“Summer Night City” by ABBA

Although the name of the titular “city” is never actually mentioned in the track, “Summer Night City” was actually written in honor of Stockholm, Sweden, which is ABBA’s hometown. The lyrics and sound of this song marked a pivotal point in ABBA’s history. Lyrically, the track references intimate encounters, and things had reached a point where some listeners (erroneously) thought that such references were outright lewd. 

There were also challenges in putting the song together studio-wise that partially resulted in it having a sound unlike what their fans were used to. Moreover, the track is very disco-oriented, which initially even Agnetha Fältskog herself felt “wasn’t ABBA”.  As such, it did not chart as high as other singles they released in the mid to late 70’s. However, “Summer Night City” has aged well as a part of their discography.

The track itself expresses an appreciation the band feels for “summer night city” during all times of the day. The morning brings with it a freshness that makes one forget yesterday. The afternoon sun induces sleep. The evening, on the other hand, is full of “action” and “attraction”. 

The band also expresses that while “some folks only see the litter” of the city, it holds a magical place in their hearts.

Summer Night City lyrics

The aforementioned controversy is mostly derived from the song’s hook, where ABBA references “love-making in a park”. These words would be considered family-friendly by today’s standard. But back then they were a noted deviation from ABBA’s traditional fanfare. Nevertheless the track is not about relationships per se. What all of its varying content ultimately lead up to is the band expressing love for their native city (Stockholm).

“Summer Night City”

  • The composers of this song are ABBA’s own Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Anderson. The pair was also responsible for producing it.
  • This song came out as a non-album single in September 1978. However, it was later featured on the group’s 1979 compilation album, entitled Greatest Hits Vol. 2.
  • Just like the song, the music video also pays tribute to the Swedish capital of Stockholm. The video was directed by Lasse Hallström.
  • “Summer Night City” performed well on several charts across the world. In 1978, it reached number one in Finland, Sweden, and Ireland. It also peaked at number 5 in the Netherlands, Switzerland, Norway, and Belgium.

Which artists have covered “Summer Night City”?

Since its release, “Summer Night City” has been covered by various artists. They include the following:

  • Therion (in 2001)
  • Nils Landgren (in 2004)
  • Offer Nissim (in 2005)
  • DJ Ensamble (in 2006)
  • Roma Kenga (in 2009)

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