THEY were the four biggest pop stars in the world when the members of ABBA agreed to pose in their swimmers in front of sea lions during their epic 1977 Australian tour.
Here was Bjorn and Benny in their boardies, Agnetha and Frida in their bikinis standing in the water off a Swan River beach and the sea lions hamming it up for the cameras.
“Is it dangerous here? one of the them asked the captain of the boat taking them for a pleasure cruise in Perth.
“Don’t worry. Sharks won’t attack if there are sea lions around. Sea lions are fast. They’ll ram a shark from the side if it gets too close.”
he rare and unseen images of the Swedish sensations are revealed in ABBA: The Official Photo Book released in April to celebrate the 40th anniversary since they the Eurovision Song Contest with Waterloo.
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It is surreal to think these outrageously famous musicians posed so willingly in such bizarre circumstances for personal photos as they were mobbed at every city on their tour.
Perhaps the Swedish Fab Four would have Instagrammed those moments were they to become musical celebrities in 2014.
But surely it would be a viral video scandal were photographers to gain access to their hotel rooms and snap them in bed.
Yet the married couples invited media into the Grand Hotel rooms in Brighton after the victory parade to celebrate their unexpected Eurovision contest victory.
“Looking back, it’s weird that we went along with it, but we were so tight with the media, almost cuddly,” Bjorn remembers in the book.
“Everybody knew everybody else. No paparazzi as far as you could see.”
The 400 page photo essay also features those outrageous costumes which they now claim were a tax write off.
But another shot which may have you shaking your head in disbelief is the four of them wearing tin foil and little else.
German photographer Bubi Heilemann took the photo in a Stockholm studio in late 1975 and it caused a storm as it made its way by cable around the world.
Frida has a frame copy of it on a bookshelf in her home.
“I think it’s fun. Did we wear panties underneath? Of course. Bras too, if I remember rightly. We just pulled down the straps so they wouldn’t be visible,” she recalls in the book.
Some of the most compelling images are of the couples enjoying down time at home before divorce ended the happier days of their success and ultimately the band.
Agnetha and Bjorn playing with their daughter Linda, Benny and Frida at home and the four cycling around the neighbourhood where they lived near each other and would visit for coffee and to write songs.
The book also gives insight into their creative process, rehearsing and composing as well as Agnetha and Frida practising their dance routines.
ABBA: The Official Photo Book published by Hardie Grant Books RRP $75 is available in stores nationally on April 1
- KATHY MCCABE NATIONAL MUSIC WRITER
- NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA