The item featured is the second Annual published by ABBA’s record company, Polar Music International. The first one appeared in 1978, but was not called an annual, but a gift book. The last edition was published in 1983. The format was always the same. Inside a colourful hardback cover were 45 pages measuring 20cm x 27cm. The annual featured photographs of members of the group and covered their activities in the preceding year with ‘interviews, stories, news, games, and trivia’.
The annuals were published when the group was at the height of its performing fame and ceased when the group decided to take a break.
The story of ABBA story began in Sweden in June 1966, when Björn Ulvaeus first met Benny Andersson. Björn was a singer and Benny played keyboards. They established a regular partnership as composers. In 1969 they met Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. Initially the group they formed together was called Björn & Benny, Agnetha & Anni-Frid, but as they achieved some success they changed the name to ABBA, an acronym of their first names.
Their huge international success was launched when they won The Eurovision Song Contest in Brighton in 1974 with ‘Waterloo’. There followed a string of hit singles and albums, together with successful concert tours. Their film ‘The ABBA Story was released in 1977. In 1979, Björn and Agnetha, who were married in 1971 announced their divorce. This did not signal the end of the group, but tarnished the image shown in the 1979 Annual. Their last live concert was staged in Japan in March 1980. In February 1981 Benny and Frida, who had been married in 1978 announced their divorce. This did not stop the group recording together, but the impetus was lost. Björn and Benny concentrated on writing the musical ‘Chess’ and Agnetha and Frida revived their solo careers. So, at the end of 1982, ABBA decided to take a break, reasoning, they could always get back at some time.
This was the end of the annuals, but not the fame and popularity of ABBA, which seems to be as great as ever thanks to reissues of albums, the success of the stage show ‘Mamma Mia’, the film of that show and its successor, not to mention a number of successful tribute acts. In 2010 ABBA was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and there is now a permanent, much visited ABBA Museum in Stockholm, Sweden.