ABBA fans could be in for their biggest thrill yet – if their idols buy a property in Australia

Pix/People 29 July 1976

How would you like one of the ABBA superstars for a neighbour? Benny Andersson likes Australia so much he’s thinking of shopping around for a property here, possibly in the Snowy Mountains, where he can indulge his favourite sport of bathing naked in the snow.

And if Benny puts out the welcome mat, Anni-Frid Lyngstad won’t be very far away. How’s that for a package deal?

They all love Australia – but Benny really flipped over our beaches, kangaroos, and easy-going habits.

ABBA has already been to Australia (to record a TV spectacular, first screened by Channel 9 in March 1976) and plans to return for a concert tour in November. A viewer survey indicated that their Bandstand show even out-rated the Neil Diamond special, shown a few weeks earlier.

To make sure the mania continues, a full-length feature film on the group will be released here sometime in December.

It’s going to be a very sexy year!

And while we’re on the subject, just how important is sexy appeal in ABBA’s rocket-climb to fame? Very important, according to the knockers – the people who say the Swedes are an indifferent singing group who’d be nothing without massive audio backing.

Not important at all, counter the fans. “You could hardly call singer Karen Carpenter sexy. She’s got teeth like tombstones, and her brother is a real square. But look at the millions of discs they sell!”

Take your pick – but there’s no denying the eye-appeal of Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. And the girls know it. Their glittering costumes are designed to draw attention to their superb Scandinavian figures.

They know how to keep their audiences switched-on, too. Midway through the hit song Waterloo, for example, the girls rip the skirts off their gowns to reveal two of the sexiest pairs of legs in the business.

Publicity about their favourite sport – snow bathing – hasn’t hurt, either. This involves taking a hot bath indoors then diving naked into the snow.

Just thinking about Anna and Frida breast-stroking through a snow drift is enough to fire even the most torpid imagination.

When the group comes back to Australia for concerts in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Perth later this year, our snow will be a memory. Some luck!

Razzmatazz aside, however, no-one can dispute ABBA’s status as genuine, jewel-encrusted, gold-plated chart busters.

There’s been nothing like them since the balmy days of The Beatles. You can see them on TV every other day, and hear them warbling on radio every other minute.

But whereas it took the Liverpool boys years of hard slog to make it to the top, the ABBA team has been in existence two years. During that time, the Swedish pop stars have earned more than $1 million apiece.

In Australia alone, retail sales of their albums, singles and cassettes have passed the $8 million mark.

ABBA first made it big on the international scene when they won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 with Waterloo. They’ve kept the cash registers ringing since then with super hits like Fernando, Rock Me, Mamma Mia and Ring, Ring.

Why “ABBA”? It’s quite simple; take the first letters of Anni-Frid, Benny, Björn and Agnetha and you have it.

Björn is married to Agnetha, and Benny is engaged to Anni-Frid – which makes it all very cosy.

The Australian market will also be flooded shortly with ABBA dolls, children’s clothes, candles, and copies of the costumes Agnetha (she’s the blonde one) and Anni-Frid wear on stage.

Reg Grundy Productions, sole agent for the group in Australia, was recently logging 20 requests a day from Australian marketing men wanting to jump on the band-wagon.

Only a few will get the nod, but they’ll pay dearly for the privilege. The going price for an advertising endorsement is said to be $15,000 minimum.

Photos: (1) Good looks took ABBA part of the way to the top. Good music completed the task. (2) ABBA (all riding bicycles) find success as easy as riding bikes – or diving naked into the snow, another favourite sport.

© 1976 Pix People. Thanks to Samuel Inglles