Originally formed in 1972, members Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Agnetha Faltskog recorded their first song together “People Need Love First” under the name of Bjorn and Benny, Agnetha and Anna-Frid. With only limited success, the band entered the song “Ring Ring” into the Eurovision Song Contest selection competition. Whilst finishing only third the song did go on to become a hit in their native Sweden as well as throughout Europe.
Spurred on by this success (and following name change - now being called ABBA), they again entered the Melodifestivalen the following year with “Waterloo”. It won and of course later went on to success in the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest making them the first winners to represent Sweden. “Waterloo” became the first of many number one hits for the group during the 1970’s as they went on to dominate the charts.
Success did not follow immediately however as they struggled to be acknowledged as a serious singer-songwriter outfit. It was not until the release of their third studio album “ABBA” featuring the singles “SOS” and “Mamma Mia” that they again topped the charts. They would go on to have 9 UK Number One hits before the end of 1980. To this present day, ABBA’s glittery outfits and songs capture the iconic look and sound of 1970s fashion and music.
ABBA’s best selling album “Arrival” was released in 1976. Containing what has become one of their signature singles “Dancing Queen” as well as “Knowing Me, Knowing You” and “Money, Money, Money” the record has spent 11 weeks in the top spot of the UK album charts.
In 1977 the ABBA phenomenon hit the big screen with the film “ABBA - The Movie” simultaneously releasing the record “ABBA - The Album” again spawning hit singles including “Take A Chance On Me” and “The Name Of The Game”.
1979 saw the break up of Bjorn and Agnetha’s marriage as well as ABBA’s next studio album “Voulez-Vous”. Further albums followed over the subsequent years with the 1980 LP “Super Trouper” featuring another hit for the band “The Winner Takes It All”.
ABBA’s next album “The Visitors” was released at the end of 1981 and followed the news that Benny and Frida were also to divorce. This seemed to mark the beginning of the end for the band.
1982 saw the various members embark on solo projects and collaborations, with Benny and Bjorn working alongside Tim Rice on the musical “Chess”. ABBA finally announced they were taking a hiatus from working together.
The legend of ABBA did live on. The release of the stage musical and film “Mamma Mia” brought ABBA’s music to a new generation. The popularity of their songs has seen them covered by a range of other stars including Cher (who also starred in the movie “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again”), Portishead whilst Erasure released the “ABBA-esque” EP featuring their take on ABBA classics.
ABBA vinyl records are regular entries in the album charts today with the LP “Gold” becoming a best seller around the World proving that the phenomenon that is ABBA has certainly stood the test of time.
With a new ABBA album scheduled to be released in November 2021, “Voyage” is sure to be a must have record for ABBA and pop fans everywhere.