"Thank You for the Music" was the twenty-sixth and final UK single for Swedish pop group ABBA, released in November 1983 to promote the Epic Records compilation Thank You for the Music - A Collection of Love Songs. The Super Trouper album track "Our Last Summer" was the B-side.
"Thank You for the Music" had actually been recorded six years earlier, in 1977, and was featured on the group's LP The Album. It was also the B-side of the 1978 single "Eagle", which itself was only released in limited territories, namely Belgium, West Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland and Australia. "Thank You for the Music" also formed part of ABBA: The Movie.
Agnetha Fältskog performed the lead vocal, with Anni-Frid Lyngstad joining in on the chorus. "Thank You for the Music" was intended to form part of a "mini-musical" called "The Girl With The Golden Hair" (a phrase which is featured in the song) that songwriters Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson included in ABBA's 1977 tour. It was the opening track in the four-song musical, along with "I Wonder (Departure)", "I'm A Marionette" and "Get On The Carousel." These tracks appear on The Album, with the exception of "Get On The Carousel", which remains unreleased to this day. "Thank You For The Music" is more well known in its own right these days: it did make its way into the Broadway musical Mamma Mia!.
"Gracias Por La Música" is the Spanish language recording of "Thank You for the Music", with lyrics by Buddy and Mary McCluskey. The B-side was the Spanish language version of "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)" titled "¡Dame! ¡Dame! ¡Dame!". The song was released in 1980 to promote the band's Spanish language album/compilation Gracias Por La Música. This was their seventh highest-selling Spanish single, and also reached No.4 in Argentina.
"Thank You for the Music" was released only in the UK
at the time, peaking at a lowly No.33, despite being released in both a poster sleeve and a picture disc in addition to the regular version. The low chart placing could be attributed to ABBA's declining popularity since their last Top 10 hit in 1981. But also, because of the song's inclusion on The Album
and Greatest Hits Vol.2
(both of which topped the UK charts), as well as being performed by the band during their world tours, it can be said that "Thank You for the Music" had been heard by fans and the like many times up to this point. The title itself is often also taken to signal the end of ABBA, leading it to be considered (incorrectly) a farewell song.
- Irish siblings The Nolans, who were often seen on various British variety TV programs in the 1970s and early 1980s, recorded their own cover of this song.
- German Eurodance group E-Rotic recorded a cover of the song for their ABBA tribute album Thank You For The Music.
- The compilation ABBAMetal (also released as A Tribute to ABBA) features a cover by German power metal band Metalium.
- British vocalist Dame Vera Lynn recorded a version of this song for her self-titled album.
- The British ABBAMania 2 album from 2004 contains a cover of the song performed with British TV actors Charlotte Bellamy, Jane Danson, Wendi Peters, Bernie Nolan (of the Nolans), Tricia Penrose, Will Mellor, and Lee Otway on lead vocals.
- The German ABBA Mania compilation features a cover version performed by all the music artists who appeared in the TV special, with Barbara Schöneberger on lead vocals.
- American actress/singer Jan Gelberman recorded a cover of the song for her album With Love To Share.
- ABBA tribute act Swede Dreams recorded a cover of the song.
- Swedish opera singer Anne Sofie von Otter's cover of the song was included as a bonus track on her ABBA tribute album I Let The Music Speak.
- Filipino actress/singer Lea Salonga recorded a cover of the song when she was a child.
- A cover of the song was recorded by the finalists in the Dutch version of the music reality series Idols in 2006. This version includes vocals by the eventual winner of that season, Raffaëla Paton.
- A cover was recorded by Swedish celebrities Tina Leijonborg and Sten Nilsson. Like the version performed in the Mamma Mia! musical, this one also omits the first verse.
- A cover of the song is included on the tribute album Funky ABBA by Swedish jazz musician Nils Landgren. However, this version omits everything except for the first verse and chorus.
- A cover of the song by Finnish a cappella choral ensemble Rajaton can be found on their 2006 ABBA tribute album Rajaton Sings ABBA With Lahti Symphony Orchestra.
- A cover was recorded by U.S. indie artist Rinkydink, which was available for download on the Internet.
- In the soundtrack for the 2008 movie adaptation of the stage musical Mamma Mia, the song is included as a hidden track and sung by actress Amanda Seyfried. Unlike the original stage version however (which omits the first verse), Seyfried sings the full song.
- The song was sung on Australian Idol season 6 by Teale Jakubenko during Abba week.
Live covers, appearances in other media, etc.
- A live version was performed on TV by The Carpenters in 1978.
- The song is performed in the Mamma Mia! musical by the characters of Sophie and Harry. However, it omits the first verse of the original song. In the context of the musical, Harry is reminiscing about his younger, carefree days. At the same time, Sophie is letting the potential fathers get to know her better. She expresses on how much she loves to sing and dance. Also, in order to coinscide with the lyric, "I'm the girl with golden hair", Sophie's hair colour is usually blonde. Incidently, "The Girl with Golden Hair" was a mini-musical that Benny and Bjorn wrote which ABBA famously performed at their Melbourne concert
- American singer Deborah Boily recorded a live performance of the song for her album Thank You For The Music.
- A live version was performed by Norwegian art band, Hurra Torpedo.
- 16-year-old Zoe Birkett performed a rendition of this song on the final 6 round of hit series Pop Idol, in 2002.
- In the movie Johnny English, starring Rowan Atkinson it is briefly sung in the dark, as an echo chant.
- Several ABBA cover bands end their concerts with this song, as a tribute to the orignal group.