It’s long been assumed that the Waterloo album and singles (Swedish and English versions), released March 4 1974, were the first records featuring the name ABBA.
But it turns out that’s not the case.
The first record to bear the name ABBA was in fact the original UK single of ‘Ring Ring’ b/w ‘Rock’n Roll Band’ (Epic S EPC 1793), released October 12 1973. Pictured here is the promotional single, showing the release date in the centre of the label. Infamously, this single apparently sold just 500 copies.
Ten days later, on October 22, the single was released in Italy (Durium DE 2807), the first record in a picture sleeve with the name ABBA. Like the UK, the single failed to make the Italian charts, though it had already been a top ten hit in northern Europe and Scandinavia.
The group’s first album, Ring Ring, and four singles had been released under the long-winded moniker Björn & Benny, Agnetha (or Anna) & Anni-Frid (or Frida or Frieda).
The name ABBA had come into use during 1973, as ABBA manager Stig Anderson started using the acronym of the members’ names in interviews. The first recording session documentation to feature the name ABBA was dated October 16 1973, on sessions for the songs ‘Suzy-Hang-Around’ and ‘My Mama Said’ for the Waterloo album.