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Anni-Frid Princess Reuss of Plauen (born Anni-Frid Synni Lyngstad 15 November 1945 in Bjørkåsen, Ballangenmarker, Norway), styled Her Serene Highness, is a Swedish singer (of Norwegianmarker and Germanmarker origin), best known as Frida Lyngstad, one of the four members of Swedishmarker pop group ABBA.

Early life

Anni-Frid Synni "Frida" Lyngstad was born in Bjørkåsen, a small village in Ballangenmarker near Narvikmarker, in the north of Norway, as a result of a liaison between 19-year-old Synni Lyngstad (19 June 1926 - 28 September 1947), and a (married) German officer, Alfred Haase (born 1919), just before the end of the Second World War and the German occupation of Norway. Lyngstad's father returned to Germany when his troops were evacuated.

In early 1947, Lyngstad, her mother, and her maternal grandmother, Arntine Lyngstad ("Agny"), left her birthplace because of fear of reprisals against those who had dealings with the Germans during the occupation. This could entail not just insults, but also forced separation of infants from their parents and relatives (see War children).

Lyngstad was taken by her grandmother across the border to Sweden, where they settled in the region of Härjedalenmarker and her grandmother took any job she could find. Her mother stayed behind in Norway and worked for a period in the south of the country but soon joined her mother and daughter in Sweden, and the three moved to the town of Malmköpingmarker (45 miles from Stockholm). Shortly thereafter, Synni Lyngstad (after experiencing abdominal pains) was diagnosed with kidney failure; she collapsed on 19 September 1947 and died nine days later, aged 21. Lyngstad was raised solely by her grandmother. In June of 1949, they both relocated to a town named Torshällamarker (just outside of Eskilstunamarker), where Agny Lyngstad soon found work as a seamstress. Frida Lyngstad grew up in Torshälla and began attending school there in August of 1952. Close contact with her family in Norway (notably her uncle and four aunts) continued, and Lyngstad recalls with warmth summer holidays spent with them at her birthplace. She was especially close to an aunt named Olive, who once stated that she saw how lonely and subdued Frida was and, as a result, always did her best to make her feel loved and welcomed during visits.

Lyngstad believed that her father, Alfred Haase, had died during the war on his way back to Germany as his ship was reported to have sunk. However, in 1977, the German teen magazine Bravo published a poster and a complete biography with details of Lyngstad's background, including the names of her father and mother. It was seen by Lyngstad's German half-brother, Peter Haase, who went to his father and asked him if he had been in Ballangen during the war. A few months later, Lyngstad met Haase in Stockholm for the first time.

Career

Early work

Lyngstad stated in several interviews that her grandmother often sang songs to her (notably old Norwegian songs), which resulted in her love for music. She soon showed musical talent at an early age, beginning in her first years at school. On Fridays, she was often asked by her teacher to sing in front of the class and soon became known in school and in the neighborhood for her beautiful voice.

At the age of 13, she got her first job as a dance band and schlager singer in 1958, with The Evald Eks Orchestra. Mr Evald Ek himself remembers: "It was hard to believe, such a young person could sing that well. She was so easy to rehearse with and she was never shy onstage. The only thing I taught her was to sing out. In those days, she had a tendency of holding back her voice a little". With the Evald Eks Orchestra, the 13-year-old Lyngstad, performed every weekend in front of a dancing audience. The sets often lasted up to five hours. The songs she liked most to sing were the evergreens; "All of Me", "Night and Day" and "Begin the Beguine". To advance and develop, she also started to take singing lessons. Later, she teamed up with a 15-piece 'big band', who performed a jazz repertoire covering Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington and Count Basie; her vocal idols being Ella Fitzgerald and Peggy Lee. In 1963, she formed her own band, the Anni-Frid Four.

On 3 September 1967, Frida won the Swedish national talent competition, "New Faces", arranged by record company EMI and held at Skansenmarker, Stockholm. The song she chose to sing was "En Ledig Dag" ("A Day Off"). The first prize in this contest was a recording contract with EMI Sweden. Unbeknownst to Lyngstad, the winner of the contest was also expected to appear the same evening in the country's most popular TV show at that time, Hylands Hörna. This happened on the same day Sweden switched from driving on the left side of the road to the right side. Driving on that day was discouraged, so most of the nation was watching TV that night. Frida performed her winning song live. (The performance can be seen on Frida - The DVD)

This first exposure to a wider television audience caused a sensation, and many record companies and producers contacted Frida immediately. EMI executives, fearing they might lose their new singer, took the precaution of driving from Stockholm to Frida's home in Eskilstuna the next morning with a recording contract for her to sign. EMI producer Olle Bergman remembers: "We got so interested and fond of her and I thought she had everything a person needs to become something."

On 11 September 1967, Frida recorded the vocals for "En Ledig Dag", which was to become her first single for EMI Sweden. Professional and self-assured on this first day in the studio, she recorded the vocals in just one take. The early songs she recorded for EMI Sweden are included in the EMI compilation Frida 1967-1972, digitally remastered and released by EMI Sweden in 1997.

On 10 January 1968, she performed this song on national TV, and at this occasion briefly met future ABBA member Agnetha Fältskog, who also performed her first single in the same programme.Lyngstad toured Sweden in 1968, and recorded several singles for EMI. She decided to move to Stockholmmarker to start working full time as a singer.

In 1969, she participated in Melodifestivalen - the Swedish heats for the Eurovision Song Contest - with the song "Härlig är vår jord" ("Our Earth is Wonderful"), and finished fourth. Backstage she met her future spouse Benny Andersson, who also participated in the contest as composer. They soon met again at another venue and then became a couple.

Pre ABBA

Her first album, Frida, produced by her then-fiancé Andersson, was released in 1971. The album received unanimously generous praise from the critics and the press, who especially noted the precision and versatility of Lyngstad's voice. She now scored her first Swedish No.1 hit with "Min Egen Stad" ("My Own Town"). All four future members of ABBA sang back-up vocals on this song. The album is now included in the EMI compilation Frida 1967-1972.

Anni-Frid continued to play in cabarets, and tour and regularly perform on TV and radio. Subsequently, her relationship with Andersson, and friendship with Björn Ulvaeus and Agnetha Fältskog led to the formation of ABBA. In 1972, after five years at EMI Sweden, Lyngstad changed record companies and moved to the Polar Music label. She recorded the single "Man Vill Ju Leva Lite Dess Emellan", which became her second No. 1 hit on the Swedish charts.

Her next solo album in Swedish, was Frida ensam (Frida Alone), produced by Benny Andersson. By now, she was already involved in ABBA. This album includes her successful Swedish version of "Fernando", which became a huge hit in Scandinavia. In Sweden, Frida´s "Fernando" stayed at the Nr 1 spot on the charts for 10 weeks. The album was recorded between sessions of the ABBA albums "Waterloo" and "ABBA". Due to the rising popularity of the group, the album took 18 months to record. It became an enormous commercial and critical success in Scandinavia, topping the Swedish album charts for six weeks and remaining in the charts for 40. The album was mostly a collection of covers of songs by artists like the Beach Boys, 10cc and David Bowie, receiving positive reviews from Melody Maker: "The album portrays Frida as a very strong and emotive singer and shows the true value of the music, that if sung properly and with enough feeling it transcends all language barriers". This album was such a big success, it eventually went platinum.

The ABBA years 1972-82

At first, Lyngstad was hesitant to perform with her boyfriend Benny Andersson, his best friend Björn Ulvaeus and his girlfriend, Agnetha Fältskog. Their first project together was the cabaret act Festfolk, which flopped in the winter of 1970–1971. The following year, 'Frida' toured on her own while the other three future ABBA members started performing together on a regular basis. Eventually, she rejoined them. Andersson and Ulvaeus were busy producing other artists, but soon discovered the qualities of Lyngstad's and Fältskog's voices combined: ABBA came to life. With her warm mezzo-soprano voice, Frida contributed lead vocals to some of ABBA's biggest hits like "Fernando", "Money, Money, Money", "Super Trouper", "I Have a Dream", "Knowing Me, Knowing You" and shared lead vocals with Agnetha Fältskog on "Mamma Mia", "Waterloo", "Dancing Queen", "S.O.S.", "The Name of the Game", Voulez-Vous", "Summer Night City" and others.She became known as 'the brunette' or 'the redhead' of the girls, always surrounded by an air of style, elegance and beauty. Lyngstad clearly enjoyed the spotlight more than the other three members of ABBA. She was the only one of the four who truly liked to tour and to meet audience members one-on-one. She took an active part in co-designing the famed ABBA costumes for their tours and TV performances. Since the members of ABBA went their separate ways, Anni-Frid Lyngstad has been the only one who openly regrets there never was a reunion.

After ABBA

In 1982, during ABBA's last year as a working band, Frida recorded and released her first post-Abba solo album. This was also her first solo album in English. The Phil Collins-produced album was called Something's Going On, and became a big success for Frida worldwide. A much rockier sound was found on many of the songs and Phil Collins' special drum sound contributed a lot, especially on the lead single. The album sold 1.5 million copies and spawned the successful single "I Know There's Something Going On", which topped the charts in Switzerland, Belgium, Costa Rica and France, where it stayed No 1 for five weeks. The song also reached the Top five in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Norway and Australia amongst others. In the United States, the single reached a respectable #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #9 on Radio & Records. The song and its video were heavily promoted and played on MTV. This single sold 3.5 million copies worldwide and is the best selling solo record for any of the four former Abba members. The album itself received good reviews, with Billboard writing: "Abba´s auburn-haired songstress makes a bold solo project a stunning success", while Mark Coleman described the album in the third edition of Rolling Stone Album Guide as "a sharp, rock-oriented, delightfully eclectic album". William Cooper had a similar opinion in Allmusic: "Frida escapes the creative limitations of being a member of one of the world´s most popular groups on this solid and often riveting album". Swedish Television SVT documented this historical event by filming the whole recording process. The result became a one-hour TV documentary, including interviews with Frida and Phil, Björn and Benny, as well as all the musicians on the album. Due to the success of this album and its lead single, Frida was voted "Best Female Artist Of The Year" 1982, by the readers of Sweden's biggest evening paper Aftonbladet, receiving the Swedish Music Award Price Rockbjörnen.

In 1983, Lyngstad assisted with ABBAcadabra - the Musical, and recorded one of the tracks with two different male vocalists in different languages, including Frenchman Daniel Balavoine on the track "Belle" and on the English version "Time" with B. A. Robertson. This track was a cover of "Arrival", an instrumental track from the ABBA album of the same name.

Lyngstad's next album was the experimental Shine (1984). This album was recorded at Studios De La Grande Armée in Paris, France and produced by Steve Lillywhite, known for his work with artists like Peter Gabriel, U2, Rolling Stones and Morrissey amongst others. The young producer Lillywhite was only 25 when this album was recorded and he gave Frida a very experimental sound and managed to create a relaxed atmosphere in the studio. The album reached the Top 20 in many European countries, #6 in Sweden being its highest position. One of the songwriters and backing vocalist for this album was Kirsty MacColl, who was killed in a boating accident in Mexico in December 2000. Lyngstad recently commemorated a song on her most recent compilation album to MacColl, "Chemistry Tonight", which MacColl had co-written.

In 1987 Frida was in the choir when recording her former husband Benny Andersson's song "Klinga Mina Klockor". Also in 1987, Lyngstad recorded the single "Så Länge Vi Har Varann" ("As Long As We Have Each Other") with the Swedish pop group Ratata, one of Lyngstad's favourites. One day singer Mauro Scocco called and said he had a song suitable for a duet. After hearing it, Lyngstad accepted immediately. The song was and still is, a big success in Sweden. The song was also recorded in English under the title of "As long as I have you".

In 1990, Lyngstad became a member of the committee of the Swedish environmental organization Det Naturliga Steget (The Natural Step). The organization wanted a "famous face" to help them reach the public, and in 1991 she became chairwoman for the organization Artister För Miljön (Artists For The Environment). In 1992, Lyngstad performed live at the Stockholmmarker Water Festival at the Kings Castle and released the environmental charity single with her cover of Julian Lennon's song "Saltwater". All the money from this single went to charity. In 1993, on Queen Silvia's 50th birthday, Frida was asked to perform "Dancing Queen" on stage, as performed by ABBA when the king and queen got married. Frida contacted The Real Group and together they performed the song live at the Stockholm Opera House in front of the king and queen. The Swedish prime minister at the time, Ingvar Carlsson, also present that night, said it was an ingenious step to do "Dancing Queen" a cappella. This performance was filmed by Swedish TV and can be seen in Frida - The DVD.

In 1996, Lyngstad recorded her Swedish language album Djupa andetag (Deep Breaths). It was a long-awaited album as 12 years had passed since Shine was released. The album attracted overall positive reviews and was a big success in Scandinavia and became #1 on the album chart in Sweden. Frida did many TV appearances in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland to promote the album. Djupa andetag was one of the very first Swedish albums to be released as a combined audio–video CD-ROM, including interviews with Lyngstad, footage from the making of the album, as well as promotional videos. Despite the fact that Djupa andetag was officially only released in Scandinavia and the songs were entirely sung in Swedish, a remix album of the single tracks "Även En Blomma", "Alla Mina Bästa År" (a duet with Roxette's Marie Fredriksson) and "Ögonen" was released in Germany in 1998, entitled Frida - The Mixes. A one-hour documentary about the making of this album, both in the studio and from Frida's home in Mallorca, Spain, can be seen in Frida - The DVD. A follow-up album with producer Anders Glenmark was reportedly in the works, but was shelved due to a death in Frida's family. Several one-off recordings followed, including a 2002 duet with opera singer Filippa Giordano of the "Barcarolle" from Jacques Offenbach's Les contes d'Hoffman as well as the song "The Sun Will Shine Again", written especially for Lyngstad by former Deep Purple member Jon Lord, and recorded in 2004. Neither of these were however released as singles: "Barcarolle" is only available on the Japanese edition of Giordano's album Rosso Amore, and "The Sun Will Shine Again" can be found on Jon Lord's album Beyond The Notes (although a limited-promotional single had been made available). Lord and Lyngstad made several TV appearances in Germany performing the song, on shows like The Sunday Night Classics and The Golden Henne Gala. Lyngstad also joined Lord on stage singing the song during his European autumn tour in 2004.

For the 2004 semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest, staged in Istanbul thirty years after ABBA had won the contest in Brighton, Lyngstad appeared in a special comedy video made for the interval act, entitled Our Last Video. Each of the four members of the group appeared briefly in cameo roles, as did, amongst others, Cher and British comedian Rik Mayall. The video was not included in the official DVD release of the Eurovision Contest, but was issued as a separate DVD release on the Universal Music label. It was billed as the first time the four had worked together since the group split in 1982 – a truth with modification. In fact, they each filmed their appearances separately. Also in 2004, Lyngstad appeared with former band mates Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus at London's fifth anniversary performance of Mamma Mia!, the musical based on ABBA songs. In 2005, she joined all three of her former ABBA colleagues at the Swedish premiere of Mamma Mia! at the arena Cirkus in Stockholm.

Box Set and DVD

On 15 November 2005, to celebrate Lyngstad's 60th birthday, Universal Records released the Frida - Box Set, consisting of all the solo albums she recorded for Polar Music, all digitally remastered and including a set of bonus tracks. Also included is Frida - The DVD. On this 3 1/2 hour DVD Lyngstad talks about her entire career in the music business. Filmed in the Swiss alps, she talks about her singing technique and about her career both before and after Abba and explains how songs were performed and recorded. In collaboration with Swedish TV, SVT, the DVD includes many rare TV clips from her early performances, like her first TV performance with "En Ledig Dag", ("A Day Off"). Also included are TV-documentary's about the making and recordings of Something's Going On and Djupa andetag (Deep Breaths).

Personal life

On 3 April 1963, aged 17, Lyngstad married salesman and fellow musician Ragnar Fredriksson. They had two children: Hans Ragnar (born 26 January 1963) and Ann Lise-Lotte (25 February 1967 - 13 January 1998). They separated early in 1969 and were officially divorced on 19 May 1970. On the very same day, Lyngstad's grandmother, Arntine, died, aged 71.

In February 1969, Lyngstad met Benny Andersson, and the couple were engaged in August. By 1971 they were living together, but did not marry until 6 October 1978, during the height of ABBA's success. However, after only three years of marriage, they separated in February 1981 and were divorced in November of the same year. In 1982, Lyngstad left Sweden and moved to London. In 1986, she relocated to Switzerland. In 1988, Lyngstad became a grandmother when her daughter, Ann Lise-Lotte, gave birth to a son named Jonathan.

On 26 August 1992, Lyngstad married a German nobleman, architect Heinrich Ruzzo Prince Reuss of Plauen (24 May 1950 – 29 October 1999). By this marriage, she has two stepdaughters, Henriette and Pauline. The prince died of lymphoma in 1999; a year earlier, on 13 January 1998, Lyngstad's daughter, Ann Lise-Lotte Casper (born Fredriksson), died of injuries sustained in a car accident in Livonia, Michiganmarker in the United States. Through Lyngstad's marriage to Heinrich Ruzzo, who was a student at the same boarding school as the reigning King of Sweden, she became acquainted with the Swedish royal family and eventually became close friends with Sweden's Queen Silvia.

Today, Lyngstad still engages in charity work - environmental issues in particular. In 2005, she stated in an interview that she had no interest in a music career. She currently lives in Zermattmarker, Switzerland.

Awards and recognition

In 1982, Lyngstad won the Swedish music prize Rockbjörnen for the Best Female Artist.

Discography

Studio albums

Year Swedish Albums US UK AUS NOR SWEmarker NL BEL GER
1971 Frida
1975 Frida ensam
Frida Alone
1
1996 Djupa andetag
Deep Breaths
17 1
Year English Albums US UK AUS NOR SWEmarker NL BEL GER
1982 Something's Going On 41 18 40 2 1 4 2 12
1984 Shine 10 6 20 10


Compilations

Year Album
1971 Anni-Frid Lyngstad
1991 På egen hand
On Her Own
1993 Tre kvart från nu
Three Quarters From Now
1997 Frida 1967-1972
(double CD)
1998 Frida - The Mixes
(compilation of CD single remixes)
2005 Frida - Box Set
(4xCD/1xDVD)
CD 1: Frida ensam (1975)
CD 2: Something's Going On (1982)
CD 3: Shine (1984)
CD 4: Djupa andetag (1996)
DVD: Frida - The DVD (2005)







Singles

Year Single SWEmarker NOR DEmarker FRmarker AUS NL BEL U.K. U.S.
1982 "I Know There's Something Going On" 3 3 5 1 5 1 1 43 13
"To Turn the Stone" 52 8
1983 "Here We'll Stay" 100 102
"Belle" (duet with Daniel Balavoine)
"Time" (duet with B.A. Robertson) 45
1984 "Shine" 6 51 1 7 82
"Twist in the Dark" (France only)
"Heart of the Country" (UK only)
1984 "Come To Me (I Am Woman)"


Swedish singles

Year Single
1967 "En ledig dag" / "Peter, kom tillbaka"
"Din" / "Du är så underbart rar"
1968 "Simsalabim" / "Vi möts igen"
"Mycket kär" / "När du blir min"
1969 "Härlig är vår jord" / "Räkna de lyckliga stunderna blott"
"Så synd du måste gå" / "Försök och sov på saken"
"Peter Pan" / "Du betonar kärlek lite fel"
1970 "Där du går lämnar kärleken spår" / "Du var främling här igår"
1971 "En liten sång om kärlek" / "Tre kvart från nu"
"En kväll om sommarn" / "Vi vet allt, men nästan inget" (duets with Lars Berghagen)
"Min egen stad" / "En gång är ingen gång"
1972 "Vi är alla barn i början" / "Kom och sjung en sång"
"Vad gör jag med min kärlek" / "Allting ska bli bra"
"Man vill ju leva lite dessemellan" / "Ska man skratta eller gråta"
1975 "Fernando" (solo Swedish version) / "Ett liv i solen"
1987 "Så länge vi har varann" (Ratata with Frida, Sweden only, SWE #5) / "Du finns hos mig" (Ratata)
"Om du var här" (Ratata) / "As Long As I Have You" (Ratata with Frida, Sweden only)
1991 "Änglamark" / "Saltwater" (Sweden only, with Artister för miljö)
1996 "Även en blomma" (SWE #11)
"Ögonen" (SWE #24)
1997 "Alla mina bästa år" (duet with Marie Fredriksson, SWE #54)


Other singles

Year Single
1983 "Strip" Adam Ant (with Frida on backing vocals)
b/w "Yours Yours Yours" (Adam Ant only)
2003 "Lieber Gott" Frida & Dan Daniell (CD single)
Switzerland only, in aid of charity Kinder in Not (Children in Need)
2004 "The Sun Will Shine Again" Frida & Jon Lord (CD single)
(promotional single only, from Jon Lord's album Beyond the Notes)


References

  1. [1] "Bright Lights, Dark Shadows: The Real Story of ABBA" - Palm, Carl Magnus, pp. 47-49.
  2. Carl Magnus Palm "ABBA THE STORY" (Swedish Edition), pp. 73-74.
  3. Inner sleve of EMI compilation album Frida 1967-1972.
  4. Inner sleeve of EMI compilation album Frida 1967-1972
  5. [2] Palm, Carl Magnus, p. 161.
  6. [3] Palm, Carl Magnus, p. 164.
  7. [4] Palm, Carl Magnus, p. 253.
  8. [5] Palm, Carl Magnus, p. 252.
  9. Carl Magnus Palm ABBA-Bright Lights Dark Shadows
  10. Frida herself in Frida the DVD


Sources

  • Carl Magnus Palm: Bright Lights - Dark Shadows, Omnibus Press UK 2001, ISBN 0-7119-8389-5
  • Carl Magnus Palm: ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions, Century 22 Limited UK, 1994. ISBN 0-907938-10-8


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