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ABBA was a Swedish
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 pop
Pop music
Pop music is usually understood to be commercially recorded music, often oriented toward a youth market, usually consisting of relatively short, simple songs utilizing technological innovations to produce new variations on existing themes.- Definitions :David Hatch and Stephen Millward define pop...

 group formed in Stockholm
Stockholm
Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 851,155 in the municipality , 1.37 million in the urban area , and around 2.1 million in the metropolitan area...

 in 1970 which consisted of Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Björn Ulvaeus
Björn Ulvaeus
Björn Kristian Ulvaeus is a Swedish songwriter, composer, musician, writer, producer, a former member of the Swedish musical group ABBA , and co-composer of the musicals Chess, Kristina från Duvemåla, and Mamma Mia!...

, Benny Andersson
Benny Andersson
Göran Bror "Benny" Andersson is a Swedish musician, composer, a former member of the Swedish musical group ABBA , and co-composer of the musicals Chess, Kristina från Duvemåla, and Mamma Mia!...

 and Agnetha Fältskog
Agnetha Fältskog
Agnetha Åse Fältskog is a Swedish recording artist. She achieved success in Sweden after the release of her début album Agnetha Fältskog in 1968, and reached international stardom as a member of the pop group ABBA, which to date has sold over 375 million records worldwide, making it the fourth...

. They became one of the most commercially successful acts in the history of pop music, topping the charts worldwide from 1972 to 1982.
ABBA has sold over 375 million records worldwide, which made them the eighth best-selling music artists in the history of recorded music, behind only Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin were an English rock band, active in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s. Formed in 1968, they consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham...

, Queen
Queen (band)
Queen are a British rock band formed in London in 1971, originally consisting of Freddie Mercury , Brian May , John Deacon , and Roger Taylor...

, Madonna
Madonna (entertainer)
Madonna is an American singer-songwriter, actress and entrepreneur. Born in Bay City, Michigan, she moved to New York City in 1977 to pursue a career in modern dance. After performing in the music groups Breakfast Club and Emmy, she released her debut album in 1983...

, Elton John
Elton John
Sir Elton Hercules John, CBE, Hon DMus is an English rock singer-songwriter, composer, pianist and occasional actor...

, Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley
Elvis Aaron Presley was one of the most popular American singers of the 20th century. A cultural icon, he is widely known by the single name Elvis. He is often referred to as the "King of Rock and Roll" or simply "the King"....

, The Beatles
The Beatles
The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...

 and Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson
Michael Joseph Jackson was an American recording artist, entertainer, and businessman. Referred to as the King of Pop, or by his initials MJ, Jackson is recognized as the most successful entertainer of all time by Guinness World Records...

. They still sell between two to three million albums a year. ABBA was the first pop group to come from a non-English-speaking country that enjoyed consistent success in the charts of English-speaking countries, including the UK
UK Singles Chart
The UK Singles Chart is compiled by The Official Charts Company on behalf of the British record-industry. The full chart contains the top selling 200 singles in the United Kingdom based upon combined record sales and download numbers, though some media outlets only list the Top 40 or the Top 75 ...

, the U.S.
Hot 100 Singles Sales
The Hot Singles Sales chart is a chart released weekly by Billboard magazine in the United States. It measures sales of commercial singles and is one of three component charts, along with the Hot 100 Airplay and the Hot Digital Songs, that determine the chart positions of singles on the...

, Canada
Canadian Hot 100
The Canadian Hot 100 is a music singles popularity chart issued weekly by Billboard magazine which ranks songs in Canada. The chart debuted in the Billboard issue dated June 16, 2007 and was made available for the first time via their online services on June 7, 2007...

, Ireland
Irish Recorded Music Association
Irish Recorded Music Association is the Irish record industry association. IRMA is a non-profit association set up to manage and control the music industry in the Republic of Ireland.-Goals and activities:...

, South Africa
Recording Industry of South Africa
The Recording Industry of South Africa is a trade association that represents the collective interests of producers of music sound recordings, major and independent record labels in South Africa. Formerly known as the Association of the South African Music Industry it was established in the 1970s...

, Australia
ARIA Charts
The ARIA charts are the main Australian music sales charts, issued weekly by the Australian Recording Industry Association. The charts are a record of the highest selling singles and albums in various genres in Australia. ARIA commenced compiling its own charts in-house from the week ending 26 June...

, Philippines and New Zealand. The group also enjoyed significant success in Latin American markets (particularly Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

, Colombia
Colombia
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

 and Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

) and recorded a collection of their hit songs in Spanish.

During the band's active years, Fältskog and Ulvaeus were a married couple, as were Lyngstad and Andersson–although both couples later divorced. At the height of their popularity, both relationships were suffering strain which ultimately resulted in the collapse of the Ulvaeus-Fältskog marriage in 1979 and the Andersson-Lyngstad marriage in 1981. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, these relationship changes began appearing in the group's music, as they produced more introspective lyrics with different compositions.

After ABBA broke up early 1983, Andersson and Ulvaeus achieved success writing music for the stage while Lyngstad and Fältskog pursued individual solo careers with varying success. ABBA's music declined in popularity until several films, notably Muriel's Wedding
Muriel's Wedding
Muriel's Wedding is a 1994 Australian-French romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by P. J. Hogan. The film, which stars actresses Toni Collette, Rachel Griffiths, Sophie Lee, and Bill Hunter, focuses on the socially awkward Muriel whose ambition is to have a glamorous wedding and improve...

 and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert is a 1994 Australian comedy-drama film written and directed by Stephan Elliott. The plot is based on the journey of three drag queens who travel across the Australian Outback from Sydney to Alice Springs in a tour bus that they have named...

, revived interest in the group, spawning several tribute band
Tribute band
A tribute act is a music group, singer, or musician who specifically plays the music of a well-known music act - sometimes one which has disbanded, ceased touring or is deceased. Probably the largest class of tributes acts are Elvis impersonators, individual performers who mimic the songs and style...

s. In 1999, ABBA's music was adapted into the successful musical Mamma Mia!
Mamma Mia!
Mamma Mia! is a stage musical written by British playwright Catherine Johnson, based on the songs of ABBA, composed by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, former members of the band. Although the title of the musical is taken from the group's 1975 chart-topper "Mamma Mia", the plot is fictional, not...

 that toured worldwide. A film of the same name
Mamma Mia! (film)
Mamma Mia! is a 2008 musical/romantic comedy film adapted from the 1999 West End/2001 Broadway musical of the same name, based on the songs of successful pop group ABBA, with additional music composed by ABBA member Benny Andersson...

 released in 2008 became the highest-grossing film in the United Kingdom that year. The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is a museum located on the shore of Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, United States. It is dedicated to archiving the history of some of the best-known and most influential artists, producers, engineers and others who have, in some major way,...

 on 15 March 2010.

Before ABBA (1960s)


Benny Andersson
Benny Andersson
Göran Bror "Benny" Andersson is a Swedish musician, composer, a former member of the Swedish musical group ABBA , and co-composer of the musicals Chess, Kristina från Duvemåla, and Mamma Mia!...

 (born 16 December 1946 in Stockholm
Stockholm
Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 851,155 in the municipality , 1.37 million in the urban area , and around 2.1 million in the metropolitan area...

, Sweden) became (at age 18) the member of a popular Swedish pop-rock group, The Hep Stars, that performed covers of international hits. The Hep Stars were known as "The Swedish Beatles". They also set up Hep House, their equivalent of the Apple Corps
Apple Corps
Apple Corps Ltd. is a multi-armed multimedia corporation founded in January 1968 by the members of The Beatles to replace their earlier company and to form a conglomerate. Its name is a pun. Its chief division is Apple Records, which was launched in the same year...

. Andersson played the keyboard and eventually started writing original compositions for his band, many of which became major hits including "No Response" that hit number 3 in 1965, "Sunny Girl", "Wedding" and "Consolation", all of which hit number 1 in 1966. Andersson also had a fruitful songwriting collaboration with Lasse Berghagen
Lasse Berghagen
Lars "Lasse" Nils Berghagen is a Swedish singer, songwriter, composer and actor.Berghagen is a well known singer-songwriter in Sweden. He released his first record in 1965, aged just 19. Four years later, in 1969, he released the single Teddybjörnen Fredriksson , which has become a classic...

, with whom he composed his first Svensktoppen
Svensktoppen
Svensktoppen is a record chart at Sveriges Radio. Until January 2003, the songs had to be in the Swedish language. Svensktoppen has aired since 1962, except for the years 1982-1985. Svensktoppen airs once a week...

 entry "Sagan om lilla Sofi" ("The Story of Little Sophie") in 1968.

Björn Ulvaeus
Björn Ulvaeus
Björn Kristian Ulvaeus is a Swedish songwriter, composer, musician, writer, producer, a former member of the Swedish musical group ABBA , and co-composer of the musicals Chess, Kristina från Duvemåla, and Mamma Mia!...

 (born 25 April 1945 in Gothenburg
Gothenburg
Gothenburg is the second-largest city in Sweden and the fifth-largest in the Nordic countries. Situated on the west coast of Sweden, the city proper has a population of 519,399, with 549,839 in the urban area and total of 937,015 inhabitants in the metropolitan area...

, Sweden) also began his musical career at 18 (as a singer and guitarist), when he fronted The Hootenanny Singers, a popular Swedish folk
Folk music
Folk music is an English term encompassing both traditional folk music and contemporary folk music. The term originated in the 19th century. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted by mouth, as music of the lower classes, and as music with unknown composers....

-skiffle
Skiffle
Skiffle is a type of popular music with jazz, blues, folk, roots and country influences, usually using homemade or improvised instruments. Originating as a term in the United States in the first half of the twentieth century, it became popular again in the UK in the 1950s, where it was mainly...

 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. 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
Stig Anderson
Stig 'Stikkan' Erik Leopold Anderson was born in Hova, Sweden, and is best known as the manager of the pop group ABBA.- Polar Music:Anderson was the founder of the Polar Music record label in 1963...

 was the manager of The Hootenanny Singers and founder of the Polar Music
Polar Music
Polar Music is a Swedish record company founded in 1963 by Stig Anderson and his friend Bengt Bernhag. The first act that it signed was the Hootenanny Singers featuring Björn Ulvaeus. Polar eventually gained prosperity producing Ulvæus' next group, international superstars ABBA...

 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 sextital" ("Merry Sixties"), recorded by Brita Borg and The Hep Stars' 1969 hit "Speleman" ("Fiddler").

Andersson wrote and submitted the song "Hej, Clown" for the 1969 Melodifestivalen
Melodifestivalen
Melodifestivalen is an annual music competition organised by Swedish public broadcasters Sveriges Television and Sveriges Radio . It determines the country's representative for the Eurovision Song Contest, and has been staged almost every year since 1959...

, the Swedish Eurovision Song Contest
Eurovision Song Contest
The Eurovision Song Contest is an annual competition held among active member countries of the European Broadcasting Union .Each member country submits a song to be performed on live television and then casts votes for the other countries' songs to determine the most popular song in the competition...

. The song tied for first place, but re-voting relegated Andersson's song to second place. On that 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 their respective bands began to break up during 1969, Andersson and Ulvaeus teamed up and recorded their first album together in 1970, called Lycka
Lycka
Lycka is a 1970 album released by folk/rock duo Björn Ulvaeus & Benny Andersson, who later became the male half of ABBA. Most of the songs feature lead vocals by Björn...

 ("Happiness"), which included original compositions sung by both men. Their spouses were often present in the recording studio, and sometimes added backing vocals; Fältskog even co-wrote a song with the two. 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
Agnetha Fältskog
Agnetha Åse Fältskog is a Swedish recording artist. She achieved success in Sweden after the release of her début album Agnetha Fältskog in 1968, and reached international stardom as a member of the pop group ABBA, which to date has sold over 375 million records worldwide, making it the fourth...

 (born 5 April 1950 in Jönköping
Jönköping
-Notable people:*Lillian Asplund, RMS Titanic survivor*John Bauer, illustrator, painter*Amy Diamond, singer*Agnetha Fältskog, ABBA*Carl Henrik Fredriksson, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Eurozine*Anders Gustafsson, kayaker, Olympian...

, Sweden) had a number 1 record in Sweden when she was 17, and was soon noted by the critics and songwriters as a talented singer/songwriter of schlager
Schlager
Schlager music is a style of popular music prevalent in Central and Northern Europe and the Balkans and also in France and Poland. In Portugal, it was adapted and became pimba music...

 style songs. Fältskog's main inspiration in her early years were singers such as Connie Francis
Connie Francis
Connie Francis is an American pop singer of Italian heritage and the top-charting female vocalist of the 1950s and 1960s. Although her chart success waned in the second half of the 1960s, Francis remained a top concert draw...

. Along with her own compositions, she recorded covers
Cover version
In popular music, a cover version or cover song, or simply cover, is a new performance or recording of a contemporary or previously recorded, commercially released song or popular song...

 of foreign hits and performed them on tours in Swedish folkpark
Folkpark
In Sweden, a folkpark is a public recreation space, usually featuring large grassed areas, trees, children's play facilities, etc. Most towns and cities have a folkpark. These parks were originally created by the labour movement so that workers and their families could have a place to unwind...

s. In 1967, she submitted an original song, "Försonade" ("Redeemed") for Melodifestivalen
Melodifestivalen
Melodifestivalen is an annual music competition organised by Swedish public broadcasters Sveriges Television and Sveriges Radio . It determines the country's representative for the Eurovision Song Contest, and has been staged almost every year since 1959...

, but it was rejected. She briefly met Anni-Frid Lyngstad for the first time during a TV show in January 1968, and met 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 were married in 1971. Fältskog and Ulvaeus eventually were involved in each other's recording sessions, and soon even Andersson and Lyngstad added backing vocals to her third studio album Som jag är (As I Am) (1970). In 1972, Fältskog starred as Mary Magdalene
Mary Magdalene
Mary Magdalene was one of Jesus' most celebrated disciples, and the most important woman disciple in the movement of Jesus. Jesus cleansed her of "seven demons", conventionally interpreted as referring to complex illnesses...

 in the original Swedish production of Jesus Christ Superstar
Jesus Christ Superstar
Jesus Christ Superstar is a rock opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber, with lyrics by Tim Rice. The musical started off as a rock opera concept recording before its first staging on Broadway in 1971...

 and attracted favourable reviews. Between 1967 and 1975, Fältskog released five studio albums.

Anni-Frid "Frida" Lyngstad
Anni-Frid Lyngstad
Anni-Frid Prinzessin Reuss von Plauen , is a Norwegian-born Swedish pop singer...

 (born 15 November 1945 in Bjørkåsen in Ballangen
Ballangen
Ballangen is a municipality in Nordland county, Norway. It is part of the Ofoten region. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Ballangen. Ballangen was separated from Evenes on 1 July 1925...

, Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

) 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, the Anni-Frid Four. In the summer of 1967, she won a national talent competition with the song "En ledig dag" ("A Day Off"), included in the EMI compilation Frida 1967-1972. The first prize was a recording contract with EMI
EMI
The EMI Group, also known as EMI Music or simply EMI, is a multinational music company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the fourth-largest business group and family of record labels in the recording industry and one of the "big four" record companies. EMI Group also has a major...

 Sweden and to perform live on the most popular TV show in Sweden. This TV performance, amongst many others, is included in the 3½ hour documentary Frida - The DVD
Frida - The DVD
See also: Frida 1967–1972, Frida ensam, Something's Going On, Shine and Djupa andetag.Frida – The DVD is a 3½ hour documentary DVD, that covers the singing career of Anni-Frid Lyngstad, also known as Frida, one of the four members of Swedish pop group ABBA...

. 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 had her first number 1 single, "Min egen stad" ("My Own Town"), for which all the 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 Ulvaeus briefly in 1963 during a talent contest, and 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– her first collaboration with Benny & Björn, as they had written the song. Later Andersson produced Lyngstad's debut studio album, Frida
Frida (album)
Frida is the 1971 debut album by Anni-Frid Lyngstad, consisting of Lyngstad's very personal and "jazzy" cover versions of English or American songs. By the time of the album's release Lyngstad had been signed to EMI/Columbia for four years...

, 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
Frida ensam
Frida ensam is a solo album by ABBA singer Anni-Frid Lyngstad. The album was produced by her fiancé, ABBA member Benny Andersson and was first released by Polar Music in 1975. It has since been re-released several times, most significantly in remastered form in 2005 with bonus tracks...

, which included the original Swedish rendition of "Fernando
Fernando (song)
"Fernando" is a song by the Swedish pop group ABBA. It was the group's first non-album single and was released in November 1975 through Polar Music. Lead vocals were sung by Anni-Frid Lyngstad...

", a 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
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

. 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 working together saw them launch a stage act, "Festfolk", which translates from Swedish to mean both "Party People" and "Engaged Couples", on 1 November 1970 in Gothenburg
Gothenburg
Gothenburg is the second-largest city in Sweden and the fifth-largest in the Nordic countries. Situated on the west coast of Sweden, the city proper has a population of 519,399, with 549,839 in the urban area and total of 937,015 inhabitants in the metropolitan area...

. The cabaret show attracted generally negative reviews, except for the performance of the Andersson and Ulvaeus hit "Hej, gamle man" ("Hello, Old Man"); the first Björn and Benny recording to feature all four. They also performed solo numbers from respective albums, but the lukewarm reception convinced the foursome to shelve plans for working together for the time being, and each soon concentrated on individual projects again.

First record together "Hej, gamle man"


"Hej, gamle man", a song about an old Salvation Army soldier, became the quartet's first hit. The record was credited to Björn & Benny and reached number 5 on the sales charts and number 1 on Svensktoppen
Svensktoppen
Svensktoppen is a record chart at Sveriges Radio. Until January 2003, the songs had to be in the Swedish language. Svensktoppen has aired since 1962, except for the years 1982-1985. Svensktoppen airs once a week...

, staying there for 15 weeks.

In the first half of 1971, the four artists worked more together, adding vocals to the others' recordings. Fältskog, Andersson and Ulvaeus toured together in May, while Lyngstad toured on her own. Frequent recording sessions brought the foursome closer together during the summer.

Forming the group (1970–1973)


After the 1970 release of Lycka, two more singles credited to 'Björn & Benny' were released in Sweden, "Det kan ingen doktor hjälpa" ("No Doctor Can Help with That") and "Tänk om jorden vore ung" ("Imagine If the Earth Were Young"), with more prominent vocals by Fältskog and Lyngstad–and moderate chart success.

Fältskog released her fourth studio album in 1971 and married Ulvaeus on 6 July 1971. Andersson, Ulvaeus, and Fältskog started performing together on a regular basis at the Swedish folkparks during the summer of 1971.

Stig Anderson
Stig Anderson
Stig 'Stikkan' Erik Leopold Anderson was born in Hova, Sweden, and is best known as the manager of the pop group ABBA.- Polar Music:Anderson was the founder of the Polar Music record label in 1963...

, founder and owner of Polar Music, was determined to break into the mainstream international market with music by Andersson and Ulvaeus. "One day the pair of you will write a song that becomes a worldwide hit", he predicted. Stig Anderson encouraged Ulvaeus and Andersson to write a song for Melodifestivalen
Melodifestivalen
Melodifestivalen is an annual music competition organised by Swedish public broadcasters Sveriges Television and Sveriges Radio . It determines the country's representative for the Eurovision Song Contest, and has been staged almost every year since 1959...

, and after two rejected entries in 1971, Andersson and Ulvaeus submitted their new song "Säg det med en sång" ("Say It with a Song") for the 1972 contest, and they chose newcomer Lena Anderson to perform. The song won third place, encouraging Stig Anderson, and became a hit in Sweden.

The first signs of foreign success came as a surprise, as the Andersson and Ulvaeus single "She's My Kind of Girl" was released through Epic Records
Epic Records
Epic Records is an American record label, owned by Sony Music Entertainment. Though it was originally conceived as a jazz imprint, it has since expanded to represent various genres. L.A...

 in Japan in March 1972, giving the duo a Top 10 hit. Two more singles were released in Japan, "En Carousel" ("En Karusell" in Scandinavia, an earlier version of "Merry-Go-Round") and "Love Has Its Ways" (a song they wrote with Koichi Morita
Koichi Morita (songwriter)
, is a Japanese composer and singer who launched his recording career in the late 1960s and had gained huge commercial success during the 1970s....

).

First hit as Björn, Benny, Agnetha & Anni-Frid


Ulvaeus and Andersson persevered with their songwriting and experimented with new sounds and vocal arrangements. "People Need Love
People Need Love
"People Need Love" is a song recorded in March 1972 by Swedish pop grup ABBA, at the time known as 'Björn & Benny, Agnetha & Anni-Frid'. The song was on the group's first album, Ring Ring, released in 1973.-The song:...

" was released in June 1972, featuring guest vocals by the women, who were now given much greater prominence. Stig Anderson released it as a single, credited to Björn & Benny, Agnetha & Anni-Frid. The song peaked at number 17 in the Swedish combined single and album charts, enough to convince them they were on to something. The single also became the first record to chart for the quartet in the United States, where it peaked at number 114 on the Cashbox singles chart and number 117 on Record World
Record World
Record World magazine was one of the three main music industry trade publications in the United States, along with Billboard and Cash Box magazines. It was founded in 1946 under the name Music Vendor, but since 1964 changed it to Record World, under the ownership of Sid Parnes and Bob Austin, both...

s singles chart. Labeled as by Björn & Benny (with Svenska Flicka), it was released there through Playboy Records
Playboy Records
Playboy Records was a record label in Los Angeles, California, and a unit of Playboy Enterprises. Artists recording for the label included Barbi Benton, Blue Ash, Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers, Brenda Patterson, Jeanne French , Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds, Ivory, Wynn Stewart, Mickey Gilley...

. However, according to Stig Anderson, "People Need Love" could have been a much bigger American hit, but a small label like Playboy Records did not have the distribution resources to meet the demand for the single from retailers and radio programmers.

The foursome decided to record their first album together in the autumn of 1972, and sessions began on 26 September 1972. The women shared lead vocal on "Nina, Pretty Ballerina" that day, and their voices in harmony for the first time gave the foursome an idea of the quality of their combined talents.

"Ring Ring"


For 1973, the band and their manager Stig Anderson decided to have another try at Melodifestivalen, this time with the song "Ring Ring
Ring Ring (song)
"Ring Ring" is a 1973 single by ABBA, which gave the group their big break in several European countries...

". The studio sessions were handled by Michael B. Tretow
Michael B. Tretow
Bo Michael Tretow is a swedish record producer and audio engineer, Musician and composer, best known for his work with Swedish pop group ABBA , and with the musical Chess. Tretow experimented with different recording techniques, and played an essential part in creating the famous "ABBA-sound"...

, who experimented with a "wall of sound
Wall of Sound
The Wall of Sound is a music production technique for pop and rock music recordings developed by record producer Phil Spector at Gold Star Studios in Los Angeles, California, during the early 1960s...

" production technique that became the wholly new ABBA sound. Anderson arranged an English translation of the lyrics by Neil Sedaka
Neil Sedaka
Neil Sedaka is an American pop/rock singer, pianist, and composer. His career has spanned nearly 55 years, during which time he has sold millions of records as an artist and has written or co-written over 500 songs for himself and other artists, collaborating mostly with lyricists Howard...

 and Phil Cody and they thought this would be a surefire winner, but in Melodifestivalen, on 10 February 1973, it was placed third, and thus never reached the international Eurovision Song Contest. Nevertheless, the proto-group released their debut studio album, called Ring Ring
Ring Ring (album)
-2001 re-release:Ring Ring was remastered and reissued in 2001 with three bonus tracks :-2005 re-release:...

. The album did well and the "Ring Ring" single was a hit in many parts of Europe and also in South Africa. However, Stig Anderson felt the true breakthrough could only come with a UK or US hit.

Official naming



In early 1973, Stig Anderson, tired of unwieldy names, started to refer to the group privately and publicly as ABBA. At first, this was a play on words, as Abba is also the name of a well-known fish-canning company in Sweden, and itself an acronym. However, since the fish-canners were unknown outside Sweden, Anderson came to believe the name would work in international markets. A competition to find a suitable name for the group was held in a Gothenburg newspaper. The group was impressed with the names "Alibaba", "FABB", and "Baba", but in the end all the entries were ignored and it was announced in the summer that the name "ABBA" was official. Later the group negotiated with the canners for the rights to the name. "ABBA" is an acronym
Acronym and initialism
Acronyms and initialisms are abbreviations formed from the initial components in a phrase or a word. These components may be individual letters or parts of words . There is no universal agreement on the precise definition of the various terms , nor on written usage...

 formed from the first letters of each group member's first name: Agnetha, Björn, Benny and Anni-Frid. During a promo photo, Benny flipped his "B" horizontally for fun, and from 1976 onwards the first 'B' in the logo version of the name was "mirror-image" reversed on the band's promotional material and became the group's registered trademark.

The first time the name is found written on paper is on a recording session sheet from the Metronome Studio in Stockholm
Stockholm
Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 851,155 in the municipality , 1.37 million in the urban area , and around 2.1 million in the metropolitan area...

, dated 16 October 1973. This was first written as "Björn, Benny, Agnetha & Frida", but was subsequently crossed out with "ABBA" written in large letters on top.

The official logo, using the bold version of the News Gothic
News Gothic
News Gothic is a realist sans-serif typeface designed by Morris Fuller Benton, and released by the American Type Founders in 1908. The typeface was originally drawn in two lighter weights, a medium text weight using the title News Gothic, and a closely related light weight marketed under the name...

 typeface, was designed by Rune Söderqvist, and appeared for the first time on the "Dancing Queen
Dancing Queen
"Dancing Queen" is a pop song recorded by Swedish pop group ABBA. It was released in August 1976, but was first performed two months earlier, on 18 June 1976, during a Royal Variety Show in Stockholm the evening before the Swedish royal wedding. It was the follow-up single to the hit "Fernando"...

" single in August 1976, and subsequently on all later original albums and singles. But the idea for the official logo was made by the German photographer Wolfgang Heilemann on a "Dancing Queen" shoot for the teenage magazine Bravo
Bravo (magazine)
Bravo is the largest teen magazine within the German-language sphere. The first issue was published in 1956, subtitled as "the magazine for film and television" . Marilyn Monroe's portrait graced the first published issue, the never-published dummy issue cover displayed Elvis Presley.-History:The...

. On the photo, every ABBA-member held a giant initial letter of his/her name. After the pictures were made, Heilemann found out that one of the men held his letter backwards. They discussed it and the members of ABBA liked it. Following their acquisition of the group's catalogue, Polygram began using variations of the ABBA logo, using a different font and adding a crown emblem to it in 1992 for the first releases of 'ABBA Gold'. When Universal Music purchased Polygram (and, thus, ABBA's label Polar Music International), control of the group's catalogue was returned to Stockholm. Since then, the original logo has been reinstated on all official products.

Eurovision


For their first Eurovision, ABBA entered with "Ring Ring
Ring Ring (song)
"Ring Ring" is a 1973 single by ABBA, which gave the group their big break in several European countries...

" but failed to qualify as the 1973 Swedish entry; it came third in the national round. Stig Anderson immediately started planning for the 1974 contest.

Ulvaeus, Andersson, and Stig Anderson believed in the possibilities of using Melodifestivalen
Melodifestivalen
Melodifestivalen is an annual music competition organised by Swedish public broadcasters Sveriges Television and Sveriges Radio . It determines the country's representative for the Eurovision Song Contest, and has been staged almost every year since 1959...

 and Eurovision TV contests as a way to make the music business aware of the band and Andersson, Ulvaeus and Stig Anderson as composers. In late 1973, they were invited by Swedish television to contribute a song for the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest and from a number of newly written compositions, the foursome chose the upbeat "Waterloo"; the group was now inspired by the growing glam rock
Glam rock
Glam rock is a style of rock and pop music that developed in the UK in the early 1970s, which was performed by singers and musicians who wore outrageous clothes, makeup and hairstyles, particularly platform-soled boots and glitter...

 scene in England. "Waterloo" was an unashamedly glam-style pop track produced with Michael B. Tretow's wall-of-sound approach.

ABBA won their national heats on Swedish television on 9 February 1974, and with this third attempt were far more experienced and better prepared for the international contest. Winning the Eurovision Song Contest gave ABBA the chance to tour Europe and perform on major television shows; thus the band saw the "Waterloo" single chart in many European countries. "Waterloo" was ABBA's first number one single in big markets such as the UK, Germany and Australia. In the United States, it peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot 100
Billboard Hot 100
The Billboard Hot 100 is the United States music industry standard singles popularity chart issued weekly by Billboard magazine. Chart rankings are based on radio play and sales; the tracking-week for sales begins on Monday and ends on Sunday, while the radio play tracking-week runs from Wednesday...

 chart, paving the way for their first album and their first trip as a group there. Albeit a short promotional visit, it included their first performance on American television, The Mike Douglas Show
The Mike Douglas Show
The Mike Douglas Show is an American daytime television talk show hosted by Mike Douglas that aired in syndication from 1961 to 1982, distributed by Westinghouse Broadcasting and for much of its run, originated from studios of two of the company's TV stations.The program featured light banter with...

. The album Waterloo
Waterloo (album)
* 1974 Polar Music International AB, Stockholm, Sweden.* The original album release of Waterloo in 1974 with Polar.-CD re-issues, bonus tracks:...

 only peaked at number 145 on the Billboard 200
Billboard 200
The Billboard 200 is a ranking of the 200 highest-selling music albums and EPs in the United States, published weekly by Billboard magazine. It is frequently used to convey the popularity of an artist or groups of artists...

 chart, but received unanimous high praise from the US critics: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles Times is a daily newspaper published in Los Angeles, California, since 1881. It was the second-largest metropolitan newspaper in circulation in the United States in 2008 and the fourth most widely distributed newspaper in the country....

 called it "a compelling and fascinating debut album that captures the spirit of mainstream pop quite effectively . . . an immensely enjoyable and pleasant project", while Creem
Creem
Creem , "America's Only Rock 'n' Roll Magazine," was a monthly rock 'n' roll publication first published in March 1969 by Barry Kramer and founding editor Tony Reay. It suspended production in 1989 but received a short-lived renaissance in the early 1990s as a glossy tabloid...

 characterized it as "a perfect blend of exceptional, lovable compositions".

ABBA's follow-up single, "Honey, Honey
Honey, Honey
"Honey, Honey" is a song by the Swedish pop group ABBA. It was released as the second single from their second studio album, Waterloo, after the success of the title track winning the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest.-History:...

", peaking at number 27 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and was number 2 in Germany. However, in the United Kingdom, ABBA's British record label, Epic, decided to re-release a remixed version of "Ring Ring" instead of "Honey, Honey", and a cover version of "Honey, Honey" by the act Sweet Dreams peaked at number 10. Both records debuted on the UK chart within one week of each other. "Ring Ring" failed to reach the Top 30 in the United Kingdom, increasing growing speculation that the group were simply Eurovision one-hit wonder
One-hit wonder
A one-hit wonder is a person or act known mainly for only a single success. The term is most often used to describe music performers with only one hit single.-Characteristics:...

s.

Post-Eurovision


In November 1974, ABBA embarked on their first European tour, playing dates in Denmark, West Germany, and Austria. It was not as successful as the band had hoped, since most of the venues did not sell out. Due to a lack of demand, they were even forced to cancel a few shows, including a sole concert scheduled in Switzerland. The second leg of the tour, which took them through Scandinavia in January 1975, was different. They played to full houses everywhere and finally got the reception they had aimed for. Live performances continued during the summer of 1975 when ABBA embarked on a sixteen open-air date tour of Sweden and Finland. Their Stockholm
Stockholm
Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 851,155 in the municipality , 1.37 million in the urban area , and around 2.1 million in the metropolitan area...

 show at the Gröna Lund
Gröna Lund
Tivoli Gröna Lund or Grönan is an amusement park in Stockholm, Sweden. It is located on the seaward side of the Djurgården island and is relatively small compared to other amusement parks, mainly due to its central location, which limits expansion. Gröna Lund is a popular venue for concerts during...

 amusement park had an estimated audience of 19,200.

In 1974, "So Long" was released as a single in the United Kingdom but it received no airplay from Radio 1 and failed to chart. In the summer of 1975 they released "I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do", which again received little airplay on radio 1 but managed to climb the charts, to number 38. Later in 1975, the release of their self-titled third studio album ABBA
ABBA (album)
1975 Polar Music international AB, Stockholm, Sweden.Stig Anderson helped us with the lyrics on "Mamma Mia", "Tropical Loveland", "SOS", "Bang-A-Boomerang", "I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do" and "I've Been Waiting for You".-CD re-issues, bonus tracks:...

 and single "SOS
SOS (ABBA song)
Agnetha Fältskog's version was the second single from her fifth Swedish solo-album Elva kvinnor i ett hus . It was the only song from this album not to have been composed by Fältskog herself....

" brought back their chart presence in the UK, where the single hit number 6 and the album peaked at number 13. "SOS" also became ABBA's second number 1 single in both Germany and Australia. Success was further solidified with "Mamma Mia
Mamma Mia (song)
"Mamma Mia" is a song from ABBA's 3rd album, ABBA, written by Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus & Stig Anderson, with the lead vocals shared by Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. The song "Mamma Mia" is a common song used in bands or orchestras...

" peaking at number 1 in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Australia in January 1976. In the United States, "SOS
SOS (ABBA song)
Agnetha Fältskog's version was the second single from her fifth Swedish solo-album Elva kvinnor i ett hus . It was the only song from this album not to have been composed by Fältskog herself....

" peaked at number 10 on the Record World
Record World
Record World magazine was one of the three main music industry trade publications in the United States, along with Billboard and Cash Box magazines. It was founded in 1946 under the name Music Vendor, but since 1964 changed it to Record World, under the ownership of Sid Parnes and Bob Austin, both...

 Top 100 singles chart and number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, picking up the BMI
Broadcast Music Incorporated
Broadcast Music, Inc. is one of three United States performing rights organizations, along with ASCAP and SESAC. It collects license fees on behalf of songwriters, composers, and music publishers and distributes them as royalties to those members whose works have been performed...

 Award along the way as one of the most played songs on American radio in 1975.

The success of the group in the United States had until that time been limited to single releases. By early 1976, the group already had four Top 30 singles on US charts, but the album market proved to be tough to crack. The eponymous ABBA album generated three American hits, but it only peaked at number 165 on the Cashbox album chart and number 174 on the Billboard 200 chart. Opinions were voiced, by Creem in particular, that in the US ABBA had endured "a very sloppy promotional campaign". The group, however, enjoyed warm reviews from American press. Cashbox went as far as saying that "there is a recurrent thread of taste and artistry inherent in Abba's marketing, creativity and presentation that makes it almost embarrassing to critique their efforts", while Creem wrote: "SOS is surrounded on this LP by so many good tunes that the mind boggles".

In Australia, the airing of the music videos for "I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do
I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do
"I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do" was a hit single for Swedish pop group ABBA, and was their next major worldwide hit after Waterloo. It was the second single to be released from their ABBA album, and one of the last songs to be recorded for the album...

" and "Mamma Mia
Mamma Mia (song)
"Mamma Mia" is a song from ABBA's 3rd album, ABBA, written by Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus & Stig Anderson, with the lead vocals shared by Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. The song "Mamma Mia" is a common song used in bands or orchestras...

" on nationwide television in August 1975 started an immense interest for ABBA, resulting in number 1 positions on both the single and album charts for months.

Superstardom (1976–1981)


In March 1976, the band released the compilation album Greatest Hits
Greatest Hits (ABBA album)
Greatest Hits is a compilation album by Swedish pop group ABBA, released in 1975 . Greatest Hits was rush-released in Scandinavia in November 1975 to counter expected import sales of similar collections released by licencees in Europe, such as French Disques Vogue's ABBA's Greatest Hits and West...

, despite having had only six Top 40 hits in the United Kingdom and the United States. Nevertheless, it became their first UK number 1 album, and also took ABBA into the Top 50 on the US album charts for the first time, eventually selling more than a million copies there. At the same time, Germany released a compilation named The Very Best of ABBA, also becoming a number 1 album there whereas the Greatest Hits compilation followed a few months later to number 2 on the German charts, despite all similarities with The Very Best album. Also included on Greatest Hits was a new single, "Fernando
Fernando (song)
"Fernando" is a song by the Swedish pop group ABBA. It was the group's first non-album single and was released in November 1975 through Polar Music. Lead vocals were sung by Anni-Frid Lyngstad...

", which had first been written by Ulvaeus and Andersson in Swedish for Lyngstad's number 1 1975 solo album Frida ensam
Frida ensam
Frida ensam is a solo album by ABBA singer Anni-Frid Lyngstad. The album was produced by her fiancé, ABBA member Benny Andersson and was first released by Polar Music in 1975. It has since been re-released several times, most significantly in remastered form in 2005 with bonus tracks...

 (Frida Alone). After Lyngstad's huge success with the song in Sweden, the group decided to record an English version. "Fernando" took the world by storm, hitting number 1 in at least thirteen countries worldwide, including the United Kingdom, Germany and Australia and the single went to sell over 10 million copies worldwide. In Australia, the song occupied the top position during 14 weeks, and stayed in the Australian charts for 40 weeks, tying The Beatles
The Beatles
The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...

 for longest number one for "Hey Jude
Hey Jude
"Hey Jude" is a song by the English rock band The Beatles, written by Paul McCartney and credited to Lennon–McCartney. The ballad evolved from "Hey Jules", a song widely accepted as being written to comfort John Lennon's son, Julian, during his parents' divorce—although this explanation is not...

", making "Fernando" one of the bestselling singles of all time in Australia. That same year, the group received its first international prize, with "Fernando" being chosen as the "Best Studio Recording of 1975". In the United States, "Fernando" reached the Top 10 of the Cashbox Top 100 singles chart and number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also topped the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, ABBA's first American number one single.

The group's fourth studio album, Arrival
Arrival (ABBA album)
-Side one:#"When I Kissed the Teacher" – 2:58#"Dancing Queen" – 3:47#"Dum Dum Diddle" – 2:50#"My Love, My Life" – 3:50...

, a number 1 bestseller in Europe and Australia, represented a new level of accomplishment in both songwriting and studio work, prompting rave reviews from more rock-oriented UK music weeklies such as Melody Maker
Melody Maker
Melody Maker, published in the United Kingdom, was, according to its publisher IPC Media, the world's oldest weekly music newspaper. It was founded in 1926 as a magazine targeted at musicians; in 2000 it was merged into "long-standing rival" New Musical Express.-1950s–1960s:Originally the Melody...

 and New Musical Express
NME
The New Musical Express is a popular music publication in the United Kingdom, published weekly since March 1952. It started as a music newspaper, and gradually moved toward a magazine format during the 1980s, changing from newsprint in 1998. It was the first British paper to include a singles...

, and mostly appreciative notices from American critics. Hit after hit flowed from Arrival: "Money, Money, Money
Money, Money, Money
"Money, Money, Money", originally "Gypsy Girl", is a song recorded by Swedish pop group ABBA. The song, like most ABBA songs, was written by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus. It was released as a single on November 1, 1976, as the follow-up single to "Dancing Queen, both from the album Arrival...

", another number 1 in Germany and Australia, and "Knowing Me, Knowing You
Knowing Me, Knowing You
"Knowing Me, Knowing You" is a hit single recorded by Swedish pop group ABBA. The song was written by Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus and Stig Anderson, with the lead vocal sung by Anni-Frid Lyngstad. During recording sessions, it had the working titles of "Ring It In" and "Number 1, Number 1"...

", ABBA's sixth consecutive German number 1 as well as another UK number 1. The real sensation was "Dancing Queen
Dancing Queen
"Dancing Queen" is a pop song recorded by Swedish pop group ABBA. It was released in August 1976, but was first performed two months earlier, on 18 June 1976, during a Royal Variety Show in Stockholm the evening before the Swedish royal wedding. It was the follow-up single to the hit "Fernando"...

", not only topping the charts in the loyal markets UK, Germany and Australia, but also peaking at number 1 in the United States. In South Africa, ABBA had astounding success with "Fernando", "Dancing Queen" and "Knowing Me, Knowing You" being among the top 20 bestselling singles for 1976–77. In 1977, Arrival was nominated for the inaugural BRIT Award
Brit Awards
The Brit Awards are the British Phonographic Industry's annual pop music awards. The name was originally a shortened form of "British", "Britain" or "Britannia", but subsequently became a backronym for British Record Industry Trust...

 in the category "Best International Album of the Year". By this time ABBA were popular in the United Kingdom, most of Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
In Frida – The DVD, Lyngstad explains how she and Fältskog developed as singers, as ABBA's recordings grew more complex over the years.

Their popularity in the United States would remain on a comparatively smaller scale, and "Dancing Queen" became the only Billboard Hot 100 number 1 single ABBA had there (they did, however, get three more singles to the number 1 position on other Billboard charts, including Billboard Adult Contemporary and Hot Dance Club Play
Hot Dance Club Play
The Hot Dance Club Songs chart is a weekly national survey of the songs that are most popular in U.S. dance clubs...

). Nevertheless, Arrival finally became a true breakthrough release for ABBA on the US album market where it peaked at number 20 on the Billboard 200 chart and was certified gold by RIAA
Recording Industry Association of America
The Recording Industry Association of America is a trade organization that represents the recording industry distributors in the United States...

.

European and Australian tour


In January 1977, ABBA embarked on tour. The group's status had changed dramatically and they were clearly regarded as superstars. They opened their much anticipated tour in Oslo
Oslo
Oslo is a municipality, as well as the capital and most populous city in Norway. As a municipality , it was established on 1 January 1838. Founded around 1048 by King Harald III of Norway, the city was largely destroyed by fire in 1624. The city was moved under the reign of Denmark–Norway's King...

, Norway, on 28 January, and mounted a lavishly produced spectacle that included a few scenes from their self-written mini-operetta The Girl with the Golden Hair. The concert attracted immense media attention from across Europe and Australia. They continued the tour through Western Europe visiting Gothenburg
Gothenburg
Gothenburg is the second-largest city in Sweden and the fifth-largest in the Nordic countries. Situated on the west coast of Sweden, the city proper has a population of 519,399, with 549,839 in the urban area and total of 937,015 inhabitants in the metropolitan area...

, Copenhagen
Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

, Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

, Cologne
Cologne
Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

, Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

, Antwerp, Essen
Essen
- Origin of the name :In German-speaking countries, the name of the city Essen often causes confusion as to its origins, because it is commonly known as the German infinitive of the verb for the act of eating, and/or the German noun for food. Although scholars still dispute the interpretation of...

, Hanover
Hanover
Hanover or Hannover, on the river Leine, is the capital of the federal state of Lower Saxony , Germany and was once by personal union the family seat of the Hanoverian Kings of Great Britain, under their title as the dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg...

, Hamburg
Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

, and ended it with shows in the United Kingdom in Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

, Birmingham
Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

, Glasgow and two sold-out concerts at London's Royal Albert Hall
Royal Albert Hall
The Royal Albert Hall is a concert hall situated on the northern edge of the South Kensington area, in the City of Westminster, London, England, best known for holding the annual summer Proms concerts since 1941....

. Tickets for these two shows were available only by mail application and it was later revealed that the box-office received 3.5 million requests for tickets, enough to fill the venue 580 times. Along with praise ("Abba turn out to be amazingly successful at reproducing their records", wrote Creem), there were complaints that "Abba performed slickly...but with a zero personality coming across from a total of 16 people on stage" (Melody Maker
Melody Maker
Melody Maker, published in the United Kingdom, was, according to its publisher IPC Media, the world's oldest weekly music newspaper. It was founded in 1926 as a magazine targeted at musicians; in 2000 it was merged into "long-standing rival" New Musical Express.-1950s–1960s:Originally the Melody...

). One of the Royal Albert Hall concerts was filmed as a reference for the filming of the Australian tour for what became ABBA: The Movie
ABBA: The Movie
ABBA: The Movie is a 1977 film about the pop group ABBA's Australian tour. It was directed by Lasse Hallström, who directed most of the group's videos. The film has become a cult film among ABBA fans...

, though it is not known exactly how much of the concert was filmed.


After the European leg of the tour, in March 1977, ABBA played eleven dates in Australia before a total of 160,000 people. The opening concert in Sydney at the Sydney Showground
Sydney Showground (Moore Park)
The former Sydney Showground at Moore Park was the site of the Sydney Royal Easter Show in New South Wales, Australia from 1882 until 1997, when the Show was moved to the new Sydney Showground at Homebush Bay, which was built for the Sydney 2000 Olympics...

 on 3 March before over 20,000 was marred by torrential rain and Lyngstad slipped on the wet stage during the concert. However, all four members would later recall this concert to be the most memorable of their career. Upon their arrival in Melbourne, a civic reception was held at the Melbourne Town Hall
Melbourne Town Hall
Melbourne Town Hall is the central municipal building of the City of Melbourne, Australia, in the State of Victoria. It is located on the northeast corner of Swanston and Collins Streets, in the central business district. It is the seat of the Local Government Area of the City of Melbourne...

 and ABBA appeared on the balcony to greet an enthusiastic crowd of 6,000 people. In Melbourne, ABBA played three concerts at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl
Sidney Myer Music Bowl
The Sidney Myer Music Bowl is an outdoor performance venue in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. It is located in the lawns and gardens of Kings Domain, close to the Arts Centre and the Southbank entertainment precinct...

 with 14,500 at each including the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser
Malcolm Fraser
John Malcolm Fraser AC, CH, GCL, PC is a former Australian Liberal Party politician who was the 22nd Prime Minister of Australia. He came to power in the 1975 election following the dismissal of the Whitlam Labor government, in which he played a key role...

 and his family. At the first Melbourne concert, an additional 16,000 people gathered outside the fenced-off area to listen to the concert. In Adelaide, the group performed one concert at West Lakes Football Stadium
AAMI Stadium
Football Park is an Australian rules football stadium located in West Lakes, a western suburb of Adelaide, South Australia...

 before 20,000 people with another 10,000 listening outside. During the first of five concerts in Perth, there was a bomb scare with everyone having to evacuate the Entertainment Centre. The trip was accompanied by mass hysteria and unprecedented media attention ("Swedish ABBA stirs box-office in Down Under tour...and the media coverage of the quartet rivals that set to cover the upcoming Royal tour of Australia", wrote Variety
Variety (magazine)
Variety is an American weekly entertainment-trade magazine founded in New York City, New York, in 1905 by Sime Silverman. With the rise of the importance of the motion-picture industry, Daily Variety, a daily edition based in Los Angeles, California, was founded by Silverman in 1933. In 1998, the...

), and is captured on film in ABBA: The Movie
ABBA: The Movie
ABBA: The Movie is a 1977 film about the pop group ABBA's Australian tour. It was directed by Lasse Hallström, who directed most of the group's videos. The film has become a cult film among ABBA fans...

, directed by Lasse Hallström
Lasse Hallström
Lars Sven "Lasse" Hallström is a Swedish film director. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director for My Life as a Dog and later for The Cider House Rules .-Life and career:...

.

The Australian tour and its subsequent ABBA: The Movie produced some ABBA lore, as well. Fältskog's blonde good looks had long made her the band's "pin-up girl", a role she disdained. During the Australian tour, she performed in a skin-tight white jumpsuit, causing one Australian newspaper to use the headline "Agnetha's bottom tops dull show". When asked about this at a news conference, she replied: "Don't they have bottoms in Australia?"

In December 1977, ABBA followed up Arrival with the more ambitious fifth album ABBA: The Album, released to coincide with the debut of ABBA: The Movie. Although the album was less well-received by UK reviewers, it did spawn more worldwide hits: "The Name of the Game
The Name of the Game
"The Name of the Game" is a 1977 song by Swedish pop group ABBA, and was released as the first single from the group's fifth studio album, The Album...

" and "Take a Chance on Me
Take a Chance on Me
"Take a Chance on Me" is a song by the Swedish pop group ABBA. It was released in 1978 as the second single from their fifth studio album, simply called The Album. The song has been featured on a number of ABBA compilations such as ABBA Gold: Greatest Hits.-History:The working title of "Take a...

", both topped the UK charts, and peaked at number 12 and number 3 respectively on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the US. Although "Take a Chance on Me" did not top the American charts, it proved to be ABBA's biggest hit single in the United States, selling more copies than "Dancing Queen". The Album also included the ABBA signature song, "Thank You for the Music
Thank You for the Music
"Thank You for the Music" is a song by the Swedish pop group ABBA. It was originally featured on the group's fifth studio album ABBA: The Album and was released as a single on November 6, 1983, to promote the Epic Records compilation album Thank You for the Music: A Collection of Love Songs...

", the B-side of "Eagle
Eagle (song)
The song "Eagle" was recorded in 1977 by Swedish pop group ABBA. It was the first track on the group's fifth album, simply titled The Album and the longest track they ever recorded...

" in countries where the latter had been released as a single, and later released as an A-side single in the United Kingdom in 1983.

Polar Music Studio formation



By 1978, ABBA was one of the biggest bands in the world. They converted a vacant movie theatre into the Polar Music
Polar Music
Polar Music is a Swedish record company founded in 1963 by Stig Anderson and his friend Bengt Bernhag. The first act that it signed was the Hootenanny Singers featuring Björn Ulvaeus. Polar eventually gained prosperity producing Ulvæus' next group, international superstars ABBA...

 Studio, a state-of-the-art studio in Stockholm
Stockholm
Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 851,155 in the municipality , 1.37 million in the urban area , and around 2.1 million in the metropolitan area...

. The studio was used by several other bands; notably, Genesis
Genesis (band)
Genesis are an English rock band that formed in 1967. The band currently comprises the longest-tenured members Tony Banks , Mike Rutherford and Phil Collins . Past members Peter Gabriel , Steve Hackett and Anthony Phillips , also played major roles in the band in its early years...

' Duke
Duke (album)
Duke is the tenth studio album by British band Genesis, released in March 1980.-Overview:The release of Duke followed solo albums by Genesis members Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford ....

 and Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin were an English rock band, active in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s. Formed in 1968, they consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham...

's In Through the Out Door
In Through the Out Door
In Through the Out Door is the eighth studio album by the English rock band Led Zeppelin. It was recorded over a three week period in November and December 1978 at ABBA's Polar Studios in Stockholm, Sweden, and released by Swan Song Records on 15 August 1979...

 were recorded there. During May, the group went to the United States for a promotional campaign, performing alongside Andy Gibb
Andy Gibb
Andy Gibb was an English singer and teen idol, and the youngest brother of the family whose other male siblings formed the Bee Gees: Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb.-The early years:...

 on Olivia Newton-John
Olivia Newton-John
Olivia Newton-John AO, OBE is a singer and actress. She is a four-time Grammy award winner who has amassed five No. 1 and ten other Top Ten Billboard Hot 100 singles and two No. 1 Billboard 200 solo albums. Eleven of her singles and 14 of her albums have been certified gold by the RIAA...

's TV show. Recording sessions for "Summer Night City
Summer Night City
"Summer Night City", written by Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, is ABBA's 2nd non-album single, released on September 6, 1978. It was originally intended as the lead single from the group's upcoming Voulez-Vous album, but was eventually not included...

" were an uphill struggle, but upon release the song became another hit for the group. The track would set the stage for ABBA's foray into disco
Disco
Disco is a genre of dance music. Disco acts charted high during the mid-1970s, and the genre's popularity peaked during the late 1970s. It had its roots in clubs that catered to African American, gay, psychedelic, and other communities in New York City and Philadelphia during the late 1960s and...

 with their next album.

On 9 January 1979, the group performed "Chiquitita
Chiquitita
"Chiquitita" was the first single release from Swedish pop group ABBA's Voulez-Vous album, their sixth for Polar, and their fifth for Epic and Atlantic...

" at the Music for UNICEF Concert
Music for UNICEF Concert
The Music for UNICEF Concert: A Gift of Song was a benefit concert of popular music held in the United Nations General Assembly in New York City on January 9, 1979. It was intended to raise money for UNICEF world hunger programs and to mark the beginning of the International Year of the Child. The...

 held at the United Nations General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

 to celebrate UNICEF's Year of the Child. ABBA donated the copyright
Copyright
Copyright is a legal concept, enacted by most governments, giving the creator of an original work exclusive rights to it, usually for a limited time...

 of this worldwide hit to the UNICEF
United Nations Children's Fund
United Nations Children's Fund was created by the United Nations General Assembly on December 11, 1946, to provide emergency food and healthcare to children in countries that had been devastated by World War II...

; see Music for UNICEF Concert
Music for UNICEF Concert
The Music for UNICEF Concert: A Gift of Song was a benefit concert of popular music held in the United Nations General Assembly in New York City on January 9, 1979. It was intended to raise money for UNICEF world hunger programs and to mark the beginning of the International Year of the Child. The...

. The single was released the following week, and peaked at number 1 in ten countries.

North American and European tours


In mid-January 1979, Ulvaeus and Fältskog announced they were getting divorced. The news caused interest from the media, and led to speculation about the band's future. ABBA assured the press and their fan base they were continuing their work as a group, and that the divorce would not affect them. Nonetheless, the media continued to confront them with this in interviews. To escape the media swirl and concentrate on their writing, Andersson and Ulvaeus secretly traveled to Compass Point Studios
Compass Point Studios
Compass Point Studios were founded in 1977 by Chris Blackwell, the owner of Island Records.In the late 1970s and mid-1980s, many musical artists from across the world came to the Bahamas to record music at its facilities. Many producers, including Chris Blackwell himself, used the studio to produce...

 in Nassau, Bahamas
Nassau, Bahamas
Nassau is the capital, largest city, and commercial centre of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. The city has a population of 248,948 , 70 percent of the entire population of The Bahamas...

, where for two weeks they prepared their next album's songs in relative quiet.

The group's sixth studio album, Voulez-Vous
Voulez-Vous
-CD re-issues, bonus tracks:Voulez-Vous was remastered and reissued in 1997 with two bonus tracks:"Summer Night City" – 3:34 "Lovelight" – 3:18Voulez-Vous was remastered and reissued in 2001 with three other bonus tracks:...

, was released in April 1979, the title track of which was recorded at the famous Criteria Studios
Criteria Studios
Criteria Studios is a music-recording studio in Miami, Florida, started in 1958 by Mack Emerman.In 1999, The Hit Factory purchased Criteria Studios, revamping and reopening the studios under the new name The Hit Factory Criteria Miami.-Notable artists:...

 in Miami, Florida with the assistance, among others, of recording engineer Tom Dowd
Tom Dowd
Tom Dowd was an American recording engineer and producer for Atlantic Records. He was credited with innovating the multi-track recording method. Dowd worked on a virtual "who's who" of recordings that encompassed blues, jazz, pop, rock and soul records.- Early years :Born in Manhattan, Dowd grew...

. The album topped the charts across Europe and in Japan and Mexico, hit the Top 10 in Canada and Australia and the Top 20 in the United States. None of the singles from the album peaked at number 1 on the UK charts, but "Chiquitita
Chiquitita
"Chiquitita" was the first single release from Swedish pop group ABBA's Voulez-Vous album, their sixth for Polar, and their fifth for Epic and Atlantic...

", "Does Your Mother Know
Does Your Mother Know
"Does Your Mother Know", originally "I Can Do It", is the name of a song recorded in 1979 by Swedish pop group ABBA and was the second single to be released from their album Voulez-Vous. The B-side was "Kisses of Fire", also taken from the album.-History:...

", "Angeleyes
Angeleyes
"Angeleyes" is a song written and recorded in 1979 by Swedish pop group ABBA. The lyrics and music were composed by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, with the lyrics sung by both Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, typical of most ABBA compositions...

" and "Voulez-Vous
Voulez-Vous (song)
"Voulez-Vous" is a eurodisco track by Swedish pop group ABBA, written by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus . Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad shared the lead vocals....

" all charted no lower than No. 4. "I Have a Dream" was the exception, when the single peaked at number 2 in the United Kingdom and number 1 on Eurochart Hot 100 singles. In Canada, "I Have a Dream" became ABBA's second number 1 on the RPM Adult Contemporary chart, after "Fernando" hit the top previously. Later that year, the group released their second compilation album, Greatest Hits Vol. 2
Greatest Hits Vol. 2 (ABBA album)
Greatest Hits Vol. 2 is a compilation album by Swedish pop group ABBA, released in October 1979 to coincide with their tour of North America and Europe...

, which featured a brand new track: "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)
Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)
"Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! ", originally titled "Been and Gone and Done It", is one of Swedish pop group ABBA's biggest disco hits. It was recorded and released in 1979 with "The King Has Lost His Crown" as the B-side. It appears on ABBA's Greatest Hits Vol...

", another number 3 hit in both, the United Kingdom and Germany. In Russia during the late 1970s, they were paid in oil commodities because of an embargo
Embargo
An embargo is the partial or complete prohibition of commerce and trade with a particular country, in order to isolate it. Embargoes are considered strong diplomatic measures imposed in an effort, by the imposing country, to elicit a given national-interest result from the country on which it is...

 on the ruble
Soviet ruble
The Soviet ruble or rouble was the currency of the Soviet Union. One ruble is divided into 100 kopeks, ....

.

On 13 September 1979, ABBA began their ABBA: The Tour
ABBA: The Tour
ABBA: The Tour was the third and final concert tour by the Swedish pop group, ABBA. Primarily visiting North America, Europe and Asia during 1979, the tour supported the group's sixth studio album, Voulez-Vous...

 at the Northlands Coliseum
Rexall Place
Rexall Place is an indoor arena in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada situated on the north side of Northlands. It is currently the home to the Edmonton Oilers of the National Hockey League, the Edmonton Rush of the National Lacrosse League and the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL...

 in Edmonton
Edmonton
Edmonton is the capital of the Canadian province of Alberta and is the province's second-largest city. Edmonton is located on the North Saskatchewan River and is the centre of the Edmonton Capital Region, which is surrounded by the central region of the province.The city and its census...

, Canada, with a full house of 14,000. "The voices of the band, Agnetha's high sauciness combined with round, rich lower tones of Anni-Frid, were excellent...Technically perfect, melodically correct and always in perfect pitch...The soft lower voice of Anni-Frid and the high, edgy vocals of Agnetha were stunning", raved Edmonton Journal
Edmonton Journal
The Edmonton Journal is a daily newspaper in Edmonton, Alberta. It is part of the Postmedia Network.-History:The Journal was founded in 1903 by three local businessmen — John Macpherson, Arthur Moore and J.W. Cunningham — as a rival to Alberta's first newspaper, the 23-year-old...

.
During the next four weeks, they played a total of seventeen sold-out dates, thirteen in the United States and four in Canada. The last scheduled ABBA concert in the United States in Washington, DC was canceled due to Fältskog's emotional distress suffered during the flight from New York to Boston, when the private plane the group was on was subjected to extreme weather conditions
Windsor Locks, Connecticut Tornado
The Windsor Locks, Connecticut tornado struck the towns of Windsor, Windsor Locks, and Suffield, Connecticut on October 3, 1979. The short-lived but intense tornado struck without warning and caused three deaths and 500 injuries....

 and was unable to land for an extended period. They appeared at the Boston Music Hall
Citi Performing Arts Center
The Citi Performing Arts Center is located in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. It consists of two theatres, Wang Theatre and Shubert Theatre, both of which are neighbors, on Tremont Street, in Boston's Theatre District...

 for the performance ninety minutes late.
The tour ended with a show in Toronto, Canada at Maple Leaf Gardens
Maple Leaf Gardens
Maple Leaf Gardens is an indoor arena that was converted into a Loblawssupermarket and Ryerson University athletic centre in Toronto, on the northwest corner of Carlton Street and Church Street in Toronto's Garden District.One of the temples of hockey, it was home to the Toronto Maple Leafs of the...

 before a capacity crowd of 18,000.
"Abba plays with surprising power and volume; but although they are loud, they're also clear, which does justice to the signature vocal sound...Anyone who's been waiting five years to see Abba will be well satisfied", wrote Record World
Record World
Record World magazine was one of the three main music industry trade publications in the United States, along with Billboard and Cash Box magazines. It was founded in 1946 under the name Music Vendor, but since 1964 changed it to Record World, under the ownership of Sid Parnes and Bob Austin, both...

.

On 19 October 1979, the tour resumed in Western Europe where the band played 23 sold-out gigs, including six sold-out nights at London's Wembley Arena
Wembley Arena
Wembley Arena is an indoor arena, at Wembley, in the London Borough of Brent. The building is opposite Wembley Stadium.-History:...

.

Progression



In March 1980, ABBA travelled to Japan where upon their arrival at Narita International Airport
Narita International Airport
is an international airport serving the Greater Tokyo Area of Japan. It is located east of Tokyo Station and east-southeast of Narita Station in the city of Narita, and the adjacent town of Shibayama....

, they were besieged by thousands of fans. The group played eleven concerts to full houses, including six shows at Tokyo's Budokan
Nippon Budokan
The , often shortened to simply Budokan, is an indoor arena in central Tokyo, Japan.This is the location where many "Live at the Budokan" albums were recorded...

. This tour was the last "on the road" adventure of their career. The same year saw the release of ABBA's seventh album Super Trouper
Super Trouper (album)
Super Trouper is the seventh studio album by Swedish pop group ABBA, first released in 1980 .-Overview:Led by the international hit "The Winner Takes It All", Super Trouper was the group's sixth chart-topping album in the UK. It was also the best-selling album in Britain for 1980...

, which reflected a certain change in ABBA's style with more prominent use of synthesizers and increasingly personal lyrics. It set a record for the most pre-orders ever received for a UK album after one million copies were ordered before release. Anticipation for the album had been built up by "The Winner Takes It All
The Winner Takes It All
"The Winner Takes It All" is a song recorded by Swedish pop group ABBA. Released as the first single from the group's Super Trouper album on July 21, 1980, it is a ballad in the key of F-sharp major, reflecting the end of a romance...

", the group's eighth UK chart topper (and their first since 1978). In the United States, the single peaked at number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and became ABBA's second Billboard Adult Contemporary number 1. The song was allegedly written about Ulvaeus and Fältskog's marital tribulations. It was also re-recorded by Andersson and Ulvaeus with a slightly different backing track, by French chanteuse Mireille Mathieu
Mireille Mathieu
Mireille Mathieu is a French chanteuse, and pop singer. Hailed in the French press as the successor to Édith Piaf, she has achieved great commercial success, recording over 1200 songs in nine different languages, with more than 120 million records sold worldwide.-Childhood to early...

 at the end of 1980 – as "Bravo Tu As Gagne", with French lyrics by Alain Boublil. The next single from the album, "Super Trouper
Super Trouper (song)
-A-Teens version:"Super Trouper" was A-Teens' second single from their 1st album The ABBA Generation, a cover of ABBA's song. When the single came out in the fall of 1999, it became a hit around the globe, just as its predecessor "Mamma Mia", also an ABBA cover...

", also hit number 1 in the United Kingdom as well as in Germany, becoming the group's ninth and final UK chart-topper. Another track from Super Trouper, "Lay All Your Love on Me
Lay All Your Love on Me
"Lay All Your Love on Me", is a song recorded by Swedish pop group ABBA in 1980 for their Super Trouper album. It was released only as a 12-inch single in 1981 in limited territories, rather than as a standard 7-inch record. At the time, it was the highest selling 12-inch record in UK chart...

", released in 1981 as a 12-inch single only in selected territories, managed to top the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart and peaked at number 7 on the UK singles chart becoming at the time the highest ever charting 12-inch release in UK chart history.

Also in 1980, ABBA recorded a compilation of Spanish-language versions of their hits called Gracias Por La Música. It was released in Spanish-speaking countries as well as Japan and Australia. The album became a major success, and along with the Spanish version of "Chiquitita", this signalled the group's breakthrough in Latin America. ABBA Oro: Grandes Éxitos was released in 1999.

Final album and performances (1981–1982)


In January 1981, Ulvaeus married Lena Källersjö, and manager Stig Anderson celebrated his 50th birthday with a party. For this occasion, ABBA recorded the track "Hovas Vittne" (a pun on the Swedish name for Jehovah's Witness and Anderson's birthplace, Hova
Hova, Sweden
Hova is a locality and one of the two seats of Gullspång Municipality, Västra Götaland County, Sweden, the other is Gullspång. It had 1,375 inhabitants in 2005.-Overview:...

) as a tribute to him, and released it only on 200 red vinyl copies, to be distributed to the guests attending the party. This single has become a sought-after collectible. In mid-February 1981, Andersson and Lyngstad announced they were filing for divorce. Information surfaced that their marriage had been an uphill struggle for years, and Benny had already met another woman, Mona Nörklit, whom he married in November 1981.

Andersson and Ulvaeus had songwriting sessions during the first months of 1981, and recording sessions began in mid-March. At the end of April, the group recorded a TV special, Dick Cavett Meets ABBA
Dick Cavett Meets ABBA
Dick Cavett meets ABBA was a TV special featuring ABBA, recorded in 1981, and hosted by American TV talk show host Dick Cavett. Recorded in Stockholm, Sweden, it was a joint production between Polar Music , Sveriges Television and ZDF...

 with the US talk show host Dick Cavett
Dick Cavett
Richard Alva "Dick" Cavett is a former American television talk show host known for his conversational style and in-depth discussion of issues...

. The Visitors
The Visitors (ABBA album)
The Visitors is the eighth and final studio album by Swedish pop group ABBA, released on November 30, 1981.With The Visitors, ABBA took several steps away from the "lighter" pop music they had recorded previously and the album is often regarded as a more complex and mature effort...

, ABBA's eighth and final studio album, showed a songwriting maturity and depth of feeling distinctly lacking from their earlier recordings but still placing the band squarely in the pop genre, with catchy tunes and harmonies. Although not revealed at the time of its release, the album's title track, according to Ulvaeus, refers to the secret meetings held against the approval of totalitarian governments in Soviet-dominated states, while other tracks address topics like failed relationships, the threat of war, aging, and loss of innocence. This change of content led to the release of the album The Visitors including the UK number 3 single "One of Us
One of Us (ABBA song)
"One of Us" from 1981 was the first single from Swedish pop group ABBA's final studio album The Visitors, their eighth for Polar, and their seventh for Epic and Atlantic...

", proving the last of ABBA's nine number 1 singles in Germany in December 1981; and the swansong of their sixteen top 5 singles on the charts in South Africa.

Although it topped the album charts across most of Europe, including the UK and Germany, The Visitors was not as commercially successful as its predecessors, showing a commercial decline in previously loyal markets such as France, Australia or Japan. A track from The Visitors, "When All Is Said and Done
When All Is Said and Done (song)
"When All Is Said and Done" is the name of a song recorded in 1981 by Swedish pop group ABBA. It is featured on the group's final studio album, The Visitors, and was released as a single in the United States on December 31, 1981 on Atlantic 3889. It debuted on the Billboard pop singles chart on...

", was released as a single in North America, Australia and New Zealand, and fittingly became ABBA's final Top 40 hit in the US (debuting on the US charts on 31 December 1981), while also reaching the US Adult Contemporary Top 10 and number 4 on the RPM Adult Contemporary chart in Canada. The song's lyrics, as with "The Winner Takes It All
The Winner Takes It All
"The Winner Takes It All" is a song recorded by Swedish pop group ABBA. Released as the first single from the group's Super Trouper album on July 21, 1980, it is a ballad in the key of F-sharp major, reflecting the end of a romance...

" and "One of Us
One of Us (ABBA song)
"One of Us" from 1981 was the first single from Swedish pop group ABBA's final studio album The Visitors, their eighth for Polar, and their seventh for Epic and Atlantic...

", dealt with the painful experience of separating from a long-term partner, though it looked at the trauma more optimistically. With the now publicised story of Andersson and Lyngstad's divorce, speculation increased of tension within the band. Also released in the United States was the title track of The Visitors, which hit the Top Ten on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart.

Last recording sessions


In the spring of 1982, songwriting sessions had started and the group came together for more recordings. Plans were not completely clear, but a new album was discussed and the prospect of a small tour suggested.
The recording sessions in May and June were a struggle, and only three songs were eventually recorded: "You Owe Me One", "I Am the City", and "Just Like That". Andersson and Ulvaeus were not satisfied with the outcome, so the tapes were shelved and the group took a break for the summer.

Back in the studio again in early August, the group had changed plans for the rest of the year: they settled for a Christmas release of a double album compilation of all their past single releases to be named The Singles: The First Ten Years
The Singles: The First Ten Years
The Singles: The First Ten Years is a double compilation album by the Swedish pop group ABBA, released in 1982.1982 was ABBA’s final year together as a group. They had originally intended to record a new studio album, like they had done almost every year since they first came together...

.
New songwriting and recording sessions took place, and during October and November, they released the singles "The Day Before You Came
The Day Before You Came
"The Day Before You Came" is a song recorded and released by Swedish pop group ABBA. It was originally released in October 1982, as the first new song from ABBA's double compilation album The Singles: The First Ten Years...

"/"Cassandra" and "Under Attack
Under Attack
"Under Attack" is the latest widely-released single by Swedish pop group ABBA. It was originally featured as a track on the 1982 compilation album The Singles: The First Ten Years, but was released as a single the following year in most countries. In the United Kingdom however, it was released on...

"/"You Owe Me One", the A-sides of which were included on the compilation album. Neither single made the top 20 in the United Kingdom, though "The Day Before You Came
The Day Before You Came
"The Day Before You Came" is a song recorded and released by Swedish pop group ABBA. It was originally released in October 1982, as the first new song from ABBA's double compilation album The Singles: The First Ten Years...

" became a Top 5 hit in many European countries such as Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. The album went to number 1 in the UK and Belgium, Top 5 in the Netherlands and West Germany and Top 20 in many other countries. The last single, "Under Attack", hit the top 10 in about 3 European countries.

"I Am the City" and "Just Like That" were left unreleased on The Singles: The First Ten Years for possible inclusion on the next projected studio album from ABBA, though this never came to fruition. "I Am the City" was eventually released on the compilation album More ABBA Gold
More ABBA Gold: More ABBA Hits
More ABBA Gold: More ABBA Hits is compilation album by Swedish pop group ABBA. Released in 1993, it was the follow-up to the highly successful ABBA Gold: Greatest Hits, released the previous year, and went on to sell 3 million copies....

 in 1993, while "Just Like That" has been recycled in new songs with other artists produced by Andersson and Ulvaeus. A reworked version of the verses ended up in the musical Chess
Chess (musical)
Chess is a musical with music by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, formerly of ABBA, and with lyrics by Tim Rice. The story involves a romantic triangle between two top players, an American and a Russian, in a world chess championship, and a woman who manages one and falls in love with the other;...

. The chorus section of "Just Like That" was eventually released on a retrospective box set in 1994. Despite a number of requests from fans, Ulvaeus and Andersson are still refusing to release ABBA's version of "Just Like That" in its entirety, even though the complete version surfaced on bootlegs.

The group travelled to London to promote The Singles: The First Ten Years in the first week of November 1982, appearing on Saturday Superstore
Saturday Superstore
Saturday Superstore was a children's television series, broadcast on BBC1 from 1982 until 1987. It was shown on Saturday mornings with presenters including Mike Read, Sarah Greene, Keith Chegwin and John Craven. The show was very similar to its predecessor Multi-Coloured Swap Shop.A regular spot on...

 and The Late, Late Breakfast Show
The Late, Late Breakfast Show
The Late, Late Breakfast Show was a BBC television light entertainment show broadcast live on Saturday evenings from 4 September 1982 to 8 November 1986. It was presented by Noel Edmonds, initially with co-host Leni Harper and also featured Mike Smith and John Peel...

, and also to West Germany in the second week, to perform on Show Express. On 19 November 1982, ABBA appeared for the last time in Sweden on the TV programme Nöjesmaskinen, and on 11 December 1982, they made their last performance ever, transmitted to the UK on Noel Edmonds
Noel Edmonds
Noel Ernest Edmonds, is an English broadcaster and executive, who made his name as a DJ on BBC Radio 1 in the UK. He has presented many light entertainment television programmes, including Multi-Coloured Swap Shop, Top of the Pops, The Late, Late Breakfast Show, Telly Addicts, Noel's Saturday...

' The Late, Late Breakfast Show
The Late, Late Breakfast Show
The Late, Late Breakfast Show was a BBC television light entertainment show broadcast live on Saturday evenings from 4 September 1982 to 8 November 1986. It was presented by Noel Edmonds, initially with co-host Leni Harper and also featured Mike Smith and John Peel...

, through a live link from a TV studio in Stockholm
Stockholm
Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 851,155 in the municipality , 1.37 million in the urban area , and around 2.1 million in the metropolitan area...

.

Last performances


Andersson and Ulvaeus began collaborating with Tim Rice
Tim Rice
Sir Timothy Miles Bindon "Tim" Rice is an British lyricist and author.An Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, Tony Award and Grammy Award-winning lyricist, Rice is best known for his collaborations with Andrew Lloyd Webber, with whom he wrote Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus...

 in early 1983 on writing songs for the musical project Chess
Chess (musical)
Chess is a musical with music by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, formerly of ABBA, and with lyrics by Tim Rice. The story involves a romantic triangle between two top players, an American and a Russian, in a world chess championship, and a woman who manages one and falls in love with the other;...

, while Fältskog and Lyngstad both concentrated on international solo careers. While Andersson and Ulvaeus were working on the musical, a further cooperation between three of them came with the musical Abbacadabra
Abbacadabra
Abbacadabra is the name of a French children's musical based on songs from the pop group ABBA, originally produced for French television in 1983 by Alain and Daniel Boublil, but which was later also transferred to an English stage version and two other television programs.-French television...

 that was produced in France for television. It was a children's musical utilising 14 ABBA songs. Alain
Alain Boublil
Alain Boublil is a musical theatre lyricist and librettist, best known for his collaborations with the composer Claude-Michel Schönberg for musicals on Broadway and London's West End...

 and Daniel Boublil, who wrote Les Misérables
Les Misérables (musical)
Les Misérables , colloquially known as Les Mis or Les Miz , is a musical by Claude-Michel Schönberg, based on the novel of the same name by Victor Hugo....

, had been in touch with Stig Anderson about the project, and the TV musical was aired over Christmas on French TV and later a Dutch version was also broadcast. Boublil previously also wrote the French lyrics for Mirielle Mathieu's version of "The Winner Takes It All".

Lyngstad, who had recently moved to Paris, participated in the French version, and recorded a single, "Belle
Belle
Belle is the feminine form of the French word which means beautiful.It may also refer to:-Business:* Belle Baby Carriers, a U.S. baby carrier manufacturer* Belle International, a Chinese footwear retailer-Computers and software:...

", a duet with French singer Daniel Balavoine
Daniel Balavoine
Daniel Balavoine was a French singer and songwriter. He was hugely popular in the French-speaking world, and inspired many singers in the 1980s, such as Jean-Jacques Goldman, and Michel Berger, his closest friend...

. The song was a cover of ABBA's instrumental 1976 track "Arrival
Arrival (song)
"Arrival" is a 1976 song by ABBA featured on their album of the same name. It is an instrumental piece, mainly the brainchild of member Benny Andersson and had the working titles of "Fiol", "Ode to Dalecarlia" & "Arrival in Dalecarlia".- Background :...

". As the single "Belle" sold well in France, Cameron Mackintosh
Cameron Mackintosh
Sir Cameron Anthony Mackintosh is a British theatrical producer notable for his association with many commercially successful musicals. At the height of his success in 1990, he was described as being "the most successful, influential and powerful theatrical producer in the world" by the New York...

 wanted to stage an English language version of the show in London, with the French lyrics translated by David Wood
David Wood (actor)
David Wood OBE is an English-born actor and writer, called "the National Children's Dramatist" by The Times.He was educated at Chichester High School For Boys and Worcester College, Oxford....

 and Don Black; Andersson and Ulvaeus got involved in the project, and contributed with one new song, "The Seeker
(I Am) The Seeker
The Seeker is a song written by ABBA composers Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson towards the end of the group's career. The song was however not recorded by ABBA, but was 'given' by the composers to be included in the 1983 London staging of the originally French musical "Abbacadabra", based on 14...

". "Abbacadabra" premièred 8 December 1983 at The Lyric Hammersmith Theatre in London, to mixed reviews and full houses for eight weeks, closing on 21 January 1984. Lyngstad was involved in this production as well, recording "Belle" in English as "Time"; a duet with actor and singer B. A. Robertson
B. A. Robertson
B. A. Robertson is a Scottish musician, actor, composer and songwriter.-Career:...

: the single sold well, this time produced and recorded by Andersson and Ulvaeus.

All four members made their last public appearance, as four friends more than as ABBA, in January 1986, when they recorded a video of themselves performing an acoustic version of "Tivedshambo", which was the first song written by their manager, Stig Anderson, for a Swedish TV show honouring Anderson on his 55th birthday. The four had not seen each other for more than two years. That same year they also performed privately at another friend's 40th birthday: their old tour manager, Claes af Geijerstam
Claes af Geijerstam
Claes af Geijerstam , nicknamed Clabbe , is a Swedish musician, radio personality and DJ who is mostly famous for his talent of rapid speech and his many years as a radio DJ....

. They sang a self-composed song titled "Der Kleine Franz" that later was to surface in Chess. The same year ABBA Live
ABBA Live
ABBA Live is an album of live recordings by Swedish pop group ABBA, released by Polar Music in 1986 .A live album was something that many ABBA fans had demanded for several years. ABBA themselves had toyed with the idea on a couple of occasions, but always decided against it...

 was released, featuring selections of live performances from the group's 1977 and 1979 tours. They were guests on the 50th birthday of Görel Hanser in 1999. Hanser was a long-time friend of all four, and also former secretary of Stig Anderson. Honouring Görel, ABBA performed a Swedish birthday song "Med En Enkel Tulipan" a cappella
A cappella
A cappella music is specifically solo or group singing without instrumental sound, or a piece intended to be performed in this way. It is the opposite of cantata, which is accompanied singing. A cappella was originally intended to differentiate between Renaissance polyphony and Baroque concertato...

.

Benny Andersson has on several occasions performed old ABBA songs. In June 1992, he and Björn Ulvaeus appeared with U2
U2
U2 are an Irish rock band from Dublin. Formed in 1976, the group consists of Bono , The Edge , Adam Clayton , and Larry Mullen, Jr. . U2's early sound was rooted in post-punk but eventually grew to incorporate influences from many genres of popular music...

 at a Stockholm concert, singing the chorus of "Dancing Queen
Dancing Queen
"Dancing Queen" is a pop song recorded by Swedish pop group ABBA. It was released in August 1976, but was first performed two months earlier, on 18 June 1976, during a Royal Variety Show in Stockholm the evening before the Swedish royal wedding. It was the follow-up single to the hit "Fernando"...

", and a few years later during the final performance of the B & B in Concert in Stockholm, Andersson joined the cast for an encore at the piano. Andersson frequently adds an ABBA song to the playlist when he performs with his BAO
Benny Anderssons Orkester
Benny Anderssons Orkester is a Swedish band, with Benny Andersson as musical leader and composer...

 band. He also played the piano during new recordings of the ABBA songs "Like an Angel Passing Through My Room" with opera singer Anne Sofie von Otter, and "When All Is Said and Done" with Swede Viktoria Tolstoy
Viktoria Tolstoy
Louise Viktoria Tolstoy is a Swedish jazz singer. She is the daughter of Erik Kjellberg, and the great-great-granddaughter of writer Leo Tolstoy.- Discography :...

. Andersson and Ulvaeus both did an a cappella rendition of the first verse of "Fernando" as they accepted their Ivor Novello award in London in 2002. Lyngstad performed and recorded an a cappella version of "Dancing Queen" with the Swedish group The Real Group
The Real Group
The Real Group is a professional a cappella group from Sweden, consisting of five members: Emma Nilsdotter, Katarina Henryson, Anders Edenroth, Morten Vinther Sørensen, and Anders Jalkéus....

 in 1993, and has also re-recorded "I Have a Dream" with Swiss singer Dan Daniell in 2003.

Breaking up


ABBA has never officially announced the end of the group, but the group has long been considered dissolved. Their last public performance together as ABBA was on the British TV programme The Late, Late Breakfast Show
The Late, Late Breakfast Show
The Late, Late Breakfast Show was a BBC television light entertainment show broadcast live on Saturday evenings from 4 September 1982 to 8 November 1986. It was presented by Noel Edmonds, initially with co-host Leni Harper and also featured Mike Smith and John Peel...

 (live from Stockholm) 11 December 1982. In January 1983, Fältskog started recording sessions for a solo album, as Frida had successfully released her album Something's Going On
Something's Going On
Something's Going On was the first solo-album in English for ABBA singer Anni-Frid Lyngstad . Her previous albums had all been recorded in Swedish...

 some months earlier. Ulvaeus and Andersson started songwriting sessions for the musical Chess, and ABBA was shelved in the meantime. In interviews, Björn and Benny denied the split of ABBA ("Who are we without our ladies? Initials of Brigitte Bardot
Brigitte Bardot
Brigitte Anne-Marie Bardot is a French former fashion model, actress, singer and animal rights activist. She was one of the best-known sex-symbols of the 1960s.In her early life, Bardot was an aspiring ballet dancer...

?") and Lyngstad and Fältskog kept claiming in interviews that ABBA would come together for a new album repeatedly during 1983 and 1984. Internal strife between the group and their manager escalated and the group sold their shares in Polar Music
Polar Music
Polar Music is a Swedish record company founded in 1963 by Stig Anderson and his friend Bengt Bernhag. The first act that it signed was the Hootenanny Singers featuring Björn Ulvaeus. Polar eventually gained prosperity producing Ulvæus' next group, international superstars ABBA...

 during 1983. Except for a TV-show appearance in 1986, the foursome did not come together publicly again until all four members were reunited at the Swedish premiere of Mamma Mia!
Mamma Mia! (film)
Mamma Mia! is a 2008 musical/romantic comedy film adapted from the 1999 West End/2001 Broadway musical of the same name, based on the songs of successful pop group ABBA, with additional music composed by ABBA member Benny Andersson...

 on 4 July 2008.

In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph
Sunday Telegraph
The Sunday Telegraph is a British broadsheet newspaper, founded in February 1961. It is the sister paper of The Daily Telegraph, but is run separately with a different editorial staff, although there is some cross-usage of stories...

, following the premiere, Ulvaeus and Andersson confirmed that there was nothing that could entice them back on stage again. Ulvaeus said:
"We will never appear on stage again. [...] There is simply no motivation to re-group. Money is not a factor and we would like people to remember us as we were. Young, exuberant, full of energy and ambition. I remember Robert Plant
Robert Plant
Robert Anthony Plant, CBE is an English singer and songwriter best known as the vocalist and lyricist of the iconic rock band Led Zeppelin. He has also had a successful solo career...

 saying Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin were an English rock band, active in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s. Formed in 1968, they consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham...

 were a cover band
Cover band
A cover band , is a band that plays mostly or exclusively cover songs. New or unknown bands often find the cover band format marketable for smaller gigs, and these bands may be known as a wedding band, party band and function band. A band whose covers consist mainly of songs that were chart hits is...

 now because they cover all their own stuff. I think that hit the nail on the head."

However, on 3 January 2011, Fältskog, who has been long considered to be the most reclusive member of the group and possibly also the major obstacle to any reunion, raised the possibility of reuniting for a one-off engagement. She admitted that she has not yet brought the idea up to the other three members.

Andersson and Ulvaeus



In October 1984, Ulvaeus and Andersson together with lyricist Tim Rice
Tim Rice
Sir Timothy Miles Bindon "Tim" Rice is an British lyricist and author.An Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, Tony Award and Grammy Award-winning lyricist, Rice is best known for his collaborations with Andrew Lloyd Webber, with whom he wrote Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus...

 released the musical concept double album Chess
Chess (musical)
Chess is a musical with music by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, formerly of ABBA, and with lyrics by Tim Rice. The story involves a romantic triangle between two top players, an American and a Russian, in a world chess championship, and a woman who manages one and falls in love with the other;...

. The singles "One Night in Bangkok
One Night in Bangkok
"One Night in Bangkok" is the title of a song originally sung by the British actor and Pop-dance singer Murray Head on the 1984 concept album for the musical Chess...

" (with vocals by Murray Head
Murray Head
Murray Seafield Saint-George Head is a British actor and singer, most recognised for his international hit songs "Superstar" and "One Night in Bangkok" and his album Say It Ain't So...

) and "I Know Him So Well
I Know Him So Well
"I Know Him So Well" is a song from the concept album and subsequent musical Chess by Tim Rice, Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus. In this duet, two women – Svetlana, the Russian chess champion's estranged wife, and Florence, his mistress – express their bittersweet feelings for him and at seeing...

" (a duet by Barbara Dickson
Barbara Dickson
Barbara Ruth Dickson, OBE is a Scottish singer whose hits include "I Know Him So Well" and "January February"...

 and Elaine Paige
Elaine Paige
Elaine Paige OBE is an English singer and actress best known for her work in musical theatre. Raised in Barnet, North London, Paige attended the Aida Foster stage school, making her first professional appearance on stage in 1964, at the age of 16...

 and later also recorded by both Barbra Streisand
Barbra Streisand
Barbra Joan Streisand is an American singer, actress, film producer and director. She has won two Academy Awards, eight Grammy Awards, four Emmy Awards, a Special Tony Award, an American Film Institute award, a Peabody Award, and is one of the few entertainers who have won an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy,...

 and Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston
Whitney Elizabeth Houston is an American singer, actress, producer and a former model. Houston is the most awarded female act of all time, according to Guinness World Records, and her list of awards include 1 Emmy Award, 6 Grammy Awards, 30 Billboard Music Awards, 22 American Music Awards, among...

) were both successes. In May 1986, the musical premièred in the West End of London, and ran for almost three years. On Broadway it opened in April 1988, but closed within two months due to bad reviews. In Stockholm, the composers staged Chess på svenska (Chess in Swedish) in 2003, with some new material, including the musical numbers "Han är en man, han är ett barn" ("He's a Man, He's a Child") and "Glöm mig om du kan" ("Forget Me If You Can"). In 2008, the musical was again revived for a successful staging at London's Royal Albert Hall which subsequently was released on DVD, and then in two successful separate touring productions in the United States and United Kingdom, in 2010.

Andersson's and Ulvaeus' piece, Kristina från Duvemåla
Kristina från Duvemåla
Kristina från Duvemåla is a Swedish musical written by former ABBA members Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson , based on a series of four novels by Swedish author Vilhelm Moberg detailing a family's poverty-driven migration from Sweden to America in the mid-19th century: The Emigrants, Unto a Good...

, an epic Swedish musical premiered in Malmö
Malmö
Malmö , in the southernmost province of Scania, is the third most populous city in Sweden, after Stockholm and Gothenburg.Malmö is the seat of Malmö Municipality and the capital of Skåne County...

, in southern Sweden in October 1995. The musical ran for five years in Stockholm, and an English version has been in development for some considerable time. It has been reported that a Broadway production is in its earliest stages of pre-production. In the meantime, following some earlier workshops, a full presentation of the English translation of the musical in concert, now with the shortened name of "Kristina", has taken place to capacity crowds in September 2009 at New York's Carnegie Hall, and in April 2010 at London's Royal Albert Hall, followed by a CD release of the New York recordings.


Since 1983, besides Chess and Kristina från Duvemåla, Benny Andersson has continued writing songs with Ulvaeus. The pair produced two English-language pop albums with Swedish duo Gemini in 1985 and 1987. In 1987, Andersson also released his first solo album on his own label, Mono Music, called "Klinga mina klockor
Klinga mina klockor
Klinga mina klockor is an album by Benny Andersson released in 1987. This album of Swedish folk music was a hit in Scandinavia.-Track listing:#Inledningsvisa - 2.00...

" ("Ring My Bells"), all new material inspired by Swedish folk music – and followed it with his second album titled November 1989
November 1989 (album)
November 1989 is an album by Benny Andersson released in 1989.This album of Swedish folk music was a hit in Scandinavia.-Track listing:#"Skallgång"#"Machopolska"#"Vals efter Efraim Andersson"#"Sekelskiftesidyll"#"Dans på vindbryggan"#"Stjuls"...

.

In the 1990s, Andersson wrote music for the popular Swedish cabaret quartet Ainbusk Singers
Ainbusk
Ainbusk are a pop/folk vocal group from Gotland, Sweden. Formed in 1983, Ainbusk are best-known for their single "Jag mötte Lassie" - frequently referred to simply as "Lassie" - which was the Christmas chart-topper in Sweden in 1990...

, giving them two hits: "Lassie" and "Älska mig" ("Love me"), and later produced Shapes
Shapes (album)
Shapes is Polvo's fourth studio album. It was recorded by Bob Weston and released on Touch and Go Records in 1997.-Track listing:#"Enemy Insects" - 6:14#"The Fighting Kites" - 1:31#"Rock Post Rock" - 4:11#"The Golden Ladder" - 3:04...

, an English-language album by the group's Josefin Nilsson
Josefin Nilsson
Josefin Nilsson is a Swedish singer and actress.Her debut album titled Shapes was released on 23 March 1993. The music and lyrics were written by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus...

 with all-new material by Andersson and Ulvaeus. Andersson has also regularly written music for films (most notably to Roy Andersson
Roy Andersson
Roy Andersson is a Swedish film director, best known for his films A Swedish Love Story and Songs from the Second Floor. More than any other, Songs from the Second Floor succeeded in cementing his personal style — a style characterized by long takes, absurdist comedy, stiff caricaturing of...

's Songs from the Second Floor
Songs from the Second Floor
Songs from the Second Floor is a 2000 Swedish film written and directed by Roy Andersson. It presents a series of disconnected vignettes that together interrogate aspects of modern life. The film uses many quotations from the work of the Peruvian poet César Vallejo as a recurring motif...

). In 2001, Andersson formed his own band, Benny Anderssons Orkester
Benny Anderssons Orkester
Benny Anderssons Orkester is a Swedish band, with Benny Andersson as musical leader and composer...

 (BAO), which released three successful albums in 2001, 2004 and 2007. Andersson has the distinction of remaining the longest in the Swedish Radio Svensktoppen
Svensktoppen
Svensktoppen is a record chart at Sveriges Radio. Until January 2003, the songs had to be in the Swedish language. Svensktoppen has aired since 1962, except for the years 1982-1985. Svensktoppen airs once a week...

 charts; the song "Du är min man" ("You Are My Man"), sung by Helen Sjöholm
Helen Sjöholm
Marie Helen Sjöholm is a Swedish singer, actress and musical theatre performer who lives in Gamla Enskede in Stockholm. She grew up in Sundsvall and started to sing in choirs at an early age, working, among others, with Swedish conductor Kjell Lönnå...

, spent 278 weeks there between 2004 and 2009. Andersson released his third album BAO 3
BAO 3
BAO 3 is a studio album by Swedish folk-group Benny Anderssons Orkester, released on October 24, 2007. Its the group's third studio album and their forth release in total.-Album Information:...

 in October 2007, of new material with his band BAO and vocalists Helen Sjöholm and Tommy Körberg
Tommy Körberg
Bert Gustav Tommy Körberg is a Swedish singer, actor, and musician. In 1969, he won Swedish Recording Industry Award Grammis in a category Best Debut Performance. English-speaking audiences know him best for his role in the Benny Andersson–Björn Ulvaeus–Tim Rice musical Chess...

, as well as playing to full houses at two of Sweden's largest concert venues in October and November 2007, with an audience of 14,000.

Ulvaeus has not appeared on stage performing music since ABBA, but had a reunion with his co-members of The Hootenanny Singers on 16 July 2005 at a music festival in his hometown of Västervik
Västervik
Västervik is a city and the seat of Västervik Municipality, Kalmar County, Sweden with 20,694 inhabitants in 2005.- History :Västervik was first mentioned in 1275. The town was then located at the current location of Gamleby. In 1433 Eric of Pomerania decided to give it a charter and move it to its...

, singing their 1966 hit "Marianne".

Andersson and Ulvaeus have been highly involved in the worldwide productions of the musical Mamma Mia!
Mamma Mia!
Mamma Mia! is a stage musical written by British playwright Catherine Johnson, based on the songs of ABBA, composed by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, former members of the band. Although the title of the musical is taken from the group's 1975 chart-topper "Mamma Mia", the plot is fictional, not...

, alongside Lyngstad who attends premieres. They were also involved in the production of the successful film version of the musical, which opened in July 2008. Andersson produced the soundtrack utilising many of the musicians ABBA used on their albums and tours. Andersson made a cameo appearance in the movie as a 'fisherman' piano player in the "Dancing Queen" scene, while Ulvaeus is seen as a Greek god playing a lyre
Lyre
The lyre is a stringed musical instrument known for its use in Greek classical antiquity and later. The word comes from the Greek "λύρα" and the earliest reference to the word is the Mycenaean Greek ru-ra-ta-e, meaning "lyrists", written in Linear B syllabic script...

 during the closing credits.

Andersson and Ulvaeus have been continuously composing new material; most recently the two wrote the title track for Andersson's first international release, The Benny Andersson Band – The Story of a Heart, released in July 2009. The album is a compilation of 14 tracks from Andersson's five Swedish-language releases, including five songs now recorded in English, and the new title song premiered on BBC2's Ken Bruce Show Monday on 25 May. A Swedish-language version, "Sommaren Du Fick" ("The Summer You Got"), was released in Sweden prior to the English version, with vocals by Helen Sjöholm. In the spring of 2009, Andersson also released a single recorded by the staff at his privately owned Stockholm
Stockholm
Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 851,155 in the municipality , 1.37 million in the urban area , and around 2.1 million in the metropolitan area...

 hotel Hotel Rival, titled "2nd Best to None
2nd Best to None
2nd Best to None is a song written by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus - former members of pop group ABBA. The song is performed by the staff of Andersson's Stockholm hotel, Rival, going under the name The Rivals...

", accompanied by a video showing the staff at work. In 2008, the two wrote a song for Swedish singer Sissela Kyle
Sissela Kyle
Sissela Maria Kyle is a Swedish actress and comedian.Kyle is the second cousin of the British singer Yusuf Islam -Filmography:* 1983 - Limpan* 1985 - Lösa förbindelser...

, titled "Jag vill bli gammal" ("I Wanna Grow Old"), for her Stockholm stage show "Your Days Are Numbered". Ulvaeus also contributed lyrics to ABBAs 1976 instrumental track "Arrival
Arrival
The Arrival may refer to:* The Arrival , a 1996 science fiction film starring Charlie Sheen* "The Arrival" , an episode of The Twilight Zone* "Arrival" , first episode of The Prisoner...

" for Sarah Brightman
Sarah Brightman
Sarah Brightman is an English classical crossover soprano, actress, songwriter and dancer. She is famous for possessing a vocal range of over 3 octaves and singing in the whistle register...

's cover version recorded for her 2008 album Winter Symphony. New English lyrics have also been written for Andersson's 1999 song "Innan Gryningen" (also named "Millennium Hymn"), with new title "The Silence of the Dawn" for Barbara Dickson
Barbara Dickson
Barbara Ruth Dickson, OBE is a Scottish singer whose hits include "I Know Him So Well" and "January February"...

. In 2007, they wrote the new songs "Han som har vunnit allt" ("He Who's Won It All") for actor/singer Anders Ekborg
Anders Ekborg
Anders Ekborg is a Swedish actor and singer who has performed the roles of Karl Oskar in Kristina från Duvemåla and Freddie Trumper in Chess, two musicals that were written by former ABBA members Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus...

 and "I Walk with You Mama" and "After the Rain" for opera singer Anne Sofie Von Otter, for her Andersson tribute album I Let the Music Speak.

Fältskog and Lyngstad



Both female members of ABBA pursued solo careers on the international scene after their work with ABBA. In 1982, Lyngstad chose Genesis
Genesis (band)
Genesis are an English rock band that formed in 1967. The band currently comprises the longest-tenured members Tony Banks , Mike Rutherford and Phil Collins . Past members Peter Gabriel , Steve Hackett and Anthony Phillips , also played major roles in the band in its early years...

 drummer and vocalist Phil Collins
Phil Collins
Philip David Charles "Phil" Collins, LVO is an English singer-songwriter, drummer, pianist and actor best known as a drummer and vocalist for British progressive rock group Genesis and as a solo artist....

 to produce the album Something's Going On
Something's Going On
Something's Going On was the first solo-album in English for ABBA singer Anni-Frid Lyngstad . Her previous albums had all been recorded in Swedish...

 and unveiled the hit single and video "I Know There's Something Going On
I Know There's Something Going On
"I Know There's Something Going On" is a song recorded in 1982 by ABBA singer Anni-Frid Lyngstad . It was the lead single from her solo album Something's Going On. The song was a huge hit around the world during 1982 and 1983.-Song history:...

" in autumn of that year. The single became a number 1 hit in France (where it spent five weeks at the top), and in Belgium, Switzerland and Costa Rica. The track reached No. 3 in Austria, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Poland, and was also a Top-10 hit in Germany, Italy, South Africa and Finland. In the United States, the single peaked at number 13. In all, "I Know There's Something Going On" sold 3.5 million copies worldwide and is the biggest-selling single any of the four members have had outside ABBA. Lyngstad's album sold 1.5 million copies internationally. Sveriges Television
Sveriges Television
Sveriges Television AB , Sweden's Television, is a national television broadcaster based in Sweden, funded by a compulsory fee to be paid by all television owners...

, documented this historical event, by filming the whole recording process. The result became a one-hour TV documentary, including interviews with Lyngstad, Collins, Ulvaeus, and Andersson as well as all the musicians. This documentary and the promotion videos from the album are included in Frida - The DVD
Frida - The DVD
See also: Frida 1967–1972, Frida ensam, Something's Going On, Shine and Djupa andetag.Frida – The DVD is a 3½ hour documentary DVD, that covers the singing career of Anni-Frid Lyngstad, also known as Frida, one of the four members of Swedish pop group ABBA...

.

Lyngstad's second solo album after ABBA was the experimental Shine
Shine (Frida album)
Shine is the name of Anni-Frid Lyngstad's second post-ABBA solo album. It was first released in September 1984 and has since been re-released several times, mainly in the digitally remastered form in 2005 with bonus tracks. Shine is included in The Frida Boxset.The promotion videos and clips from...

, produced by Steve Lillywhite
Steve Lillywhite
Steve Lillywhite is an English Grammy Award winning record producer. Since he began his career in 1977, Lillywhite has been credited for working on over 500 records and has collaborated with a variety of musicians including XTC, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Dave Matthews Band, U2, Peter Gabriel,...

. Shine was recorded in Paris and released in 1984. Shine reached the Top 10 on the album charts in Sweden, Norway and Belgium and the Top 20 in the Netherlands. The lead single was the title track "Shine". This album was Frida's final studio album release for twelve years. It featured "Slowly", the last known Andersson-Ulvaeus composition to have been recorded by one of the former female ABBA vocalists. The promotion videos and clips for "Shine" are included in Frida - The DVD.

Fältskog followed in 1983, with the album Wrap Your Arms Around Me. This included the hit single "The Heat Is On", which was a hit in Europe and Scandinavia. In the United States, Fältskog earned a Billboard Top 30 hit with "Can't Shake Loose". In Europe, the single "Wrap Your Arms Around Me" was another successful hit, topping the charts in Belgium and Denmark, reaching the Top 5 in Sweden and the Netherlands and the Top 20 in Germany and France, plus reaching number 2 in South Africa. Her album sold 1.2 million copies worldwide.

Fältskog's second English-language solo album, Eyes of a Woman, was released in March 1985, which peaked at number 2 in Sweden and performed reasonably well in Europe. The first single from the album was her self-penned "I Won't Let You Go". In November 1987, Fältskog released her third post-ABBA solo album, the Peter Cetera
Peter Cetera
Peter Paul Cetera is an American singer, songwriter, bassist and producer best known for being an original member of the rock band Chicago, before launching a successful solo career...

-produced I Stand Alone, which also included the Billboard adult contemporary duet with Cetera, "I Wasn't the One (Who Said Goodbye)" as well as the European charting singles "The Last Time" and "Let It Shine". The album sold very well in Sweden, where it spent eight weeks at No. 1. Shortly after some minor European promotion for the album in early 1988, Fältskog withdrew from public life and halted her music career for a while. In 1996, she released her autobiography, As I Am, and a compilation album featuring her solo hits alongside some ABBA classics. In 2004, she made a successful comeback, releasing the critically acclaimed album My Colouring Book
My Colouring Book
My Colouring Book is the name of a 2004 album by Swedish singer Agnetha Fältskog. It was her first album release for 17 years and was well received by ABBA fans, as well as the general music press, with renditions of songs which she had listened to during her teenage years in the 1960s.Hit singles...

, which debuted at number 1 in Sweden (achieving triple-platinum status), number 6 in Germany, and number 12 in the UK, winning a silver award, and achieving gold status in Finland. The single "If I Thought You'd Ever Change Your Mind
If I Thought You'd Ever Change Your Mind
"If I Thought You'd Ever Change Your Mind" is a song that was originally performed by Cilla Black, written by John Cameron, produced by George Martin. It reached number 20 in the UK charts in 1969. In 1970, Sammy Babitzin recorded a cover version in Finnish...

" (a cover of the Cilla Black 60s song) became Fältskog's biggest solo hit in the United Kingdom, reaching the number 11 position. The single achieved the No. 2 spot in Sweden and was a hit throughout Scandinavia and Europe. A further single "When You Walk in the Room
When You Walk In The Room
"When You Walk in the Room" is a song written and recorded by Jackie DeShannon, first released by her in 1963 but covered by many artists. The lyrics of the song attempt to detail the singer's emotions when in the presence of the person he or she loves...

" was released and peaked at number 34 in the United Kingdom. In January 2007, she sang a live duet on stage with Swedish singer Tommy Körberg at the after party for the final performance of the musical, Mamma Mia!, in Stockholm, at which Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus were also present.

In 1992, Lyngstad had been asked and chosen to be the chairperson for the environmental organisation "Artister för miljön" (Artists for the Environment) in Sweden. She became chairwoman for this organisation from 1992 to 1995. To mark her interests for the environment, she recorded the Julian Lennon
Julian Lennon
John Charles Julian Lennon is an English musician, songwriter, actor, and photographer. He is the son of John Lennon and Lennon's first wife, Cynthia Powell. Beatles manager Brian Epstein was his godfather. He has a younger half-brother, Sean Lennon. Lennon was named after his paternal...

 song "Saltwater" and performed it live in Stockholm. She arranged and financed summer camps for poor children in Sweden, focusing on environmental and ecological issues. Her environmental work for this organisation led up to the decision to record again. Album Djupa andetag
Djupa andetag
Djupa andetag is an album by Frida , released in 1996. Recorded in the Polar Music Studio, Stockholm. Lyrics are in Swedish. The album went to #1 in Sweden. Lead single from the album was "Även En Blomma" . "Djupa Andetag" is included in the Frida Box Set...

 (Deep Breaths) was released towards the end of 1996 and became a success in Sweden, where it peaked at number 1 and Scandinavia. The lyrics for the single from this album, "Även en blomma" (Even a Flower), deal with environmental issues. In 2004, Lyngstad recorded a song called "The Sun Will Shine Again", written especially for her and released with former Deep Purple
Deep Purple
Deep Purple are an English rock band formed in Hertford in 1968. Along with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, they are considered to be among the pioneers of heavy metal and modern hard rock, although some band members believe that their music cannot be categorised as belonging to any one genre...

 member Jon Lord
Jon Lord
Jonathan Douglas "Jon" Lord is an English composer, pianist and Hammond organ player.Jon Lord, also known as 'Hammond Lord', is a classically trained piano player. He is recognised for his Hammond organ blues-rock sound and for his pioneering work in fusing rock and classical or baroque forms...

. The couple made several TV performances with this song in Germany. Lyngstad lives a low-profile life but occasionally appears at a party or charity function. On 26 August 1992, she married Prince Heinrich Ruzzo Reuss von Plauen, of the German Reuss family. Von Plauen died of lymphoma
Lymphoma
Lymphoma is a cancer in the lymphatic cells of the immune system. Typically, lymphomas present as a solid tumor of lymphoid cells. Treatment might involve chemotherapy and in some cases radiotherapy and/or bone marrow transplantation, and can be curable depending on the histology, type, and stage...

 at the age of 49. In addition to losing her husband, Lyngstad had also lost her daughter Lise-Lotte in a car crash a year earlier.

On 15 November 2005, Lyngstad's 60th birthday, Universal
Universal Records
Universal Records was a record label owned by Universal Music Group, and it is now owned by Manny Patino and Michael Jackson, and operated as part of the Universal Motown Republic Group.-History:...

 released the Frida Box Set, consisting of the solo albums she recorded for the Polar Label. Included is also the 3-hour documentary Frida - The DVD. On this DVD, which covers her entire singing career, the viewer is guided by Lyngstad herself through the years. From her TV debut in Sweden 1967 to the TV performances she made in Germany 2004, singing "The Sun Will Shine Again" together with Jon Lord
Jon Lord
Jonathan Douglas "Jon" Lord is an English composer, pianist and Hammond organ player.Jon Lord, also known as 'Hammond Lord', is a classically trained piano player. He is recognised for his Hammond organ blues-rock sound and for his pioneering work in fusing rock and classical or baroque forms...

 of rock group Deep Purple
Deep Purple
Deep Purple are an English rock band formed in Hertford in 1968. Along with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, they are considered to be among the pioneers of heavy metal and modern hard rock, although some band members believe that their music cannot be categorised as belonging to any one genre...

. Many rare clips are included in the set and each performance is explained by Lyngstad herself. The interview with Lyngstad was filmed in the Swiss Alps
Swiss Alps
The Swiss Alps are the portion of the Alps mountain range that lies within Switzerland. Because of their central position within the entire Alpine range, they are also known as the Central Alps....

 in summer 2005.

Revival


The same year the members of ABBA went their separate ways, the French production of a "tribute" show (a children's TV musical named Abbacadabra
Abbacadabra
Abbacadabra is the name of a French children's musical based on songs from the pop group ABBA, originally produced for French television in 1983 by Alain and Daniel Boublil, but which was later also transferred to an English stage version and two other television programs.-French television...

 using 14 of ABBA's songs) spawned new interest in the group's music.

After receiving little attention during the mid-1980s, ABBA's music experienced a resurgence in the early 1990s due to the UK synth-pop duo Erasure
Erasure
Erasure are an English synthpop duo, consisting of songwriter and keyboardist Vince Clarke and singer Andy Bell. Erasure entered the music scene in 1985 with their debut single "Who Needs Love Like That"...

, who released a cover extended play
Extended play
An EP is a musical recording which contains more music than a single, but is too short to qualify as a full album or LP. The term EP originally referred only to specific types of vinyl records other than 78 rpm standard play records and LP records, but it is now applied to mid-length Compact...

 featuring versions of ABBA's songs which topped the charts in early 1992. As U2
U2
U2 are an Irish rock band from Dublin. Formed in 1976, the group consists of Bono , The Edge , Adam Clayton , and Larry Mullen, Jr. . U2's early sound was rooted in post-punk but eventually grew to incorporate influences from many genres of popular music...

 arrived in Stockholm
Stockholm
Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 851,155 in the municipality , 1.37 million in the urban area , and around 2.1 million in the metropolitan area...

 for a concert in June, the band paid homage to ABBA by inviting Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson to join them on stage for a rendition of "Dancing Queen", playing guitar and keyboards. September 1992 saw the release of ABBA Gold: Greatest Hits
ABBA Gold: Greatest Hits
Gold: Greatest Hits is a compilation album of recordings by Swedish pop group ABBA. It was released on September 21, 1992 through PolyGram, the first compilation to be released after the company had acquired Polar Music and thus the rights to the ABBA back catalogue. In 1998, PolyGram was in turn...

, a new compilation album. The single "Dancing Queen
Dancing Queen
"Dancing Queen" is a pop song recorded by Swedish pop group ABBA. It was released in August 1976, but was first performed two months earlier, on 18 June 1976, during a Royal Variety Show in Stockholm the evening before the Swedish royal wedding. It was the follow-up single to the hit "Fernando"...

" received radio airplay in the UK in summer 1992 to promote the upcoming ABBA Gold: Greatest Hits album, as a result of which the song returned to the Top 20 of the UK singles chart in August that year, this time peaking at number 16.

The enormous interest in the ABBA Gold: Greatest Hits compilation saw the release of More ABBA Gold: More ABBA Hits
More ABBA Gold: More ABBA Hits
More ABBA Gold: More ABBA Hits is compilation album by Swedish pop group ABBA. Released in 1993, it was the follow-up to the highly successful ABBA Gold: Greatest Hits, released the previous year, and went on to sell 3 million copies....

 in 1993.

In 1994, two Australian cult film
Cult film
A cult film, also commonly referred to as a cult classic, is a film that has acquired a highly devoted but specific group of fans. Often, cult movies have failed to achieve fame outside the small fanbases; however, there have been exceptions that have managed to gain fame among mainstream audiences...

s caught the attention of the world's media, both focussing on admiration for ABBA: The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert is a 1994 Australian comedy-drama film written and directed by Stephan Elliott. The plot is based on the journey of three drag queens who travel across the Australian Outback from Sydney to Alice Springs in a tour bus that they have named...

 and Muriel's Wedding
Muriel's Wedding
Muriel's Wedding is a 1994 Australian-French romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by P. J. Hogan. The film, which stars actresses Toni Collette, Rachel Griffiths, Sophie Lee, and Bill Hunter, focuses on the socially awkward Muriel whose ambition is to have a glamorous wedding and improve...

. The same year, Thank You for the Music
Thank You for the Music (album)
-Disc 2:-Disc 3:-Disc 4:-Personnel:ABBA*Benny Andersson - synthesizer, keyboards, vocals*Agnetha Fältskog - vocals*Anni-Frid Lyngstad - vocals*Björn Ulvaeus - acoustic guitar, guitar, vocalsAdditional personnel*Ulf Andersson - saxophone...

, a four-disc box set comprising all the group's hits and stand-out album tracks, was released with the involvement of all four members. "By the end of the twentieth century", American critic Chuck Klosterman
Chuck Klosterman
Charles John "Chuck" Klosterman is an American author and essayist who has written for The New York Times Magazine, The Believer, and The Washington Post, and has written books focusing on American popular culture....

 wrote a decade later, "it was far more contrarian to hate ABBA than to love them."

ABBA were soon recognized and embraced by other acts: Evan Dando
Evan Dando
Evan Griffith Dando is an American musician, most famous for fronting the alternative rock band The Lemonheads. He is the only original member left in the current Lemonheads line-up, having served as lead singer since the band's original formation in 1986...

 of The Lemonheads
The Lemonheads
The Lemonheads are an American alternative rock band first formed in 1986 by Evan Dando, Ben Deily and Jesse Peretz. Dando has remained the band's only constant member....

 recorded a cover version of "Knowing Me, Knowing You
Knowing Me, Knowing You
"Knowing Me, Knowing You" is a hit single recorded by Swedish pop group ABBA. The song was written by Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus and Stig Anderson, with the lead vocal sung by Anni-Frid Lyngstad. During recording sessions, it had the working titles of "Ring It In" and "Number 1, Number 1"...

", Sinéad O'Connor
Sinéad O'Connor
Sinéad Marie Bernadette O'Connor is an Irish singer-songwriter. She rose to fame in the late 1980s with her debut album The Lion and the Cobra and achieved worldwide success in 1990 with a cover of the song "Nothing Compares 2 U"....

 and Boyzone's Stephen Gately
Stephen Gately
Stephen Patrick David Gately was an Irish pop singer–songwriter, actor, dancer, musician and author, who, with Ronan Keating, was one of two lead singers of the pop group Boyzone. All of Boyzone's studio albums hit number one in the United Kingdom, their third being their most successful...

 have recorded "Chiquitita
Chiquitita
"Chiquitita" was the first single release from Swedish pop group ABBA's Voulez-Vous album, their sixth for Polar, and their fifth for Epic and Atlantic...

", Tanita Tikaram
Tanita Tikaram
Tanita Tikaram is a British pop/folk singer-songwriter, best known for the hits "Twist in My Sobriety" and "Good Tradition" from her 1988 debut album, Ancient Heart...

, Blancmange
Blancmange (band)
Blancmange are a British synthpop band who came to prominence with a string of hits in the early to mid 1980s.-Biography:Blancmange was formed in Harrow, Middlesex in 1979 by singer Neil Arthur and instrumentalists Stephen Luscombe and Laurence Stevens...

 and Steven Wilson
Steven Wilson
Steven John Wilson is an English musician, best known as the founder, lead guitarist, singer and songwriter of progressive rock band Porcupine Tree...

 paid tribute to "The Day Before You Came
The Day Before You Came
"The Day Before You Came" is a song recorded and released by Swedish pop group ABBA. It was originally released in October 1982, as the first new song from ABBA's double compilation album The Singles: The First Ten Years...

", Cliff Richard covered "Lay All Your Love On Me
Lay All Your Love on Me
"Lay All Your Love on Me", is a song recorded by Swedish pop group ABBA in 1980 for their Super Trouper album. It was released only as a 12-inch single in 1981 in limited territories, rather than as a standard 7-inch record. At the time, it was the highest selling 12-inch record in UK chart...

", while Dionne Warwick
Dionne Warwick
Dionne Warwick is an American singer, actress and TV show host, who became a United Nations Global Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture Organization, and a United States Ambassador of Health....

 and Peter Cetera recorded their versions of "SOS
SOS (ABBA song)
Agnetha Fältskog's version was the second single from her fifth Swedish solo-album Elva kvinnor i ett hus . It was the only song from this album not to have been composed by Fältskog herself....

". U.S. alternative-rock musician Marshall Crenshaw has also been known to play a version of "Knowing Me, Knowing You" in concert appearances, while legendary English Latin pop
Latin pop
Latin pop generally refers to pop music that has what may be perceived a Latin American influence...

 songwriter Richard Daniel Roman
Richard Daniel Roman
Richard Daniel Roman is a British songwriter, composer, singer, record producer, photographer, mystic and poet best known for his work with pop musicians.-Biography:...

 has recognized ABBA as a major influence. Swedish metal guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen covered "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)
Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)
"Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! ", originally titled "Been and Gone and Done It", is one of Swedish pop group ABBA's biggest disco hits. It was recorded and released in 1979 with "The King Has Lost His Crown" as the B-side. It appears on ABBA's Greatest Hits Vol...

" with slightly altered lyrics.

Two different compilation albums of ABBA songs have been released. ABBA: A Tribute coincided with the 25th anniversary celebration and featured 17 songs, some of which were recorded especially for this release. Notable tracks include Go West's "One of Us", Army of Lovers "Hasta Mañana", Information Society's "Lay All Your Love on Me", Erasure's "Take a Chance on Me" (with MC Kinky), and Lyngstad's a cappella duet with The Real Group on "Dancing Queen". A second 12-track album was released in 1999, entitled ABBAMANIA, with proceeds going to the Youth Music charity in England. It featured all new cover versions, notable tracks were by Madness ("Money, Money, Money"), Culture Club
Culture Club
Culture Club are a British rock band who were part of the 1980s New Romantic movement. The original band consisted of Boy George , Mikey Craig , Roy Hay and Jon Moss...

 ("Voulez-Vous"), The Corrs
The Corrs
The Corrs are an Irish band which combine pop rock with traditional Celtic folk music. The brother and sisters are from Dundalk, Ireland. The group consists of the Corr siblings: Andrea ; Sharon ; Caroline ; and Jim .The Corrs came to international prominence with their performance at the...

 ("The Winner Takes It All"), Steps ("Lay All Your Love on Me", "I Know Him So Well") and a medley entitled "Thank ABBA for the Music" performed by several artists and as featured on the Brits Awards that same year.

In Sweden, the growing recognition of the legacy of Andersson and Ulvaeus resulted in the 1998 B & B Concerts: a tribute concert (with Swedish singers who had worked with the composers through the years) showcasing not only their ABBA years, but even hits from the 1960s and after ABBA. The concert was a success, released on CD, and later toured Scandinavia and even went to Beijing in the People's Republic of China for two concerts.

In 2000, ABBA were reported to have turned down an offer of approximately US$1,000,000,000 (one billion US dollars) to do a reunion tour consisting of 100 concerts.

For the 2004 semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest
Eurovision Song Contest
The Eurovision Song Contest is an annual competition held among active member countries of the European Broadcasting Union .Each member country submits a song to be performed on live television and then casts votes for the other countries' songs to determine the most popular song in the competition...

, staged in Istanbul thirty years after ABBA had won the contest in Brighton, all four members of ABBA had appeared briefly in a special comedy video made for the interval act, entitled "Our Last Video Ever". Each of the four members of the group made a brief cameo role, as did others such as Cher
Cher
Cher is an American recording artist, television personality, actress, director, record producer and philanthropist. Referred to as the Goddess of Pop, she has won an Academy Award, a Grammy Award, an Emmy Award, three Golden Globes and a Cannes Film Festival Award among others for her work in...

 and Rik Mayall
Rik Mayall
Richard Michael "Rik" Mayall is an English comedian, writer, and actor. He is known for his comedy partnership with Ade Edmondson, his over-the-top, energetic portrayal of characters, and as a pioneer of alternative comedy in the early 1980s...

 and even Iron Maiden
Iron Maiden
Iron Maiden are an English heavy metal band from Leyton in east London, formed in 1975 by bassist and primary songwriter Steve Harris. Since their inception, the band's discography has grown to include a total of thirty-six albums: fifteen studio albums; eleven live albums; four EPs; and six...

's Eddie
Eddie the Head
Eddie, also known as Eddie The Head, is the mascot for the British heavy metal band, Iron Maiden. He is a perennial fixture of the group's artwork, appearing in all of their record covers and in their merchandise, which includes t-shirts, posters and action figures...

. The video was not included in the official DVD release of the Eurovision Contest, but was issued as a separate DVD release, retitled The Last Video at the request of the former ABBA members.

In 2005, all four members of ABBA appeared at the Stockholm premiere of the musical Mamma Mia!.

On 4 July 2008, all four ABBA members were reunited at the Swedish premiere of Mamma Mia!
Mamma Mia! (film)
Mamma Mia! is a 2008 musical/romantic comedy film adapted from the 1999 West End/2001 Broadway musical of the same name, based on the songs of successful pop group ABBA, with additional music composed by ABBA member Benny Andersson...

. It was only the second time all of them had appeared together in public since 1986. During the appearance, they re-emphasized that they intended never to officially reunite, citing the opinion of Robert Plant
Robert Plant
Robert Anthony Plant, CBE is an English singer and songwriter best known as the vocalist and lyricist of the iconic rock band Led Zeppelin. He has also had a successful solo career...

 that the re-formed Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin were an English rock band, active in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s. Formed in 1968, they consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham...

 was more like a cover band
Cover band
A cover band , is a band that plays mostly or exclusively cover songs. New or unknown bands often find the cover band format marketable for smaller gigs, and these bands may be known as a wedding band, party band and function band. A band whose covers consist mainly of songs that were chart hits is...

 of itself than the original band. Ulvaeus stated that he wanted the band to be remembered as they were during the peak years of their success.

The compilation album ABBA Gold: Greatest Hits
ABBA Gold: Greatest Hits
Gold: Greatest Hits is a compilation album of recordings by Swedish pop group ABBA. It was released on September 21, 1992 through PolyGram, the first compilation to be released after the company had acquired Polar Music and thus the rights to the ABBA back catalogue. In 1998, PolyGram was in turn...

, originally released in 1992, returned to number one in the UK album charts for the fifth time on 3 August 2008. On 14 August 2008, the Mamma Mia! The Movie film soundtrack went to number 1 on the USA Billboard charts. While ABBA were together, the highest album chart position they had ever achieved in America was No. 14.

In November 2008, all eight studio albums, together with a ninth of rare tracks, was been released as The Albums
The Albums
The Albums is a box set of recordings by the Swedish pop group ABBA. It was released on November 11, 2008 through Universal Music. The box set includes nine discs, the first eight are all of the original studio albums the way they were originally released between 1973 and 1981 while the ninth disc...

. It hit several charts, peaking at number 4 in Sweden and reaching the top 10 in several other European territories.

In 2008, Sony Computer Entertainment
Sony Computer Entertainment
Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc. is a major video game company specializing in a variety of areas in the video game industry, and is a wholly owned subsidiary and part of the Consumer Products & Services Group of Sony...

 Europe, in collaboration with Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group is an American music group, the largest of the "big four" record companies by its commanding market share and its multitude of global operations...

 Sweden AB, released SingStar ABBA on both PlayStation 2
PlayStation 2
The PlayStation 2 is a sixth-generation video game console manufactured by Sony as part of the PlayStation series. Its development was announced in March 1999 and it was first released on March 4, 2000, in Japan...

 and PlayStation 3
PlayStation 3
The is the third home video game console produced by Sony Computer Entertainment and the successor to the PlayStation 2 as part of the PlayStation series. The PlayStation 3 competes with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles...

 video game systems, as part of the SingStar
SingStar
SingStar is a competitive music video game series for PlayStation consoles, developed by London Studio and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. 23 English-language instalments of the series have been released for the PlayStation 2, and six versions for the PlayStation 3 have been released...

 music video games. The game features 20 ABBA songs on PS2 and 25 on PS3, most of them number-1 hits.

On 22 January 2009, Fältskog and Lyngstad showed up together to receive the Swedish music award "Rockbjörnen" (for "lifetime achievement") and gave an interview onstage; the two wanted to express gratitude for the honorary award and to thank their fans.

On 25 November 2009, PRS for Music announced that the British public voted ABBA as the band they would most like to see re-form.

ABBA was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame in 2010.

On 27 January 2010, ABBAWORLD, a 25-room touring exhibition featuring interactive and audiovisual activities debuted at Earl's Court Exhibition Centre in London, England. According to the exhibition's website, ABBAWORLD is "approved and fully supported" by the group.

On 1 September 2011, Ubisoft
Ubisoft
Ubisoft Entertainment S.A. is a major French video game publisher and developer, with headquarters in Montreuil, France. The company has a worldwide presence with 25 studios in 17 countries and subsidiaries in 26 countries....

 announced that they will make a dancing game called ABBA: You Can Dance
ABBA: You Can Dance
ABBA: You Can Dance is a video game for the Wii, developed by Ubisoft. It was announced in 1 September 2011, and was released on 25 November 2011 in Europe and 15 November 2011 in North America. The game is a spin-off of the Just Dance series....

, for Nintendo Wii. It will be released in November.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame


On 15 March 2010, ABBA was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is a museum located on the shore of Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, United States. It is dedicated to archiving the history of some of the best-known and most influential artists, producers, engineers and others who have, in some major way,...

 by Bee Gees
Bee Gees
The Bee Gees are a musical group that originally comprised three brothers: Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb. The trio was successful for most of their 40-plus years of recording music, but they had two distinct periods of exceptional success: as a pop act in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and as a...

 members Barry Gibb
Barry Gibb
Barry Alan Crompton Gibb, CBE , is a singer, songwriter and producer. He was born in the Isle of Man to English parents. With his brothers Robin and Maurice, he formed The Bee Gees, one of the most successful pop groups of all time. The trio got their start in Australia, and found their major...

 and Robin Gibb
Robin Gibb
Robin Hugh Gibb, CBE is a British singer and songwriter. He is best known as a member of the Bee Gees, co-founded with his twin brother Maurice , and elder brother Barry....

. The ceremony was held at The Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. The group was represented by Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Benny Andersson.

Success in the United States


During their active career, from 1972 to 1982, fourteen of ABBAs singles reached Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and on Cashbox Top 100 singles chart, ten of them reached Top 20 and four of them placed in Top 10 on both charts, with "Dancing Queen" peaking at number 1 also on both charts.
While "Fernando" and "SOS" did not break Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart they reached Top 10 on Cashbox ("Fernando") and Record World ("SOS") charts.

The group also had twelve Top 20 singles on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart with two of them, "Fernando" and "The Winner Takes It All", peaking at number 1. "Lay All Your Love on Me" was ABBA's fourth number 1 single on Billboard charts, topping its Hot Dance Club Play chart. "Dancing Queen" and "Take a Chance on Me" singles were certified gold (more than 1 million copies sold) by RIAA.

Nine ABBA albums made their way into the Top 100 on the Billboard 200 album chart, with seven of them getting into the Top 50. Four of those albums reached Top 20, with ABBA: The Album at number 14 being the highest position. Five albums received RIAA gold (more than 500,000 copies sold) certification, and three acquired platinum (more than 1 million copies sold) status. ABBA Gold: Greatest Hits collection released in the United States in 1993 became a 7-time platinum bestseller and topped the Bilboard Top Pop Catalog Albums chart (it also peaked at number 11 on a Billboard Comprehensive Albums
Billboard Comprehensive Albums
Billboard Comprehensive Albums was established in 2003 and was a weekly albums chart produced by Billboard magazine that ranked the biggest selling albums in the United States regardless of the product's age or method of sales....

 chart).

Fashion, videos, advertising campaigns


ABBA were widely noted for the colourful and trend-setting costumes its members wore. The videos that accompanied some of their biggest hits are often cited as being among the earliest examples of the genre. Most of ABBA's videos (and ABBA: The Movie) were directed by Lasse Hallström
Lasse Hallström
Lars Sven "Lasse" Hallström is a Swedish film director. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director for My Life as a Dog and later for The Cider House Rules .-Life and career:...

, who would later direct the films My Life as a Dog
My Life as a Dog
My Life as a Dog is a 1985 Swedish drama film directed by Lasse Hallström, based on a novel by Reidar Jönsson. It tells the story of Ingemar, a young boy sent to live with relatives...

, The Cider House Rules
The Cider House Rules (film)
The Cider House Rules is a 1999 American drama film directed by Lasse Hallström, based on John Irving's novel of the same name. The film won two Academy Awards, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture, along with four other nominations at the 72nd Academy Awards...

 and Chocolat.

ABBA made videos because their songs were hits in many different countries and personal appearances were not always possible. This was also done in an effort to minimize traveling, particularly to countries that would have required extremely long flights. Fältskog and Ulvaeus had two young children and Fältskog, who was also afraid of flying
Fear of flying
A fear of flying is a fear of being on an airplane , or other flying vehicle, such as a helicopter, while in flight. It is also sometimes referred to as aerophobia, aviatophobia, aviophobia or pteromerhanophobia....

, was very reluctant to leave her children for such a long time. ABBA's manager, Stig Anderson, realized the potential of showing a simple video clip on television to publicize a single or album, thereby allowing easier and quicker exposure than a concert tour. Some of these videos became classics because of the 1970s-era costumes and early video effects, such as the grouping of the band members in different combinations of pairs, overlapping one singer's profile with the other's full face, and the contrasting of one member against another.

In 1976, ABBA participated in a high-profile advertising campaign by the Matsushita Electric Industrial (today's Panasonic Corporation), which was designed to promote the brand National
National (brand)
National was a brand used by Panasonic Corporation to sell home appliances, personal appliances, and industrial appliances and was the first name used by Konosuke Matsushita's electric firm to sell his battery-powered bicycle lamps, hoping that they would be a product used by all of Japan, hence...

. This campaign was designed initially for Australia, where "National" was still the primary brand used by Matsushita, who had not introduced the "Panasonic
Panasonic
Panasonic is an international brand name for Japanese electric products manufacturer Panasonic Corporation, which was formerly known as Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd...

" brand to Australia yet despite its widespread use in other parts of the world such as the United States. However, the campaign was also aired in Japan. Five commercials, each approximately one minute long, were produced, each using the "National
National (brand)
National was a brand used by Panasonic Corporation to sell home appliances, personal appliances, and industrial appliances and was the first name used by Konosuke Matsushita's electric firm to sell his battery-powered bicycle lamps, hoping that they would be a product used by all of Japan, hence...

 Song" sung by ABBA, which used the melody and instrumental arrangement of "Fernando
Fernando (song)
"Fernando" is a song by the Swedish pop group ABBA. It was the group's first non-album single and was released in November 1975 through Polar Music. Lead vocals were sung by Anni-Frid Lyngstad...

", adapted with new lyrics promoting National, and working in several slogans used by National in their advertising.

Political controversy


In September 2010, band members Andersson and Ulvaeus criticized the far-right Danish People's Party
Danish People's Party
The Danish People's Party is a political party in Denmark which is frequently described as right-wing populist by political scientists and commentators. The party is led by Pia Kjærsgaard...

 (DF) for using their song "Mamma Mia" with modified lyrics at rallies. The band had threatened to file a lawsuit against the DF, saying they never allowed their music to be used politically and that they had absolutely no interest in supporting the party. Their record label Universal Music later said that no legal action would be taken because an agreement had been reached.

Discography



  • Ring Ring
    Ring Ring (album)
    -2001 re-release:Ring Ring was remastered and reissued in 2001 with three bonus tracks :-2005 re-release:...

     (1973)

  • Waterloo
    Waterloo (album)
    * 1974 Polar Music International AB, Stockholm, Sweden.* The original album release of Waterloo in 1974 with Polar.-CD re-issues, bonus tracks:...

     (1974)

  • ABBA
    ABBA (album)
    1975 Polar Music international AB, Stockholm, Sweden.Stig Anderson helped us with the lyrics on "Mamma Mia", "Tropical Loveland", "SOS", "Bang-A-Boomerang", "I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do" and "I've Been Waiting for You".-CD re-issues, bonus tracks:...

     (1975)

  • Arrival
    Arrival (ABBA album)
    -Side one:#"When I Kissed the Teacher" – 2:58#"Dancing Queen" – 3:47#"Dum Dum Diddle" – 2:50#"My Love, My Life" – 3:50...

     (1976)

  • ABBA: The Album (1977)

  • Voulez-Vous
    Voulez-Vous
    -CD re-issues, bonus tracks:Voulez-Vous was remastered and reissued in 1997 with two bonus tracks:"Summer Night City" – 3:34 "Lovelight" – 3:18Voulez-Vous was remastered and reissued in 2001 with three other bonus tracks:...

     (1979)

  • Super Trouper
    Super Trouper (album)
    Super Trouper is the seventh studio album by Swedish pop group ABBA, first released in 1980 .-Overview:Led by the international hit "The Winner Takes It All", Super Trouper was the group's sixth chart-topping album in the UK. It was also the best-selling album in Britain for 1980...

     (1980)

  • The Visitors
    The Visitors (ABBA album)
    The Visitors is the eighth and final studio album by Swedish pop group ABBA, released on November 30, 1981.With The Visitors, ABBA took several steps away from the "lighter" pop music they had recorded previously and the album is often regarded as a more complex and mature effort...

     (1981)

ABBA-related tributes

  • Abbacadabra
    Abbacadabra
    Abbacadabra is the name of a French children's musical based on songs from the pop group ABBA, originally produced for French television in 1983 by Alain and Daniel Boublil, but which was later also transferred to an English stage version and two other television programs.-French television...

     – A French children's musical based on songs from ABBA
  • Abbacadabra - A tribute band
  • Abbaesque
    Abbaesque
    Abbaesque is an Irish tribute band to the Swedish band ABBA. With six members, they are Ireland's most successful tribute show, performing in excess of 250 sell out shows each year throughout the entire country....

     – An Irish ABBA tribute band
  • Abba-esque
    Abba-esque
    Abba-esque is an EP by Erasure. It scored their first number one on the UK singles chart with the release in 1992. Always big fans of the Swedish quartet ABBA, performing various songs in concert for years, Erasure released this four-song covers EP, which was originally intended as a full...

     – Erasure's 1992 EP
  • ABBAmania
    ABBAmania
    ABBAmania is a tribute album to Swedish pop band ABBA, released in 1999. It followed an ITV programme of the same name and featured various British and Irish artists covering ABBA songs.-Track listing:# "Money, Money, Money" – Madness...

     – An ITV programme and tribute album to Swedish pop band ABBA released in 1999
  • Abbasalutely
    Abbasalutely
    Abbasalutely is a compilation album released in 1995 by New Zealand recording label Flying Nun Records as a tribute album to ABBA.-Track listing:-External links:*...

     – A compilation album released in 1995 as a tribute album to ABBA
  • adbacadabra – An American ABBA tribute band
  • Arrival From Sweden A Swedish ABBA tribute band, formed in 1995
  • A*Teens – A pop music group from Stockholm, Sweden
  • Björn Again
    Björn Again
    Björn Again is a tribute show to the Swedish pop group ABBA founded in 1988 in Australia, but now involving multiple touring troupes performing under the Björn Again name...

     – The earliest-formed ABBA tribute band (1988)
  • Generation Abba – Live ABBA tribute concerts on tour in Canada, Europe and Middle-East
  • Mamma Mia!
    Mamma Mia!
    Mamma Mia! is a stage musical written by British playwright Catherine Johnson, based on the songs of ABBA, composed by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, former members of the band. Although the title of the musical is taken from the group's 1975 chart-topper "Mamma Mia", the plot is fictional, not...

     – Musical stage show based on the songs of ABBA
  • Mamma Mia! The Movie – Film adaption of the musical stage show
  • Gabba
    Gabba (band)
    Gabba is a London-based British tribute band performing ABBA songs in the stripped down punk style of the Ramones, a style of pop punk they dubbed discopunk and claim to have invented. They formed in 1996 and took their name in 1999...

     - An ABBA/Ramones
    Ramones
    The Ramones were an American rock band that formed in the New York City neighborhood of Forest Hills, Queens, in 1974. They are often cited as the first punk rock group...

     tribute band that covers the former in the style of the latter, the name being a pun on "Gabba Gabba Hey".
  • Babba - Australian tribute band

See also



  • ABBA the Museum
    ABBA the Museum
    ABBA the Museum is the planned official museum of the Swedish pop group ABBA, located in Stockholm, Sweden. The museum is currently under construction with an original scheduled opening of spring 2009 that has been delayed to 2010.-History:...

  • List of ABBA tribute albums
  • List of best-selling music artists
  • List of Swedes in music
  • List of unreleased ABBA songs
  • Music of Sweden
    Music of Sweden
    Sweden shares the tradition of Nordic folk dance music with its neighboring countries including polka, schottische, waltz, polska and mazurka. The accordion, clarinet, fiddle and nyckelharpa are among the most common Swedish folk instruments. This instrumental genre is the biggest one in Swedish...

  • Swedish popular music
  • ABBA City Walks - Stockholm City Museum
    Stockholm City Museum
    The Stockholm City Museum is a museum documenting and exhibiting the history of Stockholm. The museum is housed in Södra Stadshuset at Slussen on Södermalm. The building was completed in 1685...


External links