Andersson (b. Dec. 16, 1946, Stockholm, Swed.) keyboards,
Bjorn Ulvaeus (b. Apr. 25, 1945, Gothenburg, Swed.), gtr.,
Agnetha "Anna" Faltskog (previously Ulvaeus; b.
Apr. 5, 1950, Jonkoping, Swed.), voc.
Synni-Lyngstad-Fredriksson-Andersson (b. Nov. 15, 1945,
Narvik, Nor.), voc.
Easily the most commercially successful group of the
Seventies, Abba became the focus of a revival in the early
Nineties, when their Abba Gold topped charts around
the world. Their wholesome image and buoyant, catchy
records made the group international pop stars (Nelson
Mandela once declared Abba his favorite pop group) and the
second most profitable corporation on the Stockholm stock
exchange. Ironically, it was their massive financial
success that, according to group members, led to the death
and kidnapping threats that prompted their disbanding in
Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson’s hook-laden singles
("Fernando" and "Money, Money, Money,"
1976; "Knowing Me, Knowing You," 1977) often
topped European charts, U.S. success was limited to
several hit albums and three Top Ten singles:
"Waterloo" (#6, 1974), "Dancing Queen"
(#1, 1977), and "Take a Chance on Me" (#3,
member was a solo star in Sweden before Abba (an acronym
of their first initials) coalesced in 1973.
"Waterloo" won the prestigious Eurovision Song
Contest in 1974, a year after they began recording in
English. Abba tours were limited initially because of the
difficulty of recreating their densely layered, richly
produced sound live. Nevertheless, they mounted their
first international tour in 1977 and appeared in the U.S.
two years later. Longtime live-in lovers Benny and
Anni-Frid (who both have children from teenage marriages)
were wed in 1978; they divorced in 1981. Two years
earlier, Bjorn and Agnetha’s marriage of six years had
also ended in divorce. Abba’s public image, however,
remained harmonious. By then they had sold an estimated
100 million records worldwide.
Phil Collins produced Frida’s post-Abba solo debut, Something’s
Going On, which featured "I Know There’s
Something Going On," a Top Twenty hit. In 1985 her
duet with B. A. Robertson, "Time," was a minor
U.K. hit. Andersson and Ulvaeus cowrote with British
lyricist Tim Rice the London and Broadway musical Chess,
from which "One Night in Bangkok" became a
#3 hit for Murray Head in 1985. Agnetha "Anna"
Faltskog has also released solo albums and had several
minor U.K. hits; her "Can’t Shake Loose" hit
#29 in 1983.
enduring -- and most U.S. critics might claim,
inexplicable -- appeal manifested in the Australian Abba
impersonators Bjorn Again, Erasure’s #1 U.K. cover EP Abba-esque,
and Roxette’s adding "Money Money Money"
to their live set. U2 performed "Dancing Queen"
on their Zoo Tour, with Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson
joining them onstage in Stockholm in 1993.
1974 -- Waterloo
1975 -- Abba
1976 -- Greatest Hits, Vol. 1; Arrival
1977 -- The Album
1979 -- Voulez-Vous; Greatest Hits, Vol. 2
1980 -- Super Trouper
1981 -- The Visitors
1982 -- Abba, The Singles, The First Ten Years
1984 -- I Love Abba
1986 -- Abba Live
1995 -- Thank You for the Music (A&M)
"Frida" Lyngstad-Fredriksson-Andersson solo:
1982 -- Something’s Going On (Atlantic)
1984 -- Shine
1983 -- Wrap Your Arms Around Me (Atlantic)
1985 -- Eyes of a Woman (Epic)
1987 -- Stand Alone (Atlantic)