Sweden’s legendary disco band ABBA set a new record in the world of music charts. A collection of the band’s best songs, a compilation album titled Gold – Greatest Hits, which was released in 1992, became the oldest album, which took the first place in the official music chart of the United Kingdom.
The triumphant return of the Swedish quartet to Britain’s Top 40 is directly linked with the enormous success of Mamma Mia musical, which features 22 songs of the band.
Mamma Mia became the motion picture based on the eponymous musical, which was staged in theaters of over a hundred of US, European, Asian and Australian cities, attracting tens of millions of theater-goers, ITAR-TASS reports.
The motion picture was premiered in Stockholm, Sweden, at Hotel Rival. ABBA reunited for the first time in 12 years for the premiere. Pierce Brosnan, Meryl Streep and Colin Firth, who play the lead parts in the film, attended the premiere.
ABBA’s Gold – Greatest Hits has sold about 26 million copies worldwide and become one of 40 best-selling albums in music history.
ABBA still sells about three million of its albums every year worldwide. The band has sold over 350 million copies of its records so far.
Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, the founders of the band, stated in one of their recent interviews that ABBA would never reunite again. “We will never appear on stage again, we have no motivation for that any longer. We would like people to remember us as we were - young, exuberant, full of energy and ambition," Ulvaeus said.
ABBA were widely noted for the colourful and trend-setting costumes its members wore. The videos that accompanied some of their biggest hits are often cited as being among the earliest examples of the genre. Most of ABBA's videos (and ABBA: The Movie) were directed by Lasse Hallström who would later direct the films My Life as a Dog, The Cider House Rules and Chocolat.
ABBA made videos because their songs were hits in so many different countries and personal appearances weren't always possible. This was also in an effort to minimize traveling, particularly to countries that would have required extremely long flights. Fältskog and Ulvaeus had two young children, and Fältskog, who was also afraid of flying, was very reluctant to leave her children for such a long time. ABBA's manager, Stig Anderson, realized the potential of showing a simple video clip on television to publicize a single or album, thereby allowing easier and quicker exposure than a concert tour. Some of these videos became classics because of the 1970s era costumes and early video effects, such as the grouping of the band members in different combinations of pairs, overlapping one singer's profile with the other's full face, and the contrasting of one member against another.
In 1976, ABBA participated in a high-profile advertising campaign by the Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd., which was designed to promote the brand "National". This campaign was designed initially for Australia, where "National" was still the primary brand used by Matsushita, who had not introduced the "Panasonic" brand to Australia yet, despite its widespread use in other parts of the world such as the U.S. However, the campaign was also aired in Japan. Five commercials, each approximately one minute long, were produced, each using the "National Song" sung by ABBA, which used the melody and instrumental arrangement of Fernando, adapted with new lyrics promoting National, and working in several slogans used by National in their advertising.