ABBA was a Swedish pop group formed in Stockholm in 1972, comprising Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. ABBA is an acronym of the first letters of the band members’ first names (Agnetha, Benny, Bjorn and Anni-Frid) and is sometimes stylized as the registered trademark ᗅᗺᗷᗅ. They became one of the most commercially successful acts in the history of pop music, topping the charts worldwide from 1972 to 1982. They are also known for winning the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest, giving Sweden its first victory in the history of the contest and being the most successful group ever to take part in the contest.
Benny Andersson (born December 16, 1946 in Stockholm, Sweden) became (at age 18) a member of a popular Swedish pop-rock group, The Hep Stars, that performed covers of international hits. The Hep Stars were known as “The Swedish Beatles”. They also set up Hep House, their equivalent of Apple Corps. Andersson played the keyboard and eventually started writing original songs for his band, many of which became major hits, including “No Response” that hit number 3 in 1965, “Sunny Girl”, “Wedding”, and “Consolation”, all of which hit number 1 in 1966. Andersson also had a fruitful songwriting collaboration with Lasse Berghagen, with whom he wrote his first Svensktoppen entry “Sagan om lilla Sofi” (“The Story of Little Sophie”) in 1968.
Björn Ulvaeus (born April 25, 1945 in Gothenburg/Göteborg, Sweden) also began his musical career at 18 (as a singer and guitarist), when he fronted The Hootenanny Singers, a popular Swedish folk-skiffle group. Ulvaeus started writing English-language songs for his group, and even had a brief solo career alongside. The Hootenanny Singers and The Hep Stars sometimes crossed paths while touring. In June 1966, Ulvaeus and Andersson decided to write a song together. Their first attempt was “Isn’t It Easy to Say”, a song later recorded by The Hep Stars. Stig Anderson was the manager of The Hootenanny Singers and founder of the Polar Music label. He saw potential in the collaboration, and encouraged them to write more. Both also began playing occasionally with the other’s bands on stage and on record, although it was not until 1969 that the pair wrote and produced some of their first real hits together: “Ljuva sextital” (“Merry Sixties”), recorded by Brita Borg, and The Hep Stars’ 1969 hit “Speleman” (“Fiddler”).