March 23, 2022
STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Supergroup ABBA won Sweden’s music export prize on Wednesday for their contribution to Swedish music in 2021, during which they reformed and released their first new material in 40 years to the surprise and delight of fans.
The group – Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, Agnetha Faltskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad – stormed to the top of the charts around the world last year with their new album.
“This year marks 50 years and over 400 million records sold since ABBA was formed,” the government said in a statement.
“What Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny and Anni-Frid started in 1972 was the first big step in the story of the global success of Swedish music. Thank you for the music!.”
The government noted that ABBA’s latest album “Voyage” topped the charts in 18 countries, was the year’s best-seller in Germany and reached the band’s highest position in the United States.
“Voyage” was the fastest selling album in Britain since the turn of the century.
Abba shot to international fame after winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 with the song “Waterloo”. With hits like “Money, Money, Money” and “Dancing Queen” they were a global music phenomenon before they split in the early 1980s as the marriages of the two couples who made up the band dissolved.
Despite persistent rumours, it took four decades for the band to reform with the new album born out of a project to launch a new ABBA concert show – also called “Voyage” – which features digital representations of the four band members created by motion-capture technology.
The music export prize was set up in 1997 and is awarded to artists who have been internationally successful, helped Swedish music exports and contributed to a positive picture of Sweden during the previous year, according to the government.
(Reporting by Simon Johnson; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)