1979 ABBA – Does Your Mother Know
Björn Ulvaeus played guitar and Benny Andersson played keyboards and they both sang and had relatively successful singing and songwriting careers in Sweden beginning in the late sixties. They began working together as a duo and recorded and released records starting in 1970.
Agnetha Fältskog sang in a local dance band and released covers of popular foreign language songs and composed some of her own songs. She and Björn married in 1971.
Anni-Frid Lyngstad (Frida) sang in competitions and began recording in the late sixties, including a song written by Benny & Björn. She had a number one record in 1971 that Benny produced. Benny and Frida were engaged for nine years and married for about two years.
The four began working together on each other’s projects, and eventually formed a quartet. A single credited to Björn & Benny, Agnetha & Anni-Frid came out in 1972 but did not do well. Their manager convinced them to let the girls sing lead vocals and the next year they released Ring, Ring. He also convinced them to call themselves ABBA, an abbreviation made up of the first letters of their names.
ABBA competed in Melodifestivalen, but the song failed to take them to the Eurovision Song Contest. Neil Sedaka helped them translate the lyrics into English, but the single failed to reach the Hot 100.
In 1974, the group wrote and recorded Waterloo as their entry into the Eurovision Song Contest. New rules allowed the group to sing the song in English rather than their native tongue, and the song won the contest. The single topped the charts in a half-dozen countries and even reached the top ten in the US.
A seemingly endless string of hits followed through 1978. Four singles came from their sixth album in 1979, but only Does Your Mother Know reached the top twenty in the US (and two failed to even reach the top forty). For the first time in years, Björn sang lead on a single, with Agnetha and Frida singing backup vocals. Does Your Mother Know peaked at #19 on the Hot 100 in 1979.
While the group continued to sell well in Europe, they only had two more top forty singles in the US by 1981 and never reached the Hot 100 again after 1982.
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