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ABBA

The Members Of ABBA

Agnetha Faltskog (check out her site: www.agnetha.se)

Agnetha Fältskog

Agnetha Fältskog - My Colouring Book
The year is 1962. Agnetha Fältskog lies on the bed in her room in Jönköping. She is 12 years old. A yellow portable record player with built-in speakers plays “Mr Lonely” by Bobby Vinton. When it ends she changes the record to “Bye Bye Birdie” or “Save All The Kisses” by Ann-Margret. When she’s not lying on the bed listening to music, she sits in front of the mirror miming and humming along with Connie Francis or one of her other idols.
 
“For me my teens were very much about music, in me and around me. If I wasn’t writing my own, I listened to music or was singing with a dance orchestra. When I look back I see what a deep impression all of this left on me. The gratitude toward the artists, the songs and all that they’ve given me. The impressions I’ve got without really thinking about it, being aware of it. Now I understand when I listen to these artists, all the work that’s behind these seemingly simple songs. It was because of this that I learned to sing in English. That’s where I laid the foundation.”
 
The continuation was a solo career in the late 60’s with a number of self-penned hits. When ABBA was formed in the beginning of the 70’s, Agnetha Fältskog was a well established artist. Among other things she had had big success as Mary of Magdalene in the Swedish stage production of Jesus Christ Superstar. On April 6, 1974 ABBA won the Eurovision Song Contest in Brighton with “Waterloo”. The rest is what we usually call history.
 
 
After the dissolution of ABBA, Agnetha Fältskog released three solo albums, Wrap Your Arms Around Me in 1983, Eyes Of A Woman in 1985 and I Stand Alone in 1987.
It’s by incident that looks thought out that My Colouring Book, Agnetha Fältskog’s first album in 17
years, will be released almost exactly 30 years after the big international breakthrough.
 
 
“At first I searched in my own record collection, but I also went to a record store in Hässelby that specializes in music from the 60’s. There I nearly got a fever. It started to vibrate in me when I was browsing through records by Petula Clark, Rita Pavone, Cilla Black, Dusty Springfield and, of course, Connie Francis. Plus some guys like Paul Anka and Neil Sedaka among others. I bought so much there.”
 

Benny Andersson

Benny Andersson
 
Benny Bror Göran Andersson was born in the suburb Vällingby in Stockholm Sweden on December 16th 1946. His father and grandfather both enjoyed playing the accordion. At the age of six Benny got an accordion of his own. Father Gösta and grandfather Efraim taught him Swedish folksongs so his love for Swedish folkmusic was 'learnt at his mother's knee'.

When he was ten he had one or two piano lessons but found it rather dull. He left school at the age of fifteen and began to perform at youth clubs. This is when he met his first girlfriend Christina Grönvall. They never married but did have two children: Peter in 1963 and Helen in 1965.

In the early sixties he joined a local group called Elverkets Spelmanslag. In 1964 he became the keyboardplayer of a rock 'n roll group called the Hep Stars. In 1965 Benny started to write his first own material for the band.

In 1966, while touring with the Hep Stars, he met Björn Ulvaeus. Benny and Björn started composing together, and teamed up eventually. In 1969 the lead singer of the Hep Stars, Svenne Hedlund, his girlfriend Charlotte Walker and Benny decided to work together, but separately from the other Hep Stars members.

Then, in 1971 Björn Ulvaeus asked Benny to join him to work as a producer at Stikkan Anderson's and Bengt Bernhag's small record company Polar Music. In the beginning Benny had to share his salary with Björn as Stikkan couldn't afford two producers.

Björn Ulvaeus

Bjorn Ulvaeus
Björn Kristian Ulvaeus was born in Gothenburg on April 25, 1945. When he was six years old the family moved to the small town of Västervik, and this is where Björn grew up.

In the mid-Fifties Björn fell in love with rock’n’roll and skiffle. By the early Sixties he was a member of a folk group called the West Bay Singers. In 1963 they entered a talent contest arranged by Swedish radio. This led to discovery by songwriter and publisher Stig Anderson and his partner, Bengt Bernhag. Stig and Bengt had recently started a record company called Polar Music. The band acquired a new name, the Hootenanny Singers, and quickly became one of Sweden’s most popular groups of the Sixties.

In 1966, Björn had a chance meeting with Benny Andersson, himself a member of Sweden’s number one pop group, The Hep Stars. They hit it off and wrote their first song together, ’Isn’t It Easy To Say’.

Björn recorded a couple of solo singles in the late Sixties, at which point he also started concentrating more on his collaboration with Benny Andersson. In 1970 the pair started releasing records as a duo and also staged a cabaret show together with their fiancées, Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. On July 6, 1971, Björn and Agnetha got married.

From 1972 and a decade onwards Björn was occupied by his work with ABBA. In 1983 Björn and Benny started writing the musical Chess with lyricist Tim Rice. A concept album was released in the autumn of 1984, and in May 1986 the musical opened in London’s West End. In 1988 Chess received its Broadway première. A reworked version of the musical opened in Stockholm, Sweden in 2002.

Anni-Frid Lyngstad

Anni-Frid Lyngstad (Frida)
 
Anni-Frid Synni Lyngstad, better known simply as Frida, was born November 15, 1945 in Ballangen outside of Narvik, Norway. Her father was Alfred Haase, a German soldier, while her mother, Synni Lyngstad, was a Norwegian teenage girl. Frida’s father left Norway before Frida was born, and was thought to have vanished when his ship was sunk on the way back to Germany.

18 months after Frida’s birth she moved to Sweden with her grandmother, Agny. Synni soon joined them, but tragically, less than two years after Frida was born, her mother also died. Frida grew up with her grandmother in Torshälla, just outside of the town of Eskilstuna.

At the age of 11 she made her stage debut at a Red Cross charity event. Two years later, she started working as an underage vocalist in a dance band, and performed with different bands for a decade. She met her first husband, Ragnar Fredriksson, in 1961. Together they had two children: Hans, born in 1963 and Lise-Lotte, born in 1967.

On September 3, 1967, she won a talent contest in Stockholm. Immediately after her victory she appeared on national television singing her winning song. Soon afterwards Frida signed to EMI records.

Frida didn’t have much commercial success as a recording artist up to the early Seventies, but she was a fairly well-known stage artist. In 1970 she was part of a cabaret show together with her fiancé, Benny Andersson, along with Björn Ulvaeus and his fiancée, Agnetha Fältskog.

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