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We’re The Winner Knowing These Fascinating Abba Facts

Madeline Hiltz
(Photo Credit: Peter Bischoff/ Stringer/  Getty Images)
(Photo Credit: Peter Bischoff/ Stringer/ Getty Images)

Abba has just released two new songs for the first time in forty years! The Swedish pop group has reunited to put out a new album on November 5, 2021, and we can’t contain our excitement! To celebrate, we have compiled a list of ten fascinating facts about Abba that are essential to know before their new album debuts.

1. Their origin story begins in Cyprus

Abba performing
Abba performs at a convert at Wembley Arena, London, England on November 5th, 1979. (Photo Credit: Gus Stewart/ Getty Images)

The band Abba originated almost on a whim. In 1970, two couples (Agnetha Fältskog with Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson with Anni-Frid Lyngstad) went on a vacation to Cyprus. The group’s members were all musically inclined but had never performed together. This all changed on their holiday when they started singing at the beach and then ended up performing in front of United Nations soldiers stationed in Cyprus.

2. Abba wasn’t the band’s original name

Abba arrives in America
Abba arrives in America for a tour of the US in October, 1976. (Photo Credit: Anwar Hussein/ Getty Images)

The group eventually settled on the name Abba as it was an anagram for the first letters of the names of the four band members. However, before they came up with Abba, the group initially called themselves Festfolket, which means “party people,” in 1970.

Their first song, which came out in 1972 and was called “People Need Love,” was actually credited to “Björn & Benny, Agnetha & Anni-Frid.” In 1973, their manager advised them to get an easier name, resulting in a competition being held in a Swedish newspaper to help find a new moniker for the band. Before landing on Abba, the group considered the names Alibaba, Baba, and Fabb.

3. Abba was the name of a Swedish seafood company

Abba after wining Eurovision
Abba congratulates each other after winning Eurovision, 1974. (Photo Credit: PA Images/ Getty Images)It’s comeback

Once they had landed on Abba for their band name, there were additional hoops they had to jump through to obtain this name legally. Abba was originally the name of the Abba Seafood company, which specializing in canned herring and other products. The company decided to let the group use the name in 1974, as long as the band didn’t make the company “ashamed for what you’re doing.”

4. What’s with the outrageous outfits?

Abba performing in New York
Abba performs in New York, circa 1979. (Photo Credit: Images Press/ Getty Images)

If Abba isn’t known for their (outstanding) music, they’re remembered for the wild outfits they wore on stage while performing. Most people assume the way they dress is a nod to disco fashion in the seventies, but in reality, the group chose to dress this way because of Swedish tax laws. If clothing could not be categorized as “daywear,” it could be written off for tax purposes. Although their costumes were legendary, they certainly did not fall into the category of casual, everyday dress.

5. More popular than the moon landing

Abba circa 1970
Abba, circa 1970. (Photo Credit: Michael Ochs Archives/ Stringer/ Getty Images)

Although Abba was widely successful all over the world, they were extremely popular in Australia. A 1976 TV Special, “The Best of Abba,” made specifically for the Australian market, got more views than the 1969 moon landing.

6. They were paid in oil commodities

Agnetha Faltskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad
Agnetha Faltskog (left) and Anni-Frid Lyngstad (right) perform in Copenhagen, Denmark, circa 1977. (Photo Credit: Jorgen Angel/ Getty Images)

According to the Swedish people, Abba was second only to Volvo in their contribution to Swedish exports in the 1970s. The band was very popular in the Soviet Union, especially, but because this was during the Cold War, all currencies from behind the Iron Curtain were embargoed. As Abba could not accept rubles, they received royalty payments from the Soviet Union in oil commodities.

7. The most iconic Eurovision win of all time?

Abba at Eurovision, 1974
Abba performs at the 1974 Eurovision contest, which they went on to win with their song Waterloo. (Photo Credit: OLLIE LINDEBORG/ Getty Images)

Abba famously won the 1974 Eurovision competition with their hit song “Waterloo.” In fact, in May 2020, “Waterloo” was even voted the best ever song to be performed at the European contest. However, during the 1974 competition, the United Kingdom awarded Abba zero points – or “nul points” – for their performance. Perhaps the UK didn’t award any points to Abba because they posed the biggest threat to their entry that year, Olivia Newton-John. However, Abba went on to win the 1974 competition even with no points from the UK, making this win even more iconic for the group!

8. They hung out with Led Zeppelin

Abba with their manager Stikkan Andersson
Abba poses at their recording studio with their manager Stikkan Andersson, circa 1978. (Photo Credit: Keystone/ Stringer/ Getty Images)

Although Led Zeppelin and Abba were two of the most popular bands of the 1970s, one wouldn’t typically think they’d often hang out together. But in 1978, Led Zeppelin recorded an album at Abba’s studio, Polar Studios. Led Zeppelin member Jimmy Page stated that Led Zeppelin went out to a club with Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson one night when the two bands were working at Polar Studios.

9. Millions of people tried to get tickets for their London concert

Abba poses under the Eiffel Tower
Abba poses under the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, circa 1979. (Photo Credit: Michel Ginfray/ Getty Images)

Abba announced they would embark on a brief tour of Europe and Australia during the summer of 1977. After announcing this tour, nearly 3.5 million people applied for tickets for Abba’s London show at Royal Albert Hall. This venue could hold 5,272 people, meaning that Abba could have sold out this venue hundreds and hundreds of times.

10. It wasn’t until 2008 that Abba scored a number one album in America

Members of Abba at the Mamma Mia premiere, 2008
The members of Abba photographed for the first time together since 1986 at the premiere of Mamma Mia! (2008). (Photo Credit: Daniel Has Karlsson/ Wikimedia Commons)

Despite being one of the most popular bands of the 1970s, Abba never saw major chart success in America – until 2008, at least.

More from us: Groovy, Baby! Inside Led Zeppelin’s Private Jet, “The Starship”

Their highest-charting album initially was Abba: The Album, which peaked only at number 14. Only four out of the band’s eight studio albums managed to crack the top 20. However, in 2008, correlating with the release of Mamma Mia! Abba’s Gold album finally hit the number one spot in the United States.


Madeline Hiltz

Madeline Hiltz is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News