ABBA appeared in June 1966 shortly after Björn Ulvaeus met Benny Andersson at a party. At that time they had already been successful musicians: Björn was a member of the Hootenanny Singers, and Benny played keyboards in The Hep Stars. In 1969 two women appeared in their lives: Agnetha Fältskog, a solo singer, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. In some time they became not only the members of one band, but spouses - Agnetha and Björn were married in July 1971. Anni-Frid, better known as Frida, became Benny's wife in October 1978. First, their band was called Björn & Benny, Agnetha & Anni-Frid. The songs People Need Love and Ring Ring (that won the third position at the Eurovision Song Contest) were released under this name. In 1973 Stig Anderson, the manager of the band, began calling them ABBA, as the name Björn & Benny, Agnetha & Anni-Frid was very inconvenient. The band worked hard to gain popularity. The first most successful song of ABBA was Waterloo (1974), it won the first position in Eurovision contest at Brighton Dome in England and became a real hit. In 1974 ABBA made the first international tour round Germany, Denmark and Austria. The tour was not as profitable as the musicians wanted it to be, but they received a very warm welcome in Scandinavia.
The following years the popularity of ABBA got unprecedented growth. The album ABBA (1975) and singles SOS and Mamma Mia were in the top lists in the USA and the European countries. In November 1975 ABBA released the album Greatest Hits that contained their most popular songs and the song Fernando, originally written in Swedish for Frida. The next album Arrival (1976) got wonderful reviews from the most powerful European and American critics with the songs Money, Money, Money, Knowing Me, Knowing You, Dancing Queen. In 1977 ABBA started a tour round Europe and its members were treated like superstars everywhere. Then ABBA gave 11 concerts in Australia, gaining remarkable success there and shooting a film ABBA: The Movie. In December 1977 the band released one more work The Album, but it was not as popular as the previous one though included several hits such as The Name of the Game and Take A Chance On Me. In April 1979 the album Voulez-Vous gained the first place in Europe and Japan and was best-selling in Canada, Australia and the USA. The best known songs of this album were Chiquitita, Does Your Mother Know, Voulez-Vous and I Have A Dream. In 1979 ABBA released an album Greatest Hits Vol. 2, with a new track Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight) on it. This song became the most popular disco-hit in Europe. But the divorce of Agnetha and Björn threw a shadow on the reputation of ABBA.
Gradually the popularity of the band started falling. During the tour over Japan it became clear that the character of the songs had changed: they became more personal. The new album Super Trouper, released in 1980, was allegedly dedicated to the personal problems of Björn and Agnetha. The song The Winner Takes It All was the best-known on this album. The album Gracias Por La Música written in Spanish gained ABBA popularity in Spanish-speaking countries. In 1981 Björn married another woman; Benny and Frida announced their divorce. After that Björn and Benny wrote several songs and the band took part in the TV program Dick Cavett Meets ABBA where they performed in public for the last time. Björn and Benny started writing texts for the musical Chess; Frida and Agnetha revived their solo careers. In spite of its break ABBA is thought to be one the most successful pop-groups in the world. In 1999 the musical Mamma Mia was created. This creation was based on 22 compositions of ABBA including Dancing Queen, Take a Chance on Me and Mamma Mia. This fact proves that the popularity of the band did not fade away with the passing of the years. Later the former members of ABBA were offered an impressive sum of money for the reunion of the band, but they did not agree saying that new ABBA would not be able to gain the preceding success and would disappoint its fans.