Midnight Special

Filmed: Monday 11 October 1976

Location: Los Angeles, (not New York), USA

Broadcast: See below for detailed info

Release status: This performance has not been included on any officially released video or DVD

Shown in: USA

Additional information

ABBA recorded Midnight Special before their visit to Canada and was probably the first thing they did in Los Angeles ie. before Dinah! and Don Kirshner's New Rock Concert.

It would appear that ABBA performed four songs during their October 1976 visit to the Midnight Special studios. Their performances would then be shown in various episodes as follows:

  1. Friday 29 October 1976 at 1am (EST) on Channel 4 (NBC), USA
    Episode 7, Season 5
    According to the VH1 book, The Midnight Special 1972-1981 this show was hosted by KC and the Sunshine Band and it was episode 193 of Season 4 in 1976. (Another source claims this was Episode 181 in Season 5). Performances:
    1. KC & the Sunshine Band - (Shake Shake Shake) Shake Your Booty; That's the Way (I Like It), Get Down Tonight & Baby I Love You (Yes I Do)
    2. ABBA - Fernando (LIVE)
    3. ABBA - Mamma Mia (LIVE)
    4. ABBA - SOS (LIVE)
    5. The Bay City Rollers - I Only Want to Be with You; Saturday Night & Rock 'n' Roller
    6. Billy Braver (comedian)
    7. Rick Dees & His Cast of Idiots - Disco Duck
    8. Midnight Special salute to Gladys Knight & the Pips

  2. Friday 4 February 1977 (Another source claims 5 February)
    Episode 18, Season 5
    (episode 205, hosted by Glen Campbell). (Another source claims this was Episode 192 of Season 5). Performances:
    1. Wolfman Jack (Announcer & frequent host). 
    2. Glen Campbell (host) - Southern Nights
    3. On film: A clip from the Barbra Streisand movie A Star Is Born
    4. Queen - Somebody to Love (probably a music video)
    5. Seals & Crofts with Glen Campbell - Dust on My Saddle
    6. ABBA - Fernando (LIVE)
    7. David Dundas -Jeans On
    8. Glen Campbell - Sunflower (or For Crying' Out Loud)
    9. Midnight Special salute to the Spinners with clips from past performances, medley of hits: Mighty Love, It's A Shame, One of a Kind Love Affair & Rubberband Man.
    10. ABBA - Dancing Queen
    11. Sly and the Family Stone - Heard Ya Missed Me Well I'm Back
    12. Seals & Crofts - Goodbye Old Buddies
    13. Glen Campbell - This Is (Sarah's Song)
    14. Glen Campbell - God Only Know (or Without You) & Early Morning Song
    15. Sly and the Family Stone - What Was I Thinkin' in My Head
    16. Seals & Crofts - Cause You Love
    17. Glen Campbell thanks his guests and reprises Southern Nights (with closing credits)

  3. 4 March 1977
    Episode 21, Season 5
    (episode 209) (Another source claims it was Episode 195 of Season 5)
    1. Wolfman Jack (Announcer & frequent host). Performances:
    2. KC & the Sunshine Band  once again hosted. 
    3. KC & the Sunshine Band - (Shake Shake Shake) Shake Your Booty
    4. Heart - Magic Man
    5. Gordon Lightfoot (performance taped in Canada) - The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
    6. On film: clips from Rocky starring Sylvester Stallone
    7. ABBA - Dancing Queen
    8. Jose Feliciano - Every Woman
    9. KC & the Sunshine Band - Get Down Tonight
    10. Gordon Lightfoot (on tape) - Race Among the Ruins
    11. Andy Kaufman - sings I Trusted You in a comedy song routine
    12. Jose Feliciano - The Hungry Years
    13. Wolfman Jack presents Jose Feliciano with a "Best Guitar Player of the Year" award from "Guitar Magazine"
    14. Heart - Dreamboat Annie (Fantasy Child)
    15. KC & the Sunshine Band - That's the Way (I Like It)
    16. Heart - Crazy on You
    17. Heart - White Lightning and Wine
    18. KC & the Sunshine Band - Baby I Love You (with closing credits)

  4. 8 April 1977???

  5. 13 May 1977
    Episode 29, Season 5
    Wolfman Jack hosted a COMPILATION episode (Million sellers of 1977) on 13 May 1977 (this is the version most people seem to have on video, not the original broadcast episodes) with the same two performances from 4 February (ie. Fernando and Dancing Queen). This was Episode 203 from Season 5. Performances:
    1. Glen Campbell - Southern Nights
    2. Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. - Your Love
    3. Natalie Cole - I've Got Love on My Mind
    4. Manfred Mann's Earth Band - Blinded By the Light
    5. ABBA - Dancing Queen
    6. Heart - Magic Man
    7. Mary MacGregor - Town Between Two Lovers
    8. Stephen Bishop - Save It for a Rainy Day
    9. Brick - Dazz
    10. Manfred Mann's Earth Band - Spirit in the Night
    11. ABBA - Fernando (LIVE)
    12. Stephen Bishop - On and On
    13. Wolfman Jack closing comments
    14. Manfred Mann's Earth Band - Blinded By the Light (reprise, with closing credits)
    15. Also: Heart - Crazy on You


  1. Fernando - it has an extra two bars of instrumental break just before the second verse on some versions
  2. SOS - rather than sing in unison with Agnetha for the chorus, (as on all the other live TV performances of this song), Frida sings a variation on the lower vocal line she sings on the original track.

Lyrics available on the Official ABBA site: Fernando, Dancing Queen, Mamma Mia and SOS

Thanks to Philip Muytjens, Jozsef, Yuri, Steve Layton, Dean Morrison, Matti Crocker, Carl Magnus Palm, Slavek Kwaniewski, Lendy, Sam Shervz and David Schrubba
YouTube links c/o mozpiano2 and balverid

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Contact me at abbaontv@yahoo.co.uk