ABBA after ABBA

Though ABBA as a group came to an end in December 1982, the individual members have revisited the music of their famous past on many occasions.

Frida was first as early as August 1983, when she sang a quickie rendition of ‘Ring Ring’ on the Swedish TV talk show Gäst Hos Hagge (Guest at Hagge’s Place). In May the following year she sang ‘I Have A Dream’ at a televised United Nations gala concert in Switzerland, accompanied by a children’s choir. In 2003 Frida gave a different rendition of ‘I Have A Dream’, singing with her friend, Swiss entertainer and restaurateur Dan Daniell  (aka Urs Biner) for a charity single.

Most famously Frida performed ‘Dancing Queen’ with a capella singers The Real Group for Swedish Queen Silvia’s 50th birthday concert in December 1993. The following year the song was released on the group’s album Varför får man inte bara vara som man är?, and is also included on their compilation The Real Group Bästa and on the 1999 CD ABBA – A Tribute.

Björn and Benny joined Irish superstars U2 at a Stockholm concert in June 1992 playing guitar and piano for a performance of ‘Dancing Queen’ – the last time Björn played guitar in public. In May 2002 the pair sang an impromptu rendition of ‘Fernando’ when  they were presented with the Special International Award at the Ivor Novello Awards in London. Somehow the lyric sheet they read off managed to cram parts of all three verses into one!

Benny Anderssons Orkester (Benny Andersson’s Orchestra, or BAO) has performed several ABBA songs on their summer tours of Sweden. In 2003 Helen Sjöholm sang ‘Money, Money, Money’; in 2004 Helen and Tommy Körberg sang ‘Ring Ring (bara du slog en signal)’ and ‘I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do’; in 2005 ‘Why Did It Have To Be Me’ joined these three songs on the set list; in 2006 ‘Honey, Honey’ was added to the growing repertoire when the band performed in Minneapolis, USA; and in 2007 concerts ‘Hasta Mañana’ was also performed.

Benny has leant his keyboard skills to a couple of ABBA covers. In 2000 he played piano and synclavier on Swedish soprano Anne Sofie von Otter’s recording of ‘Like An Angel Passing Though My Room’ on her Elvis Costello produced album For The Stars. Benny also played piano on a haunting rendition of ‘When All Is Said And Done’, sung by Viktoria Tolstoy (great great granddaughter of War and Peace author Leo Tolstoy) on jazzman Nils Landgren’s 2004 CD Funky ABBA – incidentally one of the last recordings at Polar Studios.

He also took to the stage at some of the B&B tribute concerts in 1998, joining in on the last few numbers. He did the same thing at one of the Official ABBA Orchestra concerts in 2007.

Benny recorded an instrumental treatment of ‘Thank You For The Music’ for the menu of the 2005 DVD release of ABBA – The Movie.

Since ABBA ended, both women have sung on new music from their ex-husbands and ex-bandmates.

In January 1983, Agnetha sang vocals on the demo song ‘Every Good Man Needs A Helping Hand’ for their Chess musical project with Tim Rice – the song became ‘Heaven Help My Heart’, sung by Elaine Page (in the role of Florence) on the 1984 concept album. Agnetha’s recording has never been officially released, though it has been in circulation among fans for the past 20-odd years.

Also in 1984 Frida recorded the Andersson/Ulvaeus song ‘Slowly’ on her album Shine. Benny and Björn reworked this song the following year for the self-titled debut album for brother/sister duo Gemini. Frida’s recording probably sounds closer to Benny and Björn’s demo than the later Gemini version.

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8 Responses to “ABBA after ABBA”

  1. Einar Says:

    Hi Ian,

    Frida also recorded two different versions of Arrival (Time and Belle).

    Cheers,

    Einar

  2. Ian Cole Says:

    That’s a good point Einar. How could I have forgotten those two? Thanks for reminding me.

    For those who don’t know, ‘Belle’ and ‘Time’ were both set to the tune of ‘Arrival’, from the French and English versions of the musical ABBAcadabra, which set new lyrics to ABBA songs and a storyline that featured famous fairytale characters. Frida duetted with Daniel Balavoine on the French cast recording LP and with B.A. Robertson on the English version single, both in 1983. Both songs were also performed on television.

  3. Alessandra Harris Says:

    Hi!
    I was (and still am) an avid ABBA fan and was lucky enough to see them in concert 29yrs ago. It never ceases to amaze me when the general consensus of opinion states that Lennon and McCartney were the greatest songwriters of this century. O.K. there were a couple of decent songs but in the main,the’re lyrics were rubbish and never made any sense. It doesn’t take much up top to write i.e. “She loves you,yeah,yeah,yeah,” and similar. Considering English wasn’t even Bjorn and Benny’s first language,almost ALL of their songs told a story and I would rate them in the league of the greatest composers up there with Bach,Mozart etc. if you get my meaning.
    Paul McCartney recently released a song using a mandelin,the lyrics of which my 9yr old could have easily strung together. ABBA will NEVER be forgotten and their music will continue to be enjoyed long after we’ve shuffled off this mortal coil!!!

  4. Mary-Kat Krylova Says:

    Hello! I really appreciate ABBA and agree that their music will always be remembered. The reason I write here is to ask PLEASE somebody help me to find the words for the song ‘”Money, Money, Money” –the cover version in “Funky ABBA” project by Nils Landgren. I was asked to provide the words by my friends–jazz musicians, but as a language learner I understand only 70% of the recitative. I will be very grateful.

  5. tyra Says:

    I REALLY LOVE ABBA IT IS MY BEST POP GROUP EVER

  6. Samuel N. Inglles Says:

    Hi Ian

    Would you happen to have any information about Agnetha latest grandchild by Linda Ulvaeus? Anything to share with us all?

  7. Sarah Says:

    The latest addition to the Ekengren-Ulvaeus family is a little girl called Signe. Fingers crossed for a photo soon 🙂

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