ABBA – From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
ABBA was a Swedish pop group formed in Stockholm in 1972 which consisted of Anni-Frid “Frida” Lyngstad, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Agnetha Fältskog. They became one of the most commercially successful acts in the history of pop music, topping the charts worldwide from 1972 to 1982. ABBA sold over 375 million records worldwide, which made them the fourth best-selling popular music artists in the history of recorded music. They still sell between two to three million albums a year. ABBA was the first pop group to come from a non-English-speaking country that enjoyed consistent success in the charts of English-speaking countries, including the UK, the U. S., Canada, Ireland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Apart from reaching the top of the charts in different countries like Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Peru among others, ABBA also released a compilation of their hit songs in Spanish.
During the band’s existence, Fältskog and Ulvaeus were a married couple, as were Lyngstad and Andersson-although both couples later divorced. At the height of their popularity, both relationships were suffering strain which led ultimately to the collapse of the Ulvaeus-Fältskog marriage (in 1979) and the Andersson-Lyngstad marriage (in 1981). In the late 1970s and early 1980s these relationship changes began appearing in the group’s music, as they produced more introspective lyrics with different compositions.
After ABBA broke up early 1983, Andersson and Ulvaeus achieved success writing music for the stage while Lyngstad and Fältskog pursued individual solo careers with varying success. ABBA’s music declined in popularity until several films, notably Muriel’s Wedding and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, revived interest in the group, spawning several tribute bands. In 1999, ABBA’s music was adapted into the successful musical Mamma Mia! that toured worldwide. A film of the same name released in 2008 became the highest grossing film in the UK that year. The group was inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on 15 March 2010.
Before ABBA (1960s)
Benny Andersson (born 16 December 1946 in Stockholm, Sweden) became (at age 18) the member of a popular Swedish pop-rock group, The Hep Stars, that performed covers of international hits. The Hep Stars were known as “The Swedish Beatles”. They also set up Hep House, their equivalent of the Apple Corps. Andersson played the keyboard and eventually started writing original compositions for his band, many of which became major hits including “No Response” that hit №3 in 1965, “Sunny Girl”, “Wedding” & “Consolation”, all of which hit №1 in 1966. Andersson also had a fruitful songwriting collaboration with Lasse Berghagen, with whom he composed his first Svensktoppen entry “Sagan om lilla Sofi” (“The Story of Little Sophie”) in 1968.
Björn Ulvaeus (born 25 April 1945 in Gothenburg, Sweden) also began his musical career at 18 (as a singer and guitarist), when he frontedThe Hootenanny Singers, a popular Swedish folk-skiffle group. Ulvaeus started writing English-language songs for his group, and even had a brief solo career alongside. The Hootenanny Singers and The Hep Stars sometimes crossed paths while touring. In June 1966, Ulvaeus and Andersson decided to write a song together. Their first attempt was “Isn’t It Easy to Say”, a song later recorded by The Hep Stars. Stig Anderson was the manager of The Hootenanny Singers and founder of the Polar Music label.