Dutch pop of the 1980s can be described as well written sing-along songs about ordinary life, of which many are still popular. The mainstream pop lover in the Netherlands usually does favours English/American songs, but many 1980s productions have stood the test of time. Hans de Booij’s 1983 hit single Annabel is one of them.

The song about a mysterious woman called Annabel was written by the best Dutch song writing duo Lennart Nijgh/Boudewijn de Groot in 1978, in cooperation with another leading light (also a great story teller) called Herman Pieter de Boer. De Groot – also an admired singer himself – would record the song himself in 1996, because he actually didn’t like Hans de Booij’s version. But the new arrangement was completely without the success Hans de Booij gained with it in 1983.

It reached number one in the Dutch hit lists on August 6 of that year and defended its position for five straight weeks, which made the single the third most successful production of 1983. Annabel also contributed to the success of De Booij’s debut album, residing in the Dutch LP Top 100 for 65 weeks in a row. In Belgium, Annabel reached number three in the charts.

Annabel is one of Boudewijn de Groot’s few songs where the lyrics were written based on the music. While playing the tune, the songwriter sung some bits of text here and there, mostly rubbish but sometimes clear lines. The name Annabel was there from the beginning, but who she was and what happened to her, De Groot left to his fellow songwriters. Boudewijn de Groot’s first lyrics version was rewritten five or six times before Annabel and her loose lifestyle became reality. Because they were not satisfied with the (open) end, the song was already recorded in 1978 but not included in his next album.

Some time later, Hans de Booij’s musical manager explored some repertoire opportunities for his client. He remembered Annabel, her butterfly appearance and the romantic narrative and asked permission to use it. The result was there.

Iemand zei "Dit is Annabel
Ze moet nog naar 't station
Neem jij de wagen dan haalt ze het wel"
Ik zei "da's goed" en reed zo stom als ik kon

Someone said “This is Annabel
She has to go to the station
Take your car and she’ll catch her train
I said, “that’s alright” and drove as numb as I could

We kwamen aan bij een leeg perron
En ik zei "het zit je niet mee"
Heel in de verte ging de laatste wagon
En Annabel zei "okee, ik ga met je mee"

We arrived at an empty platform
And I said, “it’s not your lucky day”
In the distance the last carriage went
And Annabel said, “okay, I’ll go with you”

En later lagen we samen, zoals dat heet
Een beetje moe maar voldaan
Er kwam al licht door de ramen, ze zei
"Geen tijd voor ontbijt ik moet gaan"

And later we laid together, as it is called
A little tired but satisfied
Light came through the window, she said,
“No time for breakfast, I have to leave”

Ik zei alleen nog "tot ziens Annabel"
En ik dacht "Die zie ik nooit meer terug"
Ik dacht ik draai me om en slaap nog even door
Maar twee uur later was ik nog wakker, lag stil op m'n rug

All I said was, “goodbye Annabel”
And I thought, “I’ll never see her again”
I thought I’d turn over and sleep a little more
But two hours later I was still awake, silently lying on my back

Annabel, het wordt niets zonder jou, Annabel
Annabel, het wordt niets zonder jou, Annabel

Annabel, I’m nothing without you, Annabel
Annabel, I’m nothing without you, Annabel

Zo bleef ik twee dagen liggen in bed
Ik was totaal van de kaart
Toen stond ik op, ik moest niet denken maar doen
Want zonder haar was ik geen stuiver meer waard

I stayed in bed like that for two days
I was out completely
Then I got up, I shouldn’t think but act
Because without her I wasn’t worth anything

Ik liep de stad door op zoek naar een glimp
En ik dacht "ik zie haar nooit meer terug"
Ik ging zelfs hardop praten in mezelf
En iemand zei "je stond uren met je handen op de leuning van de brug"

I walked through town looking for a glimpse
And I thought, “I’ll never see her again”
I even started talking out loud
And someone said, “you stood there for hours, leaning on the bridge

Annabel, het wordt niets zonder jou, Annabel
Annabel, het wordt niets zonder jou, Annabel

Annabel, I’m nothing without you, Annabel
Annabel, I’m nothing without you, Annabel

Toen op een avond zag ik haar weer
Ze stapte net op de tram
Ze was nog mooier dan de vorige keer
Ik riep haar naam en trapte hard op m'n rem

Then one evening I saw her again
She was about to take the tram
She was even more beautiful than last time
I shouted her name and slammed on the brakes

Ik sprong de auto uit en greep haar vast
Ze stond stil en keek om
Ze keek me aan maar was nauwelijks verrast
En ik zei "hee, waar moet je naartoe" ze zei "naar het station"

I jumped out of the car and grabbed her
She stood still and turned around
She looked at me but was hardly surprised
And I said, “Hey, where are you going”, she said, “to the station”

Ik bracht haar weg, ze kocht een kaartje Parijs
En ik zei "en nog 1 erbij"
De lokettist gaf tweemaal enkele reis
En Annabel keek even opzij

I gave her a lift, she got a ticket to Paris
And I said “one more for me”
The man at the window handed two one way tickets
And Annabel glanced to the side for a moment

Ik zei "ik heb je gevonden vandaag
En ik laat je nooit meer alleen
Al reis je door naar Barcelona of Praag
Al reis je door naar het eind van de wereld ik ga met je mee"

I said, “I found you today
I am not going to let you disappear again
Even if you travel to Barcelona or Prague
Even if you travel to the end of the world, I’ll go with you”

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