When ABBA stopped recoding in 1982 (they never officially broke up – they just stopped working together), it left many people hungry for any new ABBA material.
As the years have passed, much like the Beatles, the group has gone into the vaults and released a small smattering of previously unreleased material on “Deluxe Editions” and box sets of their classic power pop. But there is one ABBA-related item that may have flown under the radar.
When ABBA first came together in the early 1970s, they were close to being a “supergroup” of Swedish recording artists. Benny Andersson was the most famous of the quartet, having been a member of a very popular Swedish rock group known as the Hep Cats. Björn Ulvaeus had also found some success as a member of a Swedish folk group known as the Hootenanny Singers.
When the two decided to start composing and recording together, they let their girlfriends join the sessions as background singers. Both guys had fallen for women who also had recording careers, albeit not quite as successful as the men. Benny was dating Anni-Frid Lyngstad, while Björn’s main squeeze was Agnetha Fältskog.
Björn & Benny released one album as a duo, Lycka, in 1970. While all of the lyrics are in their native Swedish, you can hear the very beginnings of the sound that would become ABBA because the girls join the boys on most of the album’s tracks. One of the album’s tracks, "Hej, Gamle Man" (“Hello, Old Man”), even became a hit in Sweden.
Following this, the four began working together on more of their individual recording projects. Finally, in 1972, someone (Benny, Björn or their manager Stig Anderson) had the bright idea to let the girls take the spotlight and have the boys handle songwriting (with occasional help from Stig and Agnetha), production and backing vocals. And so, ABBA was born, going on to become one of the most successful recording acts in history with nearly 400 million records/CDs/downloads and counting.
If you’re a hard core fan, check out their beginnings on Lycka, still available on Amazon and other music sellers.
And keep the faith! Björn and Benny have confirmed that ABBA recorded two new tunes in 2018, “I Still Have Faith in You” and “Don’t Shut Me Down.” While the release date has been pushed back more than once, Andersson says the group is now aiming for fall of 2020. There are also rumors the group has been back in the studio this year and an entire new ABBA album may be forthcoming. Keep your fingers crossed.