Anyone who travels to Stockholm can hardly avoid walking in the footsteps of Abba. Because there are memories of the band everywhere: places where famous photos and record covers were taken. Places where music videos were shot. Or simply: Abba Museum, the former record studio, places of residence. Stockholm even has its own Abba travel guide.
But the band was and is not only popular and successful in Sweden. Above all in Great Britain and Australia, Abbamania broke out after winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974. Will she return with the band’s announced comeback? We introduce some special places on the band’s path to success. To travel to.
Västervik in Sweden – where it all began
The small town of Västervik in southeast Sweden is something like the place where Abba was founded. There, in Björn Ulvaeus’ home, he wrote the first song together with Benny Andersson, “Isn’t It Easy to Say”, which was then sung by Hep Stars. The band Abba was not formed until six years later, to which, in addition to the two musicians, their respective partners Agneta Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad belonged.
Stockholm in Sweden: the story of Abba in the museum
Inspired by the Beatles Museum in Liverpool, the Abba Museum opened in Stockholm in 2013. The interactive museum, in which the story of the band is told, can be found on the Djurgarden museum island. In addition, show props from world tours can be seen and visitors can test their talent at karaoke.
Leysin in Switzerland: Abba meets Jackson Five
Abba and the Jackson Five together – that existed in Switzerland in 1979. At that time, Abba was in the country to shoot the film “Abba – the Movie”. The musicians were skiing, romping in the snow and shooting their music video for the song “Chiquitita” in front of a snowman – where Michael Jackson appeared with the band a short time later. Against the backdrop of the Vaudois Alps, spectators had a very special panoramic view.
Stockholm in Sweden: the record studio
Many of the famous Abba records were made in the former Polar Music House at Baldersgatan 1. In the studio led by Mogul Stig Anderson, the band recorded hits like “Mamma Mia” or “Thank You for the Music”. The special thing about it: the band was itself a shareholder in the record studio. Incidentally, the building now serves as the headquarters of the Swedish police.
Skiathos, Skopelos and Pilio in Greece: locations for the cult film “Mamma Mia!”
In 2008, Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan and Amanda Seyfried captured the hearts of cinema viewers around the world with the musical film “Mamma Mia!”. The film was shot on the one hand in the studios in London, but mostly on the Greek islands. The film set has nothing to do directly with Abba, but the film is one of the biggest points of contact with the band, especially for the younger generation. Incidentally, the film was shot on the islands of Skiathos, Skopelos and on the mountain on the Pilio peninsula of the same name.
Gothenburg in Sweden: a star for Abba
In the southern Swedish city of Gothenburg, where Ulvaeus was born, tourists can also walk in the footsteps of Abba. In the largest Scandinavian amusement park Liseberg, the handprints of the four band members are embedded in the floor. In front of the park gates, the band also has a star – which is embedded in the sidewalk, similar to the one on the Walk of Fame.
Brighton in the UK: the international breakthrough
The place of great triumph: The 1974 final of the Eurovision Song Contest took place in The Dome of Brighton, in which Abba performed – and dominated with “Waterloo”. To this day, the performance is not only considered the beginning of the Swedish band’s international career, it also brought the ESC upswing and popularity worldwide.
Lidingö in Sweden: a Swedish wedding
The specialty of Abba: From the beginning the band consisted of two couples. In 1970, just one year after Anni-Frid Lyngstad (who, incidentally, was born in Norway as the daughter of a Norwegian and a German) and Benny Andersson, they got engaged. But the wedding did not take place until 1978: in the Stockholm suburb of Lidingö. The marriage lasted only three years.
Gothenburg in Sweden: Abba’s first appearance
Abba’s first live performance took place in Gothenburg, Sweden. At that time, however, the band still played under a different name: Festfolket, which translates as party people. The cultural center and the Trädgar’n club have existed for 150 years – and there are still 11 visitors dancing here in the Nya Allén to new musical discoveries.
Sydney in Australia – where the Abbamania began
The term Abbamania came about after Abba’s success at the Eurovision Song Contest and primarily describes the hysteria that broke out around the band in Australia and Great Britain. In Australia, the musicians were celebrated stars. The band came to Sydney for the first time in 1976 and was greeted by crowds at the airport. One place went down in history back then: the band held a press conference on March 5th at the Hilton Hotel in Sydney. Never before have so many journalists been to a press conference as this one with Abba.
Stockholm in Sweden – where the dancing queens dance
In 1976, the music video for the hit “Dancing Queen” was filmed in a disco at Döbelnsgatan 3 in Stockholm’s Norrmalm district. The disco was part of the Soopska Fattighuset cultural center. By the way, Sweden’s first gay club was located in the same place from 1966 to 1970: the City Club also had cabaret performances from time to time.
Torshälla in Sweden: the childhood of Anni-Frid Lyngstad
While her colleague and her colleagues are all Swedes, Anni-Frid Lyngstad was born in Norway as a so-called German child. Her mother was Norwegian, her father a German soldier – Germany occupied Norway in World War II. While the father went back to Germany after the end of the war, Lyngstad’s mother was exposed to strong hostility. Together with their grandmother, they moved to Torshälla in Sweden, where Anni-Frid Lyngstad quickly became a half-orphan when her mother died in 1947. Lyngstad grew up in the village of Torshälla and attended school in nearby Eskilstuna. The pop star’s house is still standing, her former school is now also a house.