Abba: Bjorn Ulvaeus says group were mistaken for porn stars early in their career

‘It was in the soft porn period and [record labels] assumed anything coming out of Sweden had to do with that,’ said the songwriter

Louis Chilton
Sunday 14 November 2021 09:01
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Eurovision 1974: Abba performs Waterloo

Björn Ulvaeus has said that Abba were mistaken for porn stars due to prejudice surrounding Swedish entertainers in the mid-20th century.

After forming in 1972, the group rose to international fame in 1974 after winning the Eurovision Song Contest with their performance of “Waterloo”.

Speaking to The Mirror, Ulvaeus recalled the difficulties the band faced early on.

“We sent tapes to record companies in the UK and US and other places and nothing came of it,” he said. “The only ones who released any Abba music certainly before ‘Waterloo’ was Playboy Records, who released a song called ‘People Need Love’.

“On the label it said Bjorn and Benny and Swedish girl. It was in the soft porn period and they assumed anything coming out of Sweden had to do with that.”

Ulvaeus added that the band “opened the door” for other Swedish musicians after winning Eurovision.

“We showed to Swedish musicians and producers and writers it can be done,” he said.

Abba recently released Voyage, their first album in more than four decades. The group, comprising Ulvaeus, Agnetha Faltskog, Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Benny Andersson, had disbanded in 1980.

Digital avatars of the band are set to perform a run of dates next year alongside a live band in a purpose-built arena in East London.

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