Viewers of ABBA – The Movie will have seen one of these flags fluttering in the evening breeze at the start of ‘Fernando’. The flags bearing the ABBA logo in blue, green, yellow and red letters decorated the various concert venues during ABBA’s Australian tour in March 1977. I remember a row of them flying from flagpoles atop on of the stands behind the stage during that legendary first concert in Sydney on March 3rd. They can be seen adorning the Perth Entertainment Centre in The Movie (the round building Ashley runs into not long after arriving in Perth). And the one seen in close up was probably filmed in Melbourne.
The flags themselves were manufactured by AB Industri-Reklam in Stockholm, Sweden. So it’s surprising that there’s no recollection of the flags flying at European concert venues that year.
The colours of the letters are probably a simplified version of the “rainbow” ABBA logo that appeared on the European tour programme and on the recent authorised biography Fenemonet ABBA (aka The ABBA Phenomenon and ABBA By ABBA), and later featured on the ABBA Annuals (1978 to 1983) and 1994’s ABBA – The Complete Recording Sessions by Carl Magnus Palm.
How many of these flags were made or how many still exist is anyone’s guess. There were almost certainly several dozen on display in 1977. I’ve encountered three of them over the past twenty years – one hanging on the front wall of a house in Cleveland Street, Sydney in 1987; one in the hands of PolyGram Records in Sydney around 1992; and the one pictured here, that was offered for sale about ten years ago on the various ABBA mailing lists at the time, long before eBay came into our lives. I was hoping to buy it at the time, but it just didn’t work out. I recently heard from the successful buyer of the third one, who assures me that it’s in safe hands and being well looked after.
Many fans yearn for a particular rare ABBA record or merchandise, such as the ABBA dolls. This is my “holy grail”.