Songs That Were Banned: ABBA – Waterloo

Sometimes these bans can be head-scratchers, which is true of the 1990s ban on ABBA’s ‘Waterloo’. Due to its connotations with armies and fighting, amidst the ongoing Gulf War, BBC deemed it inappropriate to play, despite few actually connecting this song to literal war.

The song peaked at #6 in 1974 in the Billboard 1oo. All together Abba had 20 top 100 songs, 4 top ten, and one #1 with Dancing Queen. I  thought they had more top 10 hits.

This song also reached #1 in Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Norway, South Africa, Switzerland, and West Germany.

From Songfacts

Waterloo is the place where Napoleon Bonaparte met his defeat at an epic battle in 1815. This song uses the battle as a metaphor for a woman who gives in and falls in love with a man – he’s her “Waterloo.”

Originally recorded in Swedish, it was ABBA’s Swedish version that won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974, giving the band a huge career boost.

This was one of many ABBA hits used in the 1994 movie Muriel’s Wedding.

Even though this song constantly repeats the name of the battle that spelled the end of Napoleon’s empire, the French, like the rest of Europe, was more than happy to buy this song in large quantities. The single spent 12 weeks on the French charts, peaking at #3. In Belgium, where the Battle of Waterloo took place, this song spent five weeks at #1.

ABBA not only recorded this song in their native Swedish and then in English but they also recorded a version in French for the French markets and one in German for the German markets. There is also a version in both French and Swedish that is an overdubbing of both the Swedish and French versions.

Waterloo

My my
At Waterloo Napoleon did surrender
Oh yeah
And I have met my destiny in quite a similar way
The history book on the shelf
Is always repeating itself
Waterloo I was defeated, you won the war
Waterloo promise to love you for ever more
Waterloo couldn’t escape if I wanted to
Waterloo knowing my fate is to be with you
Waterloo finally facing my Waterloo

My my
I tried to hold you back, but you were stronger
Oh yeah
And now it seems my only chance is giving up the fight
And how could I ever refuse
I feel like I win when I lose
Waterloo I was defeated, you won the war
Waterloo promise to love you for ever more
Waterloo couldn’t escape if I wanted to
Waterloo knowing my fate is to be with you
Waterloo finally facing my Waterloo

So how could I ever refuse
I feel like I win when I lose
Waterloo I was defeated, you won the war
Waterloo promise to love you for ever more
Waterloo couldn’t escape if I wanted to
Waterloo knowing my fate is to be with you
Waterloo finally facing my Waterloo

 

Author: badfinger20

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

26 thoughts on “Songs That Were Banned: ABBA – Waterloo”

    1. I know. They did produce some really good pop…I think they were a lot people’s guilty pleasure. I’ve talked to hard rock fans who had to admit they liked them.

      Like

  1. Great tune, as were many of their singles. Would’ve never guessed it could be banned! Besides the rather obvious fact that the song is a love song – she’s surrendering her love to the guy she’s been fighting to stay away from – not a war song, man, it was a stretch anyway… Britain wasn’t being bombed by an enemy at the time. And I guess, there we have the start of today’s “snowflake” generation of teens who are scared of encountering any word or reference in any work that might “trigger” them…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes you are right…it started around that time. Lets find a safe place because the world is too hard.

      I’ve told Bailey… the world is hard and not fair…get use to it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. When you have rule by committee, you have things like ABBA songs being banned. I’m not sure if this is more ludicrous than MTV banning Uncle Neil’s song, then later giving him a music award or not. They are neck and neck I think.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love finding these little facts that are so ridiculous.
      “Listening to Records” commented to me last night that Link Wray’s song Rumble was banned and it was because of the name! It’s an instrumental! You know it well…it was in Pulp Fiction

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Max, I’ve been enjoying your featured banned songs this week. Is Rumble the one where Uma and John go cheek to cheek on the dance floor? You know, actors who can also dance lend a big plus to any movie, and they had Travolta dancing in a lot of them. Another actor-dancer is Christopher Walken. Have you seen the youtube montage of all of the dance scenes in movies with Walken? It’s worth watching if you haven’t.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you Lisa…I’m glad you are…people seem to be responding to these banned songs…next week…”Songs that reference Steve McQueen” I watched Papillon and it led from there.
        Travolta is the king of celebrity dancers. When he is in a movie…it should be in his contract…one dance at least.

        I have to look up Walken dancing. That is something you would think I would remember. I will look it up in a few minutes. I love him in anything.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I didn’t know they remade it. Why tamper with this movie?

        I don’t mind remakes if they pick movies that had a flawed part or ending but you can’t replace McQueen… the cool of cool

        Liked by 1 person

    1. The one that surprised me more than any other was a song that another blogger told me was Link Wray’s Rumble… an instrumental! Because the name of the song might incite the youth!

      Liked by 1 person

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