Written during a time of emotional turmoil, Ulvaeus has admitted that the recent divorce between Benny and Frida was at the back of his mind during the songwriting process for this song. However, there is no doubt that he was influenced by the marital split of his bandmates. Björn sought approval from Benny and Frida before the group began working with the song. When recording began in March 1981, only one month had passed since their separation.
"When All Is Said & Done" saw Frida giving words and emotions detailing all of her sorrow & pain, not only for herself, but for all of those who had been through a separation. The backing track the group had first recorded was completely changed after Frida had laid down her powerful & emotional vocals. As Frida herself later recalled: "All my sadness was captured in that song."
This track is often considered one of ABBA's finest hidden gems. To this day, many believe that had ABBA chosen to release "When All Is Said and Done" in place of "Head Over Heels" as the follow-up single to "One of Us" in Europe and other territories, the quartet would have been rewarded with yet another worldwide hit.
ABBA recorded a Spanish version of "When All Is Said and Done", "No Hay A Quien Culpar", which was released as a single in Mexico and several other South American countries. The Spanish title written by Buddy and Mary McCluskey translates as "No One Is To Blame". The track was also slightly remixed, for example leaving out the double-tracked snare drum of the original English version and adding new synth overdubs, giving the song a warmer feeling than the original version. In Mexico it reached the #29 chart position.
"It's been there in my dreams,
the scene I see unfold
Two at last, flesh and blood, to cherish and to hold
Jealous fools will suffer, yes, I know and I confess:
Once I lost my way when something good had just begun
Lesson learned - it's history - when all is said and done"
In the context of the movie the lyrics also take on an entirely different meaning, as opposed to the original which describes a couple going their separate ways it portrays two lovers finding their way back to each other and rekindling their romance. "When All Is Said And Done" is also the only song present in the film that was not included in the original stage version.