ABBA, the two couples from Sweden, were the best pop group of the disco era, 1974-1982. ABBA took its name from the first name initials of its members: Agnetha Faltskog, Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and 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 and Waterloo. It was blonde Agnetha who was the eyecatcher even though Frida got her share of the hits. There were times when she and Frida sounded alike but when they harmonized, Agnetha went high and Frida went low. Frida has a more husky, operatic quality to her voice. Agnetha has a better grip on the traditional pop song. Both have talent.
The two blondes from ABBA were married, and the two brunettes were married. Both couples had divorced by the time of the group's breakup. Agnetha and Bjorn were married 7 years. They have two children.
Benny and Frida were parents by previous marriages. Benny was born, December 16, 1946. Frida was born in Narvik, Norway, November 15, 1945. Her mother was Norwegian; her father was a German soldier. Relatives brought Frida to Sweden when she was two.
Benny and Bjorn met in 1966. Benny had started out with a group called 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 successful in the States but beyond that, were a worldwide phenomenon. They dominated record charts in England, Europe and Australia for years. In England, they had 9 number one records with 20 in the Top Ten. 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 U.S. in 1979 and Japan in 1980.
ABBA did 8 albums over a period of 10 years and had enough B sides and scattered songs to have compiled another 2 albums. Their 8 album titles are Ring Ring, Waterloo, ABBA, Arrival, The Album, Voulez-Vous, Super Trouper and The Visitors.
Some fine musicians played behind the 4 visible members. Lasse Wellander and Janne Schaffer laid down guitar tracks. Rutger Gunnarsson played bass, and Ola Brunkert played drums.
The group was managed by Stig Anderson (no relation to Benny). Michael B. Tretow served as their perennial engineer. Later recording was done at Polar Studios, and the company formed to handle their business was known as Polar Music International AB. Their records were released by Atlantic, a Warner Communications Company.
Benny and Bjorn went on to collaborate on two musicals. They did Chess with Tim Rice. Chess is about a Russian chess player who defects for love. Its music is of a different caliber than ABBA's. It played on Broadway in 1988, and a second recording was made.
The follow up to Chess is Kristina!, a musicalization of "The Emigrants," the 4 novels by Swedish author Vilhelm Moberg.
Agnetha and Frida have added to their solo work.
ABBA from Sweden http://jimcolyer.com/papers/entry?id=31