ABBA at heart of Swedish music hall of fame

A new Swedish music hall of fame will give a permanent home to an exhibit on pop group ABBA, who have sold nearly 400 million records since the 1970s.
Former ABBA band member Bjoern Ulvaeus, centre, arrives for a news conference, at the ABBA museum construction site in Stockholm on Wednesday. (Henrik Montgomery/Associated Press)

 A new Swedish music hall of fame will give a permanent home to an exhibit devoted to pop group ABBA, who have sold nearly 400 million records since the 1970s.

The Swedish music hall of fame is to be inaugurated in Stockholm next spring with much of its space dedicated to the quartet who sprang onto the world stage with Waterloo, the winning song of the 1974 Eurovision song contest.

It is already under construction on Djurgarden, one of the Swedish capital's many islands.

Faltskog still recording

Agnetha Faltskog, 62, a former member of ABBA, is planning her comeback and is working on a new album.

She is currently working with Swedish songwriter Jorgen Elofsson, who has previously penned and produced tunes for megastars including Britney Spears, Céline Dion and boy band Westlife.

She had a solo career after ABBA split up, but her last album, My Colouring Book, was issued in 2004.

The ABBAWORLD exhibition that toured Europe and Australia in 2009-2011 is to be incorporated in an ABBA museum as part of the hall of fame.

Band members Bjorn Ulvaeus, Agnetha Faltskog, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad started the band as two married couples, and continued performing after both couples divorced.

Hits such as Fernando, Dancing Queen and Money! Money! Money! kept them on the charts until the 1980s, when they drifted apart. The hit musical Mamma Mia renewed interest in their music.

Ulvaeus said he was more comfortable showing the ABBA memoribilia as part of a hall devoted to all Swedish musicians than having a museum just about the pop group. 

Swedish pop group ABBA, shown in 1974, included (clockwise from back left) Benny Andersson, Bjorn Ulvaeus, Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Agnetha Faltskog. (Associated Press)

He dismissed any hope of a reunion in a news conference Wednesday.

"We quit at the absolute top," Ulvaeus said. "And when we stopped it was to take a break and do some other things and then get back together again. But it never turned out that way."

Instead Faltskog is planning a solo comeback.

ABBA members contributed a decades worth of stage clothes to the travelling exhibition, including '70s-style  platform boots and shiny costumes.  "I had one costume that I particularly remember that was some kind of Superman leotard with a cape," Ulvaeus said. "It makes me sick when I see it."