Sunday, April 1, 2012

A is for ABBA



The theme of this year's A-Z challenge is bands and singers which is really great because when I'm too tired to post I can just shove a YouTube vid. on here and write a line about how Curiosity Killed the Cat was the best band in the history of the solar system. Ahem.

Anyway A is a no brainer. ABBA seem to have been hanging around in some shape or form for my whole life, although in more recent years more in the form of tribute bands and musicals. Still there are few bands that have come to be as synonymous with a nation as ABBA. Ask someone who the most famous band from Sweden is and it's a no-brainer. Then ask them for the second most famous band and time the silence.

To be fair the Cardigans were pretty cool for a while.

When I was a kid ABBA always seemed to be Number One in the charts. My father was rather pleased when be brought home a crackly old radio and cassette recorder. It was cutting edge technology. You could actually push a button and record ABBA songs on the radio, notwithstanding all the static and the voice of the DJ on Radio 1.



ABBA made it big after winning the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest with Waterloo,a song that revolves around the strange metaphor of a girl surrendering to romance in the same way as Napoleon was forced to surrender at Waterloo. Apparently in the Seventies it was cool to dress like the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz.

ABBA were made up of Agnetha Åse Fältskog, Björn Kristian Ulvaeus, Göran Bror "Benny" Andersson and Anni-Frid Synni Lyngstad.

But, let's be honest, no self respecting Ford Cortina owning guy in bland 1970s Britain gave a rats about anybody other than Agnetha, who appeared to be the epitome of Swedish blonde perfection, and sparked a million crushes from guys in cheap flannel shirts with dubious side burns.

Rather unhealthily, as anybody who has been married to a co-worker will realize, ABBA were two couples - Benny and Anni were an item as were Agnetha and Bjorn. Both couples divorced. Neither Benny nor Bjorn proved to be anything like the character of one of ABBA's biggest hits Fernando.



And in one of those ironic quirks of fate the hairy guys ended up making all the money out of ABBA, Anni married an obscure prince and Agnetha, the real superstar at the time, went into a spiral of decline and became a recluse living on an island who even dated her stalker for a while. There's a strange irony here because Napoleon himself was exiled on the remote island of St. Helena after his Waterloo, although there's no evidence he dated any stalkers.

At least ABBA's catchy if inconsequential tunes live on. I can never paint a room these days without thinking of the line. "Don't go wasting your emulsion. Lay all your love on me."

CURIOUS FACT ABOUT ABBA - The band was named after a fish canning company. Sexy.



22 comments:

  1. I still love Dancing Queen. Had no idea they were named after a canning company...inspiration can be found anywhere, i suppose!

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  2. I believe in angels, something good in everything I see. :)

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  3. I think I leared more about ABBA from Alan Partridge than anywhere else. Until today.

    Knowing me David Black, knowing you David McCaulay...Aha!

    Dave
    Dave Wrote This

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  4. Beautiful launch, David! And I don't feel so eccentric now. Hub and I have ABBA's old CD, wrapped in a soft car-polishing cloth as the plastic thingy cracked and broke, that goes on every road trip with us. I knew the group had disintegrated into problems and enormous bitterness but didn't realize how poorly Agnetha had ended up. Sad, really sad. But, a fish canning company? Hmmm, think there's a symbol in the can.

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  5. I've always liked Abba's music, but never knew much about them personally. It's sad to know they had such problems. Interesting start to the A to Z challenge. Named after a fish canning company, huh? Ha! I guess it worked out for them, but who would have thought that would be a good idea! :) And now I'm going to have "Waterloo" stuck in my head all day. Hmm... :\

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  6. Oh Em Gee. I wanted to do this theme. You know how much I love my music. Oh this is going to be a great a to z challenge.

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  7. I think I've heard a couple of ABBA's songs, but I've never known much about them. Fascinating. It's too bad they had problems, though.

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  8. I'm already a follower but had to stop in and check out your A post. :) I love ABBA, LOVED Mama Mia!!! Great choice. I had no idea that they got their name from that. How funny.

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  9. Nice start David. I will now forever be able to impress people with my knowledge of where ABBA got their name-sweet.

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  10. I'm looking forward to Bros next...

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  11. Great post for A! Glad to find your blog! So many people seem to be blogging about music for AtoZ this year, and it's great that you all found different bands to highlight!

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  12. Interesting details, David. I had no idea. I've always just been envious of the dancing queen, young and sweet, only 17...You couldn't start the challenge off better than with ABBA.

    xoRobyn

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  13. ABBA is ok...and had I known the A Z was bands I might have played along

    I can sing their hits when they go on the radio, but my A band would have been Aerosmith... well I am a Boston girl

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  14. Nice! I still remember (embarassingly) dancing with my sister in our living to an ABBA Greatest Hits album. I honestly never understood waht the songs were about, never cared because they made us happy and feel good. Now my daughter is a huge ABBA fan due to Mamma Mia. Great post to start the A to Z Challenge.

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  15. I went to an ABBA concert when they were at their height of fame. It was an incredible evening of showmanship and great music. :)

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  16. Great idea for a theme! Look forward to following you. good luck with the challenge. :-)

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  17. Hey Li - yes that was a good track. Thanx for visiting Anjali. Aha Dave - yep Alan is my hero.

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  18. for sure Kittie - I had a weird Turkish CD set of their greatest hits. Ha me too Daosy - it is sort of catchy in a cheesy way. 4sure ScotsLass - I figured music was an easier theme.

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  19. Thanks Mikazuki - good of you to drop by. Good to hear from you again Ciara. that one was new to me. lol Tim - good luck with the challenge

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  20. hey Wrightstuff - damn, forgot to mention Bros under B! Thanks for the follo KatieO - I know, it's kind of unoriginal

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  21. 4 sure Robyn, downhill from now on in. Good to hear from you Vodka - well it can be any theme you like really. thanx Christopher - ABBA certainly have staying power. That must have been cool Sarah. Thanks so much for the visit American in Norway

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  22. You think Napoleon had stalkers, David? Oh, this A 2 Z is going to be fun. Great music!

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