Most of us have been familiar with ABBA’s music since Mom Mia! movies, but the Swedish singing group has been around longer than that. After winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974, the group’s success skyrocketed and they achieved their greatest hits, including “Dancing Queen”, a Queen’s favorite, and “Mamma Mia”. Now the group is reforming to make more music. But why did they break up in the first place? More importantly, how did an iconic band like ABBA come about?
How was ABBA formed?
ABBA consists of Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. According to their website, Ulvaeus met Andersson in 1966. They were both in successful groups in Sweden at the time. Ulvaeus was a member of the Hootenanny Singers, a very popular folk music group, while Andersson played keyboards in Sweden’s biggest pop group, The Hep Stars.
Obviously, they liked something about each other because they wrote their first song weeks later. By the end of the 1960s, they had established a successful composition partnership. Their two groups finally fizzled out, and in 1969 they met Fältskog and Lyngstad, who not only became their fiancées, but the other members of ABBA. Both women were recording at the time.
Fältskog and Ulvaeus married in 1971 and Lyngstad and Andersson married in 1978. At first the artists collaborated on their respective solo albums, but they started to make more music together over time. They liked the way their four voices sounded together, so they formed the Festfolk cabaret group, which means “engaged couples” and “party people”.
It was not successful, so they started again, forming a band called Björn & Benny, Agnetha & Anni-Frid, releasing the song “People Need Love” in 1972. They had some success and entered the Melodifestivalen of 1973, the Swedish selection festival for the Eurovision Song Contest, singing “Ring, Ring”. They did not enter.
They entered the Melodifestivalen again in 1974, this time as ABBA, an acronym of their names. They sang “Waterloo”, went to Eurovision Song Contest and won, making them the first for Sweden. The rest is ABBA’s story.
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How did the pop group break up?
Things started to get tough for ABBA when the double-couple’s image ended in 1981 when Andersson and Lyngstad divorced. However, they still worked together until 1982. Then they decided to take a break because the two couples had divorced. The guys wrote the musical Chess and produced Mom Mia! the musical, which premiered in London’s West End in 1999. Women pursued solo careers. Not all members ruled out a meeting, however.
Even though they never got back together, they still made appearances. When the film version of Mom Mia! opened in 2008, the group attended the stockholm premiere. Only Andersson and Lyngstad attended the band’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.
After a 40-year hiatus, ABBA is releasing new music. Their new album, Trip, is slated for release on November 5, 2021. Two songs, “I Still Have Faith in You” and “Don’t Shut Me Down”, are now available. The group also announced a concert experience in London to accompany the album from May 2022.
The Guardian writes, “Digital versions of themselves (not holograms, their team claimed) will appear every night alongside a 10-piece live band at a new 3,000-seat venue in the city’s Olympic Park, called Abba Arena. Tickets go on general sale Tuesday, September 7.
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Lyngstad said: “It was such a joy to work with the band again – I’m so happy with what we did,” while Ulvaeus said of Fältskog and Lyngstad, “I was completely stunned by how they delivered those songs. “Andersson said,” I think hearing Frida and Agnetha sing again is hard to beat. We are truly sailing in uncharted waters. With the help of our youngest, we travel into the future.
We are entering an ABBA-issance, so take out your dancing shoes and get ready to sing with all your heart.