ABBA are a Swedish pop group formed in Stockholm in 1972 by Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. The group’s name is an acronym of the first letters of their first names. Widely considered one of the greatest musical groups of all time, they became one of the most commercially successful acts in the history of popular music, topping the charts worldwide from 1974 to 1983. They have achieved 44 hit singles.
In 1974, ABBA were Sweden’s first winner of the Eurovision Song Contest with the song “Waterloo”, which in 2005 was chosen as the best song in the competition’s history as part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the contest. During the band’s main active years, it consisted of two married couples: Fältskog and Ulvaeus, and Lyngstad and Andersson. With the increase of their popularity, their personal lives suffered, which eventually resulted in the collapse of both marriages. The relationship changes were reflected in the group’s music, with latter compositions featuring darker and more introspective lyrics. After ABBA disbanded, Andersson and Ulvaeus continued their success writing music for the stage, while Fältskog and Lyngstad and pursued solo careers.
Ten years after the group disbanded, a compilation, ABBA Gold, was released, becoming a worldwide best-seller. In 1999, ABBA’s music was adapted into Mamma Mia!, a successful musical that toured worldwide. A film of the same name, released in 2008, became the highest-grossing film in the United Kingdom that year. A sequel, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, was released in 2018. That same year it was also announced that the band had reunited and recorded two new songs after 35 inactive years, which were released in September 2021 as the lead singles from Voyage, their first studio album in 40 years, to be released in November 2021. A concert residency featuring ABBA as virtual avatars – dubbed ‘ABBAtars’ to support the album will take place from May to September 2022.
They are one of the best-selling music artists of all time, with sales estimated at 150 million records worldwide. In 2012, ABBA was ranked eighth-best-selling singles artists in the United Kingdom, with 11.2 million singles sold. ABBA were the first group from a non-English-speaking country to achieve consistent success in the charts of English-speaking countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, The Philippines and South Africa. They are the best-selling Swedish band of all time and one of the best-selling bands originating in continental Europe. ABBA had eight consecutive number-one albums in the UK. The group also enjoyed significant success in Latin America, and recorded a collection of their hit songs in Spanish. The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010. In 2015, their song “Dancing Queen” was inducted into the Recording Academy’s Grammy Hall of Fame.