Although she has made a name for herself as a solo artist in Sweden, Agnetha Fältskog will always be best known as a member of ‘ABBA’, one of the most commercially successful and internationally adored pop bands of all time. Leaving school at 15 to pursue a career in music, she soon found herself singing with Bernt Enghardt's band and attracted a fan following. Through Enghardt, she secured a record deal and soon topped the charts in Sweden with her first release. She became engaged and later got married to Björn Ulvaeus and became a member of ‘ABBA’. For the next eight years, ‘ABBA’ would be one of the most successful pop acts in the world, earning numerous gold and platinum awards all across the globe. Post-ABBA, she released three albums –‘Wrap Your Arms Around Me’, ‘Eyes of a Woman’ and ‘I Stand Alone’, all of which garnered great success in Sweden and gained popularity throughout Europe as well but never quite made a mark in the U.S. As the '80s wound to a close, she went into an unofficial retirement. ABBA's music was the subject of a jukebox musical called ‘Mamma Mia!’. She came out of retirement to record ‘My Coloring Book’ that peaked at 11 on the U.K. charts. Her latest Album, ‘A’, has also been well-received.
- Born in Jönköping, Småland, Sweden, Agnetha Fältskog was the daughter of Knut Ingvar, a department store manager and Birgit Margareta Johansson.Her first song ‘Två små troll’ (‘Two Little Trolls’), she composed when she was just six. In 1958, she started learning piano and also joined a local church choir.In 1960, Agnetha with her friends made a band ‘The Cambers’, which started performing at community events. However, the band didn’t survive long and she left school to devote herself completely to music.Career
- Starting her musical career, Agnetha Fältskog performed with a dance band, headed by Bernt Enghardt. Her breakup with her boyfriend inspired her to write a song, ‘Jag var så kär’, which catapulted her to fame.Enghardt approached Karl Gerhard Lundkvist, a record producer at ‘Cupol Records’, and sent him a demo recording of the band, but Lundkvist was impressed by only Fältskog’s performance. Eventually, she signed a recording contract with CBS Records.Between 1967 and 1968, she came out with three singles— her debut single, ‘Jag var så kär’, topped the Swedish Chart. Of other two singles, ‘Försonade’ did not make to the Eurovision final and ‘Zigenarvän’ became entangled in a controversy.In 1970, she came out with, ‘Om tårar vore guld’, her most successful song pre-ABBA. A Danish composer alleged her of copying certain sections from his composition and a court settlement was reached seven years later.Between 1968 and 1980, 18 of her songs featured on the ‘Svensktopp’, a radio chart including singles like, ‘Jag Var Så Kär’ and ‘När Du Tar Mig I Din Famn’.Fältskog met Björn Ulvaeus, who had written songs with Benny Andersson whose girlfriend Anni-Frid Lyngstad was a good friend of Faltskog. These links eventually led to the formation of ‘ABBA’.Some of her popular songs in association with ‘ABBA’ are ‘Hasta Mañana’, ‘SOS’, ‘You for the Music’, ‘Chiquitita’, ‘Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!’, ‘The Winner Takes It All’ and ‘Lay All Your Love on Me’.In 1982, she recorded a duet, ‘Never Again’ with Swedish singer Tomas Ledin which peaked at the pop charts across several countries.In 1983, after her association with ABBA ended she released a solo album, ‘Wrap Your Arms Around Me’, featuring singles such as, ‘The Heat Is On’ and ‘Can’t Shake Loose’. Though the album failed gain recognition in America and Australia, it reached no.1 position on pop charts in Europe.Between 1985 and 1987, her album, ‘Eyes of a Woman’, her duet, ‘The Way You Are’, with Ola Håkansson, and ‘Come Ride with Me on My Carousel’ with her son Christian tasted great success in Sweden.She released her album, ‘I Stand Alone’, in 1988 occupied the no. 1 spot in Sweden for eight weeks. The duet with Peter Cetera, ‘I Wasn't the One’, peaked at No. 93 on the Billboard Hot 100.Returning after a hiatus, she released in 2004, a new single, ‘If I Thought You'd Ever Change Your Mind’ which reached the no. 2 spot in Sweden and peaked at no. 11 in the UK.She released the album, ‘My Colouring Book’ in 2004, which featured her covers of 60s classic oldies. The album peaked at no. 1 in Sweden and topped the charts in other European countries as well.In 2007, she was seen in the performance of ‘Mamma Mia!’ in Stockholm with ex-husband Björn Ulvaeus.She appeared alongside he colleagues Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Björn Ulvaeus, and Benny Andersson at the Swedish premiere of the film version of ‘Mamma Mia!’. The event was organized at the Rival Theatre in Stockholm.Major Works
- In 1975, Faltskog recorded and produced her solo album ‘Elva kvinnor i ett hus’ which became an unprecedented success and occupied the Swedish music charts for 53 weeks. The album also featured her Swedish language version of ABBA's, ‘SOS’.Her 2013 album 'A' became immensely popular throughout Europe. The BBC called ‘A’ "tasteful and sumptuous" mid-tempo album. It also received Gold certification in Australia, Britain, Germany and Sweden.Awards & Achievements
- She received the 2013 ‘Kai Gullmar Memorial Award’ in Stockholm for her album ‘A’.Agnetha Fältskog received two nominations at the 2014 Scandipop Awards— ‘Best Female Single’ for ‘Dance Your Pain Away’ and ‘Best Female Album’ for ‘A’, and won the latter.Personal Life & Legacy
- Agnetha Fältskog was married to Björn Ulvaeus from 1971 to 1980. They had two children - Linda Elin Ulvaeus, Peter Christian Ulvaeus. She later married Swedish surgeon Tomas Sonnenfeld, but the couple got divorced a few years later.Trivia
- The name of the pop group ‘ABBA’ which this prominent singer was part of, comprised of the first letters of the names of its members.This famous Swedish pop star once declared, “I can spot empty flattery and know exactly where I stand. In the end it`s really only my own approval or disapproval that means anything”.
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