Click to return to Dave’s Music Database home page.

cover of original 1992 ‘Happy Nation’

cover of original 1993 U.S. ‘The Sign’

Released:
December 1992 HN,
June 1, 1993 TS

HN Happy Nation
TS The Sign


Genre: dance pop


Quotable: --


Album Tracks: HN

  1. Voulez-Vous Danser
  2. All That She Wants
  3. Just Chaos *
  4. Happy Nation
  5. Waiting for Magic
  6. Fashion Party *
  7. Wheel of Fortune
  8. Dancer in a Daydream
  9. My Mind
  10. W.O.F. (original club mix) *
  11. Dimension of Depth *
  12. Young and Proud
  13. All That She Wants (Banghra Version)
* not on The Sign


Album Tracks: TS

  1. All That She Wants
  2. Don’t Turn Around **
  3. Young and Proud
  4. The Sign **
  5. Living in Danger **
  6. Dancer in a Daydream
  7. Wheel of Fortune
  8. Waiting for Magic
  9. Happy Nation
  10. Voulez-Vous Danser
  11. My Mind
  12. All That She Wants (Banghra Version)
** not on Happy Nation


Rating: 3.750 (average of 4 ratings)


Sales (in millions):

sales in U.S. only 9.0
sales in U.K. only - estimated 0.6
sales in all of Europe as determined by IFPI – click here to go to their site. --
sales worldwide - estimated 16.0


Peak:

peak on U.S. Billboard album chart 1 2
peak on U.K. album chart 1 2


Singles/Hit Songs:

  • All That She Wants (5/8/93) #2 US, #1 UK, #22 AC, #17 MR. Platinum single.
  • Wheel of Fortune (8/28/93) #20 UK
  • Happy Nation (11/13/93) #40 UK
  • The Sign * (1/1/94) #1 US, #2 UK, #2 AC. Platinum single.
  • Don’t Turn Around * (5/7/94) #1a US, #5 UK, #7 AC. Gold single.
  • Living in Danger * (10/22/94) #16a US, #18 UK, #35 AC
* See Notes.


Notes: To really confuse matters, this album has been released in several variations. However, The Sign featured all the singles noted above, whereas those noted with an asterisk (*) did not appear on the original album Happy Nation.

After The Sign was released in the U.S., it was also “re-issued in Europe with the same track listing as The Sign plus the previously unreleased track ‘Hear Me Calling’” (wikipedia). In the U.S., that album was then released “at the end of 1993 as Happy Nation U.S. Version” (wikipedia).

Information on this page refers primarily to the U.S. version of The Sign, unless noted otherwise.


Awards:

’The Sign’ is rated one of the top 1000 albums of all time by Dave’s Music Database. Click to learn more. Billboard Magazine’s Album of the Year (The Sign)


Happy Nation/ The Sign
Ace of Base
Review:
Tracking the development of these two albums (of which each has at least two versions) is confusing. First, this was “released in Europe as Happy Nation in 1992” (wikipedia) with Wheel of Fortune being the lead single in Scandanavia in the summer of 1992. However, the album didn’t really take off until All That She Wants was a #1 hit in the U.K. in the spring of 1993.

Then the album was “re-issued with a different track listing in the US as The Sign September 25, 1993” (wikipedia). Four songs were left off Happy Nation and replaced with three songs that became major hits – The Sign, Don’t Turn Around, and Living in Danger. “It’s easy to see why they were hits – the beat is relentless and the hooks are incessantly catchy” (Erlewine).

However, “Ace of Base’s strong point is not versatility – all of their hit singles have exactly the same beat. But that doesn’t matter” (Erlewine). Ace of Base “managed to create a piece of melodic Euro-disco that was a huge hit all over the world, appealing to both dance clubs and pop radio” (Erlewine).

As far as the albums go, matters were confused even more when the album was released again in Europe as The Sign and the bonus track ‘Hear Me Calling’ was added. As if this didn’t muddle the waters enough, now this new version of The Sign was then released again in the U.S. as Happy Nation: U.S. Version.

In the end, the album that really is responsible for generating multi-million in sales worldwide is the original U.S. album entitled The Sign. It featured three top 5 hits in the U.S., another top 20 hit, and two more songs that were minor hits in the U.K. Only true fans need to seek out the original Happy Nation album.


Review Source(s):


Last updated November 15, 2010.