Why did ABBA break up and which couples were married?


At their peak, Abba were untouchable; they had been dominating the charts and shaping the sound of pop music for a decade.

Which is why it was it remained a mystery to many why Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad went away in 1982, abandoning a proposed follow-up album to their successful eighth studio album, The Visitors.

And the band were so adamant they would not reform, that they turned down a $1 billion offer (to perform 100 shows) to reunite in 2000. Benny told Swedish publication Aftonbladet: ‘It’s a hell of a lot of money to say no to, but we decided it wasn’t for us.’

They never really went away, with their music still popular today and the likes of Mamma Mia (both the movies and stage show) helping them find new audiences across the generations, but fans never got closure on why the band quietly went on a break and didn’t reunite for nearly 40 years.

Their new Abba Voyage concert and album is the first time fans have had the original foursome back together since 1982.

So, what happened to Abba and why did they really break up?

Why did Abba break up?

Abba never officially broke up. There was never an announcement heralding the end of the band, but for many, the writing was on the wall.

With the band being made up of two couples, Björn with Agnetha, and Benny with Anni-Frid, pressures of fame were inevitably a struggle for the band – and for their relationships.

And so it is believed that the band’s break-up was caused by the divorces of both couples, as well as Anni-Frid and Agnetha working to pursue solo albums by the early 1980s.

In 1982, during their last year as a working band, Anni-Frid recorded and released her first post-Abba solo album, Something’s Going On.

At the end of 1982, Agnetha also began doing work outside of Abba, duetting with Swedish singer (and former Abba backing vocalist) Tomas Ledin on a song called Never Again and releasing a solo album, Wrap Your Arms Around Me.

Agnetha also revealed she found it hard to continue with being in the band following her break-up.

Benny and Bjorn always remained close, turning their attention to writing the score for musicals including Chess.

Appearing on Apple Music on Thursday, September 2, Bjorn shared his thoughts on why the band initially went their separate ways in 1982.

‘We ended for creative reasons,’ he told Zane Lowe.

‘We ended because we felt the energy was running out in the studio, because we didn’t have as much fun in the studio as we did this time. And that’s why we said, “Let’s go on a break.”’

He continued: ‘We never said, “This is it. We’ve split and we’ll never reunite again.” We never said that. We just said back then that we’d go on a break. And this break has now ended.’

Which Abba couples were married?

Agnetha Fältskog and Björn Ulvaeus were married for nine years, between 1971 and 1980. They tied the knot just three years before ABBA had their big break at The Eurovision Song Contest.

They share two children together, Linda Elin Ulvaeus, 48, and son Peter Christian Ulvaeus, 43.

The pair have both been open about their split, and how the end of their marriage inspired one of their biggest hits, The Winner Takes It All.

In an interview with the Daily Mail back in 2013, Agnetha revealed the track was her favourites of the band, adding: ‘Björn wrote it about us after the breakdown of our marriage. The fact that he wrote it exactly when we divorced is touching really.’

‘It was fantastic to do that song because I could put in such feeling. I didn’t mind sharing it with the public. It didn’t feel wrong. There is so much in that song. It was a mixture of what I felt and what Björn felt, but also what Benny and Frida went through.’

However, it wasn’t until her book was released that Agnetha revealed just how difficult the divorce was for her and her children. In As I Am, she said: ‘We always told the media that it was a ‘happy’ divorce, which of course was a front.

‘We all know there are no such things as happy divorces, especially when there are children involved.’

Elsewhere, the other two initials that made up Abba were Benny and Anni-Frid (who often went by Frida).

The pair were married for three years, between 1978 and 1981.

They first met in 1969, where both had separately been involved in performing at Melodifestivalen, the Swedish qualifiers for the Eurovision Song Contest.

The pair began dating not long after, and were engaged by 1971, when Benny helped produce Anni-Frid’s first solo album, Frida.

After some reluctance, Anni-Fri joined her fiancée’s group in 1972, creating Abba.

The pair eventually got married in 1978, but announced their split just one year before the band’s 40-year-hiatus begun.

MORE : Abba tease ‘special’ live-stream announcement as they prepare to release music for first time in nearly 40 years

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