The double A-side single had a nice little streak in the late ’70s; Queen alone had two. But one of my favorites didn’t chart nearly as high, and one of its sides became far more well-known than the other.
ABBA never replicated their Beatlemania-level European pop success in America, but the quartet scored a big hit now and then, and 1979 was no exception, when “Does Your Mother Know,” the lead single from Voulez-Vous, became a Top 40 hit. When it came time for the follow-up, “Angeleyes” (download) was paired with the album’s title track as a double A-side single, with the former being the focus. Funny thing happened, though, as radio programmers and dance clubs focused instead on “Voulez-Vous,” which fit into the disco scene quite nicely. “Voulez-Vous” eventually made the track list for the zillion-selling ABBA Gold, even though it charted at a paltry #80 in America.
Why no respect for “Angeleyes”? While time has been kind to this classic ABBA narration pop song about a cheated lover narcing on her ex to his new squeeze, at the time it sounded a bit dated, more in line with the ABBA of “Waterloo” than the new, disco-fied ABBA. Its relatively stronger showing on the adult contemporary chart reflected the group’s standing in the States at the time, shuffled off to the AC ghetto while the Bee Gees, Donna Summer, and the Knack took over Top 40 radio. If it was any consolation, a Roxy Music song by the same name that same year flopped here as well, even after it was rerecorded as a disco tune. Maybe it was the title …
“Angeleyes” got some vindication 14 years later when it was included on More ABBA Gold, another huge-selling compilation, giving the song its widest exposure ever in America. On this Valentine’s Day take a moment to give ABBA’s classic cautionary tune about lowdown, cheating, lying snakes in the grass a spin. Ah, love.
“Angeleyes” peaked at #64 on the Billboard Pop Singles Chart and at #37 on the Adult Contemporary Chart in 1979.
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