What do Swedes think of Abba

1. Little recognition at home in Sweden

In the 1970s, numerous journalists in their home country treated ABBA with little care, let alone praised them. In a 1999 documentary outlining the group's rise to fame, Frida Lyngstad recalled the band receiving heavy criticism from the Swedish press for not interfering in the country's turbulent domestic politics during that decade. Some people will be reminded of the ongoing discussion about celebrities like Helene Fischer, who has repeatedly called for people to speak out against xenophobia in Germany. As is so often the case in the pop world: everything has happened before somewhere.

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Lyngstad added that the duo of four also had to hear a lot about selling millions of records and making a handsome sum. This was viewed as immoral by many of their fellow citizens.

2. The Swedish Beatles

It wasn't always that uncomfortable for the ABBA members at home. Both Benny and Björn were successful in Sweden with two separate groups as early as the 1960s. Benny in The Hep Stars, known as the "Swedish Beatles," and Björn with a folk band called The Hootenanny Singers.

Their paths crossed during a tour of their home country. The two eventually began to write melodies together and in 1970 recorded an album together called "Lycka". They brought their friends Anni-Frid and Agnetha into the studio and the quartet created their first single "Hej, gamle man" (Hello, old man) with the women as background singers.

3. Festfolk

After the recordings of “Lycka”, the duo Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus eventually became a quartet. The band existed from 1972, but it had a different name for a long time. ABBA, the initials of the first names of the band members, was the successor to "Festfolk", which in Swedish roughly means "partying group". The English “party people” can be used as a more grateful translation. The pronunciation of this word is also very similar to "fästfolk". The latter was often used for engaged couples in the 1970s - undoubtedly an apt name for the ABBA of the time.

4. The Cold War and its peculiarities

ABBA were once paid for in oil by Russia, then still in the form of the Soviet Union. Due to a federal embargo on the Russian ruble during the Cold War, the band received the usual license fees for the use of their music converted into oil products from all states under communist control during that period.

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The unusual exchange organized by the band's management was actually quite lucrative. At the height of their fame, ABBA were Sweden's second most important export product after Volvo.

5. The German father

In contrast to the other ABBA members, Frida Lyngstad, whose full name is now Anni-Frid Lyngstad Princess Reuss von Plauen, was not born in Sweden. She was born in Norway in 1945. Her mother got involved with a German soldier during the Second World War, which could sometimes be very dangerous after the end of the war. Not only for the mothers, but also for the resulting children. As a toddler, Frida Lyngstad came to Sweden with her grandmother.

For many years she believed that her father had died in the last days of the war, but Bravo in 1977 revealed the truth about her family history. Despite a personal encounter with her German father, Frida Lyngstad never developed a real bond with him.

6. Protectionism

Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson are very picky when it comes to sampling requests from their catalog. They even went so far as to sue the British band The KLF, who poached the lyrics to "Dancing Queen" in 1987. Only a few artists have been given permission to sample ABBA songs so far.

First, the Fugees used an excerpt from "The Name Of The Game" for their song "Rumble In The Jungle", which was released in 1996. Probably the best known takeover of ABBA material can be found in Madonna's hit “Hung Up” from 2005. She asked Benny and Björn to use the main theme from “Gimme !, Gimme !, Gimme !, (A Man After Midnight)” . With the "Queen of Pop" you might think twice.

7. Past the Treasury

These fancy, sometimes futuristic items of clothing that ABBA often wore at their shows were not just a means to an end when it came to causing a stir on stage. They actually helped them save taxes. Sounds strange, it is.

The reason for this was a loophole in Swedish law. Accordingly, the expenses for clothes that were not suitable for everyday use could be deducted from the tax.

8. Got away again

ABBA were on a tour of the USA in 1979. Appropriately, a private jet was chartered to get from New York to Boston, but this turned out to be a bad idea during the flight. Money certainly doesn't protect against all the inconveniences of traveling.

A tornado came up and put the band and the crew in real danger. You put a S.O.S. before they finally managed to make an emergency landing at the nearest airport. The horror was so deep that Agnetha did not set foot on an airplane for the time being.

9. ABBA vs. ABBA

If you hear the name ABBA, the thing is clear. It's about the band. Not quite, provided you're from Sweden. A fish products company with the same name has existed since the 19th century.

Of course, arguments were inevitable. ABBA had already drawn attention to themselves on a large scale and basically couldn't go back. A name change would have been a huge business challenge alone. In 1974 an agreement was finally reached behind closed doors. The producers of pickled herring and Co. had probably recognized that one of the biggest bands of the time was doing excellent advertising for their offers. All in vain.

10. Your own playground

Together with their manager, the legendary Stig Andersson, ABBA founded the Polar Music label. But that's not all. As a hugely successful band, they had the financial means to also start their own studio. An abandoned cinema in Stockholm was chosen as the perfect location for this purpose and was quickly converted into Polar Studios.

Before they had to close in 2004 due to unsustainable rent increases, the Polar Studios became a true Mecca for pop music, and not just because of ABBA itself. The who-is-who put the handle in their hands. Led Zeppelin, Genesis, Rammstein, Beastie Boys, The Ramones - the list speaks for itself.

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