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ABBA

Pop quintet formed in Stockholm, Sweden in 1970. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.

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Thank you for the music

  • Aug 11, 2009
Rating:
+4
Abba stormed the world in the 70s and 80s. My first glimpse of them was in Abba the movie in early 80s. The band disbanded in 1983. For those interested in Abba, check out Wikipedia's entry

Occasionally, I hear their songs being played over the radio in the 80s and perhaps even 90s. But no more until very recently again when the musical Mamma Mia! movie version was released mid of last year (2008). Since then, the CD stores have been playing Abba's music all over again.

Originally from Sweden, Abba consisted of Anni-Frid Lyngstad (Frida), Björn UlvaeusBenny Andersson and Agnetha Fältskog. The band's name is an acronym formed from the first letters of each of the group members' given names.

I found a documentary video (in Swedish) on Abba from Youtube. It was uploaded by member Brightnights and there is also an attached translation of the documentary, if you are interested in watching. I've copied the translation here for your viewing pleasure.

 

"Agnetha Fältskog got her break through at the end of the 60's with self-composed ballads like "Jag var så kär" and "Om tårer vore guld". She took the Swedish peoples heart and hit the charts.

Björn Ulvaeus began his career in the folk group Hootenanny Singers. The records are released via Stig "Stikkan" Andersons records company POLAR. In 1969 Björn and Agnetha became a couple. Three years later they recorded their first pop song together with Benny and Frida - "People Need Love".

Benny Andersson was through the 60's a long-haired pop idol i Swedens most popular band "Hepstars". With songs like "Cadillac" and "Sunny Girl" did they reach the top of the charts and perform in the Swedish folk parks. Already in 1966 Björn and Benny became best friends and started to write songs together.

Anni-Frid Lyngstad or better known as Frida had her break through in a talent competition. In 1969 Frida and Benny became a couple and the year after they co-operated with Björn and Agnetha in a show. As a pop group they had their big break through in 1973 with the song "Ring Ring". 

The year was 1974 and the date the 6 of April and the place was Brighton in England. In glitter costumes Agnetha, Björn, Benny and Frida almost jumped on the stage and performed "Waterloo". ABBA won the Eurovision Song Contest and had their internationally break through. Manager Stig Anderson was praised by artist from all over the world. A number of hit songs came - for example "Honey Honey", "So Long", "Mamma Mia" and "SOS". In Australia the groups video was shown on TV and the country was hit by the so-called ABBA fever.

In 1976 was ABBA one of the worlds most popular groups. They traveled to Australia and made a TV show which was seen by so many viewers - actually more than the moon landing some years earlier. In Europe every single record they released became an enormous success. ABBA dominated the top charts with songs like "Fernando", "Dancing Queen" and "Money, Money, Money". In 1977 the group toured around Europe and then Australia. That tour was portrayed in Lasse Hallström's "ABBA The Movie". In the spring 1977 ABBA reached the USA charts #1 for the first and only time with "Dancing Queen".

During the summer and fall 1977 ABBA recorded the album "ABBA - The Album". On the album were songs like "The Name Of The Game", "Take A Chance On Me" and "Thank You For The Music". ABBA needed a lot more time in the recording studio and the next album "Voules-Vous" was first released in the spring of 1979. This album had radio hit songs like "Chiquitita", "Does Your Mother Know" and "I Have A Dream". During the fall 1979 ABBA toured around North-America and continued around Europe too. They also had yet another single success with "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!".

In March 1980 ABBA went on their last tour and it was in Japan. It was also the year of the album "Super Trouper". It had hit songs like "The Winner Takes It All". ABBA was more popular than ever, but at the same time the ABBA members felt they wanted to go on with their own different music apart from ABBA. Then in 1981 came the last ABBA album "The Visitors". And the final ABBA song came the year after with the single "The Day Before You Came". Then it was time for Agnetha, Björn, Benny and Frida to go separate ways.

Frida made some solo albums after ABBA, but has more been working for environment projects. Even Agnetha recorded solo albums. "My Colouring Book" from 2004 came after a long break away from the limelights. Benny has recorded under his own name and together with Orse Spelmän and Benny Anderssons Orkester (BAO). But most of the time in co-operation with his friend Björn.

With "Chess" a dream was born - to write a musical. Chess was written together with lyrics writer Tim Rice and was presented in 1984 on a double album (LP) and a concert tour. Two years later the musical had its premiere in London and has since been played in many countries. In the year 2002 the Swedish version of "Chess" had its premiere on Circus in Stockholm and had around half a million visitors.

In the fall 1995 had Benny and Björn's first Swedish language musical premiere on Malmö's Music Theatre. It was "Kristina från Düvemåla", which was based on Vilhelm Moberg's novell "Utvandrarna". After playing in Malmö and Gothenborg, the musical had its premiere on Cirkus in Stockholm in 1998. All in all "Kristina från Düvemåla" has had about 1 million visitors. An English version is now on its way to the USA.

Björn and Benny say, that "Mamma Mia" is the musical they didn't know they had written. It was the theatre producer Judy Craymer who got the idea to make a musical using the songs of ABBA. Manuscript writer Catherine Johnson got the solution by writing a new story. So on the 6 of April 1999 "Mamma Mia" had its premiere in London - on the exact day - 25 years after ABBA's victory in Brighton on the Eurovison Song Contest. And it became the beginning of a success no one ever dare dream of. Today the musical is played all around the world and in different languages. And now in Sweden in Swedish."


So there you've it, the story of Abba.


Abba's music are everlasting. They are something from the past but still very much enjoyable till today, somewhat similar to music of Elvis Presley and Beatles. 



My favorite songs from Abba are:
Thank You for the Music
The winner takes it all
Hasta Manana
Happy New Year
Knowing Me Knowing You
Fernando
Chiquitita


 

 

 

 
Thank you for the music Thank you for the music

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January 15, 2010
Terrific review of a wonderful group. I love intricate group harmony and ABBA was the best of their generation. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!
January 15, 2010
Thanks, Paul! They are still very popular in Asia and I like that their music is very upbeat and cheerful. You are right about them being the best. For now, my favorite group is Il Divo :-) Have you heard their music? If not, you must! They are awesome!
 
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Wiki

ABBA was a pop music group formed in Sweden in November 1970. The band consisted of Anni-Frid Lyngstad (Frida), Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Agnetha Fältskog. They topped the charts worldwide from 1972 to 1982. The name "ABBA" is an acronym formed from the first letters of each of the group members' given names (Agnetha, Björn, Benny, Anni-Frid), and the group took this name officially in late 1973. The group's name is officially trademarked with the first "B" reversed, so that the left and right halves of the name are mirror-images of one another.

ABBA gained international popularity employing catchy song hooks, simple lyrics, and a Wall of Sound achieved by overdubbing the female singers' voices in multiple harmonies. As their popularity grew, they were sought after to tour Europe, Australia, and North America, drawing crowds of ardent fans, notably in Australia. Touring became a contentious issue, being particularly unpopular with Fältskog, but they continued to release studio albums to great commercial success. At the height of their popularity, however, both marriages of the band members failed, and the relationship changes were reflected in their music, as they produced more thoughtful lyrics with different compositions.

They remain a fixture of radio playlists and are one of the ...

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