"Thank You for the Music" is a song by the Swedish pop group ABBA. It was originally featured on the group's fifth studio album ABBA: The Album (1977), and was released as a single on 6 November 1983, to promote the Epic Records compilation album of the same name (similar compilations were released in other countries). The song "Our Last Summer", which was originally featured on the group's seventh studio album Super Trouper (1980), was the B-side. The song was simultaneously released in Ireland (as Epic were the licensees for both UK and Ireland), and later released in France (by Disques Vogue), with the same B-side but different artwork, and the Netherlands (by Polydor Records), with "Medley" as the B-side (and again, different artwork).
"Thank You for the Music" was also the B-side to the single "Eagle" in 1978, which itself was only released in limited territories, namely Belgium, The Netherlands, West Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland and Australia (though in some territories, such as the Netherlands, it was released as a double A-side). "Thank You for the Music" also formed part of ABBA: The Movie. It was released as an A-side single in South Africa where it peaked at number 2 in August 1978 and became the eighteenth best-selling single of that year.
Agnetha Fältskog performed the lead vocals, with Anni-Frid Lyngstad joining in on the chorus. "Thank You for the Music" was intended to form part of a "mini-musical" called "The Girl with the Golden Hair" (a phrase which is featured in the song) that songwriters Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson included in ABBA's 1977 tour. It was the opening track in the four-song musical, which also included "I Wonder (Departure)", "I'm a Marionette" and "Get on the Carousel". The first three songs from the musical were featured on ABBA: The Album; the latter remains unreleased. "Thank You for the Music" is more well known in its own right today as it features in the musical Mamma Mia!.
The album version was recorded on 21 July 1977 at Glen Studio after a complete alternate version (known as "Thank You for the Music" (Doris Day version)) was recorded on 2 June 1977 at Marcus Music Studio. The Doris Day version was first released on the box set Thank You for the Music in 1994.
"Gracias por la Música" is the Spanish-language recording of "Thank You for the Music", with lyrics by Buddy and Mary McCluskey. The B-side was the Spanish-language version of "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)" entitled "¡Dame! ¡Dame! ¡Dame!". The song was released in 1980 to promote the band's Spanish-language album/compilation Gracias Por La Música. It was the group's seventh best-selling Spanish single, and also peaked at number 4 in Argentina.
"Thank You for the Music" was released in the United Kingdom and Ireland at the time, peaking at number 33 and number 17 respectively, despite being released in both a poster sleeve and a picture disc in addition to the regular version. The low chart placings could be attributed to ABBA's declining popularity since their last Top 10 hit in 1981. Because of the song's inclusion on ABBA: The Album and Greatest Hits Vol.2 (both of which topped the UK charts), as well as being performed by the band during their world tours, it can be said that "Thank You for the Music" had been heard by fans and the like many times up to this point. The title itself is often also taken to signal the end of ABBA, leading it to be considered a farewell song. In the Netherlands, the song peaked at number 38, but in France it could only manage number 58.
- Irish siblings The Nolans, who were often seen on various British variety TV programmes in the 1970s and early 1980s, recorded their own cover of this song. It is included on their album Nolan Sisters.
- German eurodance group E-Rotic recorded a cover of the song for their 1997 ABBA tribute album Thank You for the Music.
- The 2001 compilation ABBAMetal (also released as A Tribute to ABBA) features a cover by German power metal band Metalium.
- British vocalist Dame Vera Lynn recorded a version of this song for her self-titled album.
- The song's chorus was included as part of a medley entitled "Thank ABBA for the Music" on the 1999 compilation ABBAmania, which coincided with a British TV special. It was performed by Tina Cousins, Billie Piper, Steps, Cleopatra and B*Witched, and peaked on the UK Singles Chart at number 4 in April 1999.
- The subsequent ABBAMania 2 album from 2004 contains a cover of the song performed with British TV actors Charlotte Bellamy, Jane Danson, Wendi Peters, Bernie Nolan (of the Nolans), Tricia Penrose, Will Mellor, and Lee Otway on lead vocals.
- A cover of the song is included on the 2004 tribute album Funky ABBA by Swedish jazz musician Nils Landgren. However, this version omits everything except for the first verse and chorus.
- The German 2004 ABBA Mania compilation features a cover version performed by all the music artists who appeared in the TV special, with Barbara Schöneberger on lead vocals.
- American actress/singer Jan Gelberman recorded a cover of the song for her album With Love To Share.
- Swedish opera singer Anne Sofie von Otter's cover of the song was included as a bonus track on her 2006 ABBA tribute album I Let The Music Speak.
- Filipino actress/singer Lea Salonga recorded a cover of the song when she was a child.
- A cover of the song was recorded by the finalists in the Dutch version of the music reality series Idols in 2006. This version includes vocals by the eventual winner of that season, Raffaëla Paton.
- A cover of the song by Finnish a cappella choral ensemble Rajaton can be found on their 2006 ABBA tribute album Rajaton Sings ABBA With Lahti Symphony Orchestra.
- In the soundtrack for the 2008 movie adaptation of the stage musical Mamma Mia!, the song is included as a hidden track sung by actress Amanda Seyfried. In the movie itself, it is heard in the end credits.
- In August 2008, Gunilla Backman performed Björn Ulvaeus' Swedish version of the song from Mamma Mia! ("Tack för alla sånger") on TV show Allsång på Skansen (Sing-along at Skansen). It may be notable for the lyric which in the English version is "Thanks for all the joy they're bringing / Who can live without it" but in Swedish is "Vem behöver religioner? / Dom kan vi va utan" which (limited to words ending in -inging to keep the rhyme) roughly translates as "Who to faith still is clinging? / We can live without it".
- The original ABBA recording features in the film ABBA: The Movie (1977).
- A live version was performed on TV by The Carpenters on The Tonight Show hosted by John Davidson, on 27 June 1978 . They first heard the song when ABBA performed it on Starparade, as the Carpenters were sharing the bill with them for that particular episode. They laid down a track for it but Richard said:
Nobody does ABBA like ABBA. I realized that, as usual, Benny and Bjorn had done the definitive arrangement and all I'd be doing was copying it; something I just don't do, of course. It's an outtake, never completed and in storage with the rest of the stuff in Pennsylvania.
Fans have been requesting for years that Richard Carpenter release the Carpenters' version.
- The song is performed in the Mamma Mia! musical by the characters of Sophie and Harry. However, it omits the first verse of the original song. In the context of the musical, Harry is reminiscing about his younger, carefree days. At the same time, Sophie is letting the potential fathers get to know her better. She expresses how much she loves to sing and dance. In order to coincide with the lyric, "I'm the girl with golden hair," Sophie's hair colour is usually blonde. "The Girl with Golden Hair" was a mini-musical that Benny and Bjorn wrote which ABBA performed during their 1977 tour of Europe and Australia.
- American singer Deborah Boily recorded a live performance of the song for her album Thank You for the Music.
- Portuguese singer Nucha performed the song on the show Chuva de Estrelas for the channel SIC during the early 1990s.
- A live version was performed by Norwegian art band, Hurra Torpedo.
- The song is briefly included in the ABBA medley performed by Alan Partridge on his mock chat show Knowing Me Knowing You, which is itself titled after the ABBA single of the same name. One of the show's running gags is based around the character's fondness of the band.
- 16-year-old Zoe Birkett performed a rendition of the song on the final 6 round of hit series Pop Idol, in 2002.
- In the 2003 comedy film Johnny English starring Rowan Atkinson, it is briefly sung in the dark as an echo chant.
- The song was sung on Australian Idol season 6 by Teale Jakubenko during ABBA week.
- In the "French and Saunders: Still Alive" farewell tour in 2008, both Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders perform the song to close the show with Dawn choosing to send herself up by making noises instead of actually singing in some parts.
- Several ABBA cover bands end their concerts with "Thank You for the Music", as a tribute to the original group.
- The horror novel Little Star by John Ajvide Lindqvist opens with a quote from "Thank You For The Music". The song is also featured heavily throughout the novel and guides the climax of the story.
- This song was the last song played on music channel The Hits before it became 4Music.