ABBA lyrics reflect the Swedish pop invasion that swept the U. S. in the 1970s and 80s and open the doors for many other European bands. Selling over 370 million records, ABBA remains one of the top selling bands of all time.
ABBA is actually an acronym formed from the first letters of the first names of each of the band member, Agnetha, Björn, Benny and Anni-Frid (Frida). Though many journalists call the band Abba, the correct spelling is in all caps to keep the acronym in tact.
The band was made up of Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, Agnetha Fältskog, Anni-Frid “Frida” Lyngstad and in fact Björn Ulvaeus and Agnetha Fältskog were married when ABBA was performing. The ABBA lyrics in “The Winner Takes All” were written by Björn is said to be able the marital tribulations between Björn and Agnetha as they were divorcing. The lyrics are a very personal account written with a bottle of Scotch at hand.
The ABBA lyrics in “S.O.S.” were also written by Björn about trying to understand the breakdown of the marriage. The song “S.O.S.” by ABBA was the first palindrome song title recorded by a band whose name was also a palindrome (same spelled forwards and backwards).
The lyrics to “Dancing Queen” were written by Ulvaeus and Andersson and were inpired by Queen Silvia of Sweden. She married King Gustaf XVI in 1976 and ABBA performed the song for them before they were married. This is evident in a couple of the lyrics, “Where they play the right music, getting in the swing / You come in to look for a king”.
On the The Visitors, the album’s title track by the same name was about Soviet dissidents and secret meetings that were held without the approval of the totalitarian government. Other ABBA lyrics on this album reflect less political themes and are about failed relationships, loss of innocence and other topics.
In the late 1990s there was a Broadway musical names Mamma Mia! that was built around the music of ABBA. The musical became an international smash hit. Interestingly, songwriters Andersson and Ulvaeus could not write standard musical notation, so other musicians who did read and write music had to be brought in to listen and transcribe the music, delaying the project for months.
The ABBA lyrics are fun, pop tales of love found, love lost, dancing and high spirits that can be found in other Schlager style of popular music generally found in Northern Europe at the time. Unlike other music or bands of this type, however, ABBA achieved worldwide recognition on a scale not seen before in this region.