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Björn Ulvaeusis best known as one of four members of 1970s Swedish pop sensation ABBA.
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For the next two years, from 1964 to 1966, the Hootenanny Singers remained one of Sweden's most popular pop groups, recording during the winter months and touring all across Scandinavia during the summers.
On June 5, 1966, in a coincidence that would have a profound impact on the course of pop music across the globe,
the Hootenanny Singers' tour bus stopped at a crossroads far out in the Swedish countryside where the tour bus of the Hep Stars—Sweden's other leading pop group—also happened to be stopped. And during that chance encounter, Ulvaeus struck up a friendship with the Hep Stars' keyboardist, Benny Andersson. "We had the same musical tastes," he remembered. "When Benny started speaking, our ideas were so similar that it was like I was listening to myself."
Over the next two years, although the Hootenanny Singers and the Hep Stars collaborated on several songs, Ulvaeus and Andersson mostly continued working with their respective groups. In 1969, Ulvaeus met and fell in love with a singer named Agnetha Fältskog; they married two years later, in 1971. Around the same time, Andersson fell in love with another singer, Anni-Frid Lyngstad. The two couples performed together for the first time in 1970 in a cabaret act called Festfolk. Two years later, in 1972, the quartet released a single, "People Need Love," which became a minor hit in Sweden. At that point, Ulvaeus left the Hootenanny Singers (and Andersson left the Hep Stars) to focus all their energies on this new lovers' quartet. Renaming themselves ABBA, an acronym of the first letter of each of their first names (Anni, Benny, Björn, Agnetha) and also the name of a popular Swedish canned fish company, the group achieved its big break in the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest. ABBA entered a new single called "Waterloo," an upbeat, disco-influenced pop track, winning first place in the prestigious international competition. The contest catapulted "Waterloo" to No. 1 on the UK pop charts and to No. 6 on U.S. Billboard Hot 100, announcing ABBA as one of world's biggest new pop groups.
Over the next seven years, ABBA enjoyed widespread international popularity on the way to becoming one of the most successful musical groups of all time. Their self-titled 1975 album spawned such hits as "SOS," "I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do" and "Mamma Mia," all of which were immensely popular in Europe, Australia and the United States. Their next album, Arrival (1976), featured the singles "Money, Money, Money," "Knowing Me, Knowing You" and "Dancing Queen," the only ABBA track ever to reach No. 1 in the United States. ABBA—The Album (1977) featured another iconic international hit in "Take a Chance On Me," and later albums Voulez-Vous (1979), Super Trouper (1979) and The Visitors (1981) were all successful across the globe. In support of their albums during these years, ABBA toured extensively in the United States, Europe, Australia and Asia, greeted by throngs of adoring fans everywhere they went.
But as they enjoyed professional success, their personal lives were in distress.
profile name: Björn Ulvaeus profile occupation:
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