|Agnetha Åse Fältskog was born on 5th April 1950 in Jönköping, Sweden.
Agnetha Faltskog-Gap Rating 2/10
She is a Swedish pop singer and was a member of the Swedish pop group ABBA.
Her name was originally spelled Agneta; she added the h later herself.
Agnetha Fältskog was born the first of two daughters to 27-year-old department store manager Ingvar Fältskog and his 32-year-old wife Birgit (née Johansson). Her sister Mona followed in 1955. Ingvar Fältskog showed much interest in music and show business while Birgit Fältskog was a very calm and careful woman who devoted herself to her children and household.
Prior to ABBA, Fältskog was a successful solo artist in Sweden with several chart singles and best-selling albums. As she has stated in an interview, the songs she sings are "very romantic", and the melodies for these songs are usually "pretty and catchy": some of these were favourites for couples in the summer "song parks" where they "would hold hands" as she sang "If these tears were gold".
At the age of fifteen, she joined a local dance band as a vocalist. Soon afterwards she wrote a song called "Jag var så kär" (I Was So in Love) that became a number one hit in Sweden in 1967. Other hit singles and albums with most of the music self-penned followed, and she established herself as one of the most popular female singers in Sweden at the time. Fältskog also released several singles in German and worked in West Berlin for a few months in 1968 with the German songwriter Dieter Zimmermann to whom she was briefly engaged.
In 1975, already being a member of ABBA, Fältskog released her last original Swedish-language album Elva kvinnor i ett hus (Eleven Women in One House). Arguably the artistic pinnacle of her solo career, it prompted New Musical Express to suggest that few songs from the album "wouldn't be out of place on a Kate Bush set".
Although they met a year before at a concert engagement, Fältskog and Björn Ulvaeus only became romantically involved while filming a Swedish TV special together in March 1969. They married in July 1971, but divorced in 1980. She moved out of their home on Christmas night, 1978.
In 1972, Fältskog starred as Mary Magdalene in the original Swedish production of the musical Jesus Christ Superstar and provided vocals for its original Swedish Cast recording.
In the 1980s, Fältskog released three English-language solo albums. Their success was mostly limited to Europe, Scandinavia in particular.
At the end of 1982, she duetted with Swedish singer (and former ABBA backing vocalist) Tomas Ledin on a song called "Never Again", which became a sizeable hit in Europe and South America. In the summer of the same year, Fältskog starred in the hit Swedish movie "Raskenstam", and received positive reviews for her film début.
In May 1983, her first post-ABBA solo album Wrap Your Arms Around Me was released, charting in Scandinavia and becoming a moderate hit in North America and Australia. It sold about 1.2 million copies worldwide and reached the higher regions of the charts across Europe, including No.1 in Belgium and Denmark, the Top 10 in the Netherlands and Portgual, No.13 in West Germany and No.18 in the UK. The album peaked just outside the Top 100 on the Billboard Top 200 albums chart in the U.S., but did break into the Top 50 of the Billboard Top Rock Albums chart. In Canada, the album reached No.34 on The Record album chart and No.79 on the RPM album chart. Critically, the album received a mixed reaction: "[This] treacly, string-sopped outing doesn't begin to do [Fältskog] justice", wrote Rolling Stone. However Stereo Review magazine concluded it as a "highly entertaining piece of good commercial record making". Two singles from the album, "The Heat Is On", and the title track, became relatively big hits in continental Europe, while in North America, the album track "Can't Shake Loose" was released as a single, reaching No.29 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and No.23 on RPM Top 50 singles chart in Canada. The single also received a good deal of airplay on US radio, peaking at No.23 on Radio & Records airplay chart.
The same year, Fältskog received a Swedish music award Rockbjörnen for Best Female Artist.
Her next album Eyes of a Woman, produced by Eric Stewart of 10 cc fame, was released in 1985. "She is quite content to grace the works of various other lesser mortals with her immaculate, sugar-sweet voice", wrote Barry McIlheney in Melody Maker. The album sold well in parts of Europe but failed to match the success of Wrap Your Arms Around Me.
In the summer of 1987, Faltskog travelled to Malibu, California, USA, where she recorded the album I Stand Alone, produced by Peter Cetera and Bruce Gaitsch, and released in November of that year. It was a minor hit in Europe, except for Sweden where it spent eight weeks at No.1 and became one of the most popular records of the year. The single from the album "I Wasn't The One (Who Said Good-Bye)", on which Fältskog duetted with Peter Cetera, was released primarily in North America and became her second single to chart on the Billboard Hot 100. It also became a Top 20 Billboard Adult Contemporary hit.
After the release of I Stand Alone - in mid 1988 -, Fältskog took a break from her musical career and completely withdrew from public life. In 1996, her autobiography "As I Am" was published in Swedish (in English the following year), followed by several compilation CDs of her Swedish and English recordings.
In April 2004, after years of silence, Fältskog's new single, "If I Thought You'd Ever Change Your Mind" (a cover of the song originally recorded by Cilla Black), was released. It reached No.11 on the UK Singles Chart and became a sizeable hit throughout Europe. "It is exciting to hear her voice, utterly undimmed, delivering a tellingly-titled song", commented London's Music Week. A few weeks later, the album My Colouring Book, a collection of Fältskog's covers of 1960s classic oldies, was released, topping the charts in Sweden, and peaking at No.6 in Germany and No.12 in the UK. "I love this record", enthused Pete Clark in London's Evening Standard, while Daily Mail pointed out that "it reveals a genuine affection for the era's forgotten pop tunes". The Times reviewer noted that "her voice is still an impressive pop instrument", and The Observer shared the same sentiment suggesting that "time hasn't diminished her perfect voice". Reviewing the release in The Guardian, Caroline Sullivan wrote: "Agnetha Faltskog has a vulnerability that gets under the skin of a song. She may be cheating a trifle by including no original material on this collection of 1960s covers, but if anyone can do justice to the likes of Sealed with a Kiss, it's her. The soaring sentimentality evokes Cilla Black and Sandie Shaw in their mini-skirted pomp, and I don't say that lightly". The release attracted major media attention across Europe, but Fältskog staunchly refused to be involved in any extensive promotion of the album, including personal appearances, and thus limited her public exposure to several short newspaper interviews, a few videos and a Swedish-language low-key TV special. Yet, the album managed to sell more than 500,000 copies worldwide, 50,000 of those in the UK alone.
In 2004, she was nominated for Best Nordic Artist at the Nordic Music Awards, and at Christmas of that year (for the first time in almost 20 years), she gave an extensive interview which was filmed by Swedish TV. Around the same time, Sony Music released a lavishly produced 6 CD boxed set comprising Fältskog's Swedish solo career before ABBA (5 original solo albums - 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1975 - and additional compilation disc with bonuses).
In December 2006, the Daily Mirror reported that Agnetha was recording a new album, for release in 2007 with all new songs. However, not much more is known about this and it can be only a rumour.
In January 2007, Agnetha appeared at the final performance of Mamma Mia! in Stockholm (as she had at its opening in 2005). Together with ex-husband and former colleague Bjōrn, she appeared on stage at the after show party held at Stockholm's Grand Hotel. She also sang a duet, "True Love", with Tommy Kōrberg of Chess fame.
On 6 July 1971 (aged 21), Fältskog married Björn Ulvaeus; the marriage resulted in two children, Linda, born in February 1973 and Peter Christian, born in December 1977. The couple decided to separate in 1978 and Agnetha moved out of their home on Christmas night of that year. In 1979 the couple filed for a divorce, finalised the following year. Both Fältskog and Ulvaeus agreed not to let their failed marriage interfere with their responsibilities with ABBA. Fältskog subsequently married for the second time, albeit briefly, in 1990 to a surgeon named Tomas Sonnenfeld. She was also the victim of a well-publicised stalker from The Netherlands, Gert van der Graaf.