Also known as
Björn & Benny, Agnetha & Anni-Frid
Origin Stockholm, Sweden
Genres Pop , pop rock , disco
Years active 1972–1982
Labels Polar, Metal, Polydor, Atlantic , Universal , Epic , Vogue , RCA ,
PolyGram, Sunshine (Rhodesia/Zimbabwe), Ariston/Dig It (Italy)
Hep Stars , Hootenanny Singers , Benny Anderssons Orkester
ABBA (stylised ᗅᗺᗷᗅ) were a Swedish pop group formed in Stockholm in 1972. With
members A gnetha Fältskog , B jörn Ulvaeus, B enny Andersson , and A nni-Frid Lyngstad , ABBA became one of the most commercially successful acts in the history of popular music, topping the charts worldwide from 1975 to 1982. They won the Eurovision Song Contest 1974 at the Dome in Brighton, UK, giving Sweden its first triumph in the contest, and were the most successful group ever to take part in the competition.
After ABBA took a permanent break in late 1982, Andersson and Ulvaeus achieved
success writing music for the stage while Lyngstad and Fältskog pursued solo careers with mixed success. ABBA’s music declined in popularity until several films, notably Muriel’s Wedding (1994) and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994), revived public interest in the group and the spawning of several tribute bands. In 1999, ABBA’s music was adapted into the successful musical Mamma Mia! that toured worldwide. A film of the same name, released in 2008, became the highest-grossing film in the United Kingdom that year.
Member origins and collaboration
Benny Andersson (born 16 December 1946 in Stockholm, Sweden) became (at age 18) a member of a popular Swedish pop-rock group, the Hep Stars , that performed covers, amongst other things, of international hits. The Hep Stars were known as “the Swedish Beatles”.  They also set up Hep House, their equivalent of Apple Corps . Andersson played the keyboard and eventually started writing original songs for his band, many of which became major hits, including “No Response” that hit number-three in 1965, “Sunny Girl”, “Wedding”, and “Consolation”, all of which hit number-one in 1966.  Andersson also had a fruitful songwriting collaboration with Lasse Berghagen , with whom he wrote his first Svensktoppen entry, “Sagan om lilla Sofie” (“The Story of Little Sophie”), in 1968.
First live performance and the start of “Festfolket”
An attempt at combining their talents occurred in April 1970 when the two couples went on holiday together to the island of Cyprus . What started as singing for fun on the beach ended up as an improvised live performance in front of the United Nations soldiers stationed on the island. Andersson and Ulvaeus were at this time recording their first album together, Lycka , which was to be released in September 1970. Fältskog and Lyngstad added backing vocals on several tracks during June, and the idea of their working together saw them launch a stage act, “Festfolket” (which translates from Swedish to mean both “Party People” and “Engaged Couples”), on 1 November 1970 in Gothenburg .
In early 1973, Stig Anderson, tired of unwieldy names, started to refer to the group privately and publicly as ABBA. At first, this was a play on words, as Abba is also the name of a well-known fish-canning company in Sweden, and itself an acronym. However, since the fish-canners were unknown outside Sweden, Anderson came to believe the name would work in international markets.
A competition to find a suitable name for the group was held in a Gothenburg newspaper. The group was impressed with the names “Alibaba”, “FABB”, and “Baba”, but in the end all the entries were ignored and it was officially announced in the summer that the group were to be known as “ABBA”. The group negotiated with the canners for the rights to the name.  “ABBA” is an acronym formed from the first letters of each group member’s first name: A gnetha, B jörn, B enny and A nni-Frid.  During a promotional photo, Benny flipped his “B” horizontally for fun, and from 1976 onwards the first ‘B’ in the logo version of the name was “mirror-image” reversed on the band’s promotional material and ᗅᗺᗷᗅ® became the group’s registered trademark.