Meaning of “Eagle” by ABBA
The inspiration for this track was derived from two different sources. The most-recognized one is the book “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” (1970), which had a profound impact on ABBA’s Björn Ulvaeus, one of the writers of the song. The other is the strong admiration he and fellow co-writer Benny Andersson had of the popular 1970’s musical group the Eagles. In one way or another, this track is meant to serve as a de facto tribute to that band.
These two factors have combined to help bring about one of ABBA’s most celebrated track in terms of lyrical content. The song finds the band recognizing the eagle for certain attributes it possesses. For instance, it has come from afar with “stories to tell”. Moreover the animal is presented as a good friend and for being very-knowledgeable. As such, the singers liken themselves to an eagle and by doing so are able to ascend to great heights and “go anywhere” they desire. This is of course symbolic of the artists attaining a new sense of freedom through interactions with this bird.
Facts about “Eagle”
- ABBA’s male members Benny and Björn teamed up in the penning and production of “Eagle”. Björn garnered inspiration from Richard Bach’s storybook titled Jonathan Livingston Seagull while composing this song.
- The track was recorded in 1977 and it came out on May 18th, 1978.
- Swedish video and film director Lasse Hallström directed the music video for “Eagle”. Hallström first gained international recognition through his collaborations with ABBA. He directed the majority of ABBA’s music videos.
- Even though “Eagle” was not as successful as other songs by the band, this track still managed to peak at number 1 in Belgium. It reached number 2 in South Africa, number 4 in the Netherlands and number 6 in Germany.
- Many ABBA fans consider “Eagle” one of ABBA’s most underrated songs.
Who has/have covered this song?
Lots of musicians have recorded cover versions of “Eagle” over the years. Some of these artists include:
- Papa Dee (in 1992)
- Leatherface (in 1992)
- Rob Rock (in 2000)
- YUP (in 2001)
- Danielson (in 2009)