It is not a surprising fact that Chiquitita has become a huge hit all over the world, however, not too many people know that there was a unique Hungarian single release. While it hit the shops in many countries some months before the excellent Voulez-Vous album, it was released after the release of the long-play.
In September 1978, ABBA’s manager Stig Anderson visited Hungary; the purpose of the business trip was to conclude a contract with the Hungarian Record Company that would allow the Hungarian side to release ABBA records with the approval of the Swedish label. A few weeks later, Summer Night City, the first fruit of this joint collaboration was released by Pepita label.
Following the licensing agreement with Polar Music, MHV released Chiquitita, the next single in July 1979. It was sold for 40 HUF in record shops. The SP was issued as part of the highly promoted Pepita Favorit series. Even though the song had been on the radio months earlier and was also featured on the Voulez-Vous album, the single was very successful.
Interestingly, the cover of the Hungarian edition is orange instead of white, and the band photo is also different. While the original version featured a now-classic photo taken by Torbjörn Calvero from his autumn 1978 series, the Pepita release features a picture from Wolfgang „Bubi” Heilemann’s Bravo session, which took place on 3 April 1978.
What was the cover changed? Before the licensing agreement, MHV distributed ABBA singles with covers to which it had access, but since the autumn of 1978, it followed the rules approved by Polar Music. If we look carefully at the foreign releases, we can see that the covers of the singles had became more or less standardised since Fernando. As for the Hungarian edition of the Chiquitita single, we can notice that the logo, font and typography are exactly the same as those distributed in the rest of the world, only the background and the photo are different, so it can be claimed that the change is due to the Hungarian Record Company.
According to the author of these lines, the cover was changed because, in the original photo, Frida is lying too defiantly, so it might have been changed for the record company. However, the alteration did not prevent the single from being a huge success in Hungary. This is not unique in the history of domestic record publishing nor is it unique for licensed and imported records imported from abroad. Interestingly, since 1979, this ABBA single has become a highly popular collector’s item.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that the Chiquitita single reached number 3 on the licensed record charts published in Pop Magazine in 1980.
“Hazai Tükör.” Új Tükör, XV, no. 39, 24 Sept. 1978, p. 43.
“A Kirakat.” Magyar Ifjúság, 17 Aug. 1979, p. 37.
Tardos, Péter. “A Sikerkovács.” Ifjúsági Magazin, 1 Oct. 1979, p. 27.
“Rafaels and Stefans Pictures.” Rafaels and Stefans Pictures, www.raffem.com/. Accessed 16 Jan. 2024.