ABBA was popular in the US
The most terrible Abba year
They met 55 years ago, and 38 years ago they gave their last concert: Abba - the most successful pop band in the world. For a long time it looked as if the quartet would remain a “one-hit wonder”.
A-B-B-A - the name stands for Agnetha Fältskog and Björn Ulvaeus, for Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad.
Before Björn and Benny's paths crossed in 1966 and one fell in love with Agnetha a little later, the other with Frida, everyone was already making music for themselves. But only together did the quartet from Sweden become a hit machine.
Songs like “The Winner Take It All”, “Dancing Queen” and “Super Trouper” are classics today. Over 400 million records sold brought (and still bring) the four band members a lot of “money, money, money”.
Abba's career began 45 years ago with a song called "Waterloo" - which means something like "crushing defeat". That was at the Grand Prix d'Eurovision de la Chanson (today the Eurovision Song Contest) on April 6, 1974 in the English seaside resort of Brighton.
Since then it has been said that the victory made the Swedes world stars overnight.
Only: That's not true at all.
"Waterloo" was a pretty big hit. Abba even made it into the top ten of the charts in the USA. But could the band follow suit? She couldn't.
In retrospect, it looks like Abba produced a never-ending hit series after that. The reality is different: for a whopping 18 months, Abba was unable to place a hit in the international charts after “Waterloo”.
The band threatened what the majority of the winners of this European singing competition learn - they are “one-hit wonders” and will be quickly forgotten afterwards.
And then there was also a dress problem: The press apparently didn't like, Björn Ulvaeus tells in the documentary “Abba forever” about the band's early days that Abba had “hair-raising costumes instead of blue jeans” (they were very popular in the mid-1970s ) carried. As a result, English radio stations in particular refused to play Abba's songs.
«Abbamania» in Australia
Why did Abba's world career still work out 18 months later? The Australians are to blame - and the song "Mamma Mia".
The song was initially only released as a single in "Down Under", where it reached number one on November 3, 1975. The song stayed at the very front for ten weeks and triggered a real «Abbamania» at the other end of the world.
Weeks later this spilled over to Europe - and so it came about that on December 13, 1975, “Mamma Mia” climbed to number one in Great Britain as well. In Switzerland and Germany that happened a week later.
The rest of the story is well known: After «Mamma Mia», there were 19 more hit singles by Abba, the group that made people around the world happy.
PS: Björn Ulvaeus recently announced that new Abba songs would be released this year. However, the fans have been waiting for it a lot longer. Abba had already posted on Instagram in April 2018 that the songs would come at the end of 2018, then it was said: summer or autumn 2019 - now it should be 2020.
There is a regular midday column at “Bluewin” on weekdays at 12 noon - it revolves around well-known personalities, sometimes also unknown ones - and sometimes there will be an asterisk.
Deadly poison: The miracle tree (Ricinus communis) with its fruits is considered to be the most poisonous plant on earth. The endosperm of the seeds is highly poisonous because it contains the toxic protein ricin. Ricin is one of the most potent naturally occurring toxins. If left untreated, death occurs through circulatory failure about 48 hours after poisoning. The wonder tree is native to East and West Africa
Big, bigger, biggest: the giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) in the western United States is the most massive or voluminous known creature in the world. The evergreen tree can be up to 95 meters high and have a trunk diameter of 17 meters.
Climbing parasite: With a diameter of over one meter, the giant rafflesia (Rafflesia amoldi) forms the largest single flower. However, the gigantic bloom of the climbing plant only exists for a few days, then the red, carrion-smelling organ disintegrates. A pile of black slime remains.
Blossom with heating: When the flowering time approaches, the titanium arum undergoes an astonishing transformation: its gigantic inflorescence shoots up to ten centimeters a day. And to attract insects for fertilization, the reproductive organ gives off a carrion odor and heats up to 36 degrees Celsius.
Image: Getty Images
Queen of the Andes: The giant bromeliad (Puya raimondii) is the world's largest bromeliad, more than ten meters high. It also has one of the largest inflorescences of any plant and is an endangered species native to the Andes mountains of Peru and Bolivia.
Quite old: The giant eucalyptus (Eucalyptus regnans) grows as an evergreen tree that can reach an age of around 400 years. In preferred locations, it can reach heights of 65 meters in 50 years. It is considered to be the tallest deciduous tree in the world, possibly even the tallest tree at all. A specimen felled in 1872 was 132 meters high.
Royal strength: The giant water lily Victoria is probably one of the most impressive plants on the blue planet. With up to three meters, it has the largest blade diameter. Discovered in 1840 by the botanist Richard Schomburgh, it was named after Queen Victoria. Many botanical gardens subsequently built their own Victoria houses.
Pinnate leaves: The raphia palm is mainly native to tropical Africa. With a length of up to 25 meters, their leaves are considered to be the largest in the plant kingdom. They are not only very large, but also pinnate and stay on the plant after they die.
Heavy fruits: The jackfruit tree (Artocarpus heterophyllus) is native to India. If you disregard breeding successes such as giant pumpkins and the like, it gets the heaviest fruits. They can weigh more than 30 kilograms.
Over 4000 years old: In the Patriarch Grove in the White Mountains of California there are 17 specimens of the long-lived pine (Pinus longaeva) that are over 4000 years old. A tree whose age was determined to be 4700 years by counting the annual rings in a small drill core bears the name «Methuselah». (Archive image)
Almost 10,000 years old: Depending on the definition, there is a dispute about the oldest individual living being. But it is definitely a plant: a Norway spruce (Picea abies) in Sweden, the trunk of which is much younger, competes with the long-lived pine. It emerges from roots that are said to have existed for about 9600 years.
Monkey face: Anyone who looks at Dracula simia is probably not surprised why it is nicknamed the monkey orchid. It doesn't take a lot of imagination to recognize the face of a primate. The plant grows at an altitude of 300 to 600 meters in Peru and Ecuador and smells of orange.
Image: Getty Images
Small but pretty: the rootless dwarf duckweed (Wolffia arrhiza) is considered to be the smallest flowering plant in general. Its flowers are invisible to the human eye. The plant body itself is a maximum of 1.5 millimeters long. And by the way: As an arum plant, it is very closely related to the titan arum.
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