Erasure scored their first number-one on the UK singles chart with the release of the Abba-esque EP in 1992. Always big fans of the Swedish quartet ABBA, performing various songs in concert for years, Erasure (Vince Clarke and Andy Bell) released this four-song covers EP, which was originally intended as a full album.
Many credit this EP release as a major catalyst for a revival of ABBA's music in the 1990s. The greatest hits album ABBA Gold would be released by the end of the summer, and the coming years saw a heavy emphasis on ABBA music in the Australian motion pictures Muriel's Wedding and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. By decade's end, the musical Mamma Mia! had opened in the West End.
EPs are eligible for the singles chart in the UK. After peaking at number two twice (with "Sometimes" and Crackers International), Erasure hit number one with this release and it remained there for five weeks. In Germany the EP climbed to number two. In the U.S., where EPs chart on the Billboard 200, Abba-esque peaked at number eighty-five. Although never officially released as a single, the song "Take a Chance on Me" received significant radio play in the U.S. At the time, Billboard Hot 100 policy prevented songs not released as singles from entering the chart, although the track did hit number fifty-one on the Hot 100 Airplay chart.
A remix EP was also released by Mute in the UK which featured the same four songs.
The release of the Abba-esque EP in due course precipitated the release of a similar EP, Erasure-ish, by ABBA tribute band Björn Again, which featured two Erasure tracks ("A Little Respect" and "Stop!") performed in the style of ABBA.
The first ABBA cover by Erasure was actually Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight) released in 1986 (6 years before the Abba-esque EP) as B-side of their single Oh L'amour, and its live version (that starts with a few lines from Money Money Money as an intro to Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!) appeared on their double album of remixes The Two Ring Circus. So, the 4 ABBA covers from Abba-esque plus the previously released Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight) give a total of their 5 ABBA songs covered so far.