ABBA (1974–1982)

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ABBA (1974–1982)

Swedish singing group.

Agnetha Fältskog (1950—) . Name variations: Agnetha Ulvaeus; Agnetha Faltskog; in the group's early days, known in Great Britain as Anna. Pronunciation: Ann-yetta. Born Agnetha Ase Faltskog on April 15, 1950, in Jonkoping in the south of Sweden; married Björn Ulvaeus (separated in 1978, then divorced).

Agnetha Fältskog, who idolized Connie Frances , began singing with bands at age 15. Within three years, she had topped the Swedish chart with her single "I Was So In Love" and would enjoy other solo hits before and during her period with ABBA. By 1970, Fältskog was living with Björn Ulvaeus, then a songwriter for Stig Anderson, a music-business entrepreneur, and appearing in Jesus Christ Superstar as Mary Magdalene . She scored a massive hit with her Swedish cover recording of "I Don't Know How to Love Him." Following her stint with ABBA, Agnetha released the solo albums, Wrap Your Arms Around Me (1983), Eyes of a Woman (1985), and I Stand Alone (1988).

Frida Lyngstad (1945—) . Name variations: Anni-Frid Lyngstad-Fredriksson. Born Anni-Frid Synni Lyngstad in Norway, near the large town of Narvik, on November 15, 1945; married Ragnar Frederiksson (a bass player); married Benny Andersson, in 1978 (divorced 1981); children: (first marriage) Hans and Liselotte.

Frida Lyngstad had a tragic start in life. She was conceived during the occupation of Norway in World War II, the product of a relationship between Synni Lyngstad and a German soldier. Her birth brought only scorn to her mother Synni who would be dead within two years at age 21. Two-year-old Frida was sent to Sweden to live with her grandmother and grew up in Eskilstuna, about 100 miles from Stockholm. While in her teens, Frida sang with Bengt Sandlund's jazz group, then formed her own band, the Anni-Frid Four, around 1964. She married fellow band member Ragnar Frederiksson and had two children. Soon, she was awarded a solo recording contract. Following ABBA, Frida recorded her first solo album Something's Going On (1982); her second was Shine (1984).

The singing group ABBA had more than a dozen Top 40 hits in the United States, including their easy-listening "Dancing Queen," "Knowing Me, Knowing You," and "Fernando." Composed of Frida Lyngstad, her keyboard player husband Benny Andersson, Agnetha Fältskog, and Fältskog's guitarist husband Björn Ulvaeus (ABBA is an acronym of their collective first initials), the group first gained international recognition when their single "Waterloo" won the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest. They then went on to become one of the 1970s' most successful acts, particularly outside America. After the reign of the Beatles, no group has sold more singles.

With their marriages on the rocks, the group split up in 1982, and Lyngstad and Fältskog went off on solo careers. Despite their unwillingness to reunite, ABBA enjoyed an enormous resurgence in the 1990s. Popular with gays, grunge rockers, and the most hardened critics, their greatest hits collection, Gold, sold over five million copies in Europe and was No. 1 on Billboard charts. Notes

Richard Locayo in Time: "Embracing Abba is a way for Generation X to repudiate the baby boomers and their wrinkled artifacts. No less a figure than Kurt Cobain of Nirvana had declared himself a fan. To a generation apt to think of McCartney, Jagger and Dylan as millionaires who once posed as rebels, Abba has the virtue of forthright artificiality…. As music, they'll do. But as ironic heroes to a different kind of counterculture, they'll do perfectly."


Locayo, Richard. "What's that Chirping," in Time. October 11, 1993.

related media:

ABBA—The Movie, produced in Australia by Stig Anderson and Reg Grundy.