ABBA was a Swedish pop music group, the most successful to date from that country. The group was formed around 1970 by Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, Agnetha Fältskog, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, and the name ABBA comprises their first initials. They became widely known when they won the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest with "Waterloo". Abba split up in 1982.
Rise and Fall
By 1978,Abba were megastars. They built a new state of the art studio in Stockholm, and it was in demand from numerous other bands - Led Zeppelin's In Through the Out Door was recorded there, for example. The single Summer Night City topped the charts, and set the stage for Abba's foray into the disco sound, with the album Voulez-Vous. This release started to mark the beginning of Abba's decline in Europe,while getting them considerably more attention in the US. Hits still came - Gimme, Gimme, Gimme (A Man After Midnight), Voulez-Vous, Chiquitita and I Have a Dream were all taken from this album, but in the light of Punk and New Wave in the UK, many felt that Abba were past their prime and were looking for something new.
Abba toured the US in 1979, with huge audiences, but the US breakthrough wasperhaps too little, too late. The next release, Super Trouper (1980), again achieved respectable sales but it started to sound as if the group themselves were running out of ideas. It is ironic that this, and the final album, The Visitors (1981) show a songwriting maturity and depth of feeling that is distinctly lacking on their earlier recordings.
Despite a feeling that Abba were in decline,the band were still achieving huge audiences into the early 1980s, and might have continued indefinitely if it wasn't for the fact that on a personal level, the married members of the group were falling apart. For a while it was possible to keep personal and professional lives separate, and it was under this arrangement that the last two albums were recorded. However, the songs of the time - such asThe Winner Takes it All and One Of Us - give a glimpse of the personal difficulties the group's members were facing. In time, it was unsustainable, and the band decided to finally split in 1982. The Visitors was to be the last "proper" album the group recorded. In the summer of 1982 Björn and Benny decided to put two hitherto unreleased songs onto a double album uncder the title ABBA - The FirstTen Years. The song The Day Before You Came was literally the last song the band ever recorded, though there have been many compilations, re-releases and a live album put out by the record companies since.
Fashion and Videos
Abba were well known for their colourful costumes (the epitome of 1970s fashion), and also for the videos which accompanied some of their biggest hits -- these being amongthe earliest examples of the genre. All of Abba's videos were directed by Lasse Hallström, who also directed a feature-length film about the group, Abba - The Movie. Abba chose to make them because they preferred perfecting the songs rather than making personal appearances in all the countries where the song was likely to be a hit. Some of these videos became classics. For example, the video of"Knowing Me, Knowing You" was satirised on the BBC comedy show, Not the Nine O'Clock News, as "Super Dooper". The title Knowing Me, Knowing You was also borrowed for a spoof chat show on BBC radio and television, starring Steve Coogan as Alan Partridge, who always entered the studio shouting "Aha!", this being the next word in the lyrics of the original song.
Moda y Videos
Abba eran bien conocidospor sus trajes de colores (el epítome de la década de 1970 de la moda), y también para los videos que acompañaron a algunos de sus más grandes éxitos - siendo estos uno de los primeros ejemplos del género. Todos los videos de Abba fueron dirigidos por Lasse Hallström, quien también dirigió un largometraje sobre el grupo, Abba - The Movie. Abba optó por hacer, ya que prefiere perfeccionar las...