July 1975. Agnetha Fältskog, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus are spending a few days’ holiday at Björn and Agnetha’s small property on the island of Viggsö near Stockholm. Between two fishing and lounging sessions, the two friends Benny and Björn compose. This is where Fernando was born, followed by another track, acoustic this one, called Boogaloo.
From the beginning, both composers feel something. Inspired by George McCrae’s Rock Your Baby and Dr. John’s Iko Iko, Boogaloo is becoming more and more seductive, to the point of bringing tears to Anni-Frid’s eyes when she first listens to the final instrumental version. After writing the lyrics, it was finally under the title Dancing Queen that the hit was released and quickly became a huge success. It has gone global and is still a reference today.
The video, however, was shot in the Alexandra nightclub in Stockholm. The very first nightclub in the Swedish capital, this establishment, founded by Alexandra Charles, became the place to be for the local and tourist youth. Opened in 1968 in the Strand Hotel, the club has since had three different locations, the most important of which is at number 5 on the Biblioteksgatan shopping street.
Regular customers of the establishment, as well as Björn Borg and the future king of Sweden, Carl XVI Gustaf, ABBA also used the image of Alexandra for the cover of his sixth album, Voulez-Vous. The mythical discotheque, which is no longer in existence, was revived on a Birka Cruises ship for a night. The aim of the charity event was to raise funds for Alexandra Charles’ “1.6 million” and “2.6 million” foundations, which are active in the fields of health, lifestyle issues, the situation of women in the labour market or that of immigrant women, the environment, the economy and above all culture.
The summer residence has since had a completely different fate. In 1979, Björn and Agnetha split up, inspiring the guitarist to write The Winner Takes It All, which he composed in his home, evoking his break-up. The couple remarried in 1981 to Lena Källersjö, and later bought another holiday home in the archipelago.
Now owned by other people, the place is private but still has a trace of ABBA. Malcolm Jack, a journalist for The Big Issue, visited the home in 2019 with the consent of its new residents. Although they were completely unaware of who owned the cabin when they bought it in 2011, they were keen to retain the essence of the place, including displaying a framed text and photograph on one of the walls that Björn Ulvaeus had given them to authenticate the history of the house. On the other hand, it is quite possible to visit a replica of the cottage at the ABBA museum in Stockholm where other artefacts of the group are displayed. And, of course, You can dance in the corridors of the institution to the rhythm of the world’s hit.
In 2011, the property was put up for sale for the sum of 7 million Swedish kronor, or €690,000.
The Stockholm archipelago has no less than 30,000 islands, islets and reefs over nearly 80 kilometers, including Viggsö.
Most of these islands are private, others can be visited and some are still untouched by civilization. Tourists can stroll on the island of Vaxholm where there is a castle built in 1544 to defend Sweden from Danish and Russian attacks or the nature reserve of Fjärdlång.
And among these islands is Viggsö. Since it is the former summer residence of Agnetha Fältskog and Björn Ulvaeus, it is nicknamed ABBA Island.
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Cult! music: 100 mythical music places [French Edition]
Embark immediately on an exhilarating world tour with some of music’s most iconic bands and artists!
Head to Melbourne, Australia for a stroll along AC/DC Lane before crossing the iconic Abbey Road pedestrian crossing in the company of The Beatles. Visit Janis Joplin‘s home in San Francisco and find out how Johnny Cash ended up playing his greatest hits to a crowd of prisoners in San Quentin. Travel the winding roads of Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and stop in Japan to catch up with Deep Purple, Phil Collins and Daft Punk. Drive down the Tina Turner Highway before entering some of the most legendary studios in music history. Go back to the troubled origins of Billie Holiday and make a pact with Robert Johnson at the famous crossroads in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Embark immediately on an exhilarating world tour with some of music’s most iconic bands and artists! Relive the Jimi Hendrix concert on the Isle of Wight before paying tribute to Bob Marley in Jamaica.
Produced by a team of pop-culture specialists and enhanced by numerous anecdotes, Cult! musictells the secrets of the places that made the history of music.
Interest for fans
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Discover all the places Dancing Queen on our map
By Damien Duarte
Passionné par la culture pop depuis son enfance, ses références vont de Donald Duck à Batman en passant par Marty McFly. Fantripper dans l'âme, voyager sur les traces de Ghostbusters, James Bond ou des héros de romans comme Cotton Malone fait partie d'un séjour idéal et réussi !