One of the most successful musical groups of all time, ABBA burst onto the scene in the early 1970s and gained international fame after winning the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest.
Made up of Agnetha Fältskog, Anni-Frid ‘Frida’ Lyngstad, Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, the Swedish band had a slew of anthemic hits – including Dancing Queen, Waterloo, Fernando and Super Trouper – and toured all over the world to adoring crowds.
But if you thought decades of global success would see the band members slowing down, think again. Agnetha recently relaunched her solo career at the age of 73. Taking to Instagram, she announced that a single called Where Do We Go From Here? would be released on August 31, 2023.
The last time we’d heard from them was when they released a new album in 2021. The foursome had reunited in 2016, after a long hiatus which started in December 1982; in fact, many people believed the band had broken up.
While we now know that ABBA didn’t break up – the four members just drifted apart to focus on themselves for a few decades – fans will undoubtedly want to know what Agnetha, Frida, Björn and Benny got up to professionally during that time.
Here’s the lowdown on where they’ve been and what the band members are up to in 2023.
The singer’s 2023 single release proves that age is nothing but a number. It isn’t Agnetha’s first solo outing however.
Prior to ABBA’s formation, Agnetha released four solo albums in Sweden. She then released two more solo studio albums in Sweden while she was still heavily involved with ABBA.
But in May 1983, after ABBA had agreed to take a break, Agnetha released her first English-language solo album and seventh studio album overall: Wrap Your Arms Around Me.
In the time since then, Agnetha’s gone on to release four more albums: Eyes of a Woman in 1985, I Stand Alone in 1981, My Colouring Book in 2004 and A in 2013.
Anni-Frid ‘Frida’ Lyngstad
Similar to Agnetha, Frida released a solo album prior to the formation of ABBA, in 1971. It was a Swedish album called Frida. Once Frida joined ABBA, she only released two more solo albums during her time with the band: Frida ensam in 1975 and Something’s Going On in 1982.
But after ABBA’s hiatus began, Frida released the albums Shine in 1984 and Djupa andetag in 1996, and has continued to release singles and appear on others’ albums (like Arturo Sandoval’s Ultimate Duets and Georg Wadenius’ Reconnection) sporadically over the years.
Frida also helped organise the opening of ABBA The Museum in Stockholm in 2013. At the time she stated that she wanted to “let ABBA rest.”
Post-ABBA, Björn continued to work with Benny. The pair created three stage musicals together: Chess, Kristina från Duvemåla and Mamma Mia!, the last of which was a jukebox musical using ABBA songs.
In 2008, Mamma Mia! was adapted into a wildly successful film starring Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgård, Julie Walters, Christine Baranski, Amanda Seyfried and Dominic Cooper, and Björn appeared in the ending credits as a Greek god.
Due to the film’s success, a sequel called Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again – also a jukebox musical featuring ABBA songs – was released in 2018. In the second film, Björn has a cameo appearance as one of the teachers at Donna’s graduation.
Also in 2018, Björn was asked to write English lyrics for his friend Tomas Ledin’s Swedish jukebox musical film En del av mitt hjärta, and more recently, in 2020, Björn was appointed President of the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC).
As mentioned above, Benny created the musicals Chess, Kristina från Duvemåla and Mamma Mia! with Björn once ABBA went on hiatus.
Like Björn, Benny also appears in the 2008 film adaptation of Mamma Mia! He can be seen playing the piano during Dancing Queen.
Benny had a cameo in the film’s 2018 sequel Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again too; he’s the piano player in the restaurant where young Harry first meets young Donna.
Aside from working on musicals, Benny released three solo albums post-ABBA: Klinga mina klockor in 1987, November 1989 in (you guessed it) 1989, and Piano in 2017.
He also formed Benny Anderssons Orkester, a folk band consisting of 16 members, in 2001. Since then, Benny Anderssons Orkester (also known as BAO), have released 10 albums with the most recent being Bästa låtarna, which was released in 2019.
What is happening with ABBA now?
Of course, as earlier mentioned, all four reunited in recent years. 2016 marked the first time Agnetha, Frida, Björn and Benny had made a public appearance together since 1982; the foursome attended the opening of Mamma Mia! The Party in Stockholm.
Shortly after this, it was announced the four would be working on a project together.
This turned out to be ABBA’s ninth studio album Voyage, which was ultimately released in November 2021. The album featured ten new songs and has now sold over 2.5 million copies worldwide.
In addition to the album, in May 2022, a virtual concert residency called ABBA Voyage began in London.
The concerts feature ‘ABBAtars’ – virtual avatars – depicting Agnetha, Frida, Björn and Benny as how they appeared in 1979. During ABBA Voyage, the ABBAtars ‘perform’ with a live instrumental band but the originally-recorded vocals for ABBA’s songs are used.
To create the ABBAtars, the band members were filmed as they performed the concert’s 22-song set while wearing motion-capture suits.
ABBA Voyage is still taking place and will continue to do so until May 2024.
At this stage, it’s unclear if ABBA will collaborate again in the future. In October 2021, it was reported that ABBA would break up for good after Voyage’s release but in November 2021, Frida said in an interview with BBC Radio 2 that fans shouldn’t be “too sure” Voyage would be the last ever ABBA album.
Benny contradicted Frida’s statement in May 2022 though. In an interview with Variety, he spoke about ABBA Voyage and was then asked what was next for ABBA after the concert residency. Benny replied, “Nothing is going to happen after this.”