37 years ago today - ABBA take the title with Waterloo

37 years ago today - ABBA take the title with Waterloo
ABBA, Sweden's 1974 Eurovision Song Contest winners on stage after the show

The biggest success story ever to emerge from the history of the Europe's Favourite TV Show was ABBA's victory in 1974 with Waterloo. The group went on to enjoy unprecedented worldwide fame and success, and today we look back at their big night 37 years ago in Brighton. Waterloo was also voted best ever Eurovision Song Contest song in the 50th anniversary Congratulations show in 2005.

Luxembourg had won both the 1972 and 1973 Eurovision Song Contest's but for financial reasons had declined to host their second contest in a row in 1974. The United Kingdom broadcaster BBC stepped in and took the contest to the seaside resort of Brighton, the venue being The Dome.

Katie Boyle returned as host for the fourth time, having presented the 1960, 1963 and 1968 contests already. A total of 17 countries participated in 1974.

1974 Facts & Figures

  • ABBA had previously been unsuccessful in trying to represent Sweden in the 1973 contest, missing out in the Swedish national final with Ring Ring ending in third place. Ring Ring would go on to become a hit in many countries.
  • A new voting system was introduced, 10 jury members in each country each gave their favourite song 1 point. Even recently, upon a visit to London, the ABBA members still made reference jokingly to the fact that the United Kingdom jury didn't award them any points!.
  • France withdrew their entry La Vie A Vingt-Cinq Ans by Dani, as the French president, Georges Pompidou, died in the week of the contest and Dani had to be content with watching the show from the audience.
  • Greece made their debut in the competition with Marinella finishing in 11th place with Krassi, Thalassa Ke T'agori Mou
  • Olivia Newton-John, the United Kingdom participant would go on to achieve huge worldwide success for her role in the musical Grease later in the 1970's
  • The 1974 interval act featured the childrens television characters The Wombles

ABBA - Worldwide superstars

ABBA were formed in Stockholm in 1972. They became one of the most commercially successful acts in the history of pop music, topping the charts worldwide from 1972 to 1982. ABBA sold over 375 million records worldwide.

They still sell between two to three million albums a year. During the band's early years, Agnetha Fältskog and Björn Ulvaeus were a married couple, as were Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Benny Andersson, although both couples later divorced.

At the height of their popularity, both relationships were suffering strain which led ultimately to the collapse of the Ulvaeus-Fältskog marriage in 1979 and the Andersson-Lyngstad marriage in 1981. In the late 1970s and early 1980s these relationship changes began appearing in the group's music, as they produced more introspective lyrics with different compositions.

After the band split, Andersson and Ulvaeus achieved success writing music for the stage while Lyngstad and Fältskog pursued individual solo careers with varying success. ABBA's music remained steadily popular until several films, notably Muriel's Wedding and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, revived interest in the group, spawning several tribute bands. In 1999, ABBA's music was adapted into the successful musical Mamma Mia! that toured worldwide. A film titled Mamma Mia! released in 2008 became the highest grossing film in the United Kingdom that year. The group was inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on 15 March 2010.

ABBA's music has bridged many generation gaps over the years, and Waterloo is widely regarded as the best song to ever win the Eurovision Song Contest amongst many a fan and viewer alike.


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  • Posted on 15/May 2011 at 14:58
    that must have been the best Eurovision! report to the moderator
  • Posted on 23/April 2011 at 21:33
    i think that the only european singer that equals abba is german singer sandra menges cretu lead singer of enigma project.
    why they dont invite her to eurovision 2011 to sing a string of her beutiful hits?
    she has outtopped medonna for a brief time in certain countries around the world and outtopped abba in japan. report to the moderator
  • Posted on 8/April 2011 at 23:56
    ABBA the best ever report to the moderator
  • Posted on 8/April 2011 at 20:55
    LOVE ABBA !!! :D <3 report to the moderator
  • Posted on 8/April 2011 at 16:46
    The best band ever! :) report to the moderator
  • Posted on 7/April 2011 at 19:34
    ABBA!!! Love them and their songs! They'll be there forever! Perfect musicians and great songs! report to the moderator
  • Posted on 7/April 2011 at 15:24
    First song i know from ABBA is the song "Take a chance on me".This song was used for some commercial.And then when i was 10 years old my mother's friend borrowed me the cd from ABBA and after that me and my sister listened this cd all day and night.
    I loved and still love their songs. report to the moderator
  • Posted on 7/April 2011 at 13:30
    ESC made ABBA very popular in Europe but ABBA made ESC very famous all around the world report to the moderator
  • Posted on 7/April 2011 at 11:44
    I of course remember them well, they also competed the year before in Sweden and came 3rd with Ring Ring.

    The year after with Waterloo I knew they should be a winner, I also remember Mount and Mc Neal with "I see a star" report to the moderator
  • Posted on 7/April 2011 at 03:20
    ABBA ´s music will be for ever, even now nine years old children sing their music and they like it very much. I could see them in EUROVISION SONG CONTEST in 1974 and it is great to show new generations about these wonderful artists and their music. I agree, we need more bands like this. report to the moderator
  • Posted on 6/April 2011 at 22:46
    The best of the world forever! Love you ABBA! report to the moderator
  • Posted on 6/April 2011 at 22:34
    True Superstars- my favourite group and their music will last forever! report to the moderator
  • Posted on 6/April 2011 at 19:27
    Today makes the 43th annivesary of the first Spanish victory ! report to the moderator
  • Posted on 6/April 2011 at 19:08
    Sweeeeden
    i hope Eric will win !!!! :DDD report to the moderator
  • Posted on 6/April 2011 at 19:02
    I was eight years old and remember that contest. My personal favourite song that year was Mouth and McNeal 'I see a star'
    However ABBA became and still remain my favourite group of all time. report to the moderator