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    Manipulated Still


    november 15, 1945
    ballangen, norway

    Anni-Frid Synni Lyngstad, better known simply as Frida, was born November 15, 1945 in Ballangen outside of Narvik, Norway. Her father was Alfred Haase, a German soldier, while her mother, Synni Lyngstad, was a Norwegian teenage girl. Frida’s father left Norway before Frida was born, and was thought to have vanished when his ship was sunk on the way back to Germany.

    18 months after Frida’s birth she moved to Sweden with her grandmother, Agny. Synni soon joined them, but tragically, less than two years after Frida was born, her mother also died. Frida grew up with her grandmother in Torshälla, just outside of the town of Eskilstuna.

    At the age of 11 she made her stage debut at a Red Cross charity event. Two years later, she started working as an underage vocalist in a dance band, and performed with different bands for a decade. She met her first husband, Ragnar Fredriksson, in 1961. Together they had two children: Hans, born in 1963 and Lise-Lotte, born in 1967.

    On September 3, 1967, she won a talent contest in Stockholm. Immediately after her victory she appeared on national television singing her winning song. Soon afterwards Frida signed to EMI records.

    Frida didn’t have much commercial success as a recording artist up to the early Seventies, but she was a fairly well-known stage artist. In 1970 she was part of a cabaret show together with her fiancé, Benny Andersson, along with Björn Ulvaeus and his fiancée, Agnetha Fältskog.

    The two couples recorded the song "People Need Love," which was a surprise hit in Europe. The success of their first single won the group an invitation to participate in the 1973 Swedish heat of the much-reviled Eurovision Song Contest. Going under the clumsy moniker "Bjorn, Benny, Agnetha and Frida," the group entered the song "Ring Ring," which, though it went on to become a popular song in Europe, did not win the contest. Despite this setback, the group continued on; Bjorn and Agnetha married later that year.

    After working on new material and changing their name to the palindromic, universal acronym "ABBA" (the initials of the members' first names), the group entered the 1974 Eurovision contest with the song "Waterloo." Like most of their material, the song was written in English and featured Faltskog and Lyngstad on lead vocals. ABBA won top prize in Sweden and went on to the international finals in England, where they became the first (and only) Swedish band to win the cloying continental competition. "Waterloo" became a hit throughout Europe, even reaching the Top 10 in the U.S. and U.K. After their next few singles flopped, ABBA returned in 1975 with "S.O.S.," an international No. 1 which cemented their status as worldwide superstars, even in traditionally insular, non-English-speaking markets.

    Over the next three years ABBA refined their pop sound and released numerous hits, such as "Mamma Mia," "Fernando," "I Do I Do I Do I Do" and "Knowing Me, Knowing You." The group scored 13 U.K. Top 5 hits, six of which reached No. 1; theirbiggest single, "Dancing Queen," even reached No. 1 in the recalcitrant U.S. market, and was performed live at the King of Sweden's wedding. ABBA's 1978 album Album reached the Top 20 in the U.S. and went platinum in less than six months, spawning the U.K. No. 1 "Take a Chance on Me." That same year a feature-length film about the group, ABBA -- The Movie was released worldwide, and Lyngstad and Andersson, who had been dating for years, finally married. Unfortunately, only three months after Frida and Benny tied the knot, Bjorn and Agnetha separated.

    Putting personal issues aside, ABBA continued performing, releasing the 1979 album Voulez-Vous, which spawned five British Top 5 hits and went gold in the U.S. Though 1980's Super Trouper sold and charted well internationally, it marked the end of their success in America. In 1981 Lyngstad and Andersson divorced; with the couples barely speaking to each other and disco in decline, ABBA called it quits in early 1982, after releasing their final album, The Visitors.

    Singers Agnetha and Frida went on to separate solo careers; though bestsellers in Sweden and moderately successful in continental Europe, their records never made it to the U.S.. Frida stopped recording in 1992.

    Aged 58, Anni-Frid Lyngstad lives in Switzerland. Last recorded an album in 1996 and spends most of her time campaigning for environmental causes. Second husband, a German Count, died two years ago. In 1977, she was united with the father she believed was dead, a former Nazi soldier.

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