Despite the fact that two decades have passed since their heyday, Swedish bubblegum pop quartet ABBA remain in the public conscience with astounding popularity. Their name is still recognized around the world and their music continues to be played in dance clubs and covered by newer, younger artists.
ABBA’s roots come from a romantic past. Two friends, Bjorn Ulraeus and Benny Andersson initially played in separate projects before teaming to compose songs and work together under Stig Anderson (who later became their manager). Both of the men were also involved in side projects with their girlfriends: Anderson with Anni-Frid Lyngstad, a jazz singer and Ulvaeus with Agnetha Faltskog, an upcoming performer who recently had a No.1 song, “I Was So in Love.”
All four were achieving moderate success before they teamed together in 1973. Named Bjorn, Benny, Agnetha and Frida, they entered and won third at the Eurovision song contest. Despite their third place finish, the group re-entered the following year with a new name, ABBA and won first place with a little song called “Waterloo.” Their international stardom began as did the hit records.
What surprised many however was the band’s success in non-English speaking countries. Songs such as “S.O.S”, “Mamma Mia” and “Fernando” scored the group charting positions around the world, but none were as big as “Dancing Queen”, which hit No.1 in the United States.
In 1978 a feature film “ABBA-The Movie” was released, further evidence of the band’s growing popularity. 1978 also saw the marriage of two of the band’s members, Lyngstad and Andersson, and the separation of Bjorn andn Agnetha.
1979’s Voulez-vous brought ABBA into the new decade, where they would follow with Super Trouper(1980) and the final LP The Visitors(1981). Andersson and Lyngstad divorced, just preceeding the band’s official disbandment in 1982.
Despite the end of ABBA as an official touring group, its popularity has never faltered. Numerous bands have covered the Swedish group’s songs and a number of spin-off and tribute bands have even rose to recognition.