ABBA’s Bjorn Ulvaeus reveals what he really thinks of the Swedish supergroup’s name

Jun 24, 2024
"We didn't have a choice in the matter. I thought it was such a stupid name. And it is." Source: AP PHOTO.

Swedish supergroup ABBA ranks among the best-selling music artists in history, with record sales soaring into the millions.

Considered one of the greatest musical groups of all time, ABBA became one of the most successful acts in the history of popular music, topping the charts worldwide from 1974 to 1983. They have achieved 48 hit singles. In 2015, their song Dancing Queen was inducted into the Recording Academy’s Grammy Hall of Fame.

Despite their immense success, band member Bjorn Ulvaeus recently admitted that he isn’t particularly fond of the group’s name, labelling it “stupid”.

Ulvaeus let his true feelings about the band’s name be known during a recent interview with Gyles Brandreth on the Rosebud podcast.

“As we were kind of famous, all famous in Sweden, we made our first records under Agnetha, Benny, Bjorn and Anni-Frid,” he began.

“And the DJs on radio and everywhere else, in our office, they got tired of saying that … as you can imagine. So they just abbreviated it to the initials ABBA.

“We didn’t have a choice in the matter. I thought it was such a stupid name. And it is.

“It’s also the name of a very famous herring factory in Sweden – marinated herring, big thing in Sweden.

“And we had to ask them for permission to use the name because they had the name. And then they said ‘As long as you don’t dabble in marinating.’

“I thought we should have a cool name like The Rolling Stones or something like that, The Northern Lights.

“And here we are with ABBA.”

Ulvaeus’ surprise comments come as he and fellow band member Benny Andersson recently hinted that they may one day make a return to the land down under to perform.

During a recent interview with BBC Newsnight, band members Ulvaeus and Andersson discussed bringing the revolutionary tour experience ABBA Voyage to Australia. 

“I have to say I’d like to take the show to Australia,” Andersson said.

“It would feel good to go back there and say thank you to Australians for supporting us from day one.”

The groundbreaking tour features de-aged digital avatars of the four-piece and took place for the first time in front of a live audience in a purpose-built ABBA Arena at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London on May 27th, 2022.

The digital avatars of the band members were created after months of motion-capture and performance techniques by an 850-strong team from Industrial Light & Magic.

The inaugural performance saw the digital versions of the band perform crowd favourites such as  Mamma Mia! and Dancing Queen. The ABBA-tars performed a truly jaw-dropping show with many attendees claiming it was near impossible to tell you weren’t actually watching the real, human version of the band.

-with PA.

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