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Agnetha Fältskog

Agnetha Fältskog is one of the most popular singers of the 20th century, both as a member of ABBA and with her successful solo career. The youngest member of the platinum-selling Swedish pop group, Fältskog left ABBA in 1982 and issued a trio of chart-topping solo efforts (Wrap Your Arms Around Me, Eyes of a Woman, and I Stand Alone) that found favor both at home and abroad. She opted for a more settled life in the '90s, retreating from the public eye. Fältskog returned in 2004 with the covers LP My Colouring Book, her first set of new music in 16 years, and with the acclaimed A in 2013. She reunited with her ABBA bandmates in 2017 and four years later, the group released their ninth and final studio album, Voyage. Born on April 5, 1950, Fältskog was encouraged to pursue her love of music from an early age and was already performing with two school friends as the Cambers by the time she was a teen. Leaving school at 15 to pursue music, Fältskog soon found herself singing with Bernt Enghardt's band and attracting a following. Through Enghardt, she secured a record deal and soon topped the charts in Sweden with her first release. Fältskog's homeland success continued throughout the rest of the '60s, but her future with ABBA was secured when she met and became engaged to Björn Ulvaeus in 1969. The two were married in 1971, but Fältskog continued to record and perform as a solo artist, although she was singing backup, along with Anna-Frid Lyngstad, on Ulvaeus' and songwriting partner Benny Andersson's recordings. In 1974, the quartet, as ABBA, took the Eurovision song contest prize with "Waterloo" (having lost the prior year with "Ring Ring") and within weeks the song was topping the charts all over the continent. For the next eight years, ABBA would be one of the most successful pop acts in the world, earning numerous gold and platinum awards in innumerable countries. During the group's hit-making period, Fältskog's marriage to Ulvaeus would crumble, chronicled in the heart-wrenching "The Winner Takes It All," which featured possibly her finest vocal performance. During what was intended to be a mere break for the band in 1983, she began to record her solo English debut with producer Mike Chapman. Released later in the year, Can't Shake Loose proved to be more successful in European markets, but the title track did climb into the Top 30 in the U.S. ABBA's extended break soon became a break-up (despite no formal announcement), leaving Fältskog to continue her solo career. Between 1983 and 1987, Fältskog released three albums -- Wrap Your Arms Around Me (1983), Eyes of a Woman (1985), and I Stand Alone (1987) -- which all were big hits in Sweden and performed respectably throughout Europe but never made inroads within the U.S. As the '80s wound to a close, Fältskog went into an unofficial retirement, retreating from the spotlight and ceasing to make new music. In 1996, she published an autobiography called As I Am; it was accompanied by a new compilation called My Love, My Life, released only in Europe. ABBA's music was the subject of a jukebox musical called Mamma Mia! Premiering in 1999, the stage musical gained considerable popularity over the next five years, its success helping push Fältskog out of retirement in 2004 to record My Colouring Book, a collection of covers that was a big hit throughout Europe and peaked at 11 on the U.K. charts. Following that album, she went quiet again, appearing in public with her ABBA mates toward the end of the decade to promote the theatrical adaptation of Mamma Mia! Fältskog returned to recording in 2012, teaming with Jörgen Elofsson -- a producer/songwriter best known for his work with Kelly Clarkson -- to record her first collection of brand-new material since 1987. A, the resulting album, was released all around the world in May 2013. In 2017, Fältskog joined up with Anna-Frid Lyngstad, Björn Ulvaeus, and Benny Andersson under the ABBA banner for the first time in three decades to record a pair of new songs for a livestreamed event, the virtual concert residency ABBA Voyage. Both tracks, "I Still Have Faith in You" and "Don't Shut Me Down," appeared on the group's 2021 full-length outing, Voyage, billed as the final ABBA album. Two years later, Fältskog released A+, a reissue of 2013's A featuring re-imagined versions of all ten cuts along with a new single "Where Do We Go from Here?"
© Tom Demalon /TiVo


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