Dust Off Your Albums, Campy ABBA Classics Have Made a Return

Think swirling disco balls. Think feathered hair. Think ABBA. In the late 1970s, this Swedish dance-pop band hustled to the top of the charts worldwide with layered female vocals and catchy melodies all mixed to make songs sound as slick as lip gloss.

Their hit singles included "Dancing Queen," "Waterloo," "Knowing Me, Knowing You," and "The Winner Takes It All."

The group broke up in 1982 after selling 240 million records. But today more and more people are dusting off their old ABBA album covers. And ABBA songs have been heard in two recent movies ("Muriel's Wedding" and "Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert"), nightclubs, and a campy Chicago theater production called "ABBA-rama." Even current pop stars - from Gloria Estefan to Peter Cetera to Erasure - have helped resurrect the ABBA sound.

Despite this resurgent popularity - including their "ABBA Gold - Greatest Hits" (Polydor) going double platinum this year - there are no signs of the kind of reunion or world tour redux typical of other groups who regain popularity.

Instead, ABBA members Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus are working on a follow-up to their musical "Chess."

Agnetha Faltskog, another ABBA member, has kept a low profile in Sweden. And Anni-Frid (Frida) Lyngstad, who married Prince Reuss von Plauen in 1992, continues to campaign for environmental causes.

The four ABBA rockers - two married couples who eventually divorced - are reportedly "cautiously happy" about their second round of success.

But the irony in the revival is that they haven't done a thing to promote it, says Terry Byrne, a Chicago publicist and ABBA fan.

"During their time in the States it wasn't cool to like them," he says, "Now it is. The bottom line is people are hungry for good, uplifting pop music."

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