Agnetha was born in Jonkoping, Sweden, on April 5, 1950. Her father staged amateur reviews in the town, and Agnetha began singing in them at an early age. When she was 15, she left school to take a job as a telephone operator with an automobile firm. She was singing with a group called Bernt Enghardts, but left them when her composition, "Jag Var Sa Kar (I Was So In Love)" became a hit on the Swedish charts. Agnetha moved to Stockholm and recorded her first album.
Agnetha went to Germany and cut some records with Dieter Zimmermann, to whom she was engaged. The German experience as well as the romance failed, and Agnetha returned to Sweden to play Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar. She met Bjorn Ulvaeus while doing a television show. Love bloomed, and the couple married in 1971. They had a daughter, Linda, and a son, Christian. ABBA formed in 1972, when Agnetha and Bjorn teamed up with Benny Andersson and his girl friend, Anni-Frid Lyngstad.
Agnetha composed music and did 9 solo albums between 1968 and 1988. She recorded in Swedish, German, English, French & Spanish. Cupol was her label in the early days.
Agnetha became a recluse on an island in Ekero west of Stockholm. She grew bitter toward the press, proving to be as sensitive as she was beautiful. Her marriage to surgeon Tomas Sonnenfeld was short-lived.
Agnetha emerged in 2013 with an album called A.
The only one of the 4 born in Stockholm, Benny came from a family of accordion players. It was natural for him to teach himself piano. His Hep Stars were Sweden's biggest group. They had a rougher image than Bjorn's Hootenanny Singers. When their career ended in bankruptcy, Benny came away with the idea that there would have to be greater economy in the future. It gave him the incentive to become a co-owner of Polar Music.
Benny met Frida Lyngstad in Malmo. She was singing in a club. He said she was the only performer he ever met who looked as good without make-up as she did with it.
Benny wasted no time after his divorce from Frida. He married Mona Norklit in 1981, and had a son with her the following year. He established his own company called Mono Music.
After CHESS, Benny worked with Orsa Spelman. They performed in Minneapolis, a tailor-made gig considering the Swedish population in the Midwest. His excursion into folk music prepared Benny for Kristina and for the Benny Andersson Orkester.
Benny is regarded as the most laid-back member of ABBA. Labels oversimplify but still help us understand public figures.
Bjorn came from Gothenburg, Sweden's western port and second largest city, where he was born in 1945. He was in school when he formed a folk group called the West Bay Singers. Stig Anderson suggested the name Hootenanny Singers.
Bjorn studied corporate law for a term at the University of Stockholm and is known for his business sense. He was drafted into the Swedish military for the mandatory 10 months, a handy experience if you are going to write songs like "Fernando."
It must have been the background that made Bjorn ABBA's unofficial spokesman. He likes languages and is more oriented toward lyrics than Benny, who is a pure musician. They proved compatible as songwriters, sitting for hours as their catalog took shape.
Bjorn met Agnetha in 1969. They were on the same show in a town on the west coast of Sweden. There was a delay, and they got acquainted. Bjorn had heard Agnetha's record on the radio and thought it was romantic. Agnetha said it was cold and Bjorn offered to hold her hand.
After an engagement of more than a year, the wedding took place in Skane with the couple arriving in a coach. Benny Andersson played the organ.
Following his divorce from Agnetha, Bjorn married Lena Kallersjo and had 2 daughters by her. They lived near London for a while. The London years can be seen in connection with CHESS.
Frida was raised by her grandmother in Eskilstuna. Her mother died young, and it was felt that little Frida would fare better in Sweden since her father had been part of the occupying army.
Frida began singing professionally at 13. She sang with a big band, and that is how she met her first husband, Ragnar Fredriksson. He played trombone. They had 2 kids: a son and a daughter.
Like Agnetha, Frida was in the Swedish charts before ABBA. She lived with Benny before marrying him in 1978. They divorced in 1981, but remained friends for the sake of the group.
A German magazine engineered a meeting between Frida and the father she had never seen. He claimed to not know he had a daughter.
Frida felt remorse over Benny's infidelity and left Sweden to divide her time between Switzerland and Mallorca. She married a German prince and got involved in the environment.