- December 19, 2011
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ABBA was a Swedish pop group formed in Stockholm in 1970 which consisted of Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Agnetha Fältskog. They became one of the most commercially successful acts in the history of pop music, topping the charts worldwide from 1972 to 1982. ABBA has sold over 370 million records worldwide, which made them the fourth best-selling music artists in the history of recorded music, behind only The Beatles, Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson. They still sell between two to three million albums a year. ABBA was the first pop group to come from a non-English-speaking country that enjoyed consistent success in the charts of English-speaking countries, including the UK, the U.S.,Canada, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, Philippines and New Zealand. The group also enjoyed significant success in Latin American markets (particularly Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Argentina) and recorded a collection of their hit songs in Spanish.
During the band’s active years, Fältskog and Ulvaeus were a married couple, as were Lyngstad and Andersson–although both couples later divorced. At the height of their popularity, both relationships were suffering strain which ultimately resulted in the collapse of the Ulvaeus-Fältskog marriage in 1979 and the Andersson-Lyngstad marriage in 1981. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, these relationship changes began appearing in the group’s music, as they produced more introspective lyrics with different compositions.
After ABBA broke up in early 1983, Andersson and Ulvaeus achieved success writing music for the stage while Lyngstad and Fältskog pursued individual solo careers with varying success. ABBA’s music declined in popularity until several films, notablyMuriel’s Wedding and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, revived interest in the group, spawning several tribute bands. In 1999, ABBA’s music was adapted into the successful musical Mamma Mia! that toured worldwide. A film of the same name released in 2008 became the highest-grossing film in the United Kingdom that year. The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on 15 March 2010.