Ten Things About…ABBA

image1. ABBA (stylized ᗅᗺᗷᗅ) were a Swedish pop group formed in Stockholm in 1972, comprising Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. ABBA is an acronym of the first letters of the band members’ first names and is sometimes stylized as the registered trademark ᗅᗺᗷᗅ. The band became one of the most commercially successful acts in the history of popular music, topping the charts worldwide from 1975 to 1982.

2. They also won the Eurovision Song Contest 1974 at the Dome in Brighton, UK, giving Sweden its first triumph in the history of the contest and being the most successful group ever to take part in the competition.

3. ABBA has sold over 380 million albums and singles worldwide, which makes them one of the best-selling music artists of all time, and the second best-selling music group of all time. ABBA was the first group to come from a non-English-speaking country that enjoyed consistent success in the charts of English-speaking countries, including the UK, Ireland, the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. The group also enjoyed significant success in Latin American markets, and recorded a collection of their hit songs in Spanish.

image4. In an interview to mark their 10th anniversary as a band in 1982, the group were pushed my Noel Edmunds to choose which of their songs from their back catalogue was their favourite. Agnetha chose ‘Fernando’, Bjorn opted for ‘The Winner Takes It All’, Anni-Frid picked ‘Dancing Queen’, while Benny went for ‘Chiquitita’.

5. During the band’s active years, Fältskog and Ulvaeus were married, as were Lyngstad and Andersson, although both couples later divorced. At the height of their popularity, both relationships were suffering strain which ultimately resulted in the collapse of the Ulvaeus–Fältskog marriage in 1979 and the Andersson–Lyngstad marriage in 1981. These relationship changes were reflected in the group’s music, with later compositions including more introspective, brooding, dark lyrics.

6. After ABBA broke up in late 1982, Andersson and Ulvaeus achieved success writing music for the stage while Lyngstad and Fältskog pursued solo careers with mixed 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 and the spawning of 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 United Kingdom that year. The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on 15 March 2010.

7. ABBA’s music has inspired many pop bands and artists, most notably Madonna (who sampled ‘Gimme Gimme Gimme’ for her number one hit ‘Hung Up), A Teens (Scandanavian group who released several cover singles of ABBA hits) and 90s bands B Witched, Steps, Cleopatra, Billie Piper and Tina Cousins (who performed their hits on ITV show ABBA Mania!).

8.In September 2010, band members Andersson and Ulvaeus criticized the right-wing Danish People’s Party (DF) for using the ABBA song “Mamma Mia” (with modified lyrics) at rallies. The band threatened to file a lawsuit against the DF, saying they never allowed their music to be used politically and that they had absolutely no interest in supporting the party. Their record label Universal Music later said that no legal action would be taken because an agreement had been reached.

image9. ABBA fans can visit the ABBA Museum, an interactive exhibition about the pop-group that opened in Stockholm, Sweden in May 2013. ABBA’s collected works are showcased in a contemporary, interactive setting at Swedish Music Hall of Fame, a new exhibit venue located at Djurgården, Stockholm.

10. ABBA were honored at the 50th anniversary celebration of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2005, when their hit “Waterloo” was chosen as the best song in the competition’s history. If ABBA’s Waterloo is your favourite Eurovision song ever then don’t forget to vote for it in our Final poll to ensure they are crowned the ultimate winners.

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