Guitarist/songwriter Björn Ulvaeus was one half of the production duo that included fellow Swede Benny Andersson who produced the huge hits by '70s supergroup ABBA, best known for the number one pop single "Dancing Queen."
Björn Christian Ulvaeus was born on April 25, 1945, in Gothenburg and began his performing career in a folk group. Producer Stig Anderson (who would later co-write ABBA's "Dancing Queen") discovered them in 1963 and they moved to Stockholm. Anderson dubbed them the Hootenanny Singers and signed him to his label, Polar Records. Ulvaeus' song "Baby Those Are the Rules" was a Swedish Top Ten hit. He met Andersson, who had hits as a member of the Hep Stars, at a party and the two decided to form a writing and producing team.
Andersson met Anni-Frid Lyngstad in Malmo, Sweden, where they both were separately performing in nightclubs. Ulvaeus met singer Agnetha Faltskog when they both appeared on a television show. The couples were married for a time.
When Stig Anderson hired Ulvaeus and Anderson as staff producers for Polar, the two men began using their wives as background vocalists on recording sessions. With the recording of one of the duo's songs, "People Need Love," the two women took over the lead vocals. "People Need Love" was issued in America as being by the group Bjorn & Benny and Svenska & Flicka. After entering the Eurovision Song Contest, one of the quartet songs, "Waterloo," won first prize becoming an international hit, due in part to the contest being televised all over the world. "Waterloo" issued in the U.S. by Atlantic Records went to number six pop on Billboard's chart in summer 1974. Stig Anderson was tired of saying four names when he referred to the group, so he took the first letter of the group members' name and rearranged them into the name ABBA.
"Waterloo"'s follow-up "Honey, Honey, Honey" went to number 27 Pop in fall 1974. ABBA's next charting singles, all on Atlantic, were "SOS," "I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do," "Mamma Mia," and "Fernando," which hit number one adult contemporary in fall 1976.
But it wasn't until the shimmering million-selling "Dancing Queen" that ABBA had their first number one pop single in late 1976. Included on the gold LP Arrival, "Dancing Queen" was a massive disco hit. The hits continued: "Knowing Me Knowing You," "Money, Money, Money," "The Name of the Game," the gold "Take a Chance on Me" (number three pop), and "Does Your Mother Know." Besides The Arrival, other charting ABBA albums were the platinum LP The Album ("Take a Chance on Me"), the gold Voulez-Vous, the gold Super Trouper, and The Visitors.
After ABBA split in 1982, Ulvaeus and Andersson also collaborated on Murray Head's 1984 number three pop hit "One Night in Bangkok" and tracks for Swedish singer Josefin Nilsson. The two also appeared with the rest of ABBA on VH1's Where Are They Now in 1999. ~ Ed Hogan