ABBA (stylised ᗅᗺᗷᗅ) were a Swedish pop group formed in Stockholm in 1972. With members Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, ABBA became one of the most commercially successful acts in the history of popular music, topping the charts worldwide from 1975 to 1982. They won theEurovision Song Contest 1974 at the Dome in Brighton, UK, giving Sweden its first triumph in the contest, and were the most successful group ever to take part in the competition.
ABBA sold over 300 million albums and singles worldwide, while according to its label the Universal Music Group the band has sold over 375 million records as of January 2010. The group’s record sales figure is uncertain, and various estimates range from over 140 to over 500 million sold records. This makes them one of thebest-selling music artists, and the second best-selling music group of all time, after the Beatles. ABBA was the first group to come from a non-English-speaking country to enjoy consistent success in the charts of English-speaking countries, including the UK, Ireland, the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. The group also enjoyed significant success in Latin American markets, and recorded a collection of their hit songs in Spanish.
During the band’s active years, Fältskog & Ulvaeus and Lyngstad & Andersson were married. At the height of their popularity, both relationships were suffering strain which ultimately resulted in the collapse of the Ulvaeus–Fältskog marriage in 1979 and the Andersson–Lyngstad marriage in 1981. These relationship changes were reflected in the group’s music, with later compositions including more introspective, brooding, dark lyrics.