Photgraphy by Wolfgang “Bubi” Heilemann, 1975
There’s a caption in the new book ABBA: 600 Rare, Classic, and Unseen Photos Telling the Complete Story (Max Strom) that may explain why the quartet remains such a treasure. Near a picture of singer Agnetha Fältskog in a minidress stamped with a blue-and-gold kitty cat, we’re told the Swedish government reimbursed performers for costumes that couldn’t be used for daily wear. Turns out, all those nutty clothes were also sensible write-offs.
As the tome suggests, this blend of showmanship and practicality made ABBA “a people’s group.” Through hundreds of images — from their childhoods to their “Dancing Queen” peak and their recent careers — we learn how the gifted troupe followed sold-out arena shows with rounds of Yahtzee on their tour bus. We’re also reminded that, between raising babies and decorating their kitchens, they recorded some of pop’s most undeniable songs.