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ABBA's outfits part of a tax scheme

Tuesday - 2/18/2014, 1:37am  ET

ABBA6.jpg
ABBA - Bjorn Ulvaeus, Agnetha Faltskog, Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Benny Andersson - perform in 1979. (Photo by Bob Grant/Fotos International/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON - ABBA had gobs of hits in the 1970s, and they've had surprising staying power in the intervening years. But there's always seemed to be one chink in their armor: the costumes. It's easy to look at any picture of ABBA from their classic period and ask, "What were they thinking?"

It turns out, they knew what they were doing.

According to the Guardian newspaper, the group dressed the way they did not just for impact, but for tax reasons. It turns out that Swedish tax law at the time made costume costs tax-deductible - as long as the costumes could not possibly be worn as regular clothes on the street.

No chance of that with some of ABBA's outfits. And the group's Bjorn Ulvaeus realized it, saying "In my honest opinion we looked like nuts in those years. Nobody can have been as badly dressed on stage as we were."

To see more of the costumes in all their glory, you can pick up "Abba: The Official Photo Book," published to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their big break - winning the Eurovision Song Contest with "Waterloo."

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