In April 1974, 500 million television viewers across Europe witnessed the bizarrely thrilling sight of four garishly-dressed unknowns from Sweden storm their way to victory in the Eurovision Song Contest. The song was 'Waterloo'. Abba had arrived. Over the next three decades, the band moved on through an almost unbroken succession of hit albums and singles. Abba have sold some 400 million records around the world, and their songs inspired a musical which since opening in October 2001 has been seen by more than 10 million people. In Abba: Unplugged, Karl French, a journalist and author specialising in popular culture, brings his inimitable wry perception to bear on the band's whole story. Born in Sweden, and raised in England, he comes to the subject as someone with first-hand knowledge of the very particular social and political climate from which Abba emerged. He has been a fan - although not necessarily an uncritical one - for three decades.
Karl French has contributed articles on pop culture to many newspapers and magazines, among them Hot Dog and Esquire. He is also the author, co-author and editor of numerous books, including Screen Violence; Apocalypse Now: A Bloomsbury Movie Guide; Cult Movies, co-written with Philip French; This is Spinal Tap: The Official Companion; and Art by Directors. Since 1997 he has written a daily TV preview column in the Financial Times, for which he also writes regularly on cinema and sport. Born in Varmland, in central Sweden, he returns there every summer with his wife and two children. He lives in London.
'This entertaining, not uncritical work is far more stylish than most group portraits.' Sunday Telegraph