11THINGS YOU NEVER KNEWING ME KNEWING YOU ABOUT ABBA

They’re the Scan­di­na­vian pop four­some whose toe-tap­ping hits took the seven­ties by storm. They’re Abba, and nearly forty years af­ter they last per­formed to­gether, they’re still one of the big­gest bands in the world. But how much do you re­ally know about A

VIZ - - Super-duper Trooper Abbatastic Special -

1 IN THE LYRICS of their 1974 Euro­vi­sion-win­ning song, Abba sang: “My my. At Water­loo, Napoleon did sur­ren­der.” In fact, mil­i­tary his­to­ri­ans main­tain that to­wards the end of the fa­mous bat­tle, the des­per­ate French Em­peror com­mit­ted his Im­pe­rial Guard to a fi­nal at­tack, which was nar­rowly beaten back. With the Prus­sians break­ing through on the French right flank, Welling­ton’s An­glo-al­lied army counter-at­tacked in the cen­tre, and Bon­a­parte’s army was routed.

2 ABBA ARE SO FA­MOUS that they have an en­tire mu­seum ded­i­cated to them in the cen­tre of Stock­holm. How­ever, no­body knows what’s on dis­play in­side be­cause it’s forty quid to get in. Forty fuck­ing quid.

3 THE FOUR MEM­BERS of the group had very dif­fer­ent lives be­fore they shot to star­dom overnight at the 1974 Euro­vi­sion song con­test. Agnetha worked in a book­shop, Bjorn was a meat­ball chef in the Up­sala branch of IKEA, Benny was a tyr­e­fit­ter at Sn­abb Pass­form, the Swedish ver­sion of Kwik­fit, and Anni-Frid was a sales man­ager for Swe­den’s lead­ing pub­lisher of farm­yard pornog­ra­phy.

4 ABBA ARE ES­TI­MATED to have sold over 375 mil­lion records dur­ing their ca­reer. If all those records were piled up one on top of an­other in Trafal­gar Square and pushed over by the World’s strong­est man Ge­off Capes, the top of the pile would hit the ground in the vil­lage of Revest-les-Roches, 10 miles north west of Nice in the South of France.

5 OTHER THAN the fact that Abba records would land on it if Ge­off Capes pushed a pile of them over in Trafal­gar Square, there is noth­ing else even vaguely in­ter­est­ing about Reves­tles-Roches. If you type the name of the town’s mayor, Rene Goldoni, into Google, noth­ing comes up.

6 WHEN THEY first formed, the group called them­selves “The Swedish Bea­tles” - “De Sven­ska Skalbag­garna”. How­ever, on the night of their Euro­vi­sion de­but Katie Boyle was break­ing in a new set of false teeth, and every time she at­tempted to say the band’s name, she spat out her top plate. The mor­ti­fied pre­sen­ter begged them to change their name to some­thing she could pro­nounce more eas­ily - sug­gest­ing the more den­ture-friendly “Abba” - and the rest is his­tory.

7 KEY­BOARDIST Benny An­der­s­son is ter­ri­fied of fly­ing. So much so that when Abba go on tour, his band­mates pre­tend they’re go­ing to let him go on the bus, be­fore am­bush­ing him, in­ject­ing him with a pow­er­ful seda­tive, and bundling him un­con­scious onto the plane.

8 ABBA ARE ONE of the few bands to have seen the Loch Ness Mon­ster. While driv­ing be­tween Fortwilliam and In­ver­ness on their 1976 tour of the Scot­tish High­lands, gui­tarist Bjorn Ul­vaeus spot­ted what he thought was the mon­ster swim­ming in the loch. “I was very in­ter­ested in di­nosaurs at the time, and I iden­ti­fied it im­me­di­ately as a ple­siosaur,” he told the NME’s Mark Ellen. How­ever Ellen, an ex­pe­ri­enced mu­sic jour­nal­ist, thinks it was more likely that Ul­vaeus had ac­tu­ally seen a seal, a cor­morant or a semi-sub­merged log.

9 IN 1978, af­ter their van broke down in the Florida Ever­glades on the way to per­form a con­cert, the band mem­bers and Ul­vaeus’s Great Dane Scööbygör booked them­selves into a run down mo­tel. On the way to their rooms, they saw the glow­ing ap­pari­tion of a high­way­man, Black Jim, who chased them along a cor­ri­dor. How­ever, af­ter set­ting a trap and catch­ing him in a net, the group un­masked the spook as none other than Mr Jenson, the mo­tel’s care­taker, who had dis­cov­ered a di­a­mond mine in the base­ment, and had been at­tempt­ing to scare peo­ple away by dress­ing up as a ghost.

10 IT IS SAID that every Swedish per­son will run down a moose in their car a some point in their lives. Amaz­ingly, how­ever, no mem­ber of Abba has ever knocked down a moose.

11 APART FROM ABBA, the only other fa­mous per­son from Swe­den is ten­nis star Bjorn Borg. At the last count, Borg had mown down over twenty-five mooses since pass­ing his driv­ing test in 1973.

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