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ABBA

Swedish couple who's Middle Of The Road pop defined the seventies, in a way that The Beatles colored the sixties. Unlike The Beatles, however, Abba is in no way subcultural; rather, the group manages to combine quality and commerciality in a mostly exemplary manner. 

Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson met in '66.Ulvaeus then plays guitar with The Hootenanny Singers, who are under contract with Polar Music, the record company of the later Abba manager Stig Anderson.  The Hootenanny Singers are very successful with EVERT TAUBE and the single Björen Visa ('66). Andersson joins The Hep Stars in '64, who became hugely popular the following year with the single Cadillac. The sweet Sunny Girl is also a big hit in the Netherlands. Together, Andersson and Ulvaeus write It Isn't Easy To Say, a gold record in Sweden. 

After Benny leaves The Hep Stars in '69, both continue as producers. Benny takes care of an album by his fiancée, former teen starlet Anni-Frid Lyngstad. 

Agnetha Faltskog is also very popular in Sweden before her Abba period. From '68 she scouts several hits. In '71, Agnetha and Björn get married. 

In '70, the two couples are on stage together for the first time as the Festfolk Quartet. When the first single She's My Kind Of Girl is released the following year, the name has changed to Björn & Benny + Anna & Frieda. The album is not such a big success in Sweden itself. It is in Japan, where more than half a million copies of the single are sold. 

In '73 the quartet enters the Swedish National Song Festival with Ring Ring. The group is eliminated in the preliminary round, but the single nevertheless reaches the Dutch Top 5. A year later the Eurovision Song Contest is won with Waterloo; entirely in the spirit of the times the foursome, now renamed Abba, appears wearing glitter costumes, platform shoes and star-shaped guitars. Although the group's definitive breakthrough came in '75 with S.O.S., Honey Honey and I Do! Do I Do were already big hit singles in the Benelux. The American continent hesitated for a while, but changed its mind with Dancing Queen.

In the second half of the seventies, Abba broke all international sales records. The group's gigantic success was due not only to a good ear for the trends of the day, but also to the strong compositions, the harmonically daring arrangements, and the technically perfect production by Andersson and Ulvaeus. 

Abba's albums were initially no more than collections of singles, supplemented by b-sides and demos, but from ARRIVAL onwards they were made with the same care as the singles. THE ALBUM, released simultaneously with the film Abba The Movie, is the artistic highlight. The money earned by the group was invested in their own Polar Studio, which attracted numerous International artists to Stockholm. However, investments in a bicycle factory and the oil business result in large losses. 

In '81, the first rumors circulate about deteriorating relationships within the group, followed shortly thereafter by news of Frida and Benny's divorce. Although the members initially try to keep Abba afloat, the curtain falls in the fall of '83 during the recordings of what should have been the tenth official album, Opus 10. Frida moves to London, where she focuses on an initially successful solo career. The Phil Collins-produced SOMETHING'S GOING ON yields major hits with I Know There's Something Going On and To Turn To Stone. After the commercially disappointing SHINE, her solo career is put on the back burner. However, together with the group Ratata she does launch a Swedish number 1 hit in '87 with As Long As I Have You. In '92, with an arrangement of Julian Lennon's Salt Water, she draws attention to the environment. Frida's undiminished popularity becomes clear in '96 when she enters the first place of the Swedish charts with her new single Aven En Blomma and her new album DJUPA ANDE TAG. 

Agnetha's solo career also gets off to a promising start, but after the Mike Chapman-produced WRAP YOUR ARMS AROUND ME, the international hits fail to materialize. I LOVE MY LIFE collects her solo work veer, during and after Abba. Ulvaeus and Andersson, together with musical composer Tim Rice, concentrate on the production of the musical Chess, the soundtrack to which CHESS appears in '84, and which yields two major hits in the standard of I Know Him So Well sung by Elaine Paige and Barbara Dickson and One Night In Bangkok performed by Murray Head. Andersson and Ulvaeus remain active together and separately as composers for Gemini (Just Like That), Josefin Nilsson SHAPES and One More Time (the band of Benny's son Peter Gronvall), among others. Benny also produces the solo instrumental records KLINGA MINA KLOCKOR and NOVEMBER 1989. 

In '92, there is suddenly an Abba revival, ignited by Erasure's hit EP Abba-esque, the successful performances of Australian persiflage group Björn Again (although their FLASHBACK!, filled with covers of '70s and '80s hits, doesn't include a single Abba song). The compilation ABBA GOLD worth platinum in more than 20 countries. Abba's songs also take center stage in the Australian feature films Muriel's Wedding and Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert. 

In the summer of '92, Björn and Benny join U2 on stage in Stockholm to sing Dancing Queen. The 4CD box set released at the end of '94 contains all the hits plus a collage of never-before-released studio recordings (66 tracks in all), which particularly highlights how, like the Beatles and Beach Boys they admired, the members of Abba experiment endlessly with arrangements and orchestrations. In October '95, Ulvaeus and Andersson's new musical, Kristina Fran Duvemala (after Vilhelm Moltberg's The Immigrants), premiered. The show is a great success and the soundtrack KRISTINA FRAN DUVEMALE (three hours of music on three CDs) soon becomes gold. ABBA's oeuvre was the focus of the Mamma Mia! musical, which premiered in London's West End on April 6, 1999 (exactly 25 years after the group won the Eurovision Song Contest). A bombardment of television documentaries brings the compilation THE COMPLETE STUDIO RECORDINGS to the top of the album charts. The revival is further fueled by Charlotte Nilsson winning the Song Contest with the ABBA-sounding Take Me To Your Heaven and the hit medley Thank ABBA For The Music by Steps, B*witched, Tina Cousins, Billie and Cleopatra. Downright slick are the people behind the ABBA Teens, two boys and two girls in the teen age group who cover ABBA hits and pose as the next generation. After making a name for themselves with Mamma Mia, they quickly change the name to A-Teens. 

On July 1, '99, a dream comes true for many when Björn, Benny, Anni-Frid and Agnetha stand on a stage together and sing for the first time since '81. Not in a big hall but at the 50th birthday party of ABBA secretary Görel Hanser, where they perform Med and only Tulipan. Although relations are cordial these days, the four of them rule out an official reunion. Björn: 'We would look ridiculous. ABBA is over. Definitely.' 

But the interest in ABBA never wanes. At the turn of the millennium Happy New Year is one of the big hits. When the Dutch version of the musical Mamma Mia, produced by Joop van den Ende Product/es and with translations by Coot van Doesburgh, premiered in September '03, interest in the musical was rekindled. No less than 803 performances take place of the Dutch adaptation of the musical. On 22 October '05, at the 50th anniversary of the Eurovision Song Contest, viewers choose Waterloo as the best song for the contest. The members of ABBA are tempted to return to the spotlight themselves. They are even offered $1 billion for a series of 100 concerts. But ABBA says no. But Agnetha, after years of anonymity, returns to the limelight. The cover album ‘MY COLOURING BOOK' brings her back into the international charts. A box set appears of Frida with a DVD about her solo career, but there is little interest. 

On July 4, '08 the four band members appear at the premiere of the film version of Mamma Mia, their first joint public appearance since 1986. The film, starring Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan and Amanda Seyfried, is a box office success. The unabated popularity of the ABBA oeuvre is also evident from the felt that in October '08 a SingStar ABBA game will be released for the Playstation 2 on 3. A compilation box set entitled THE ALBUMS will also be released, containing the eight studio albums and a CD of b-sides and special renditions of well-known songs. A traveling exhibition of memorabilia called Abbaworld was also announced.

On January 23, '09, Agnetha and Frida jointly receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet. In a joint interview they stress that they are on good terms and proud of their musical past, but that a reunion is unlikely. We are simply too old for that. 

When on September 13, '09, British Radio 2 organised a big event called Thank You For The Music: A Celebration Of The Music Of ABBA in London's Hyde Park and Benny and Björn agreed to participate, the rumors started to surface again.

  • ABBA – ABBA's Greatest Hits 24 (LP, Vinyl Record Album)

    ABBA – ABBA's Greatest Hits 24 (2xLP) (VG+/VG)

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  • ABBA – Voulez-Vous (LP, Vinyl Record Album)

    ABBA – Voulez-Vous (VG+/VG)

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  • ABBA – Greatest Hits Vol. 2 (LP, Vinyl Record Album)

    ABBA – Greatest Hits Vol. 2 (VG+/VG+)

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  • ABBA – ABBA (LP, Vinyl Record Album)

    ABBA – ABBA (VG+/VG+)

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  • Gold (Greatest Hits) – ABBA (LP, Vinyl Record Album)

    Gold (Greatest Hits) – ABBA (2xLP)

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    Condition: Brand New Ships from: Melbourne Description Release details Tracklist ABBA Gold: Greatest Hits is ...

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  • ABBA – The Vinyl Collection (LP, Vinyl Record Album)

    ABBA – The Vinyl Collection (M/VG+)

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  • ABBA – Voyage (LP, Vinyl Record Album)

    ABBA – Voyage

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  • ABBA – Arrival (LP, Vinyl Record Album)

    ABBA – Arrival

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    Condition: Brand New Ships from: Melbourne Description Release details Tracklist There was simply no better p...

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  • ABBA – The Album (LP, Vinyl Record Album)

    ABBA – The Album

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