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The most commercially successful pop group of the 1970s, the origins of the Swedish superstars ABBA dated back to 1966, when keyboardist and vocalist Benny Andersson, a onetime member of the popular beat outfit the Hep Stars, first teamed with guitarist and vocalist Bjorn Ulvaeus, the leader of the folk-rock unit the Hootenanny Singers.
In 1971, Faltskog ventured into theatrical work, accepting the role of Mary Magdalene in a Swedish production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar; her cover of the musical's "Don't Know How to Love Him" became a significant hit. The following year, the duo of Andersson and Ulvaeus scored a massive international hit with "People Need Love," which featured Faltskog and Lyngstad on backing vocals.
The record's success earned them an invitation to enter the Swedish leg of the 1973 Eurovision song contest, where, under the unwieldy name of Bjorn, Benny, Agnetha & Frida, they submitted "Ring Ring," which proved extremely popular with audiences but placed only third in the judges' ballots.
The next year, rechristened ABBA (a suggestion from Stig Anderson and an acronym of the members' first names), the quartet submitted the single "Waterloo," and became the first Swedish act to win the Eurovision competition. The record proved to be the first of many international hits, although the group hit a slump after their initial success as subsequent singles failed to chart. In 1975, however, ABBA issued "S.O.S.," a smash not only in America and Britain but also in non-English speaking countries such as Spain, Germany and the Benelux nations, where the group's success was fairly unprecedented. A string of hits followed, including "Mamma Mia," "Fernando," and "Dancing Queen" (ABBA's sole U.S. chart-topper), further honing their lush, buoyant sound; by the spring of 1976, they were already in position to issue their first Greatest Hits collection.
ABBA's popularity continued in 1977, when both "Knowing Me, Knowing You" and "The Name of the Game" dominated airwaves. The group also starred in the feature film ABBA -- The Movie, which was released in 1978. That year Andersson and Lyngstad married, as had Ulvaeus and Faltskog in 1971, although the latter couple separated a few months later; in fact, romantic suffering was the subject of many songs on the quartet's next LP, 1979's Voulez-Vous. Shortly after the release of 1980s Super Trouper, Andersson and Lyngstad divorced as well, further straining the group dynamic; The Visitors, issued the following year, was the final LP of new ABBA material, and the foursome officially disbanded after the December 1982 release of their single "Under Attack."
Although all of the group's members soon embarked on new projects -- both Lyngstad and Faltskog issued solo LPs, while Andersson and Ulvaeus collaborated with Tim Rice on the musical Chess -- none proved as successful as the group's earlier work, largely because throughout much of the world, especially Europe and Australia, the ABBA phenomenon never went away. Repackaged hits compilations and live collections continued hitting the charts long after the group's demise, and new artists regularly pointed to the quartet's inspiration: while the British dance duo Erasure released a covers collection, ABBA-esque, an Australian group called Bjorn Again found success as ABBA impersonators.
In 1993, "Dancing Queen" became a staple of U2's "Zoo TV" tour -- Andersson and Ulvaeus even joined the Irish superstars on-stage in Stockholm -- while the 1995 feature Muriel's Wedding, which won acclaim for its depiction of a lonely Australian girl who seeks refuge in ABBA's music, helped bring the group's work to the attention of a new generation of moviegoers and music fans.
List of unreleased songs 1974-77 recorded by ABBA:
"Ricky Rock 'N' Roller" is a song recorded during the recording sessions for ABBA's self-titled album in 1974, but the song was left unfinished. The Swedish rock star Jerry Williams recorded and released it as a single after ABBA had decided their version was unsuitable for release. An excerpt of the demo of the song was released in the box set Thank You for the Music.
"Here Comes Rubie Jamie" is the working title of a song recorded in 1974, which had acquired the name "Terra Del Fuego" by the time the lyrics were recorded. The song is unique in that it is the only studio recording to feature lead vocals by all four ABBA members. An excerpt of this song was released on the box set Thank You for the Music, although here only Benny and Frida are heard. The excerpt was particularly edited so as not to include the chorus, as is it said that Björn and Benny violently dislike it. This is the reason why it is not named after its original title, but named to not refer the chorus.
"Baby" is the early demo version of "Rock Me" recorded in 1974 with the lead vocals by Fältskog. An excerpt of this song was released in the box set Thank You for the Music.
"To Live with You" is an attempt to record the song "Lycka" (previously released by Björn and Benny for their first album by the same title, and also recorded by Lyngstad on her debut album) in English. The demo recording dates from 1975, and was later released on the remastered CD of Björn & Benny's Lycka album in May 2006.
"I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do" (early version) is a demo version with an extra verse.
"Tango" is an early version of "Fernando" with Swedish lyrics. An excerpt was included in the ABBA Undeleted medley as part of the 4-CD box set Thank You For the Music in 1994. A completed version of the song with the same lyrics was released in 1975 by Frida on her solo album "Ensam".
"Rock 'n' Roll" a.k.a. "Olle Olle", "I Want You" and later "High On Your Love" are all early demos. However, none of these were used during the Arrival sessions. Parts of these demos were later used with Hole in Your Soul and Does Your Mother Know.
"Funky Feet" is a song recorded during the Arrival sessions that eventually was dropped due to the similarity of "Dancing Queen". Later the song was recorded by Svenne & Lotta, Australian group The Studs, Alcazar, and Arrival, a Swedish ABBA tribute band. Part of the beginning of the song was later reused with "I Am The City"
"National Song" is a short track recorded for the Australian TV commercial of the National appliances. It is a re-recording of "Fernando" with new lyrics, using the backing track from the song.
"Monsieur, Monsieur" is the title of the early demo version of "My Love, My Life" with lead vocals by Agnetha.
"Memory Lane" is a third title of "Why Did It Have to Be Me"/"Happy Hawaii" that is said to have been recorded but never released.
"Gypsy Girl" was an alternative name for Money, Money, Money. A demo was recorded but the title was shortly changed back to Money, Money, Money.
"I Am an A" is a song written for the 1977 Tour with lyrics written by all four, jokingly depicting themselves as A, B, B and A. The song was never considered for a studio version, but parts of the chorus was later reused in "Free as a Bumblebee", and as that song never progressed beyond the demo, the chorus surfaced during the Chess songwriting sessions as the UK number 1 hit "I Know Him So Well".
"Get On the Carousel" is another song from the 1977 Tour, written for the mini-musical The Girl with the Golden Hair. The song was considered too weak to progress further, but the chorus surfaced as a melody line in "Hole in Your Soul" (the part "...ahaa-, the songs you sing are too romantic..."). "Get On the Carousel" appears in ABBA: The Movie.
"Scaramouche" is a demo instrumental recording from 1977. Some parts surfaced in the recording sessions for "Chess" and resulted in a melody line in the track "Merano". An excerpt of this song was released in the box set Thank You for the Music.
"Billy Boy" is the early version of "Take a Chance on Me". An excerpt of the track was released in the box set Thank You for the Music.
"Love for Me Is Love Forever" a.k.a. "Yippee Yay", "Big John" and "Joanne" are early versions of "Move On".
"I Believe In You" is a song recorded on 19 July 1977. It has never been publicly released.
ABBA - Wembley Arena, London, UK 1979-11-11
Broadcasting Radio Station SR3
Swedish Radio P3 Live
01. Intro 0:37
02. Voulez-Vous 4:52
03. Knowing Me Knowing You 4:35
04. Chiquitita 5:31
05. Gimme, Gimme, Gimme 5:41
06. I Have a Dream 4:28
07. Thank You for the Music 3:39
08. Summer Night City 5:35
09. Take a Chance on Me 4:28
10. Hole in Your Soul 8:44
11. Dancing Queen 4:25
12. Waterloo 4:21
1. ABBA Live 1979
2. ABBA Live 1979
3. ABBA Live 1979