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Steve Peake

This Week's Forgotten Gem of the '80s - ABBA's "When All Is Said and Done"

By December 16, 2009

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abba.jpg If you haven't yet heard, '70s Swedish pop group ABBA has indeed been approved for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I must admit that at first I scoffed at the news, as many out there may also have done, but then I just took some time to think about it. I don't know if any music observer or even the band's most hardcore detractors can deny the pop culture significance of ABBA, nor the group's sparkling songcraft. What has surely infuriated more than a few rock music fans, however, is the fact that there exists very few if any elements of the band's sound that fit the description "rock and roll."

Nonetheless, I justify ABBA's inclusion in the Hall's select if swiftly broadening membership roll for two primary reasons: the group's general worthiness when it comes to pop music songwriting and performance as well as the fact that currently no distinction exists better capable of recognizing the best music of the second half of the 20th century than membership in the Rock Hall. So until there's a revered Pop Music Hall of Fame with something resembling equal footing, I'm afraid rock music fans will have to learn with the inductions of the likes of Madonna, Run-DMC and ABBA in place of far more rock-oriented but still potentially worthy bands like Rush, Deep Purple or KISS (which failed to receive enough votes after finally getting a nomination this year).

In celebration of ABBA's overall musical merit, I submit 1982's "When All Is Said and Done," an emotionally wrenching ballad detailing the break-up of one of the band's pair of married couples, in this case Anni-Frid Lyngstad (Frida) and Benny Andersson. This is a powerful track from ABBA's final studio release, 1981's The Visitors, that showcases yet again the sterling songwriting partnership between Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus. Despite reaching only No. 27 on Billboard's Hot 100 and barely cracking the adult contemporary Top 10, this tune stands firmly as music deserving of the label "classic" whether or not it's technically "rock and roll" in any way, shape or form.

Album Cover Image Courtesy of Hip-O

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