6 april 1974 - 6 april 2022 - 48 years of Waterloo


"Waterloo" was originally written as a song for the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest, after the group finished third with "Ring Ring" the previous year in the Swedish pre-selection contest, Melodifestivalen 1973. Since it focused on lead vocalists Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson chose it in place of another of their songs, "Hasta Mañana". "Waterloo" is about a girl who is about to surrender to romance, as Napoleon had to surrender at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. (Actually, Napoleon did not surrender at Waterloo; he surrendered at Rochefort on the French Atlantic coast four weeks later.)

The song proved to be a good choice. It won Melodifestivalen 1974 (in Swedish) in February and won the Eurovision Song Contest 1974 (ESC) final on 6 April by six points.

"Waterloo" was originally written with simultaneous rock music and jazz beats (unusual for an ABBA song); this was later discarded in favour of more disco-esque rhythms. The song broke the "dramatic ballad" tradition of the Eurovision Song Contest by its flavour and rhythm, as well as by its performance: ABBA gave the audience something that had never been seen before in ESC: flashy costumes (including silver platform boots), a group not singing in their native language, plus a catchy uptempo song and even simple choreography.


Eurovision After Winning

The "Waterloo" single introduced the world to the phenomenon that was to become ABBA. The song shot to #1 in the UK and stayed there for two weeks, becoming the first of the band's nine British #1's, and the 16th biggest selling single of the year in the UK[2] It also hit the top of the charts in Belgium, Finland, West Germany, Ireland, Norway, South Africa and Switzerland, while reaching the Top 3 in Austria, France, the Netherlands, Spain, and ABBA's native Sweden. (The tune didn't reach #1 in their home country, its Swedish (#2) & English (#3) versions were beat out for the top spot by the Waterloo album [At the time Sweden had a combined Album and Singles Chart].) The song also spent 11 weeks on Svensktoppen (24 March - 2 June 1974), including 7 weeks at #1.[3] Surprisingly, the song never made a huge impact in Italy, only reaching #14. In fact, ABBA would only achieve Top 10 success in Italy 3 times.

But the song's appeal transcended Europe; unlike other Eurovision-winning tunes, which are usually ignored outside the continent, "Waterloo" also reached the Top 10 in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Zimbabwe and even the United States (it remains the only Eurovision winner to be an American Top 40 hit, peaking at #6). "Waterloo" is the only Eurovision song to reach the Top 10 in 15 countries

 (EP) - Australia


(Red) Denmark

(Green) Denmark


France in French


(Sung in German) Germany


The Netherlands

(1st Pressing) Italy

(2nd Pressing) Italy



South Africa

(1nd Pressing) Spain

(2nd Pressing) Spain


(Sung in Swedish) Sweden


United Kingdom

(30th Anniversary) United Kingdom

(30th Anniversary Picture Disc)
United Kingdom


(Oldies Series) USA

(Oldies Series 1987 Re-issue) U.S.A.




Officials Versions




Melodifestivalen (After Wining)

Auftakt für Brighton

Top Of The Pops (10 April 1974)

Die Aktuelle Schaubude

Studio B



Top Of The Pops (May 1974)


Star Parade

Señoras Y Señores


Ein Kessel Buntes

Ein Kessel Buntes (In German)

Top of the Pops {December 1974}

Eddy-Go-Round Show (June 1975)


Seaside Show

Don Kirschner Rock Concert

Saturday Night Live

Musikladen 1976

ABBA in Australia

ABBA in Studio 2

Don Kirshner'S New Rock Concert

La Noche de Lina Morgan

The Movie 1977

Top Club 1978

Japanese TV Special

Live in Concert London 1979



Tributes to Waterloo

All Versions

BAO at Rival

Benny at Ludvig Wedding

Benny at Allsang Pa Skansen 2015

Versions on YouTube

Marga Luz (1974)
ABBAcadabra (1984)
Dr. & The Medics Featurimg Roy Wood (1986)
Muriel's Wedding (1994)

Bjorn Again (1998)
Banarama (1999)
Anna Eriksson (2002)
Michelle HARDWICK & Will MELLOR & Vicky GATES & Lee OTWAY (2004)
Helena Paparizou & Carola Live at Skansen (2005)
Carola & Marie Bergman (2005)
Meryl Streep and the Cast of Mamma Mia The Movie (2007)
Cris Juanico (2007)
Raffael Carrá (2008)
Sofia Jannok (2009)
Monika Hoffman (2009)

Basilic (2009)
Olson Brothers (2010)
Johmmy Logan (2013)

Olivia Newton-John (2013)
Sound Of Strings (2013)
André Rieu (2013)
Symphonic ABBA (2014)
ABBA The Show (2014)
Conchita Wurst & Dana International (2015)
K3TYVANA (2015)
Dami Im (2016)
Alizée (2017)

Garou, Amir, Isabelle Boulay & Christophe Willem (2018)

Versions in the World

Nilgün ATÝLGAN - Oldu Mu (Turkey, 1974)
Ami Aspelund (Finland, 1974)
Lecia & Lucienne (Denmark, 1974)
Eva Neoton (Hungary, 1992)
K & K Singers (Poland, 1993)
Richard Clayderman (France, 1993)
Black Ingvars (Sweden, 1998)
Tanel PADAR & Lenna KUURMAA (Estonia, 2007)


An Excellent Page for all Tributes to Waterloo EuroCovers

An document with 365 Covers (From EuroCovers)

Article in Spanish Press