What’s common between Uruguayan footballer Edinson Cavani, Oscar-winning actor Meryl Streep and Indian music composer RD Burman? It’s the Swedish supergroup ABBA.
Formed in Stockholm by four musicians - Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad – in 1972, who in a space of 10 years had become so iconic, that despite their 40-year-long hiatus, their music continued to rule the airwaves, the cassette and the CD market and now even the streaming platforms.
Their first brush with fame was in 1974, with the song ‘Waterloo’, which was heavily inspired by the then emerging glam-rock scene in Britain. The song won the 1974 Eurovision Song contest and then went on to become the number one single in nine European countries and peaked at the number six spot at the US billboard music charts, which also resulted in the band’s first ever tour in the country.
Their song ‘Mamma Mia’, from their third studio album by the same name, took their fame even further. The song which is now synonymous with Hollywood, thanks to the two musicals starring Meryl Streep, was the Swedish group’s first number one single in the UK and other countries as well. The song also served as an inspiration for Indian music composer RD Burman, who used a few portions from this song, to create ‘Humko Sathi Mil Gaya’ in the 1977 film ‘Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahi’ starring the late Rishi Kapoor.
But perhaps it was not until 1976, that the band went on from being on the fringes of the international pop scene, to becoming global pop icons with their album, Greatest Hits. The first song from that album, ‘Fernando’, stayed at the number one spot in Australia for 14 weeks. A feat which stayed for 40 years, untill it was broken by Ed Sheeran’s single ‘Shape Of You’ in 2017. The song also features in the popular American sitcom ‘The 70’s Show’.
Their fourth album, ‘Arrival’ had two songs that made their music even more popular. ‘Dancing Queen’ the first single from the album became the first number one hit for the band on the US billboard charts and 11 other European countries including UK, France and Germany.
‘Money Money Money’ the third song in the album, was another popular song which topped the charts in many countries including UK, France and Italy.
The band’s another compilation album, ‘Greatest Hits Vol. 2’ released in 1979 and apart from being a compilation of their previously released singles, also featured a brand-new single by the band – ‘Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man Of Midnight)’- which was big hit across the Europe. Fanss of the popular football club, Manchester United have sing about their star striker Edinson Cavani, in the tune of the same song.
Ever since their final performance in 1982, after which the four musicians went their separate ways, many continued to listen to their music, and eondered if the four would ever reunite. It has taken almost 40 years for the wish to come true and on Sept 2, the band announced they will be making a comeback with their new studio album ‘Voyage’ which will also feature their two previously announced singles - 'I Still Have Faith in You' and 'Don't Shut Me Down'. And in case anyone had doubts about whether the band’s comeback will have a same impact that they did in the 70s and early 80s, the video of ‘I Still Have Faith In You’ crossed over a million hits in just over three hours!