'70s Rock Style Make You Shudder? Blame Swedish Tax Laws.

AbbaAbba/YoutubeEver wonder just what in hell inspired '70s pop stars to adopt the transvestite trailer trash from Planet 10 (not that there's anything wrong with that) look when they went on stage? Part of the blame lies, of course, with the interplanetary cloud of LSD through which the Earth drifted during those years (few people know that "Space Oddity" is derived from actual NASA transcripts. Maybe). But now it can be revealed that at least some of the blame for the '70s pop look can be placed on...Swedish tax laws. That's the word from Abba member, Björn Ulvaeus.

Reports The Guardian:

According to Abba: The Official Photo Book, published to mark 40 years since they won Eurovision with Waterloo, the band's style was influenced in part by laws that allowed the cost of outfits to be deducted against tax – so long as the costumes were so outrageous they could not possibly be worn on the street.

Ulvaeus is quoted remarking, "In my honest opinion we looked like nuts in those years. Nobody can have been as badly dressed on stage as we were."

As for why your dad wore bellbottoms and muttonchops...Some mysteries are better left unexplored.

Since the 1970s, Sweden has moved in a more market-oriented direction with lower taxes. Swedes have even taken to private health care. That's a big change from the state-dominated period that forced Ulvaeus into sequins. So modern sartorial catastrophes wll have to be laid on somebody else's doorstep. Maybe France.

The video below is provided for information purposes only. Play it at your own risk.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • waffles||

    I think they look rather dapper.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    Eh, after a six pack of Dirty Bastards I'd love'm like a six pack of Dirty Bastards.

  • Mainer2||

    As a young man I was in New York at Christmas, standing at the rail, looking down at the skating rink at Rockefeller Center in the middle of the day. There were few people on the rink. Then a cute young girl in tights and sweat shirt with pink mittens went on the ice and skated to Abba's Dancing Queen. Just a nice memory.

  • Eric L||

    "...laws that allowed the cost of outfits to be deducted against tax – so long as the costumes were so outrageous they could not possibly be worn on the street."

    That is no different than current US tax laws for an individual to deduct work uniforms/outfits, as long as the clothes "are not suitable for ordinary wear."

  • Doctor Whom||

    What the managing partner at my old firm wore on casual Friday wasn't suitable for ordinary wear. For that I blame his fashion sense; the deductibility was just a happy accident.

  • Alan Vanneman||

    This used to be known as the "Dinah Shore Rule." Dinah, a singer in days gone by, wore dresses on stage that fit her so tightly she couldn't sit down in them. She was not alone in this, but she was alone in being smart enough to convince the IRS to let her deduct their cost as a business expense.

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    So Don Cherry is getting a tax credit too?

    www.lionsdenu.com/don-cherrys-.....uits-ever/

  • ChrisO||

    ABBA was very restrained compared to many of the Swedish dance bands who wore crazy outfits because of that tax rule. There's a wonderful Facebook page devoted to them. Look at your own risk:

    https://www.facebook.com/SwedishDansbands

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    My.

    How is this any different from what was seen on The Lawrence Welk Show?

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement