Björn Ulvaeus Says The Name ABBA Is ‘Stupid’

25 June 2024 | 6:07 pm | Ellie Robinson

“We didn’t have a choice in the matter,” he revealed, pointing out a hilarious incident that could’ve put them in legal trouble.


ABBA (Supplied)


ABBA’s Björn Ulvaeus has opened up about his feelings towards the iconic group’s name, admitting he’s not exactly its biggest fan.

In a new interview with Gyles Brandreth for the podcast Rosebud (as transcribed by InDaily), Ulvaeus recounted the origin of the name ABBA – an acronym of the first letters from each group member’s names, Agnetha (Fältskog), Björn, Benny (Andersson) and Anni-Frid (Lyngstad) – noting that it wasn’t even something the group themselves decided on.

He explained: “As we were kind of famous, all famous in Sweden, we made our first records under Agnetha, Benny, Bjorn and Anni-Frid. And the DJs on radio and everywhere else, in our office, they got tired of saying that... As you can imagine. So they just abbreviated it to the initials ABBA. We didn’t have a choice in the matter.”

Ulvaeus went on to drop the bombshell that he “thought it was such a stupid name” when it caught on. Not only that, he still feels the same way about it. The singer and guitarist continued: “It’s also the name of a very famous herring factory in Sweden – marinated herring, big thing in Sweden. And we had to ask them for permission to use the name because they had the name. And then they said ‘As long as you don’t dabble in marinating.’”

52 years after the group’s formation, Ulvaeus is still salty (get it? like herring) about the fact ABBA don’t have a more badass name to represent their badass* hard-rock** tunes. He quipped in the Rosebud interview, “I thought we should have a cool name like The Rolling Stones or something like that, The Northern Lights. And here we are with ABBA.”

Head here to listen to Ulvaeus’ full interview on Rosebud.

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Earlier this month, ABBA received the first Swedish knighthoods in 50 years, commemorating the golden anniversary of their historic 1974 Eurovision win. The pop music icons were named “Commanders of the First Class” and received the Order of the Vasa for “very outstanding efforts in Swedish and international music life”.

Meanwhile, rumour has it that Melbourne (Naarm) could become the second city in the world to host ABBA Voyage, the group’s spectacular holographic concert.