ABBA Will Get a Prestigious Swedish Knighthood for Their Pop Career that Started at Eurovision

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — The four members of the Swedish pop quartet ABBA, who triumphed at the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest with the peppy love song “Waterloo,” are set to receive one of the most prestigious knighthoods in Sweden at a ceremony Friday.

The Order of the Vasa will be handed out for the first time in almost 50 years. Agnetha Faltskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad will receive the royal Order of Vasa as “Commander of the First Class” for “very outstanding efforts in Swedish and international music life.”

Sweden has several orders, including the Royal Order of Seraphim awarded to heads of state and foreign royals, and the Royal Order of the Polar Star that is given to foreign citizens and stateless persons.

The Royal Order of Vasa, which is given in recognition of personal efforts for Sweden or for Swedish interests as well as the successful performance of public duties and assignments, was dormant until late 2022, when it was reactivated after regulations opened the Royal Orders to Swedish citizens again.

Earlier this year, candidates were nominated by the public and the Swedish government and King Carl XVI Gustaf approved the nominees that included the four ABBA members.

FILE – Swedish pop group ABBA celebrate winning the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest on stage at the Brighton Dome in England with their song “Waterloo”, April 6, 1974. The four members of the Swedish pop quartet who triumphed at the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest with the peppy love song “Waterloo” will be given one of the most prestigious knighthoods in Sweden at a ceremony on Friday, May 31, 2024. (AP Photo/Robert Dear, File)

The Eurovision victory turned ABBA into a pop juggernaut, by far the most successful band to win the pan-continental music contest. ABBA’s melodic disco pop sold hundreds of millions of records worldwide. The stage musical “Mamma Mia!” based on its songs is 25 years old and spawned two movies.

Coincidentally, the 2024 Eurovision was held in southern Sweden. Swiss singer Nemo won the 68th contest with “The Code,” an operatic pop-rap ode to the singer’s journey toward embracing a nongender identity.

The Swedish band members have not performed together live for four decades, but released a comeback album, “Voyage,” in 2021. The digital “ABBA-tars” opened in London in 2022.

The monarch will hand out orders to “13 exceptional Swedes,” including two 2023 Nobel Prize winners: French-Swedish physicist Anne L’Huillier, and Svante Pääbo, who won the coveted award in physics and medicine. They were both made Commander Grand Cross of the Royal Order of the Polar Star for “outstanding research efforts.”

The ceremony will take place at the Royal Palace in Stockholm in the presence of recipients and their invited guests, the royal household said.


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