So when it came to putting together ‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’, the film’s producers had to dig a little deeper into the Swedish supergroup’s back catalogue - but even ABBA weren’t convinced a second movie would work.
Björn of the band states: “After the first movie, I never thought there would be another one because it would be so difficult to find the right songs to weave into the story, and I wasn’t sure there would be the right material.”
But for the film’s producer, Gary Goetzman, it was a no-brainer, because he believed there were still so many great songs to choose from.
“ABBA’s music is so full and rich that even their songs that you don’t know well are incredible,” he says. “So many of their songs that were huge hits internationally, and there are many songs we didn’t use in the first picture.
“It’s a really good combination of songs you know, songs you kind of know, and some you don’t. You’re going to enjoy all of them. It’s a beautiful musical landscape that Benny and Björn have laid out for us, and we take full advantage of it.”
That means we’re treated to some of ABBA’s lesser-known - but still 10/10 - pop bangers in the follow up.
So we have album cuts like ‘When I Kissed The Teacher’ (from 1976′s ‘Arrival’) and ‘Andante, Andante’ (from 1980′s ‘Super Trouper’), singles that didn’t make the first movie like ‘One Of Us’ and ‘Fernando’ and a few repeats (we’ll allow ’Mamma Mia!’ and ‘Super Trouper’).
However, after seeing the film (read the HuffPost Verdict here), we couldn’t help but think that there were a few missed opportunities to include some of ABBA’s finest should-have-been-a-single album cuts and most underrated hits.
OK, so we had to invent a few extra scenes to accommodate, but despite loving the sequel, we reckon it could have been improved ever so slightly with these inclusions.
‘As Good As New’
When Sky (Dominic Cooper) tells Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) that he plans to to stay in New York as he’s been offered a job, it doesn’t exactly go down too well with his wife, who is busy preparing the launch of her hotel in Greece.
It does mean, however, that the pair not only get to sing the ABBA classic ‘One Of Us’, but also pay homage to the original video. But we can’t help but think that there was a missed opportunity for the pair to duet again on the rather more upbeat ‘Voulez Vous’ album opener ‘As Good As New’ when they eventually reunite in Greece. How this was never an ABBA single is one of life’s great unsolved mysteries.
Sample lyric: “How could I make such a dumb mistake? Now I know I’m not entitled to another break. But please, baby, I beg you to forgive ’cause I found out that my life is here. Gotta get you near. I thought that our love was at an end but here I am again.”
‘Like An Angel Passing Through My Room’
There simply isn’t enough Meryl Streep in the sequel, so if you’ll grant us a little creative licence, we’d like to invent a brand new scene in order to include one of ABBA’s finest (stay with us).
Picture the scene: Meryl’s daughter, Sophie, is still mourning the death of her mother Donna (Meryl). It really is terribly sad. She’s lying alone on her bed feeling pretty bloody miserable. But as she starts to reminisce about her mum, she finds comfort in her spirit, willing her to be strong. This stunning, atmospheric ‘Visitors’ album track (which has been covered by Madonna, and if it’s good enough for Madge...) is the perfect soundtrack for that (completely invented) scene. We demand a reshoot.
Sample lyric: “In this peaceful solitude. All the outside world subdued. Everything comes back to me again. In the gloom. Like an angel passing through my room.”
‘Summer Night City’
This often overlooked ABBA dance track was actually a single (and a No.5 UK chart hit at that) but didn’t make the cut of either of the ‘Mamma Mia!’ movies, which is criminal, quite frankly.
Especially when it could have been put to good use in the sequel’s night time party scene instead of the not-exactly-dancetastic album track ‘Hole In Your Soul’. Let’s face it, it wouldn’t be too hard to edit this in instead, would it?
Sample lyric: “Waiting for the sunrise, soul dancing in the dark. Summer night city.”
‘Lovers (Live A Little Longer)’
Yet another album cut from ABBA’s ‘disco’ album ‘Voulez Vous’, we’d pay good money to see Julie Walters’ character Rosie singing ‘Lovers (Live A Little Longer)’ to Stella Skarsgård’s Bill - who she’s had a crush on since they first met - but kept her distance because he’s her mate Donna’s ex. Thankfully in the sequel, the pair finally get it on. Cue the music!
Sample lyric: “So lovers live a little longer, baby. You and me, we got a chance to live twice.
‘Lay All Your Love On Me’
Yeah, yeah, we know this was already featured in the first film, but we think it deserves a second outing because (a) ‘Mamma Mia!’ is featured in both movies, (b) it’s ABBA’s greatest tune (this is not up for debate) and (c) it is the perfect song for Tanya (Christine Baranski) to sing when she finally spots a man she wants to, well…
Sample lyric: “I still don’t know what you’ve done with me. A grown-up woman should never fall so easily.”
‘Kisses Of Fire’
OK, we know the ‘Voulez Vous’ album closer gets a (very brief) outing in the ‘Mamma Mia!’ sequel, courtesy of hilarious bar singer Lazaros and his band. But we think it would have slotted in rather well as a duet between Cher’s character Ruby Sheridan and her lost love Fernando (Andy Garcia) straight after singing ‘Fernando’ (obvs).
Not only does it start off slow before exploding into a boneshaking chorus, but the lyrics are a perfect fit for the reunited love birds.
Sample lyric: “Kisses of fire, sweet devotions. Caught in a landslide of emotions. I’ve had my share of love affairs but they were nothing compared to this.
‘The Way Old Friends Do’
Considering how much of a theme friendship is in the ‘Mamma Mia!’ movies, we can’t believe this album cut from ‘Super Trouper’ hasn’t featured in either film.
Following the death of their dear friend Donna, it would have made a beautifully poignant duet between Tanya (Christine Baranski) and Rosie (Julie Walters) in the second outing. Just check out those lyrics.
Sample lyric: “Times of joy and times of sorrow, we will always see it through. Oh I don’t care what comes tomorrow, we can face it together. The way old friends do”.