The Winner Takes It All
by ABBA

Album: Super Trouper (1980)
Charted: 1 8
Play Video
  • I don't want to talk
    About the things we've gone through
    Though it's hurting me
    Now it's history
    I've played all my cards
    And that's what you've done too
    Nothing more to say
    No more ace to play

    The winner takes it all
    The loser standing small
    Beside the victory
    That's her destiny

    I was in your arms
    Thinking I belonged there
    I figured it made sense
    Building me a fence
    Building me a home
    Thinking I'd be strong there
    But I was a fool
    Playing by the rules

    The gods may throw a dice
    Their minds as cold as ice
    And someone way down here
    Loses someone dear
    The winner takes it all
    The loser has to fall
    It's simple and it's plain
    Why should I complain

    But tell me does she kiss
    Like I used to kiss you?
    Does it feel the same
    When she calls your name?
    Somewhere deep inside
    You must know I miss you
    But what can I say
    Rules must be obeyed

    The judges will decide
    The likes of me abide
    Spectators of the show
    Always staying low
    The game is on again
    A lover or a friend
    A big thing or a small
    The winner takes it all

    I don't want to talk
    If it makes you feel sad
    And I understand
    You've come to shake my hand
    I apologize
    If it makes you feel bad
    Seeing me so tense
    No self-confidence
    But you see
    The winner takes it all
    The winner takes it all

    So the winner takes it all
    And the the loser has to fall
    Throw a dice, cold as ice
    Way down here, someone dear
    Takes it all, has to fall
    It seems plain to me Writer/s: Benny Goran Bror Andersson, Bjoern K Ulvaeus
    Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 22

  • Seventhmist from 7th HeavenBeautiful vocals and instrumentals, but the shaky lyrics brought some of their earlier songs to mind, and not in a good way.
  • Andrew Garrett from Georgia My dad Stephen Garrett wrote this song and has the copyright to prove it...He sued Abba in the early 80's and ended up settling with a certain amount of money cause they kept fleeing back home out of the country.
  • Marty from Cleveland, OhWell, gee, Luke, thank you so much for explaining the English language to stupid ol' me.
  • Luke from Manchester, UkYes I got the chorus wrong I know... the rest's correct.
  • Luke from Manchester, UkStavros, Melbourne:
    The background vocals are cut away lyrics eg:
    "Roll the dice / cold as ice / way down here / someone dear"
  • Luke from Manchester, UkMarty, Cleveland - the problem isn't the lyrics but your level of understanding the English language, let me explain;
    "building me a fence"
    that's the last line, you forgot
    "I was in your arms,thinking I'd be strong there..."
    the whole thing means the writer was deluded in thinking they were safe in someone's arms.

    "and some of the lines don't make any sense, such as "beside the victory, that's her destiny" (what does that even mean?)"
    "The winner takes it all, the loser standing small
    beside the destiny, that's her victory"

    Once again you've forgotten the whole picture.
    The above lyrics are alluding to the person in the song, not only breaking up from someone who doesn't love her but also coming away the better person.

    "and "spectators of the show always staying low" (whatever)."
    The people who watch from afar staying afar and not being there for the person in the break up.

    "And the bit about the gods somewhere up above determining who breaks up? That's just dumb."
    No, you just don't understand it.
    Some people believe their life is ruled by fate ie: the god(s) rolling dice to determine what path they take.
    They're Scandinavian, they have Norse gods. Norse Gods were known to roll dice to determine some mortal's fate.
  • Marty from Cleveland, OhThis is a good song, but it would have been much better if the lyrics were stronger. It might have even been one of the all-time classics.

    Unfortunately, in my opinion, the story he's telling is a scattershot mess. Some of the rhymes are forced, such as "building me a fence" (huh?), and some of the lines don't make any sense, such as "beside the victory, that's her destiny (what does that even mean?) and "spectators of the show always staying low" (whatever). And the bit about the gods somewhere up above determining who breaks up? That's just dumb.

    After Ulvaeus sobered up, he should have spent some time polishing the lyrics in order to bring some coherence and cohesion to the narrative. Just because something comes straight from the heart or the gut doesn't mean that it's any good.

    It's a great tune and it's sung superbly, but the words don't come close to matching the presentation.
  • Stavros from Melbourne AustraliaWhen she says "The winner takes it all, the loser has to fall" from then on until the end of the song, you can hear some other vocals being sung in the background. is anyone able to decipher them?
    Thanks
  • Tc from UkNo doubt this is about a painful breakup. And there always is a winner and so a loser. Very sad. When I see the blonde one sing it…wow! Her eyes are dead! She is in pain in the video.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 8th 1981, "The winner Takes It All" by Abba peaked at #8 (for 2 weeks) on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; it had entered the chart on November 16th, 1980 at position #82 and spent a half-year on the Top 100 (26 weeks)...
    Was track two on side one on the quartet's seventh studio album, 'Super Trouper' and the album reached #17 on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart...
    Two other tracks from the album also made the Top 100; "Super Trouper" (#45) and "On and On and On" (#90).
  • Sioraf from Macroon, IrelandAt the same time one of the most entertaining but emotionally painful to listen to songs I know of and I can't even relate to it but I know the heartache breakups and divorce cause other people.
  • Jerro from New Alexandria, PaActually, Michael Scott, you're incorrect. Agnetha is singing lead on this song. Agnetha and Frida actually had very distinctive voices; Agnetha's voice is higher. I agree with everyone that this song is sad and beautiful and one of the best break-up songs ever written along with ABBA's other break-up song "When All Is Said and Done." For those who didn't know, "The Winner Takes It All" covers the break-up of Agnetha and Björn, while "When All Is Said and Done" covers the break-up of Benny and Anni-Frid ("Frida"). Some people may disagree on this, but I've observed that "The Winner Takes It All" is about missing one's loved one and asking one's self, "Why did it have to end?" while "When All Is Said and Done" is about realizing that the magic in the relationship is now gone and parting with dignity and saying, "Even though we can't be together anymore, I'll always cherish the wonderful memories of our lost love and wish you all the love and happiness in the world." Well, those are the impressions I have. Some people might interpret the two songs differently.
  • Pete from Longford, Australiajust heard the song again (for about the 200th time in my life), and realised something:
    has anybody ever noticed the melodic/structural similarity with 'without you' by badfinger/harry nilsson/mariah carey/et al?
  • Dane from Green Cove Springs Fla., FlOne of their last songs,but one of their best.I really like the words.Great piano too.Good break up song.
  • Michael Scott from Punta Gorda, FlI think Frieda sings lead, but how do you know for sure there is no mention anywhere.
  • Michael Scott from Punta Gorda, FlBest ballad with solo vocals, but dancing queen has the best harmony and best dance song!
  • Shawn from Green Bay, WiI agree this is one of THE great ballads. It is by far the best song Abba ever did, and I like a lot of their music. Its beauty is its simple truth. So, so true in so many ways. It perfectly captures the "losers" side of a break-up.
  • Mark from Medicine HatNever used to be a fan of ABBA, but I started liking the a couple of years ago.
  • Rebecca from Houston, TxBeautiful song, beautifully sung.
  • Jason from Dublin, Irelandawesome vocal performance from agnetha. also the video was good as it told the story of the song and this was before most music videos had a story they were just an artist performing the song {usually recorded on top of the pops}
  • Ana from Lokev, Europethis song is terribly sad. but it's beautiful. very very beautiful.
  • Barbara from Little Village, GermanyThe working-title was "the story of my life" - it's probably the best ballad ever been written!
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