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Music / Agnetha Fältskog

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The Girl With Golden Hair.

Agnetha Fältskog (pronounced a-nye-ta fehlt-skoog, born 5 April 1950) is a Swedish singer, songwriter, composer and sometime actress. She was born in Jönköping, Småland, Sweden, to Ingvar and Birgit. She grew up singing in various talent shows put on by her father and composed her first song, "Two Little Trolls", at the age of six. In 1960 she briefly joined a singing group, The Cambers, before breaking off to sing at Sweden's many folkparks and become involved with the dansband scene. She started singing for Bernt Enghardt's dansband in 1965, and while gigging at various venues, she recorded demos and wrote many songs. She sent some recording she made with Bernt Enghardt's band to Cupol Records, who only wanted to sign her as a vocalist without the band. She was signed to them in 1967.

Later that year, her first single, "Jag var så kär" ("I Was So In Love") was released and went straight to the stop of Svensktoppen. In 1968, her very first album was released, featuring the single "Försonade" ("Reconciled") which she performed at Sweden's Melodifestivalen (the Swedish Eurovision heats). Although she did not place, she enjoyed enduring popularity in her home country, occasionally making trips to Germany to record singles in German (something suggested to her by her then-boyfriend, Dieter Zimmerman).

In 1969, she broke off her engagement to Zimmerman and shortly afterwards met Björn Ulvaeus of the Hootenanny Singers on the set of a TV show. They got engaged in 1970 before marrying in 1971. Their combined level of fame resulted in a media circus surrounding their wedding. The band performing at the wedding was the Hep Stars, with Benny Andersson - Björn's writing partner and closest friend - on keys. At the time, Benny was engaged himself to Anni-Frid "Frida" Lyngstad. Agnetha and Frida contributed backing vocals to Benny and Björn's debut album, Lycka, something that inspired them to form as a quartet. They initially went by "Festfolk" (a Double Entendre meaning both "engaged couples" and "party people") performing as far away as Cyprus, however they decided to ditch the burlesque elements of their performance and go with a straight pop sound. After some Retool efforts, they started going by the name of ABBA in late 1973. It's commonly accepted that the first A represents Agnetha while the last A represents Frida.

And then, of course, well you know the rest. For a more comprehensive history of ABBA, see here. During this time, Agnetha did continue her solo career to fulfill her contractual obligations to Cupol - her solo albums Bästa (a Greatest Hits Album with a couple of new tracks), Elva kvinnor i ett hus and Tio år med Agnetha (another Greatest Hits Album with extra tracks) were released in 1973, 1975 and 1979 respectively.

In the 1980s, post-ABBA, Agnetha released three English-language albums (Wrap Your Arms Around Me in 1983, Eyes of a Woman in 1985 and I Stand Alone in 1987) as well as a Swedish-language Christmas album with her daughter Linda (Nu tändas tusen juleljus in 1981) and a Swedish-language children's album with her son Christian (Kom följ med i vår karusell in 1987). There was also the occasional non-album single released, such as her 1986 duet with Ola Håkansson, "The Way You Are" - a song used to promote the campaign for the city of Falun to be the host of the 1992 Winter Olympics. She went on a lengthy hiatus from music between 1989 and 2003 before releasing the covers album My Colouring Book in 2004 and the all-originals album A in 2013.

As an actress, she played Mary Magdalene (Maria Magdalena) during the Stockholm run of Jesus Christ Superstar in 1971 as well as Lisa is the 1983 Swedish film Raskenstam.

Albums Discography:

  • Agnetha Fältskog (1968)
  • Agnetha Fältskog Vol. 2 (1969)
  • Som jag är (1970)
  • När en vacker tanke blir en sång (1971) (Re-released as Agnetha is some EU territories in 1974)
  • Agnetha Fältskogs Bästa (1973)
  • Elva kvinnor i ett hus (1975)
  • Tio år med Agnetha (1979)
  • Nu tändas tusen juleljus (1981) (with Linda Ulvaeus)
  • Wrap Your Arms Around Me (1983)
  • Eyes of a Woman (1985)
  • I Stand Alone (1987)
  • Kom följ med i vår karusell (1987) (with Christian Ulvaeus)
  • My Love, My Life (1998)
  • My Colouring Book (2004)
  • A (2013)

The tropes with golden hair:

  • '80s Hair: After ABBA disbanded, her hair became shorter and more unkempt, sometimes held back with a very Eighties sweatband.
  • The '60s: Released her debut single in 1967 and two albums in 1968 and 1969. She had also been performing with Bernt Enghardt's orchestra at Swedish folkparks since 1965.
  • The '70s: Apart from recording, promoting and touring with ABBA, she released 5 solo albums this decade and also played Mary Magdalene in the musical Jesus Christ Superstar in Stockholm during the early part of the decade. She was famous enough in her native Sweden in 1971 that when she married Björn Ulvaeus that year, the wedding was mobbed by the media.
  • The '80s: Was active as a performer almost right through the decade, from singing on the ABBA album Super Trouper in 1980 to her last single release from I Stand Alone, "Let it Shine", in 1988. She featured on two ABBA albums (the other one being 1981's The Visitors) and released 5 solo albums (and some non-album singles) during this decade. She also made an appearance in the 1983 movie Raskenstam as Lisa.
  • Anxiety Dreams: Had anxiety-induced dreams about being grabbed by rabid fans at the height of ABBAmania.
  • Band of Relatives: Collaborated with her then-husband Björn Ulvaeus (in and out of ABBA) and their children Linda and Christian on separate albums.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: The entire video for “What Now, My Love” is Agnetha kissing her on-screen lover for nearly FIVE MINUTES.
  • Book Ends: ‘’My Colouring Book’’ begins and ends with the same soaring synth sample.
  • Break Up Song: Known for her emotive break-up songs, perhaps her most famous solo examples are "Jag var så kär" (her debut single) and "Om tårar vore guld" (which generated lots of fanmail from wistful ex-lovers and recent divorcees).
  • Concept Album: Elva kvinnor i ett hus (Eleven Women in One House), where each song is about a different character (save for the Swedish version of SOS). It was originally going to be Tolv kvinnor i ett hus (Twelve Women in One House), but Executive Meddling by Cupol forced her to put add a Translated Cover Version of the ABBA song "SOS" and cut a couple of other tracks from the set.
  • Darker and Edgier: Som jag är, released in 1970, was this to her first two albums. By this time she had started writing and producing with her then-boyfriend, Björn Ulvaeus, and his influence is very prominent on that album.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: Went through this trope hard outside Scandinavia while with ABBA. For the record, Scandinavians tend to treat blonde as the "lesser" hair colour since blondes are so common there.
  • Fading into the Next Song: “Remember Me” into “What Now, My Love” on My Colouring Book.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Got herself a large farm in the woods for this reason. She has horses and two dogs called Bruno and Bella.
  • Gratuitous German: Recorded a total of 16 songs in German (a combination of German versions of her existing Swedish songs, German covers of English songs and original songs) between 1969 and 1972 for the West German market. While none of the singles took off, they were eventually put onto an unofficial compilation album in 1994.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: She's known for being "the blonde one" in ABBA, yes, but she was also seen as Frida's more wholesome counterpart due to her desire to become a "family woman" while still in her early twenties.
  • Heroic BSoD: Suffered a few in her life, notably when ABBA were still touring, being treated as a sexual object (and a Dumb Blonde) by the media, the breakdown of her first marriage, the death of her parents and her relationship with Dutch truck driver (who stalked her for years) Gert Van Der Graaf.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Wrap Your Arms Around Me was more overtly sexual than most of her ABBA and pre-ABBA output.
  • Informed Loner: Has been compared to Greta Garbo in terms of apparent hermitude, but is also frequently photographed at parties. The press still hasn't caught up to the concept of liking one's own personal space while also being social and gregarious at times.
  • Intercourse with You: “I Keep Turning Off Lights”, “Wrap Your Arms Around Me”, “Click Track”, “If You Need Somebody Tonight”.
  • Let's Duet: “Never Again” with Tomas Ledin, “I Wasn’t the One (Who Said Goodbye)” with Peter Cetera of Chicago, “The Way You Are” and “Fly Like the Eagle” with Ola Håkansson, “Så här börjar kärlek” with Björn Ulvaeus and “Någonting händer med mig” with Jörgen Edman.
  • Longest Song Goes Last: Her version of “What Now, My Love” at the end of My Colouring Book, which clocks in at almost five minutes.
  • Love Nostalgia Song: Lots. Often they overlap with the Break Up Song (such as her 2013 comeback single “When You Love Someone”), but one happy example is "Så här börjar kärlek" ("This Is How Love Begins"), a duet with Björn.
  • Male Band, Female Singer: When performing with Bernt Enghardt's dansband.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Was once voted Europe's "Sexiest Bottom" and much attention was drawn towards her rear during ABBA's tour in Australia in 1977. Agnetha wasn't all that thrilled with being viewed as an object.
    "Oh my God. Do they not have bottoms here?"
  • My Nayme IS: She was born Agneta, but she added the "h" to her name herself, probably to distinguish it since Agneta is a common name throughout Scandinavia. However, she did run into problems with this, as the Spell My Name with an S example details below.
  • New Sound Album: ‘’Som jag är’’ introduced more folk to her repertoire. ‘’Wrap Your Arms Around Me’’ saw her begin her 80s pop phase, filled with tropical drums, saxophones, synths and reverb.
  • Obsession Song: “Can’t Shake Loose”, “I Won’t Let You Go”.
  • Ode to Family: "Take Good Care of Your Children", "Visa i åttonde månaden" (written after the birth of her daughter, Linda).
  • Pep-Talk Song: Agnetha gets a pep talk in "Eyes of a Woman".
  • Plane Awful Flight: A particularly bad experience en route to Boston from New York while on tour with ABBA in 1979 (the plane was caught in a tornado and the pilot couldn't land) exacerbated her long-standing fear of planes. It got so bad that it effectively killed her chances of promoting her music outside of Europe, only very reluctantly making a visit to the U.S in 1987 to work on I Stand Alone. The irony is that in 1983, when promoting Wrap Your Arms Around Me in Europe, the coach she was on in lieu of a plane suffered a bad crash.
  • Power Ballad: "Never Again", "If You Need Somebody Tonight", "The Angels Cry", "We Move As One", "I Wasn't The One (Who Said Goodbye)", "To Love", "When You Really Loved Someone".
  • Ready for Lovemaking: “Wrap Your Arms Around Me”, “If You Need Somebody Tonight”, “Click Track”, “Gulleplut”.
  • Re Release The Song: "När du tar mig i din famn" as its English translation, "Queen of Hearts", in 1998 (though "Queen of Hearts" was actually recorded in 1981).
  • Self-Backing Vocalist: Particularly on her 80s releases.
  • Sensual Spandex: Wore lots of it during the 1980s. One famous photo shows her wearing it while sitting cross-legged on the floor in a suggestive pose.
  • Sexy Scandinavian: One of the most famous examples in music, much to her displeasure.
  • Shrinking Violet: Particularly once her international career with ABBA took off.
  • Silly Love Songs: Too many to list. Despite the connotations of the trope name, they're all pretty enjoyable!
  • Singer-Songwriter: Wrote all her own songs earlier in her career, but over time grew more and more uncomfortable with the practice, preferring to just sing songs written for her in the 1980s.
  • Spell My Name with an S: A lot of ABBA merchandise, as well as pressings of her German singles, had her name spelt as "Agneta". Promotional material during the group's early days even called her "Anna", but that led to some confusion between her and Anni-Frid.
  • Stalker with a Crush: "I Won't Let You Go".
    • Her ex-boyfriend, Dutch truck driver Gert Van Der Graaf, who had been stalking her for years before managing to befriend and court her. The relationship did not end well.
  • Steel Drums and Sunshine: “The Heat is On”, "Just One Heart".
  • Teen Idol: In late-1960s Sweden.
  • Translated Cover Version: Her earlier albums were filled with these, translated into Swedish by Polar Music CEO and future ABBA collaborator, Stig Anderson. Elva kvinnor i ett hus is famous for beginning with a Swedish cover of "SOS".
  • Trrrilling Rrrs: In “The Heat is On” - “trrrrropical Summer holiday...”
  • Unrequited Love: “One Way Love”.
  • Whoopi Epiphany Speech: The narrator to an unnamed person in “Dance Your Pain Away”.