Page last updated at 12:55 GMT, Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Abba unaware of UK Eurovision 'snub'

Abba's Bjorn Ulvaeus and Frida Lyngstad

Eurovision winners Abba have admitted they were completely unaware that the UK gave them "nul points" at the song contest they won in 1974.

Bjorn Ulvaeus and Frida Lyngstad revealed their surprise after being informed of the fact by BBC 5 live.

"All these years and I thought the Brits were our best friends," Ulvaeus joked at the launch of a new Abba World exhibit in London.

Abba won the contest for Sweden with their song Waterloo with 24 points.

Ulvaeus said he was surprised to learn the news from reporter 5 live reporter Colin Paterson, particularly as Waterloo hit number one in the UK singles chart two weeks later.

Voting changes

In 1974, the voting rules were completely different to the current system. Each country had just 10 jurors, who gave one vote apiece to their favourite song.

Of the 10 points available to distribute, the UK gave five to Italy, two to Israel and one each to Finland, Ireland and Switzerland.

The UK's entry, sung by Olivia Newton John, finished in fourth place with 14 points.

The rules changed in 1975, when the juries began to award a maximum of 12 points to their favourite songs.

Abba fans at a screening of Mamma Mia! at the O2
Mamma Mia! based on the music of Abba has been smash hit with fans

In 1998, the format changed again, allowing fans in all competing countries to vote in their millions.

The same voting system is still in use today.

Following Eurovision, the UK's love affair with Abba continued with nine number one songs between 1974 and 1980 and Abba's Gold: Greatest Hits album has sold 3.9m copies.

The hit film Mamma Mia!, based on Abba's songs, also become the highest grossing movie cinema release in the UK ever last year.

Abba are due to be inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March, but when asked if there was any chance Abba could reform, Lyngstad said she enjoyed being a grandmother and needed "the musical motivation to go back".

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