ABBA, the 2 couples from Sweden, made the best music of the disco era: 1972-1982. ABBA took its name from the first name initials of its members: Agnetha Faltskog, Benny Andersson, Bjorn Ulvaeus & Anni-Frid Lyngstad. The girls sang, and the guys wrote the tunes. Benny played keyboards. Bjorn played guitar. Their biggest hits were "Dancing Queen," "Take A Chance On Me" & "Waterloo." It was blonde Agnetha who was the eye-catcher, although Frida got her share of the hits. When they harmonized, Agnetha went high and Frida went low. Agnetha had a better grip on the traditional pop song, while Frida had a more jazzy, operatic voice.
The 2 blondes were married, and the 2 brunettes were married. Both couples had divorced by the time of the group's breakup. Agnetha and Bjorn were married 7 years and had 2 kids. Benny and Frida already had kids.
Benny was born, December 16, 1946. Frida was born, November 15, 1945, in Narvik, Norway. Her mother was Norwegian. Her father was a German soldier. Relatives brought Frida to Sweden when she was 2.
Benny and Bjorn met in 1966. Benny was playing with The Hep Stars. Bjorn was playing with The Hootenanny Singers. ABBA's career was launched when they won the Eurovision song contest in 1974 with "Waterloo." They went on to sell more records than anyone except Elvis Presley and The Beatles. They were a worldwide phenomenon! They dominated charts in Europe, England & Australia. In the UK, they had 9 number ones and 20 in the Top 10. They spent 31 weeks at the number one position. A movie was made of their Australian tour and released as ABBA The Movie in conjunction with ABBA The Album. They toured the States in 1979 and Japan in 1980.
ABBA released 8 studio albums in 10 years and had enough B-sides and scattered songs for 2 more. The album titles are Ring Ring, Waterloo, ABBA, Arrival, The Album, Voulez-Vous, Super Trouper & The Visitors.
Some fine musicians played with ABBA. Lasse Wellander and Mats Ronander played guitar. Rutger Gunnarsson played bass. Ola Brunkert played drums.
ABBA was managed by Stig Anderson (of no relation to Benny). Michael Tretow was as their engineer. Later recording was done at Polar Studios, and the company formed to handle the business was Polar Music International. Records were released on the Atlantic label.
Benny and Bjorn collaborated on 2 musicals. They wrote CHESS with Tim Rice. It is about a Russian chess player who defects. CHESS played on Broadway in 1988, and toured in 1990. Its music is very different from ABBA's.
B&B followed with Kristina, a musical based on the novels of Swedish author Vilhelm Moberg.