February 23, 2024

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Bring Out Techno

ABBA – The Golden Era of Disco

It is hard to place a single defining point to the origin of Disco, but the first disco style club was opened by New York city DJ David Mancuso in his house called The Loft in 1970. This was a private member-only dance club and proved to be forerunner to disco style clubs. The first disco songs were released in 1973; however there are claims that Manu Dibango’s 1972 Soul Makossa was the first disco album being recorded. Disco was first written about in September of 1974 in the Rolling Stone Magazine by Vince Aletti and the first disco radio show was hosted on New York City’s WPIX-FM in 1974.

The disco sounds have soaring, reverberating vocals over a steady beat and is known to be influenced by funk, soul music and Latin or Hispanic salsa influences. A lush background sound is lent by strings, electric guitars, horns and electric pianos made both singers and music producers equally famous and pivotal to the entire disco theme. Some of the most famous disco groups from the 70s are the Bee Gees, Diana Ross, The Jacksons and the ABBAs.

The history of one of the most famous groups began in 1966 when Bjorn Ulvaeus met Benny Andersson. Though they came from different music genres, they became great partners in composing songs. Bjorn was a member of the Hootenanny singers and their records were on the Polar Music record label owned by Stig Anderson. Stig went on to become ABBAs manager and contributed lyrics in the first few years as well. In the spring of 1969, Bjorn and Benny met the two women who became their fiancés and the other half of ABBA. Agnetha Faltskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad both had their own solo recording careers before they became a part of ABBA. Agnetha and Bjorn married in 1971 while Benny and Frida waited till 1978 to tie the knot.

In the beginning, the upcoming Swedish band called themselves Bjorn and Benny, Agnetha and Anni-Frid, and their first collaborated cabaret act Festfolk in 1970 failed. Then in the spring of 1972, their song ‘people need love’ became a medium-sized hit in Sweden. Encouraged by this, they went on to participating in the Eurovision song contest with the song ‘Ring Ring’, though they stood third, the song became a hit in several European nations and competed for the top slot in Sweden. By the time they entered again in 1974, they were calling themselves ABBA and their song ‘waterloo’ became a hit taking them to the finals in England. From their it was a roller coaster ride with songs like ‘SOS’, ‘Mamma Mia’, ‘Fernando’ and ‘Dancing Queen’ becoming a rage with the disco world. From 1976 to 1982, they belted out hits after hits; songs and albums and tours of Europe, Japan and USA. Despite the couples getting divorced in 1979 and 1981, the ABBAs were perceived as happy couples making music together and they continued working together till 1982 when they decided to take a break.

Though the ABBAs have not had a very long career together, just over a decade, Disco would have not been the same without them. Even today if you ask the DJ for a disco number, he is sure to play you ‘Take a chance on me’ or the ‘dancing queen’. Disco just cannot be imagined without the melodious voice of the ABBA.