Abba were a Swedish quartet that swept the charts in the 1970s and 1980s, producing hit after hit on their quest for global superstardom. Known as much for their extravagent outfits as their lively, upbeat pop songs, Abba really stood out from the crowd, and like all true supergroups, their fame and music have continued long after the group stopped performing and new generations of Abba fans continue to appear. But how many of them know the full story of how ABBA came to be? Let’s take a trip down memory lane and see how Abba became the famous faces we all know and love today.
The Early Years
Benny Anderson, Björn Ulvaeus, Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad all had their musical careers before they started collaborating in 1970. Benny and Björn were members of different groups, while Agnetha and Anni-Frid had solo credits to their names. They went through several different group names before settling on Abba in 1974, just in time for their second attempt at entering Sweden’s Melodifestivalen: their selection process for the Eurovision song contest which still runs today. The previous year they managed to come third, but this time their entry, the smash single ‘Waterloo’ too them all the way to the finals…and victory! ‘Waterloo’ went straight to the top of the charts all over Europe and even had a top ten finish in the USA.
However, the group found it difficult to escape the shadow of Eurovision victory and prove to the world that they were not another one hit wonder. It was their third album, eponymously titled ‘Abba’ which provided their next worldwide successes, with both ‘SOS’ and ‘Mamma Mia‘ proving to be number one hits in a number of countries, including Australia, where ‘Mamma Mia’ ignited a love affair with the band that would see them enjoy great success there.
Beyond the Music
Part of Abba’s successful image was the projection of two happy couples making music together. And that is exactly how things started out; Björn and Agnetha married in 1971 and Benny and Anni-Frid joined the knot in 1978. However success took its toll on both relationships and by the height of their fame in 1980, both couples had divorced. This led their music on a slightly different path, with less-joyous, more introspective lyrics finding their way into the melodies.
Abba also branched out into movie and theatre productions during their time together. Abba – The Movie was released in 1977 and documented the group’s tour of Australia, with some fictional elements added in for dramatic effect. As Abba began to wind down as a group, Björn and Benny continued to work together, writing the internationally successful musical Chess, and then, more than ten years later, the breakthrough musical which was to bring Abba’s music back to the forefront of popularity – Mamma Mia!
Mamma Mia spread from London’s West End to Broadway, to all around the world, including Abba’s native Sweden. It proved so well-loved that two movies based on the musical have also been released, featuring high profile actors and singers including Meryl Streep, Colin Firth and Cher. There has been countless items of memorabilia and products released off the back of the famous film, but our favourite is the online slot. The unique nature of the game has ensured it is a hit with fans of the film, as well as those who just like the soundtrack. Movie-themed slots have always been a hit with fans and for this reason many consider 777 casino as the best place to play, their impressive selection of online slots is enough to keep movie fans entertained for hours.
Life After Abba.
In 1982 Abba decided to take a break, but that didn’t stop them from releasing greatest hits albums and compilation albums. The most famous compilation album remains 1992’s Abba Gold – with over 31 million copies sold to date. It has since been re-released with updated liner notes and accompanying booklet.
In 2016, all four members of the band appeared together at the opening of Mamma Mia! The Party, a dining experience in London. This was one of the few times that Benny, Björn, Agnetha and Anna-Frid had been seen all together for over twenty years. While Benny and Björn continued to collaborate and work in the spotlight, the two women opted to live more private lives.
Agnetha continued her solo career for a few years, but then a series of personal tragedies struck: she was involved in a car accident, lost her mum to suicide and became the target of more than one obsessed stalker. For fifteen years she became a recluse on her farm, reappearing in 2013 to perform for BBC’s Children in Need.
Anna-Frid also launched a successful solo career, and married Prince Heinrich Ruzzo Reuss Von Plauen, but then she too was struck by personal tragedy, losing her husband and her daughter only a year apart.
In 2016, fans were delighted to hear that Abba had plans to start working together again. The ambitious project was to be a live tour featuring holographic projections of their younger selves. New tracks have been recorded – a total of five so far – although none have been released yet. Originally a date of late 2019 was touted, but that has now been pushed back to late 2020 as the band continue to tinker with their revitalised sound.
The announcement whipped Abba fans into a whirlwind of excitement, but with three years now having passed, and no promises yet delivered on, it seems that they will have to be patient for a little while longer. After all, you simply can’t rush the reunion of one of the world’s biggest pop groups!