ABBA members are:
Agnetha Ase Fältskog was born in Jonkoping in Southern Sweden on April 5th 1950. She first performed at the age of six at a Christmas Party for elderly people organised by her father. By the age of 15, Agnetha, who idolised Connie Frances, was already singing regularly with a dance band, and being a guest star with others.
Then in 1967 a tape was sent to a talent scout called Littler Gerhard by one of his distant relatives which contained Agnetha singing in the background, and it was this which grabbed his attention, to lead him asking the 17 year old Agnetha for a full audition tape.
The tape contained a song called 'I was so in love' which clinched her a deal with CBS-Cupol (which lasted until 1975 hence 'Agnetha appears courtesy of CBS-Cupol' on the first few ABBA Albums) and by 1968 was a smash hit in Sweden. This started Agnetha's career and she had hits throughout the late 1960s/early 1970s. Then in 1970 she was to be guest on a Swedish Television show, and another guest just happened to be Björn Ulvaeus....
Björn Christian Ulvaeus was born in Gothenburg on April 25th 1945, and six years later moved to Vastervik. He started playing music with his first guitar by the age of 11. While he was still at school, Björn and three of his schoolmates formed his first group - West Bay Singers, which was made more formalised when they hired a Volvo and toured Europe.
When they returned, the group caught the attention of Bengt Bernhag, who was a partner of Stig Andersson in Polar Music. They were then signed up and the name was changed to the Hootenanny Singers in 1964, when they became professional after completeing their exams! For two years they had constant success until in 1966 the authorities grew imaptient, and they had to go on military service. This didn't impede on their success as they were allowed to leave to continue their careers. When they finished their military service in 1967 three of the members went off to study at Gothenburg University, but Björn opted to study at Stockholm University. It was while he was in Stockholm that he stengthened his friendship with Benny Andersson who he first met in 1966. They ten started writing songs together for Benny's Hep Stars and then performed together under the banner of Benny & Björn from 1969 - 1972.
Goran Bror 'Benny' Andersson was born in Stockholm on 16th December 1946, and was given his first instrument at the age of 6. This started his love affair with music which continued during his formative years. Then in 1964 he joined the Hep Stars who became the Swedish equivalent of The Beatles, but at this time had yet to get off the starting blocks. Then in 1965 the successes started with 'A Tribute to Buddy Holly'.
It was also in 1965 when Benny started writing songs for the group which become huge sellers, and the Hep Stars sold thousands upon thousands of recods. However this didn't stop them from losing most of their money due to a failed film project, failed production company (called Hep House, cf. Apple Corps) and the Swedish Inland Revenue who landed the group with a tax demand of the equivalent of #100,000. He then left the Hep Stars in 1969, and in the same year he met a certain Ann-Frid Lyngstad in a radio show....
Anni-Frid Synni Lyngstad, born in Narvik, Norway on November 15th 1945, has possibly one of the saddest starts to her life of anyone involved with ABBA. This is because she was the daughter of a German soldier, which due to the occupation of Norway during World War II bought a lot of scorn upon Frida's mother, Synni Lyngstad, people in her village would spit at her or shout abuse because of going out with a German soldier and having his child. This lead to Synni's very premature death at the age of 21.
Frida's grandmother then took her to Sweden in 1947, and it was her who encouraged Frida to sing. She first sang in public, aged ten at a Red Cross Soiree and by the age of 13 was singing professionally with a dance band at a restuarant in Eskilstuna, though she had to lie about her age - she said that she was 16!
She then started singing with a big band lead by Bengt Sardlind, and Frida fell in love with another member, Ragnar Frederiksson, who with Frida went on to form the Ann-Frid 4. They also married and had tow children, Hans and Liselotte. However she still wasn't satisfied and entered many local talent competitions and won. One was the equivalent of ITV's New Faces which lead her to compete on a talent contest on SVT's Hyland's Corner. She won, and signed a contract with EMI.
Despite this, she still didn't have much success, until she met Benny Andersson in 1969 who then became both her fiance and her producer! Her first hits came in 1971 and she then had solo sucesses even during ABBA's first few years (as with Agnetha) up until 1975.
|Stikkan 'Stig' Anderson (manager)|
Stig Anderson was born on 25th January 1931 in a small village near Gotheburg. Although he was interested in music he became a school teacher. However, during this time he didn't let his interest get left behind as he continued to write songs, and by the 1950s they began to be recorded by different artists, then in 1959 he had his first Scandinavian smash-hit with 'Är Du Kär I Mig Ännu Klas-Göran' (Are you still in love with me Klas-Göran?).
In 1963 he set up his own music company called Union Songs, then along with Bengt Bernhag (who discovered the West Bay Singers and became close freind with Björn, but he died on the same day as his marriage to Agnetha) they formed Polar Music AB in 1964. He then became close freind with Björn which lead to him being asked to take Bengt's place after his death in 1971. Björn said he would only do it if he shared the post with Benny (they had become Polar Music's chief writers by this time) which they did. Since then he went on to become an intrinsic member of ABBA, and writing the lyrics for many of their early world-wide hits (up until The Name Of The Game). However, in the mid 1980s the relationship between ABBA and Stig became very strained due to financial irregularities. Today, he has no formal link with ABBA, though the relationship with them has thawed out.
Tom HUDEC, Tom=at=ABBA-dot-cz, Last modification: May 3, 2007