Agnetha Faltskog, known as a member of the Swedish pop group ABBA, was born on 5th April, 1950 in Jönköping, Småland, Sweden. She is also famous as a songwriter and record producer. Fältskog showed much interest in music like her father Ingvar Faltskog from her early childhood. At the age of eight, Faltskog started taking piano lessons, which continued until she was 14. She also sang in the church choir groups of Sweden.
In 1960, Agnetha formed a band ‘The Cambers’ with two female friends but soon dethawed. In 1966 Faltskog started performing with ‘Bernt Enghardt's Orchestra’. in 1967 she got her first solo recording contract after the band sent a demo tape to the record label Cupol where she recorded her first two singles. Cupol was more interested in Agnetha than the orchestra. In 1968, she released her first album. In 1969, Faltskog released the single "Zigenarvän" about a young girl attending a gypsy wedding and falling in love with the bride's brother. In 1970, she released "Om tarar var guld" which was possibly her most successful song in Sweden before the ABBA period.
In 1972, Agnetha starred as Mary Magdalene in the original Swedish production of the musical Jesus Christ Superstar, providing vocals for its original Swedish cast recording. And in the same year she, along with Bjorn Ulvaeus (ex husband), Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Benny Andersson, formed the famous band ABBA. In 1975 ABBA recorded two albums Waterloo and ABBA. And in between the sessions and promotion for the ABBA albums, she recorded her Swedish number one album Frida ensam and recorded and produced her solo album ‘Elva kvinnor I Ett Hus’. Elva Kvinnor I Ett Hus spent a stupefying 53 weeks on the chart, even longer than any of the ABBA albums. Altogether ABBA has released eight albums. On 11 December 1982, ABBA made their last performance ever.
Between the years 1968 and 1980, Faltskog had a total of 18 entries on the important Svensktoppen radio chart, starting with debut single "Jag Var Sa Kar" in January 1968 (peak position #1) and ending with "Nar Du Tar Mig I Din Famn" from compilation Tio år med Agnetha twelve years later, in January of 1980 (peak position #1). The 18 entries, most of which were composed or co-written by Faltskog herself, spent a total of 139 weeks on the chart during this time, with the biggest hit being 1970's "Om Tarar Vore Guld" (#1, 15 weeks). In 1981 she also recorded the Swedish Christmas album Nu tändas tusen juleljus with daughter Linda Ulvaeus which reached #6 on the Swedish album sales chart. Faltskog is also the only member of ABBA to have won Eurovision with "Waterloo" in Melodifestivalen in 1974.
In the 1980s, Fältskog released three English-language solo albums which success was mostly limited to Europe. In 1982, she sang with the former ABBA backing vocalist Tomas Ledin on a song called "Never Again", which became a Top Five hit in Sweden, Norway, Belgium, and South America. In the same year, Faltskog starred in the hit Swedish movie Raskenstam, and received irrefutable reviews for her film debut. In 1983, she released her first post-ABBA solo album, Wrap Your Arms Around Me which was #1 in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Belgium and Denmark (where it became the biggest-selling album of the year), and #18 in the UK. Two singles from the album became relatively big hits in continental Europe. In the same year Aftonbladet voted her as the “Best Female Artist Of The Year" and received the Music Award Price ‘Rockbjornen’. In the beginning of the year 1985 she released her next album, Eyes Of A Woman reaching No. 2 in Sweden. In 1986, Faltskog recorded another duet, "The Way You Are," with Swedish singer Ola Håkansson, which became another No. 1 hit in Sweden. In 1987 she released the album I Stand Alone. It was #1 in Sweden and became the biggest selling album of 1988. After its release, Faltskog took a break from her musical career till 2004.
In April 2004, she released a new single, "If I Thought You'd Ever Change Your Mind". It reached #2 in Sweden and #11 in the UK. A few weeks later, the album My Colouring Book, a collection of Faltskog's covers of 1960s classic oldies, was released, topping the charts in Sweden, hitting the Top Five in Finland and Denmark, #6 in Germany and peaking at #12 in the UK. In 2004, Agnetha Faltskog was nominated for Best Nordic Artist at the Nordic Music Awards. In October 2008, a new compilation album "My Very Best" was released in Sweden containing Swedish and English hits of her whole solo carreer from 1967 to 2004. It entered at number 4 on the Swedish album charts and has already certified gold in the first week.
In 1956, Agnetha’s father organized a Christmas show that was Agnetha's stage debut. She started to compose songs at an early age. At age 15, Agnetha decided to leave school and pursue a career. She stared working as a switchboard operator in a car dealership. It was during this time she wrote a song that would soon catapult her to fame, Jag var så kär.
Her music career has been a fruitful sojourn. Agnetha is one of those rare multifaceted musicians who have reigned in the kingdom of music over four consecutive decades. Let us hope that her success endures; and may her sensational voice and soulful compositions continue to mesmerize our hearts.
-by Jim Ankan
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