Trivia time! What artist comes alphabetically first among the performers to have a Billboard #1 hit? ABBA might be one of the first groups to spring to mind, given their position in the music world and in the alphabet. But look a little closer at ABBA’s history on the US charts and you may be surprised by how little success they actually had on this side of the pond. For the week of April 9, 1977, “Dancing Queen” reached the top of the charts and gave ABBA their first #1 hit. The following week, they were unseated by David Soul’s “Don’t Give Up On Us” and never again would ABBA be #1 in the US. In 1977 alone, the likes of David Soul, Alan O’ Day (who also did the Muppet Babies music) and Mary MacGregor would meet or exceed ABBA’s career US chart-topping success.
Internationally, ABBA had a lot more success, reaching the top of the charts in 12 countries, doing so at least nine times in the UK, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Ireland as well as six times in both Australia and New Zealand. Ironically, one of the countries where their success was somewhat more muted was their native Sweden, where they only reached number one twice. ABBA’s first big single was “Waterloo”, hitting #1 in six countries and reaching the top six in 12 (the US being the only of the 12 where it didn’t reach the top four).
Oh, and one more artist that matched ABBA’s one week at the top of the charts was Aaliyah, whose “Try Again” spent a week at #1 back in 2000, placing her first among #1 artists, alphabetically. Special thanks to Robin for coming up with the correct answer at trivia this past week.