Alcohol, drugs and infidelities: the catastrophic decline of ABBA


 Alcohol, drugs and infidelities: the catastrophic decline of ABBA

Despite all the internal misfortunes they had to endure while still very young, ABBA leaves us to remember a whole legacy of music, images and dreams that we can always enjoy

It has been 35 years since the separation of ABBA, however their songs penetrated so deeply that even today they continue to be a musical reference. It was the year 1974 when four youngsters presented themselves to Eurovision representing Sweden with their song "Waterloo", without imagining that their triumph would change their lives and the history of music forever. Today, 44 years after their victory in Europe's most famous music competition, ABBA is making headlines again. The popular Swedish quartet will be reborn to provide the soundtrack for one of the most anticipated films of the year: "Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again", a sequel to the successful musical "Mamma Mia", released in 2008 and which will hit theaters next June.

From 1974 to today, ABBA remains the second most successful musical group of all time, only behind "The Beatles". With more than 500 million records sold throughout its history, ABBA's music seems to have eternal life. In Sweden they are, quite simply, a national glory. They have an exclusive museum in Stockholm and several restaurants inspired by their folk clothing .

ABBA's name arose from the union of the initials of its members: Agnetha Åse Fältskog, Göran Bror Benny Andersson, Björn Kristian Ulvæus and Anni-Frida Lyngstad . During its heyday, the relationship between its members went beyond simple bandmates, as Agnetha was married to Bjorn and in turn Benny was also married to Frida. A few years later, and due to terrible whims of fate, the two couples divorced in 1979 and 1981 respectively. Given its exorbitant success, they decided to give the group a chance and continued until its definitive dissolution in 1982, after which each of its components continued their musical path separately, thus losing the magic that brought them to the top .

They had it all: they were young, handsome and successful; cannon fodder for the tabloid press. However, during their fame they always struggled to keep their public life separate from their private ones, becoming obsessively jealous of their privacy. A fact that caused that, even a decade after their separation, little was known about their history behind the scenes.

What went wrong in ABBA?

Unlike other musical groups, the Swedish quartet did not emerge with the aim of sweeping the music charts, their union was rather pure chance. On the one hand, Björn and Agnetha were two young people in love who shared a passion: music. A few months into their courtship they decided to form a home band with a friend of Björn's, Benny Andersson, who was soon joined by his girlfriend, Frida. This is how ABBA was born, like four friends who got together to sing . None of them predicted that what began as a children's game would become a musical phenomenon years later. With the victory in Eurovision his songs crossed borders and his fame began to grow like foam .

The lives of the Abba girls have not been as rosy as their songs. For Agnetha the popularity became too great and she could not bear it. The singer had lived a quiet childhood away from the city, but due to the frenetic pace they had to endure almost daily, she began to suffer exorbitant levels of stress that caused stage fright that she could not control, to the point that in many sometimes it was impossible for him to get on stageTo try to calm his nerves he began to drink, which led to a long list of phobias that ruined his life. “I am someone who is afraid of many things. I have unhealthy phobias and anxieties. I am afraid of mixing with people. I can't go shopping, I can't go out or go to restaurants and bars. However, I am able to manage some of my fears, such as flying thanks to alcohol: before the plane takes off, I have a drink, when we are in the air another and just before landing another. That way, I'm half drunk when I get to my destination.», He confessed during an interview when the group was still standing. She was not the only one, in an interview recorded for Sweden's SVT channel in 2011, Benny Andersson revealed that she had to seek help to stop her addiction to alcohol: "I didn't feel good without alcohol, so I knew I was in trouble. I looked for help and got it." He finally beat his addiction in 2001, 20 years after his last hit "The Winner Takes it all." “ I knew that if I kept drinking I was in danger of losing everything . If you drink enough for a long time, you will lose things.

His phobias and subsequent addictions aggravated his marriage to Björn and, after 13 years of relationship and after the birth of their second child, they shocked the world with the divorce of one of the most loved and admired couples. “I have been through an extremely painful depression. The idea that I had to go on alone drove me crazy. Björn always took care of everything because we were so young and when he remarried I cried. The fact that he had found someone so soon hurt me a lot, "confessed the singer in reference to the Swedish television presenter Lena , with whom she began a romantic relationship just two weeks after signing the divorce papers and who months she would later become her ex-husband's second wife.

Something similar happened to Benny and Frida. After having lived together for nine years and four of marriage, the composer found love again with another woman. Gossips say that their marriage ended catastrophically when Frida arrived home the day before and found her husband in bed with another woman. "She was devastated," a close friend of the couple said at the time. “We wondered if the group could stay together after our divorce. But ABBA had already survived the divorce of Björn and Agnethaand it was very difficult for me to go ahead with our separation, ”explained Benny Andersson during an interview granted shortly after announcing their breakup. “Economically speaking, we no longer have concerns. Our dreams of becoming superstars have exceeded our wildest imaginations. We never thought we would be as big as we are now. After all, we are ordinary people, leading a normal life," he said.

Since the dissolution of the group in 1982, Agnetha's life has plummeted. The catalog of disasters of the most iconic component of the quartet included two broken marriages, a long list of failed love affairs, his addiction to alcohol and drugs, a traffic accident in 1983, an accumulation of phobias that prevented him from leading a normal life. , the suicide of his mother in 1994 and a lifetime of harassment by dozens of obsessive fans, which caused his final isolation from the world in 2004. "Once Abba was over, I just wanted to lead a quiet life with my children", he confessed during an interview in May 2013 for the British newspaper «Daily Mail». « Swedish newspapers always write falsehoods about me, so I know that no one is going to believe me, ”she explained, fed up with the publications about her romantic relationships. "When a man tells me I'm beautiful or sexy, I don't believe it anymore," she said, visibly upset.

ABBA is currently preparing a pioneering virtual project in the world. The Swedish quartet is being digitally recreated as holograms for an international tour, modeled to be as close as possible to how they looked in 1979, during the height of their popularity. Despite all the internal misfortunes they had to suffer when they were very young for not knowing how to control their unexpected success, ABBA leaves us to remember a whole legacy of music, images and dreams that we can always enjoy.