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ABBA are a Swedish pop group, the most successful one from their native country and second only to The Beatles in total worldwide sales. The group was started around 1970 by Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, Agnetha Fältskog, and Annifrid Lyngstad and the name ABBA incorporates their first initials. They became widely known when they won the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest with Waterloo. ABBA split up in 1982.


Other important people around ABBA were Stikkan Anderson (manager), Michael B. Tretow[?] (sound technician), and Anders Eljas[?] (arrangements). Benny and Bjorn were both musicians and songwriters in bands and eventually met and decided to collaborate. Bjorn met Agnetha when they appeared together in a television program and Benny met Annifrid on the live music scene. Each couple became romantically involved and Benny and Bjorn asked the women, already successful singers in their own right, to perform as backup singers on their songs. Benny and Bjorn soon realised their songs sounded better with the women on lead vocals.

The group's eventual break-up was partly caused by their domestic situation. Bjorn and Agnetha divorced at the height of ABBA's fame, and Benny and Anni-frid also split up.

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 among the earliest examples of the genre. ABBA chose to make them because they were often touring and could not appear 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.

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.

Björn and Benny also wrote the music for the West End show, Chess[?], in partnership with lyricist Tim Rice.

ABBA experienced a resurgence of sorts in the 1990s. The sound track of the successful Australian film Muriel's Wedding[?] (1994) consisted entirely of ABBA songs. The ABBA tribute group Bjorn Again[?] became so successful that as of 2002 there are three Bjorn Agains performing in various parts of the world. A new Swedish band, the A-Teens[?], consider themselves a rebirth of the original band. And a Broadway (originally West End) musical, Mamma Mia, whose music is also all ABBA songs, was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Musical.

In 2000, ABBA was reported to have turned down an offer of approximately one billion dollars to do a reunion tour.

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