABBA’s Eurovision Song Contest winning entry, ” Waterloo “.
The accompanying music video was directed by Lasse Hallström, the Swedish film director. Lasse was born on the 2nd of June 1946 in Stockholm, Sweden. He made his name directing videos for many of ABBA’s songs from their first successful release of ” Waterloo in 1974, through to ” Head over Heels ” in 1982. In 1985, Lasse was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director for My Life as a Dog (Mitt liv som hund) and again in 1999 for The Cider House Rules.
” SOS ” was a commercial success for ABBA. In the United States, the song reached a peak of number fifteen on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, spending seventeen weeks on the chart there. It also reached number nineteen on the Adult Contemporary Chart and twelve on the Cashbox Top 100 Chart.
In the United Kingdom, the song entered the UK Singles Chart on the 20th of September 1975 and reached a peak of number six. It spent four weeks in the Top Ten and a total of ten weeks on the UK chart.

BillBoard Hot 100 Highest Chart Position: 15

UK Highest Chart Position: 6

Other Countries Highest Chart Positions: Australia 1, Austria 2, Belgium 1, Canada (RPM) 9, Netherlands 2, France 1, Germany 1, Ireland 4, Italy 2, Mexico 2, New Zealand 1, Norway 2, Rhodesia 2, South Africa 1, Switzerland 3

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