For the next eight years, ABBA would be one of the most successful pop acts in the world, earning numerous gold and platinum awards in innumerable countries. The quartet's commercial fortunes were not mirrored by critical appreciation. In fact, it was the winsome, good looks of the two female singers that drew more accolades, highlighted by Fältskog being crowned with the title of "Rear of the Year" in 1975. During the group's hit-making period, Fältskog's marriage to Ulvaeus would crumble, chronicled in the heart-wrenching "The Winner Takes It All," which featured possibly her finest vocal performance. During what was intended to be a mere break for the band in 1983, she began to record her solo English debut with producer Mike Chapman. Released later in the year, Can't Shake Loose proved to be more successful in European markets, but the title track did climb into the Top 30 in the U.S. ABBA's extended break soon became a break-up (despite no formal announcement), leaving Fältskog to continue her solo career.
Between 1983 and 1987, Fältskog released three albums -- Wrap Your Arms Around Me (1983), Eyes of a Woman (1985), and I Stand Alone (1987) -- which all were big hits in Sweden and performed respectably throughout Europe but never made inroads within the U.S. As the '80s wound to a close, Fältskog went into an unofficial retirement, retreating from the spotlight and ceasing to make new music. In 1996, she published an autobiography called As I Am; it was accompanied by a new compilation called My Love, My Life, released only in Europe. ABBA's music was the subject of a jukebox musical called Mamma Mia! Premiered in 1999, the stage musical gained considerable popularity over the next five years, its success helping push Fältskog out of retirement in 2004 to record My Coluring Book, a collection of covers that was a big hit throughout Europe and peaked at 11 on the U.K. charts. Following that album, she went quiet again, appearing in public with her ABBA mates toward the end of the decade to promote the theatrical adaptation of Mamma Mia! Fältskog returned to recording in 2012, teaming with Jörgen Elofsson -- a producer/songwriter best known for his work with Kelly Clarkson -- to record her first collection of brand-new material since 1987. A, the resulting album, was released all around the world in May 2013. ~ Tom Demalon, Rovi