Ever since Abba’s appearance on The Eurovision Song Contest singing Waterloo and of course, winning it, I was hooked on Abba. I was ten years old and desperate to be Agnetha (the blond one), even though my voice probably suited the dulcet tones of Anni-Frid much better.
I used my pocket money I had saved to buy their albums and singles, playing them constantly over and over again. My parents must have been heartily fed up with the melodies filtering down into their living room, but to their credit, they never said anything.
I learnt every lyric, every backing vocal to every song, my bedroom was filled with their posters, I read everything I could about them and joined their fan club.
I even wrote a story, a musical, one that included all their songs. (Yes, I did it WAY before Mamma Mia, though I admit, mine wasn’t as good!) and was that person singing into the hairbrush, performing at imaginary concerts.
I often wondered about the relationship between the two women, was there a rivalry with who sings what? Was Anni-Frid annoyed at the attention focused on Agnetha’s behind? Was Agnetha jealous of Anni-Frid’s dancing ability?
The band were masters at hitting the market just right, during the early days there was Fernando, SOS and Mamma Mia, in the disco years you had Voulez Vous, Lay All Your Love On Me and obviously, Dancing Queen. Later on, they showed a more mature side with songs like The Winner Takes It All, which was a reflection of Agnetha and Bjorn’s divorce and The Day Before You Came. There has been much discussion about TDBYC, theories have varied from it’s the day before she meets the new love of her life or it’s the day before she commits suicide and is talking from the grave.
Their final song, Under Attack, was filmed in a warehouse and the very last shot is the group walking through the doors, into daylight, presumably a metaphor for the group walking into the sunset of their time together as a group.
Each of the group has moved on to other projects: Agnetha and Frida bringing out solo albums and Benny and Bjorn penning musicals. But the unrivaled success story has been the two films, Mamma Mia and Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, which include all the hits and some album tracks.
My biggest regret is never seeing them play live and recently there have been rumours they have met up in a studio and recorded some songs together, so maybe the story of Abba hasn’t quite ended yet…
“I was in your arms
Thinking I belonged there
I figured it made sense
Building me a fence
Building me a home
Thinking I’d be strong there
But I was a fool
Playing by the rules.”