OK, so they are the obvious choice. But ABBA is a national pride. And are as Swedish as apple pie (which Swedes will tell you is 100% Swedish).
Benny, Bjorn, Anni-Frid, and Agnetha have all paid king's ransoms to the Swedish government in taxes over the last few decades – and they are one of the few groups who haven't reunited to go on one last 'rake it all in' tour. They have only been spotted together briefly. The reluctance to reunite may be linked to their former marital status – and the fact that half of their profits would go directly to the Swedish state.
While ABBA is a mainstay at many gay clubs throughout the English speaking countries – here in Sweden you can still hear the ABBA classics blasted at nightclubs aimed at the under 25 and any sexual orientation set. Not to mention it often gets dragged out at private parties after midnite and a couple of rounds of drinks. This behaviour reached a peak after the release of Mama Mia – the movie. That midsummer was an ABBA fest extroadinaire.
And Swedes of most ages still have at least one ABBA CD in their collection – or on the ipod. Not to mention they know every word to Dancing Queen and sing Happy New Year proudly, every new year.
ABBA also represents a great Swedish victory at Eurovision songcontest – this Euopean dinosaur has no American equivalent – although it probably should. The Swedish foursome won Eurovision with their hit Waterloo. Sweden is still trying to figure out the magic formula to win Eurovision this decade, and are exceedingly proud of their former Eurovision champions.
Every year at Eurovision time we are treated to images of ABBA taking the stage and winning the hearts and minds of first Europe and then the world.
I had a friend who used to say 'There is a reason why the USA gave us blues music and Sweden gave us ABBA.” And I think that is a pretty fair statement on the situation.