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.