Abba have admitted that the ridiculous beards worn by Benny and Bjorn during their seventies heyday were a cunning ruse to avoid paying taxes. Swedish taxes could be prohibitive on profits made during concert performances, but a loophole allowed costs to be offset against tax, so long as at least one band member wore a beard ‘so outrageous that it could not possibly be worn it the street’.
‘Benny usually did the honours, although I would occasionally join him in solidarity. We did think about asking Frieda once or twice but she kicked Benny out of bed and that was the end of it. She was under a lot of pressure for not being as attractive as Agnetha, so it’s understandable I suppose, but you’d think she’d have been more of a team player.’ When asked whether the outrageous clothes the band wore onstage had a similar function, Bjorn replied, ‘What are you talking about? Everyone dresses like that in Sweden.’