Archive for the ‘ABBA’ Category

Agnetha Faltskog of ABBA: The pretty blonde

May 24, 2014

AGNETHA.FALTSKOG.1976

THE PRETTY BLONDE OF ABBA: AGNETHA FALTSKOG (1976)

ABBA was a very popular Swedish performing group during the 1970s and the early 1980s.  The group was comprised of two females, Agnetha Faltskog and Anni-Frid “Frida” Lyngstad, and two males, Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson.  Agnetha and Bjorn were married from 1971-1980 and Anni-Frid and Benny were married from 1978-1982. (Frida’s previous marriage was to Ragnar Fredriksson from 1963-1970. Frida married Ragnar when she was 17.)

It was really due to the charm of Agnetha and Frida that ABBA became so popular.

“Bjorn and I may compose the songs, but the girls are the ones who bring in the sound,” Benny said when the group was still together.  “If you leave their voices out, it’s not ABBA anymore.”

Agnetha, also known as Anna, was born on April 5, 1950 at Jonkoping, Sweden.  She was the blonde woman in ABBA.  For men fond of Swedish blondes, Agnetha was a real heart-throb.  She was once known in the press as “the woman with the most sexiest bottom of Europe.”

JONKOPING.SWEDEN.MATT.HO.FEB.16.2013

AGNETHA’S BIRTHPLACE: JONKOPING, SWEDEN (Photo by Matt Ho.)

Agnetha’s early singing performances — In 1965, at age 15, Agnetha was in a pop trio, the Chambers, with her friends Lena and Elisabeth.  At 17, Agnetha’s song titled “Jag var sa kar” was a number one hit in Sweden.

Agnetha’s early performing career was discussed on the website agnetha.net:

“At age 15, Agnetha decided to leave school and pursue a career. She worked as a telephonist for a car firm while performing with a local dance band, headed by Bernt Enghardt. The band became so popular that Agnetha had to make a choice, her job or to continue singing with the band. She continued to sing with the Bernt Enghardt band for two years. It was during this time that she broke up with her boyfriend, Bjorn Lilja. This event inspired her to write a song that would soon catapult her to fame, Jag var sa kar. . . . Agnetha signed with the CBS-Cupol label and her record topped the Swedish charts on Sunday, January 28th, 1968. Her first album released by Cupol was called Agnetha Faltskog. . . . Her success continued throughout the 60s with hit after hit. It was during this time that she met German songwriter/producer Dieter Zimmerman. They became engaged. Agnetha’s records were reaching the German charts and Dieter promised Agnetha she could achieve great success in Germany. Agnetha went to Germany and met with record producers, she described their choice of material “horrible” and she refused to meet their demands. Her career in Germany was short lived as was her engagement to Dieter.”

Love relationship with Bjorn Ulvaeus — Agnetha’s life after she and Dieter broke up and her meeting of Bjorn Ulvaeus was discussed on the website agnetha.net:

“In the summer of 1969 she met Bjorn Ulvaeus, the man of her dreams, and the beginning of a musical collaboration between four wonderfully talented people. The groundwork for ABBA was being laid. Bjorn Ulvaeus was writing songs with Benny Andersson. They had both left their respective bands to work together. Benny had been seeing a girl named Anni-fried Lyngstad. Anni-fried also had a solo career at the time. Benny and Bjorn had formed their own company, Union Songs. They had a partner named Stikkan (Stig) Anderson. He was very anxious for them to sing songs in English. He felt they had all the markings of becoming superstars and for a Swedish act to achieve worldwide fame. In 1969, the personal lives of ABBA were taking shape. Benny and Frida had become engaged. Two months following this Agnetha and Bjorn were engaged. It was only a matter of time before all four would be performing as a group.”

Winning of the Eurovision Song Contest — On April 6, 1974, ABBA won the Eurovision Song Contest at Brighton, England with the song Waterloo.  Some of the well-known lyrics to the song:

My my, at Waterloo, Napoleon did surrender / Oh yeah, and I have met my destiny, in quite a similar way / The history book on the shelf / Is always repeating itself / Waterloo, I was defeated, you won the war / Waterloo, promise to love you for ever more / Waterloo, couldn’t escape if I wanted to / Waterloo, knowing my fate is to be with you / Waterloo, finally facing my Waterloo

My my, I tried to hold you back, but you were stronger / Oh yeah / And now it seems my only chance is giving up the fight / And how could I ever refuse? / I feel like I win when I lose / Waterloo, I was defeated, you won the war / Waterloo, promise to love you for ever more / Waterloo, couldn’t escape if I wanted to / Waterloo, knowing my fate is to be with you / Oh, oh / Waterloo, finally facing my Waterloo

First tour — On Nov. 17, 1974, ABBA went on its first tour. They played to a sellout crowd at the Falkonerteater in Copenhagen. During the next two weeks they played in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. In December 1974 they played five shows in England. Beginning in January 1975 ABBA had sellout shows in Norway and Sweden. In June 1975 there was a worldwide release of the album titled ABBA. By the time that ABBA completed a two-week tour in the United States during September 1975 the members of ABBA had truly become superstars.  (ABBA has now sold more than 378 million albums.)

AGNETHA.PERFORMS

AGNETHA DURING A PERFORMANCE

European and Australian tour — ABBA had a European and Australian tour during 1977.  The European tour included performances in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, West Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Great Britain.  A total of 84,000 people attended the 17 concerts, which (with the exception of the Rolling Stones) was Europe’s most successful tour up to that time. In Australia, ABBA performed 11 concerts at Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth before 145,000 people.

ABBA.AUSTRALIA.1976

ABBA DURING THE AUSTRALIA TOUR

North American and European tour — From September to November, 1979, ABBA had a lengthy North American and European tour. It began on Sept. 13 at Edmonton, Alberta and ended on November 15 at Dublin.  Between those dates, ABBA performed at Vancouver, B.C.; Seattle, Portland, Concord, CA; Los Angeles, San Diego, Tempe, Arizona; Las Vegas, Omaha, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Milwaukee, Chicago, New York, Boston, Montreal, Toronto, Gothenburg, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Paris, Rotterdam, Dortmund, Munich, Zurich, Vienna,, Stuttgart, Bremen, Frankfurt, Brussels, London, Stafford and Glasgow.

She would have rather been at home — “Performing in public filled her with dread, and although she understood the commercial drawing power of her leggy figure and blonde-bombshell looks, she was never comfortable as a sex symbol.”

Source: William Langley, Abba’s Agnetha Faltskog: Could the girl with the golden hair get lucky at last? The Telegraph (March 17, 2013).  Mr. Langley wrote:

“While the other members, Bjorn, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad revelled in the fan worship and the perks of fame, Agnetha yearned only to be home.  ‘I’m a country bumpkin,’ she told her (ex) friend and biographer, Brita Ahman. ‘I’m not a showgirl. The others like to party. I like to be by myself.'”

AGNETHA.PRE-ABBA.LATE.1960s.PERFECT.60s.LOOK

AGNETHA BEFORE ABBA — (LATE 1960s)

Agnetha’s divorce from Bjorn — However, in 1979, there was some totally unexpected news. Agnetha and Bjorn were seeking a divorce after eight years of marriage. Bjorn moved out of the house on Christmas Eve 1979. Bjorn wrote the song “The Winner Takes it All” about the end of their marriage. In a 2013 interview with writers for Daily Mail, Agnetha said: “Bjorn wrote it about us after the breakdown of our marriage.”

Agnetha went through a very low period when she and Bjorn divorced.

“I went through a horrible, painful depression,” she said.  “Knowing that I had to go further alone made me crazy.  Bjorn always cared for everything, because we were very young when we met, and then, all of a sudden, I had to learn to stand on my own two feet.”

Bjorn said that he and Agnetha tried to keep their marriage together but they finally gave up.

“If you talk with someone the way I talked with Agnetha, honestly trying to work things out and it doesn’t work, then you know when it’s time to stop,” Bjorn said.  “So we did.  But we didn’t give up easy.  It lasted about two years before we came to the conclusion that it was best to get a divorce.”

Agnetha and Bjorn’s divorce was caused by Bjorn falling in love with a Swedish TV personality named Lena Kallersjo.  They met at a party organized by Benny and Frida.  Within five months they were living together.

“I was a bachelor for only one week,” Bjorn said.

The couple’s divorce became final on June 9, 1980.

The reason for the divorce of Benny and Frida was also “the other woman.”  Benny and Frida had lived together for nine years and been married for four years when Benny became involved with Swedish TV presenter Mona Norklit, who he married in 1981.  It was Frida’s second divorce as she had previously been married and had two children: Hans and Liselotte.

Agnetha’s children — Agnetha and Bjorn had two children together: Linda Elin Ulvaeus, born on Feb. 23, 1973 in Stockholm, and Christian Ulvaeus, born on Dec. 4, 1977 in Stockholm. Linda is a Swedish singer-songwriter. She appeared as a backup singer in Agnetha’s song titled “When You Walk in the Room.” At age 10, Christian recorded a children’s CD with his mother which included the hit song in Sweden titled “Pa Sondag.” He studied physics and engineering and designed a military strategy computer game called “Strategica.” Agnetha, who lives on the Swedish island of Ekero, is a grandmother. Her grandchild is Tida Frida Eliza Ulvaeus-Ekengren, who was born on Jan. 27, 2001.

“I see Bjorn now and then, when the children have birthdays, but he moved to London and started a new life, and he and his wife are grandparents too,” Agnetha said in the Daily Mail interview.

A July 2006 issue of the Swedish magazine Se & Hor said that “Agnetha can’t stand Bjorn.”

“Since ABBA broke up Agnetha and Bjorn’s interaction has been kept to a minimum,” the Se & Hor article stated. “If it hadn’t been for the children she would never have talked to him again. She just can’t stand him.”

Pain and suffering — Agnetha has endured trauma and sadness in her life. In addition to two divorces, Agnetha was injured in a traffic accident in 1983 when she was thrown out of the window of a bus while on a solo tour. She was also the victim of a stalker.  In 1994 Agnetha’s mother, Birgit, committed suicide at age 71 by jumping off the sixth floor flat in Jonkoping where Agnetha was raised. (Her father, Ingvar, died a year later at age 73.)  Agnetha’s second marriage on December 15,1990 to Tomas Sonnenfeld, a surgeon, ended after two years.

agnetha.tomas.sonnenfeld

AGNETHA AND TOMAS SONNENFELD WERE MARRIED ON DEC. 15, 1990, SEPARATED IN JUNE 1992 AND DIVORCED IN DECEMBER 1992

Mr. Langley wrote in The Telegraph:

“Agnetha’s love life has never been simple. Her marriage to Bjorn, with whom she has two children, ended in 1979, by which time both of them were seeing psychiatrists. Ulvaeus later slipped into the arms of Lena Kallersjo, and advertising executive to whom he remains happily married. Agnetha had no such luck. She fell first for a Swedish ice hockey star, then for a fashion designer, and later for her marriage guidance counsellor. In 1990, she married Tomas Sonnenfeld, a Stockholm doctor, but the union lasted barely two years. Into the void stumbled the bizarre figure of Gert van der Graaf, a bespectacled Dutch factory worker.  ABBA fans first became aware of his existence in 2003 when Agnetha complained to the police that she was being stalked by a maniac, and was in ‘fear of my life.’ Officers raider a rickety wooden cabin on the shores of Ekero, in which they found 37-year-old van der Graaf, a decomposing turtle and thousands of mementoes of Agnetha’s career.  The Dutchman was charged with threatening behaviour, but in a spirited court defence produced a letter from the singer suggesting their relationship was rather more than that of stalker and victim.  It quickly emerged that the pair had enjoyed a full-blown romance and had been on a holiday together only weeks before Agnetha called in the police.”

Relationship with Swedish ice hockey player — Agnetha had a relationship with Swedish ice hockey player Lars-Erik Ericsson, 29, from November 1979 to May 1980.  They lived together for a couple of months in Agnetha’s mansion outside  Stockholm.  Lars-Erik, a member of the Swedish national hockey team, suddenly broke of their relationship and left.  This was only about one year after Agnetha was divorced from Bjorn.  “Agnetha adored Lars-Erik.  She hoped she could marry him soon, right after the world tour.  She thought he would be a good father for her children, the six year old Linda and little, one year old Christian,” the Swedish press reported in 1979.  Despite the fact that Agnetha was willing to stop singing after ABBA’s tour for personal happiness with her lover, Lars-Erik, he chose to leave her.  “He knew that the pressure — even though Agnetha would quit her career — would still be too big to have a chance to be happy together.  There will always be people chasing after Agnetha and he would always be seen as Agnetha’s man instead of the famous Swedish ice hockey player that he actually is,” the Swedish press reported.

Recording career after ABBA — Agnetha has recorded several solo albums since the demise of ABBA including Wrap Your Arms Around Me (1983), Eyes of a Woman (1985), Agnetha Collection (1986), I Stand Alone (1987), Agnetha in Germany (1989), My Love My Life (1996), That’s Me — The Greatest Hits (1998), 13 Hits (2004), My Coloring Book (2004), My Very Best (2008) and “A” (2013).

ABBA.Waterloo

BENNY ANDERSSON, ANNI-FRID LYNGSTAD, AGNETHA FALTSKOG AND BJORN ULVAEUS — PROMOTING ABBA’S EUROVISION WINNING SONG: WATERLOO

AGNETHA.2013

A MORE RECENT PHOTO OF AGNETHA (2013)

(PHOTO CREDIT: THE DAILY MAIL)

Advertisements