Blondie Member Admits This Hit Was a Rip-Off of ABBA’s ‘Dancing Queen’

Blondie and ABBA were both great bands who were successful around the same time, however, you wouldn’t necessarily associate one with the other. After all, Blondie made more rock music than ABBA ever did. However, a member of Blondie admitted ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” directly inspired one of his band’s most iconic hits. Here’s the story of the song — and how the public reacted to it.

Blondie near an umbrella
Blondie | Suzan Carson/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

How an ABBA song helped Blondie come up with one of their hits

Part of Blondie’s appeal is they were able to come up with simple phrases like stuck in your mind. For example, refrains like “Call me” or “I’m gonna be your No. 1” are effective. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Debbie Harry discussed the origin of one of her band’s great hooks.

“Sometimes [Blondie member Chris Stein] will come up with a track or a feel and pass it on to me, and he’ll say, ‘I was thinking “Dreaming/Dreaming is free,” and then I’ll fill it out with a story line or some more phrases. A lot of times it’s the rhythm track that suggests what the lyric is going to be. I like working like that.” Afterward, Stein admitted where the rhythm of the song — “Dreaming” — came from.

“Dancing Queen”

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“‘Dreaming’ is pretty much a cop of [ABBA’s] ‘Dancing Queen,’” Stein said. “I don’t know if that was where we started, or if it ended up just happening to sound like that.” In some ways, “Dreaming” could simply be seen as a rock version of “Dancing Queen.” “Dreaming” works partially because “Dancing Queen” is such a good song, it works in any genre. Here’s a look at how the public reacted to “Dancing Queen” versus how the public reacted to “Dreaming.”

How the public reacted to ‘Dancing Queen’ vs. ‘Dreaming’

In 1977, “Dancing Queen” became ABBA’s first and only No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. It was their biggest song in the 1970s and it’s arguably their most famous track today. By contrast, “Dreaming” merely reached No. 27 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1979. It’s not anywhere close to being among Blondie’s biggest hits, as they released No. 1s like “The Tide Is High,” “Heart of Glass,” and “Call Me.” Perhaps the public reaction to “Dreaming” was relatively muted because audiences heard a similar song two years earlier. Regardless, “Dreaming” still had an impact on pop culture.

“Dreaming”

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Like Blondie, Paramore is a rock band that’s made quite a bit of pop music. This makes sense, as Paramore’s Hayley Williams told The New York Times Blondie was an early influence on her. One of Paramore’s great album tracks is called “Daydreaming.” Williams admitted “Daydreaming” was a rip-off of “Dreaming.” “Dreaming” had a significant impact if it inspired a different song written decades after its release. In conclusion, “Dreaming” is a reminder Blondie could create great songs — even if they took a little inspiration from a certain Swedish pop group.