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    10 Little Known Facts About ABBA

    Forty years ago, four Swedish singers took the stage of the Eurovision Song Contest, held in Brighton, England, in glam attire to sing a song about love and Napoleon. They took home the Grand Prix and a global pop phenomenon was born.

    1. Those outrageous outfits were an easy way to save some "Money Money Money" on their tax bill.

    As revealed on "ABBA: The Official Photo Book," they exploited a Swedish law which meant clothes were tax deductible if their owners could prove they were not used for daily wear.

    2. Their stage name was the same as a brand of seafood.

    The company was established in 1838 and some of its most well known products include Kalles kaviar and Abba pickled herring. In 1974, they decided to let Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny and Anni-Frid share their name, though ABBA is actually an acronym of the first letters of the band members' first names.

    3. A self-confessed Connie Francis fan and musical prodigy dropped her knickers on stage.

    In 1956, 5 year-old Agnetha Fältskog made her stage debut at a Christmas show, organized by her father, Ingvar. During her performance of "Billy Boy," a singer's worst nightmare - the waistband of her knickers broke in the middle of the song, so she had a hard time keeping them on!

    4. Not everyone in the band was Swedish.

    Anni-Frid Lyngstad was born on November 15th, 1945 in Bjørkåsen, Norway. The result of a liaison between young Synni Lyngstad and a German officer named Alfred Haase, her mother was appearently involved in one of SS chief Heinrich Himmler's Lebensborn houses, meant to "mate" supposed Nazi supermen with pure white Norwegian women. During ABBA's heyday, Frida met her father but the contact between the two was short lived.

    5. Björn and Benny weren't clean-cut and wholesome after all.

    Led Zeppelin recorded their last album In Through the Out Door at ABBA's Polar Music Studios, in Stockholm. During a TV interview, Zep's Robert Plant confessed he went out one night in late 1978 with Björn Ulveaus and Benny Andersson, stepping into a local sex club to get away from Agnetha and Frida. Plant detailed that "people would go to bed on circle-shaped mattresses in front of us.” A spokeperson for ABBA denied the claims.

    6. An Oscar-nominee directed their groundbreaking music videos.

    View this video on YouTube

    YouTube / Via

    The Swedes capitalized on their natural good looks, extravagant fashion sense and striking visual appeal by being one of the first groups to use promotional videos to market their music. Most of them were directed by Lasse Hallström, who recieved an Academy Award for Best Director for "My Life as a Dog" and "The Cider House Rules."

    7. They promoted from baby food to TV and electronics.

    In 1973, ABBA agreed to promote baby food company Semper, and Björn and Agnetha’s baby daughter Linda made her modelling debut. Three years later, manager Stig Anderson sold the use of the song "Fernando" to electronics giant National for $1 million with the song given a new lyric. That did it for Benny Andersson. "We’ve never sold another song again."

    8. A 1976 TV Special for the Australian market got more views than the 1969 moon landing.

    ABBA-Mania was in full swing Down Under when they arrived in early 1976 to do a TV special for the Nine Network. Titled "The Best of ABBA," it was screened four times to record-setting ratings.

    9. In 1977, ABBA could've sold out London's Royal Albert Hall 580 times.

    ABBA's first concerts in the UK included two dates at the London venue, on St Valentine's Day 1977, ten days after the release of the single "Knowing Me, Knowing You." An incredible sum of three and a half million applications for the 12,000 seats were recieved via mail.

    10. Only two acts have been allowed by the band to sample their work.

    View this video on YouTube

    YouTube / Via

    Björn and Benny are notorious for being protective of their catalogue. In 1987, they sued British acid house band The KLF over the unauthorised use of a passage from "Dancing Queen." Almost a decade later, they allowed The Fugees to use a sample from "The Name Of The Game" on their 1996 single "Rumble In The Jungle." Madonna, on the other hand, literally begged them, admiting her love for ABBA. The BB's gave the thumbs-up on "Hung Up." "It is a wonderful track, 100% solid pop music," said Benny.

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