on Jan 24th, 2010
I LUV ABBA!!! (Esp. Aggie)
Born: 1970, Sweden
ABBA is Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus,
Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Agnetha Fältskog
ABBA was a Swedish pop music group active between 1972 and 1982.The band comprised Benny Andersson (Sweden), Björn Ulvaeus (Sweden), Anni-Frid Lyngstad (Norway), and Agnetha Fältskog (Sweden). They topped the charts worldwide from the mid-1970s to the early 1980s. The name "ABBA" is an acronym formed from the first letters of each of the group member's given name (Agnetha, Björn, Benny, Anni-Frid)
ABBA gained immense 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 near-hysterical fans ("ABBAholics"), notably in Australia.
Touring became a contentious issue, being particularly unpopular with Agnetha, but they continued to release studio albums to great commercial success. At the height of their popularity, however, both marriages of the band members (Benny with Frida, and Björn with Agnetha) 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 world's best selling bands, having sold over 370 million records world wide; they still sell two to three million records a year. ABBA was also the first pop group from mainland Europe to enjoy consistent success in the charts of the English-speaking countries, mainly the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. Their enormous popularity subsequently opened the doors for other Continental European acts. The music of ABBA has been re-arranged into the successful musical Mamma Mia! that has toured worldwide and a movie version was released in July 2008. All four of the former members of ABBA were present at the Stockholm premieres of both the musical (2005) and the film (2008). The film première took place at the Benny Andersson-owned Rival theatre at Mariatorget, Stockholm on 4 July 2008.
A new museum devoted entirely to the pop supergroup was scheduled to open in Stockholm in 2009, but the project was put on hold indefinitely as of September 2008.
Benny Andersson (born in Stockholm, Sweden on 16 December 1946) was a member of a popular Swedish pop-rock group, The Hep Stars, that performed covers of international hits, from the age of 18. He played keyboards and eventually started writing original compositions for his band, many of which became major hits including "No Response" that hit #3 in 1965, "Sunny Girl", "Wedding", "Consolation", all of which hit #1 in 1966. Andersson also had a fruitful songwriting collaboration with Lasse Berghagen, with whom he composed his first Svensktoppen entry "Sagan Om Lilla Sofi" in 1968.
Björn Ulvaeus (born in Gothenburg, Sweden on 25 April 1945) also began his musical career at 18, when he fronted The Hootenanny Singers, a popular Swedish folk-skiffle group. Ulvaeus started writing English language songs for his group, and even had a brief solo career alongside. The Hootenanny Singers and The Hep Stars sometimes crossed paths while touring, and on one occasion in June 1966 Ulvaeus and Andersson decided to write a song together. Their first attempt was "Isn't It Easy to Say", a song later recorded by The Hep Stars. Stig Anderson was the manager of The Hootenanny Singers and founder of the Polar Music label. He saw potential in the collaboration, and encouraged them to compose more. Both also began playing occasionally with the other's bands on stage and on record, although not until 1969 did the pair write and produce some of their first real hits together: "Ljuva Sextiotal" ('Merry Sixties'), recorded by Brita Borg and The Hep Stars' 1969 hit "Speleman".
Andersson wrote and submitted the song "Hej, Clown" for the 1969 Melodifestivalen, the Swedish Eurovision Song Contest finals. The song tied for first, but re-voting relegated Andersson's song to second place. On this occasion, Andersson briefly met his future spouse, singer Anni-Frid Lyngstad, who also participated in the contest. A month later, the two had become a couple. As the two bands began to break up, Andersson and Ulvaeus teamed up and eventually recorded their first album together in 1970, called Lycka ("Happiness" in Swedish), that included original compositions sung by both men. Ulvaeus still occasionally recorded and performed with The Hootenanny Singers until the summer of 1974, and Andersson took part in producing their records.
Agnetha Fältskog (born on 5 April 1950 in Jönköping, Sweden) had a #1 record in Sweden when she was only 17, and was soon noted by the critics and songwriters as a talented singer/songwriter of schlager style songs. Fältskog's main inspiration in her early years were singers like Connie Francis. Along with her own compositions, she recorded covers of foreign hits and performed them on tours in Swedish folkparks. She submitted an original song for Melodifestivalen at 17 years old, titled "Försonade", but it was rejected. She briefly met Anni-Frid Lyngstad for the first time during a TV show in January 1968, and Björn Ulvaeus at a concert venue a few months later.
During filming of a Swedish TV special in May 1969, Fältskog met Ulvaeus again, and they eventually became romantically involved and they married in 1971. Fältskog and Ulvaeus eventually got involved in each other's recording sessions, and soon even Andersson and Lyngstad added backing vocals to her 1970 album "Som Jag Är" (As I Am). In 1973, Fältskog starred as Mary Magdalene in the original Swedish production of Jesus Christ Superstar and attracted favourable reviews. Between 1967 and 1975, Fältskog released five studio albums.
Anni-Frid "Frida" Lyngstad (born on 15 November 1945 in Bjørkåsen in Ballangen, Norway) sang from the age of thirteen with various dance bands, and worked mainly in a jazz-oriented cabaret style. She also formed her own band named Anni-Frid Four. In the summer of 1967, she won a national talent competition with the song "En Ledig Dag", included in the EMI Compilation Frida 1967-1972. The first prize was to perform live on the most popular TV show in Sweden, and included was a recording contract with EMI. This first TV performance is included in "Frida the DVD". Lyngstad released several singles on EMI and had many hits in the Swedish charts. When Benny Andersson started to produce her recordings in 1971, she got her first #1 single, "Min Egen Stad" (My Own Town), for which all four future ABBA members sang the backup vocals. Lyngstad toured and performed regularly in the folkpark circuit and made appearances on radio and TV. She met Björn Ulvaeus briefly in 1963 during a talent contest, and Agnetha Fältskog during a TV show in early 1968.
Lyngstad finally linked up with her future bandmates in 1969. On 1 March 1969, she participated in the Melodifestivalen, where she met Andersson for the first time. A few weeks later they met again during a concert tour in southern Sweden and they soon became a couple. Andersson produced her single "Peter Pan" in September 1969 – the first collaboration between her and Benny & Björn, as they had written the song. Later Andersson produced Lyngstad's debut album, Frida, which was released in March 1971 and praised by critics. Lyngstad also played in several revues and cabaret shows in Stockholm between 1969 and 1973. After ABBA formed, she recorded another successful album in 1975, Frida Ensam, which included the original Swedish rendition of "Fernando", which became a huge hit in Scandinavia before the English version was recorded. First live performance and the start of "Festfolk"
An attempt at combining their talents occurred in April 1970 when the two couples went on holiday together to the island of Cyprus. What started as singing for fun on the beach ended up as an improvised live performance in front of the United Nations soldiers stationed on the island. Andersson and Ulvaeus were at this time recording their first album together, "Lycka", which was to be released in September 1970. Fältskog and Lyngstad added backing vocals on several tracks during June, and the idea of them all working together saw them launch their own stage act, "Festfolk", which translates from Swedish to mean both "Party People" and "Engaged Couples", on 1 November 1970 in Gothenburg. The cabaret show attracted positive reviews. The foursome performed the Andersson and Ulvaeus hit "Hej, Gamle Man" – the first recording credited to all four – and solo numbers from respective albums, but the foursome did not feel like working together, and soon concentrated on individual projects again.
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