On the ides of March, Sweden's all time great musical group, ABBA, was placed in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
In a star studded gala held at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York on March 15, the iconic Swedish group, ABBA, was among the celebrities who were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. The honors are probably the last major triumph that the group could conquer since it has not performed together in almost three decades.
Nonetheless, ABBA has sold more than 100 million albums around the world since their international breakthrough at the 1974 Eurovision popular song contest, which they won with the tune, "Waterloo." At that time, Benny Andersson and Agnetha Fältskog, as well as Björn Ulvaeus and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, were two married couples whose first name initials were adopted for the band's name. As wedded pairs, both had split by the beginning of the eighties and the group has not recorded since 1982. However, during a few glittering previous years, ABBA ranked second only to Volvo as Sweden’s biggest money-making export.
While news of the honor brought no negative reactions from Swedes at home on their own turf, the American rock music reviewers erupted with protests and Internet blasts that had already become familiar when Madonna and others had received the same honor in past years, namely, that they were not rock and rollers. That feeling from beyond Sweden had become apparent in the mid-eighties when a reporter from Swedish television asked Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones what he thought of ABBA's rock and roll music, and Jagger replied that he did not know that they had recorded any rock and roll songs.
Time magazine reviewer Claire Suddath called the group's induction "weird and unnecessary." Even ABBA's co-founder, Benny Andersson, who appeared with Frida, his former wife, to represent the four said that the award was unexpected and added, "We were a pop band, not a rock band."
"Don't hold your breath," added Frida about an anticipated reunion performance, to the dismay of crowds of fans at the event. Family matters kept the other male member, Björn, at home while his ex-wife, Agnetha, cited fear of flying as a reason for not attending the Manhattan ceremonies.
Although "Dancing Queen" was a one-week chart topper in the U.S. in 1977, in a feat still unmatched, from 1975-1980 ABBA spent 35 weeks on England's top album charts. An ABBA revival in the nineties was sparked the albums, "Gold-Greatest Hits," (26 million copies) and a box set box set, "Thank You for the Music." A remastered box set, "The Complete Studio Recordings," appeared in 2005. Today, ABBA continues making sales through the Broadway show and movie "Mamma Mia!," which has played to audiences totaling over 40 million.
ABBA is in the building! Or at least in the Rock Hall of Fame. At a ceremony in New York City in 2010, the most successful Swedish band ever, finally cemented their place in pop history.