My First Hit

It was the first song I heard that hit me. It connected at a level – gave me a buzz, if you like – as no music had ever done before.

It was 1974.

It was Waterloo by Abba.

I remember watching their performance on the Eurovision Song Contest. I liked what I saw. I liked what I heard.

I remember the slightly strange lyrics:

“My my
At Waterloo Napoleon did surrender
Oh yeah
And I have met my destiny in quite a similar way”

Let’s put in a little context.

At the time, I liked music. I was an avid listener of Radio One, the BBC’s pop music station. During the holidays, I listened all day long. I followed the charts and knew all the hit songs well enough to recognize them after a few bars. (I would have been a star at any Radio One Summer Roadshow Bits and Pieces competition.) But the music didn’t connect with me in any meaningful way. It was there, it was good, and it was to be enjoyed.

But Waterloo was different. It was a special feeling. Yes, perhaps the good looking girls in the band helped. However, even when I just heard the song on the radio, it still stood out. I could not resist.

“I tried to hold you back, but you were stronger.”

Waterloo opened some kind of gate, and my relationship with music would never be the same. That song gave me a different perspective, inquisitiveness, and wonder. Little did I know, there was another band waiting in the wings, that very soon afterwards was going to make an even bigger impact by sparking a lifelong change.