Thursday, March 6, 2014

ABBA • Waterloo, the 40th Anniversary

ABBA - Waterloo photo Waterloo001_zps5f9359c0.jpg
ABBA - Waterloo photo Waterloo005_zps6fbe0959.jpg ABBA - Waterloo photo Waterloo002_zpsb0001256.jpg
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ABBA, clockwise: Anni-Frid peaks from behind Agnetha; Anni-Frid and Agnetha; Benny; the band - Anni-Frid, Agnetha, Benny, and Bjorn; and Bjorn.

Forty years ago, a song and a group came out of Sweden and the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest that took the world by storm. Who knew that Agnetha Faltskog, Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad would put Swedish Pop music in the forefront, and we are still feeling the aftereffects today. Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny and Anni-Frid, better known by their initials, ABBA, had been together making hits in Sweden, both individually and as a group. But once they decided to try to write some of their songs with English lyrics, they found themselves playing on a much larger stage. And that stage hit pretty quickly, when they represented Sweden in Eurovision, and took top honors with the song "Waterloo". the next thing you know, the song was running up the charts all around the world, including in the United States. The song went to #6 on the Billboard Hot 100, a great achievement for a group that came out of nowhere. But it is easy to understand, as the song was just so damn catchy, so easy to sing along with. Just in case you don't remember, this is the music video for thier first hit, "Waterloo".

It wasn't long before the band had a single to follow up their success. And while it was quite as successful, it still had an impact on the music charts. "Honey Honey" went to #27 on the Billboard Hot 100. Funny enough, I still remember the words, and the minute I started playing the video, I felt the urge to sing along. There was such a wonderful, upbeat, and joyous feeling to much of their music. This si the music video for "Honey Honey".

The third single of the album 'Waterloo' was "Hasta Mañana", a song with more of a big ballad feel. Once again, I could sing the chorus, even though the song did not chart in the United States. However, there was no need to worry about ABBA, for their reign at the top of the charts had really not yet begun. But their hold on the hearts of Americans had, and the charm and sweetness of this song are a pefect example of how they got that job done. This is the group singing "Hasta Mañana".

This album was just the beginning of the thrilling and amazing journey of four Swedish artists who took over Pop music. Early on, Agnetha and Bjorn were a couple, as were Anni-Frid and Benny. By the time the 1980s came, both were divorced, and things changed for them. In 1981, the band released their last album, and in 1982, they made the final public appearance. But it was still not the end, as they continued to make music, just not together. And it wasn't long before movies started reviving interest in the group, with movies like 'The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert' and 'Muriel's Wedding' both using ABBA's music for their 1994 soundtracks. And then there was 'Mamma Mia!', the musical using most of ABBA's greatest hits. The stage show as a huge success, and the film also had international success, with a great cast headed up by Meryl Streep. But it all started 40 years ago, with a single song. You can purchase the album 'Waterloo' on iTunes and Amazon. You can learn more about ABBA from their official website. If you are a fan, you can also 'like' them on Facebook.


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