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Sunday 27 May 2018

Abba: Here They Go Again! A look back at the band’s rise to fame

The band were loved in Britain and around the world.

Benny Andersson, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Agnetha Faltskog and Bjorn Ulvaeus of Abba (PA)
Benny Andersson, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Agnetha Faltskog and Bjorn Ulvaeus of Abba (PA)

By Sherna Noah, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

Abba catapulted to global fame after scooping the Eurovision Song Contest with Waterloo.

Their triumphant victory took place at the Brighton Dome in 1974.

It made the Swedish pop group a household name around the world and especially in the UK.

Hits, such as Mamma Mia, Fernando, Dancing Queen and Money, Money Money, followed and they are still hugely popular today.

The band’s name was an acronym of its members – Agnetha Faltskog, Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad – but also the name of a Swedish canned fish company.

The relationships between the quartet, and the demise of them, are part of the supergroup’s story.

Faltskog and Ulvaeus, as well as Lyngstad and Andersson, were married for a period and announcements of divorce changed the band’s happy image.

A recent exhibition , at the Southbank Centre, showed how the group were “a breath of fresh air” in a 1970s Britain mired in strike action and the three-day working week.

The group’s flamboyant and outlandish costumes, which included capes, flares, catsuits and platform heels, were part of their appeal.

Their other hits over the years included Knowing Me Knowing You, Take A Chance On Me, Super Trouper, Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight) and The Winner Takes It All.

But by 1982 the band were on a “break” – they did not officially announce a split.

Since then, they have pledged a reunion would never happen and are said to have turned down eye-watering sums to get back on stage together.

Ulvaeus previously told the Press Association that the pop sensations would never perform together again, and that he would rather be on his “surf ski”.

“I think we don’t feel the motivation.

❤️ #abbaofficial #abba

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“The four of us, with live concerts, no. The simple answer is because we don’t want to. It would be such hassle, it would be enormous.

“You cannot imagine the tension and the attention from everyone,” he said.

“So it would be like robbing yourself of, perhaps, two or three years out of your life when I could be paddling on my surf ski in the archipelago of Stockholm instead.

“There’s a choice.”

The musical Mamma Mia!, based on Abba songs, premiered in London in 1999 and became a worldwide hit, having been seen by more than 60 million people.

The movie version, starring Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan, opened in  2008 and was attended, in Stockholm, by all four Abba stars.

 

Press Association

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