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ABBA receive prestigious Swedish knighthood for pop career that began at Eurovision

ABBA - Björn Ulvaeus, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Agnetha Fältskog and Benny Andersson - receive the Royal Vasa Order from Sweden's King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia
ABBA - Björn Ulvaeus, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Agnetha Fältskog and Benny Andersson - receive the Royal Vasa Order from Sweden's King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia Copyright Henrik Montgomery/TT News Agency via AP
Copyright Henrik Montgomery/TT News Agency via AP
By Tokunbo Salako with APTN
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By royal appointment, the Swedish supergroup ABBA have finally received recognition for their musical contribution to Sweden and international culture with a knighthood for their pop career that started at Eurovision.

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Sweden's said a big 'Thank you for the music' to its most famous pop exports ABBA by honouring the supergroup with one of the country's most prestigious awards, the Order of the Vasa.

It's the first time it's been bestowed in nearly half a century in recognition of ABBA's "very outstanding efforts in Swedish and international music life."

The band, which consists of Agnetha Faltskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, sprang to international stardom by winning the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest with their infectious love song 'Waterloo'.

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
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, 1974Robert Dear/Copyright 2021 The AP. All rights reserved.

Cultural Commanders

The Eurovision victory turned ABBA into a pop juggernaut and easily 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.

Although, the Swedish band members have not performed together live for four decades, they released a comeback album, “Voyage,” in 2021 and a year later, the digital “ABBA-tars” opened in London.

ABBA with Sweden's King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia at a ceremony at Stockholm Royal Palace on May 31
ABBA with Sweden's King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia at a ceremony at Stockholm Royal Palace on May 31Henrik Montgomery/AP

The royal recognition as "Commander of the First Class" is one of several Swedish 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.

The music group ABBA - Björn Ulvaeus, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Agnetha Fältskog and Benny Andersson
The music group ABBA - Björn Ulvaeus, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Agnetha Fältskog and Benny AnderssonHenrik Montgomery/AP

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.

This year's Eurovision was coincidentally held in Sweden and won by the Swiss singer Nemo, with “The Code,” an operatic pop-rap ode to the singer’s journey toward embracing a nongender identity.

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