Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Haristar, Apr 7, 2018.
The song was originally called 'In the Arms of Rosalita'.
All four of those songs are better than Chiquitita.
The song was featured in the recent hit movie 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri'.
Atlantic Records made a big mistake by not releasing 'Chiquitita' in the US right after the 'Music for UNICEF' concert aired in early 1979, like it was the case in Europe and Australia. The event was the perfect promotion for the song. Instead, it was only released as a single in the US in November (!), 10 months after the concert. Given the late release the #29 peak of the single is actually quite good.
I remember that concert. There was, at least in my perspective a huge anticipation of what they would sing.
I love the moment when they sing 'He Is Your Brother' with all the other stars in the end. Only Rod Stewart doesn't look very enthusiastic.
I love 'Chiquitita', it's gorgeous! The B-side 'Lovelight' is also great. Regarding the latter, I prefer the original version, not the shorter (alternate) mix that was used for the first edition of 'More ABBA Gold' and on the 'Thank You for The Music' box set.
Lovelight is a great track. I like the distorted guitar, and the Frida-centic vocal. When Aggie comes in on the chorus it gets even better. It's a great Abba disco track. 'Tis much better than the A side which I agree is boring, maudlin and dull. You can see why they did it though - they'd been trying to perfect the ballad with Fernando, this and the forthcoming I Have A Dream, to appeal to the old folk. but in the 1970s I didn't want slow weepy songs - I wanted Abba to be pop - which they were very good at.
That's the studio version overdubbed though isn't it?
Stewart is too busy trying to appeal to any female Zebras in the audience to enjoy it. ONJ is there - Bobby will appreciate.
I started this thread about Voulez-Vous a while ago. I’m sure most of you have seen it, but if you haven’t....
Abba - Voulez-Vous. Is it an underrated album?
It was a strange time for ABBA. On one hand VV sold very well and had the most singles pulled from it than any of their other albums. On the other, it seems to be seen as being a bit of a dip in their fortunes. Plus ABBA were suffering a little from the overfamiliarity a world famous group like them would often get. I don’t feel Voulez-Vous was seen as a classic like Arrival and The Album were...Also, the singles from VV were more divisive. You know I don’t like Chiquitita, but very few people I know are keen on I Have A Dream. And that was the biggest hit!
A peculiar time for the group.
Oh Wow, Rod seems barely to be on the same stage, I think he's been doing something naughty in the dressing room.
I guess Voulez-Vous is a transitional album, but I have always thought it pretty consistent even though I only heard it in full in the 90s. The version I had at first had the non-album tracks on it too, which kind of made the album even better. (Same with The Visitors). After this Abba became more serious, which was great, although leaving behind the quirkiness was a little sad.
I never minded Chiquitita but I wasn't buying Abba in 1978, I wasn't buying much to be honest, my interests went into other areas for most of that year, it wasn't until the tail end of 79 that I started getting really interested in music again.
It's hard for me to be dispassionate about this song, because I was travelling in South America at this time, and the Spanish version of Chiquitita was well nigh inescapable. Wasn't it recorded to mark Year of the Child or something like that? The latin Americans love their children - nothing wrong with loving your children, but they love having lots of them! One of the things I noticed, compared to my home country, is the large proportion of the people who happen to be children. Hence I'm not surprised that this song was taken on board by the citizens of those countries, especially as ABBA had made the effort to record it in their own language.
When I got to Brazil I got the chance to hear the English language version. Brazilians tend to be slightly snobbish about the fact that they don't speak Spanish, they speak Portuguese, to the extent that if having to choose they often prefer to hear and communicate in English rather than Spanish. My impression was that the English version was better produced, the instrumentation seemed more clear, but that the song itself was better suited to Spanish lyrics than English ones. (I should add that most of my listening was on a little portable transistor radio that I bought during my travels.)
Really, I think it's a good song to which I have just been over-exposed. I like it better than Fernando, and better than some of the other songs on Voulez-Vous, which I think was the only occasion on which ABBA's quality dipped ever so slightly from one album to the next.
As I mentioned upthread, for me this was the start of Abba phase 2, and as you say they were now kind of overfamiliar.
I did still really like the band, but nothing that was to come would excite me as much as SOS, Knowing Me Knowing You etc.
Also by now the singles charts were fantastic once again, there were some really great artists around who were new and therefore not so familiar.we didn't yet know it but as Pet Shop Boy Neil Tennant rightly observed we had entered another golden age of pop which lasted from New Wave to Live Aid
John Denver was right at the end. Olivia managed to get herself next to Benny.
I remember that UNICEF concert... The acts all donated the profits from a song they’d recorded. Most of them gave dud songs that wouldn’t make any money for anybody, but credit due to ABBA, Rod and the Bee Gees who gave their current (big) hits to the cause.
Different strokes I guess, but I'm a big fan of the Voulez Vous era. Summer Night City, Voulez Vous, Does Your Mother Know?, Gimme, Gimme, Gimme and Chiquitita are all top draw ABBA for me.
In addition to the album length version, the "Chiquitita" promo single from Atlantic had a shortened version, cut down to 4:38, almost a minute less.
"Chiquitita" was a a major hit on top 40 and soft rock stations up here at the end of 1979 going into early 1980. i know that it's not a popular track here but I love the verses. The chord progression and vocal melody have a sombre tone that fits the lyrics perfectly.
Another melancholy ballad but the piano during the chorus and outro definitely help. Its royalties still benefitting UNICEF is a positive.
I know I haven't really talked about the B-sides but "Lovelight" is a solid disco track.
I watched the Music for UNICEF concert when it aired on NBC in January 1979. I also remember buying the resulting LP when it came out. Probably because it took so long to get clearances, the album didn't come out until June 1979, by which time all the momentum was gone. The album didn't enter the Billboard chart until August, and then it peaked at only #171.
Atlantic had the masters of both "Chiquitita" and "Lovelight" at the same time as the rest of the world, but sat on them. They were given matrix numbers of ST-A-36548 and ST-A-36549, respectively -- almost 500 numbers before the Voulez-Vous album cuts. (The single edit of "I Want Your Love" by Chic, which was released in late January 1979, had the matrix number ST-A-36512.) But I can't find any evidence that the label considered releasing a 45 in early 1979. Was the label too enthralled with disco/dance music -- as was most of the rest of the U.S. music industry at the time, to be fair -- to release a ballad in the midst of this?
Eventually, Atlantic would issue "Chiquitita" as the third single from Voulez-Vous, more on which when we get there.
Contrary to popular belief, though Rod Stewart performed "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?" at the concert, he didn't donate that song to the cause. When it came out which song he did give to UNICEF, he was roundly criticized because it was considered to be ancient history. How much could a rarely-covered eight-year-old song contribute in 1979?
No one could have foreseen the explosive growth of oldies radio and classic rock, not to mention the invention of the compact disc, which led lots of people to buy their old record collections a second time.
The song Rod donated to UNICEF was "Maggie May."
I didn’t know that. Well done, Rod.
I quite like Chiquitita.
I actually wish the ending/playout that went uptempo went on for 10-15 seconds longer.
I thinking he was bopping to "Dancing Queen" and they could not afford that, so in post-production so they made it "Chiquitita instead.
Some facts on the 'Music for UNICEF' concert from www.abbaontv.com:
"The founding committee for the concert consisted of Barry, Maurice and Robin Gibb (The Bee Gees), their manager Robert Stigwood and Sir David Frost, the famous English TV presenter. Initially, the committee invited ABBA, Olivia Newton-John, Rod Stewart, Kris Kristofferson and Rita Coolidge (then husband and wife), Barry Manilow, Elton John and Andy Gibb. However, as the date of the concert approached, both Barry Manilow and Elton John found that their other commitments made it impossible for them to be present. (According to ABBA Magazine No.10, Fleetwood Mac were on the original line-up as well). Barry and Elton were replaced by Donna Summer, John Denver and Earth, Wind & Fire.
The idea was that apart from performing at the concert without being paid, each of the artists who took part would donate the royalties from one of their songs to UNICEF. ABBA donated the rights to "Chiquitita" to the UN Children's Fund. The evening's show was presented by Sir David Frost co-hosted by Henry (the Fonz) Winkler, Henry Fonda and Gilda Radner.
Each artist was shown arriving at the United Nations Assembly Hall.
The show started with each artist just singing a little bit each in turn as a way of introduction. ABBA's contribution was a short burst of "He Is Your Brother" (not LIVE however) and were joined by the other artists on stage.
ABBA were introduced ("Benny-Bror-Goran-Andersson-Bjorn Christian Ulvaeus-Agnetha-Ase-Anna-Faltskog-Ulvaeus Anni-Frida-Lyngstad. Or to put it another way - ABBA!") by Gilda Radner (wife of US comic actor Gene Wilder (she died in 1989)) and performed "Chiquitita" (it was NOT a LIVE performance however). Donna Summer presented ABBA with the Parchment so they could sign over the royalties for the song.
After John Denver's performance, ABBA presented him with the Partchment.
At the end of the concert, ABBA joined the all-star line-up, led by John Denver, to song 'Put a Little Love In Your Heart'.
Björn said, "It is very difficult to know which shows to accept. We did the UNICEF show in New York partly because it was for a very good cause but also because it was being broadcast everywhere in the world."
The concert was a huge success and was broadcast in over 70 countries around the world seen by more than 300 million people. It was estimated the Music for UNICEF concert, plus the song royalties donated by the contributing artistes, amounted to more than £50,000,000.
An LP was released which featured 10 of the songs featured at the concert including "Chiquitita" (remember, it was not a live performance, just the normal recorded version)."
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