ABBA: The pop group that never ends, literally

By Abigail Keefe
October 14, 2005

The 1977 film “ABBA-The Movie” documented the hysteria surrounding the band’s 1977 Australian tour and also documented the international success of the Swedish ABBA as a pop group. The movie has recently been restored by the Swedish Film Institute and released on DVD in most European countries and is set for release in the U.S. in October. The release of the DVD will only add to the resurgence of the band that came with their widely successful musical “Mama Mia.”

The group ABBA consisted of four members: Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, Agnetha Faltskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, also known as Frida. Bjorn and Benny met while on tour with separate bands in the 1960s and began writing songs together. They even produced an early album together called “Lycka,” which means happiness in Swedish. While they were writing the album, Bjorn met Agnetha, who was also touring solo, and after falling in love they were married in 1971. Shortly afterward, Benny met Frida, who had done several live performances on the local circuit after winning a song contest. Benny invited Frida to join Agnetha and sing back-up on the album “Lycka.”

The group worked solidly through the early 70s to refine their sound; increasing the female vocals and releasing several singles. They finally got a hit in 1974 with the release of “Waterloo,” which became the group’s first number one hit and also became their first song that was released in the U.S.. The groups’ career took off afterwards and they released two more albums, “Greatest Hits” in 1975 and “Arrival” in 1976. “Arrival” included the bands only number one hit in the U.S., “Dancing Queen.” The band gained recognition in both Europe and Australia. After enjoying their recent success, the group released the album “ABBA-The Album,” which coincided with the 1977 release of the movie and their Australian tour. Unfortunately, ABBA’s success did not last long. The group would only release three more albums and complete one U.S. tour before their break up in 1982.

ABBA was truly one of the first large scale international pop groups. They were a pioneering force with their catchy tunes and their colorful matching costumes. ABBA was also one off the first groups to widely use music videos to accompany their songs. Acclaimed director Lasse Hallstrom directed all of the music videos as well as the 1977 movie. Hallstrom also directed such famous films as “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” and “The Cider House Rules.” The 1977 film also utilized an innovative new technology of the time called surround sound, which would go on to become a staple of modern movie technology.

As if their status as one of the most successful pop acts of the early 70s and their string of number one hits was not enough the 2001 musical “Mama Mia” catapulted ABBA into the history books for sure. This musical used 22 classic ABBA hits to tell the intriguing tale of a young girl’s search for her father and her mother’s interesting past. Although many critics panned “Mama Mia” the show was a huge hit with audiences. ABBA’s lively music energized the show and fans left the theater singing. Recently “Mama Mia” became one of the top 50 longest running productions in Broadway history, running for an incredible 1,500 shows.

ABBA will forever be remembered in the annals of music as the beginning of the model pop group. Their songs became the songs that everyone sung along to and got stuck in your head no matter how hard you tried. Before the likes of Destiny’s Child or Backstreet Boys, ABBA showed the world what pop music could really do.

Loquitur welcomes your comments on this story. Please send your comments to: The editors will review your points each week and make corrections if warranted.

Posted to the web by Tim Hague

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Abigail Keefe

Abigail Keefe is a Cabrini College student studying communications, enjoying her time in Radnor, Pennsylvania. Abbie loves working for the school newspaper, the Loquitur, and is also passionate about everything that the communication field has to offer.

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