ABBA

ABBA

Formed 1972, Stockholm, Sweden: Agnetha Fältskog – vocals; Anni-Frid (Frida) Lyngstad – vocals; Björn Ulvaeus (ex-Hootenanny Singers) – guitar, vocals; Benny Andersson (ex-Hep Stars) – keyboards. All members had experienced success in their own right in Sweden before their 1974 Eurovision Song Contest winner Waterloo propelled them to international success. After a bit of a false start, 1975’s Mamma Mia began a string of UK chart-toppers spanning the second half of the 1970s, including Fernando, Dancing Queen, Knowing Me Knowing You, The Name Of The Game and Take A Chance On Me.

By 1980 internal relations between the band’s two married couples were less than healthy; Ulvaeus and Fältskog had divorced in 1979, while Andersson and Lyngstad would follow suit in 1981. The band’s popularity, however, was still very much at its peak. 1980’s Super Trouper album reached #1 as did its first two singles, The Winner Takes It All and the title track. The following year’s The Visitors also topped the charts but the public was starting to lose interest in ABBA’s increasingly world-weary material, One Of Us becoming the band’s last top ten hit. 1982’s double set The Singles – The First Ten Years neatly summed up the band’s career and although no official breakup announcement was made, the band never performed together again. Frida and Agnetha both resumed the solo careers they had enjoyed before ABBA, while Benny and Björn continued to work together, teaming up with Tim Rice to write the musical Chess which spawned the hit singles One Night In Bangkok by Murray Head (1984, #12) and I Know Him So Well by Elaine Paige & Barbara Dickson (1985, #1).

Having fallen out of critical favour during the 1980s, interest in the band’s work was renewed in 1992 when Erasure covered four of the band’s songs on their chart-topping ABBA-esque EP. This led to the release of the compilation album ABBA Gold, which went on to become the UK’s biggest selling CD of all time. Agnetha Fältskog enjoyed a brief solo renaissance in 2004 when her single If I Thought You’d Ever Change Your Mind reached #11 and album My Colouring Book made #12; she came out of hiding again in 2013 to release another album titled simply A. In 1999 the band’s songs were used in the stage musical Mamma Mia!, which was turned into a feature film in 2008. While the members of ABBA have occasionally appeared together, most recently in 2016 when they attended a party to celebrate fifty years of Björn and Benny’s songwriting partnership, they have repeatedly made it clear that they have no intention of performing or recording together again.

ESSENTIAL ’80s ABBA

SINGLES

The Winner Takes It All sleeve

THE WINNER TAKES IT ALL
July 1980, #1

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One Of Us sleeve

ONE OF US
December 1981, #3

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The Day Before You Came sleeve

THE DAY BEFORE YOU CAME
October 1982, #32

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ALBUMS

Super Trouper LP sleeve

SUPER TROUPER
November 1980, #1

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The Visitors LP sleeve

THE VISITORS
December 1981, #1

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The Singles - The First Ten Years LP sleeve

THE SINGLES – THE FIRST TEN YEARS
November 1982, #1

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