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Seven Things You May Not Know About ABBA

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By Zandra Wolfgram

 

Unless you had your head in the sand during the ‘70s, you probably danced and sang along to a few ABBA tunes at some point.

 

Last week marked the 42nd anniversary of “Waterloo,” the band’s first hit, which topped the single charts all over Europe and made the top 10 in the United States when it debuted in April 1974. The four-member Scandinavian sensation from Stockholm continued to skyrocket up the music charts with catchy dance hits such as “Mamma Mia,” “Dancing Queen, “SOS,” “Honey Honey,” Fernando” and others until 1982.

 

Musical justice was served in March 2010 when the iconic band that somehow made jumpsuits a fashion do for both sexes was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

 

You can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life reliving the sensational ‘70s when ABBA tribute band ABBAFAB takes the stage on Saturday, April 9, at 7 p.m. at the Cultural Arts Village in Destin to raise funds for the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation.

 

But before you answer to the call of the drums from Fernando, here are seven fun things you may not know about the ‘70s music sensation, ABBA.

 

Before Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid “Frida” Lyngstad performed as ABBA (the first initial of each band member), they called themselves Festfolk, a Swedish word that means party people.

 

ABBA’s greatest hits album Gold is one of the best-selling records of all time. In fact, in the UK, it has outsold the Beatles’ classic Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Adele’s 21. In England, Gold is second only to Queen’s Greatest Hits album.

 

Agnetha and Bjorn married in 1971, and Frida and Benny wed in October 1978. The two married couples were a rarity in pop music, but both couples were divorced by 1981.

 

Music legend has it that ABBA’s sales in communist Eastern Europe were so high in the late ‘70s the group had to accept payments in oil because some of the countries in that bloc didn’t have the funds on hand.

 

It is said that more than 3,300 ABBA records are sold every day all over the world. The group dominated the charts in Sweden in their heyday to such an extent that a special rule was handed down, restricting each release to just 10 weeks in the top slot.

 

ABBA’s most famous tour was in Australia in 1977, where fans went wild for the group at the height of their fame. In the same year, ABBA announced two dates at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Application for tickets was by mail only. It was later revealed that more than 3.5 million people applied for tickets to the show—enough to fill the venue 580 times.

 

ABBA broke up in 1982. The four members were offered one billion dollars in 2000 to reunite for a tour, but declined.

 

Tickets for the ABBAFAB benefit concert are $25 for adults or $20 for MKAF members; children (under 12) are FREE. Proceeds from the event will benefit MKAF’s mission to support cultural events and education programs for all ages. Purchase concert tickets online at www.mattiekellyartsfoundation.org or pay at the gate, which opens at 6 p.m. Mamma Mia, this is going to be fun!

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