ABBA today

ABBA in 2007 (clockwise from top left) Frida, Agnetha, Benny, BjörnOne of the most frequent search terms on this blog is “ABBA today”. Perhaps people are interested in what the former ABBA members are doing in 2007. Or maybe they want  to find out if ABBA are reuniting and touring (see Tribute acts trading as “ABBA”).

ABBA as a group came to an end 25 years ago this month. Since then, all four have mostly followed their own individual paths. Benny and Björn have continued various collaborations (including the musicals Chess and Kristina från Duvemåla), while Agnetha and Frida released several solo albums, before retiring from public life with the occasional new recording.

The four have come together a number of times for low key “reunions”. The only public appearance was a pre-taped television performance of ‘Tivedshambo’ for former ABBA manager Stig Anderson on a This Is Your Life-type programme in January 1986. They have sung together at several friends’ birthday parties in the 1980s and ’90s, most recently at business associate Görel Hanser’s 50th birthday in 1999.

The group has resisted all offers for a full-scale reunion, including the famous offer of an alleged 1 billion US dollars in 2000.

Benny is the only musically active of the four today. His band Benny Anderssons Orkester (Benny Andersson’s Orchestra), also known as BAO (pronounced “bow” as in “take a bow”), has released three studio albums of Benny’s compositions since the first CD in 2001, the most recent BAO 3 released in October 2007. Last year they also released a live CD, recorded on their almost annual Summer tour. Their live repertoire includes original music, Swedish folk, American evergreens and the occasional ABBA song.

Earlier this year Benny produced the music for the film version of the stage musical Mamma Mia!, also playing piano alongside many of ABBA’s original studio musicians. He also appeared at the November 2007 premiere of the musical in Barcelona, Spain.

On top of all this, Benny has been quite vocal in a campaign to reform European copyright laws.

Björn continues to write lyrics for Benny’s songs, but otherwise his activities are strictly non-musical. He and Benny have talked of writing another musical, but have yet to come up with any firm ideas.

His most public involvement is with the musical Mamma Mia!, most recently at the Berlin premiere in October 2007.

In Sweden he has become an outspoken supporter of the “Humanist” movement, revealing an atheistic viewpoint, questioning the influence of religion on world governments. In September 2007 he was interviewed for the international documentary series Why Democracy? .

Frida last recorded in 2004, singing the song ‘The Sun Will Shine Again’ on the CD Beyond The Notes, an album by former Deep Purple keyboardist Jon Lord. She frequently attends celebrity events in Stockholm and London, and the occasional Mamma Mia! event, most recently the Berlin premiere with Björn. Otherwise she maintains her private life at her home in Switzerland.

In an October 2007 interview Frida said she and Jon Lord had been discussing the possibility of a full-length album project, but had not yet progressed beyond the discussion stage. Frida has a continuing involvement with various charitable causes, including promoting healthy, anti-drug lifestyles for young people.

Agnetha continues her private life on the island of Ekerö, just outside Stockholm, which is not the isolated, lonely island of myth, but a populated area on the eastern outskirts of Stockholm. Occasionally she turns up at nightclubs, parties or media events, belying her “recluse” reputation.

In November 2007 she attended a 20th anniversary party for Swedish channel TV3, and was seen dancing to ABBA tribute act Björn Again. Since her 2004 “comeback” album My Colouring Book, Agnetha has remained silent musically nor has she given any interviews.

Vote 1 ABBA World blog

ABBA Site Of The Year Award 2007 Nominee

The ABBA World blog is one of the nine nominees for ABBA Plaza’s ABBA Site Of The Year Award 2007.

I was pleased and surprised to see the blog among the final selection. Only the best of ABBA sites are included – so in just nine months, the blog has joined such august company.

Go here right now to vote for the ABBA World blog and your other favourite ABBA sites. Voting closes 31 December 2007.

Mamma Mia! movie trailer

MAMMA MIA! THE MOVIEThe first trailer for the MAMMA MIA! movie was released this week. Official websites in the US (international) and the UK were also launched this week.

There are two versions of the trailer which can now be viewed online:

There are some different scenes between the two trailers, and at least one scene common to both traliers that is shown from a different angle in the UK version.

The US (international) website features the trailer, story, photos and downloads.

The UK site features the trailer and promises more features, including a competition to win a trip to the world premiere in London in July 2008.

Is it another MAMMA MIA! “coincidence” that the trailers are released in the same week as the 25th anniversary of ABBA’s final appearance as a group?

The funny tricks of time

As of today, more time has passed since the world premiere of Mamma Mia! (which continues to play in London and around the world), than passed between ABBA winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 with ‘Waterloo’ and ABBA’s final appearance as a group on Britain’s The Late Late Breakfast Show in 1982.

Win The Little Book of ABBA

The Little Book of ABBAThe Little Book of ABBA by Claire Welch is the latest addition to the ABBA bookshelf. It tells a concise version of the story of ABBA from the very beginning right up to today.

For a chance to win one of five copies of this great new book, go to ABBA World, follow the links to the review and answer a simple question. The competition closes 31 December 2007.

ABBA the Museum – exclusive ticket release

ABBA the MuseumOn Wednesday December 5 2007 ABBA the Museum announces the opening date of the museum in 2009.

At 1.00 pm Stockholm time (CET) the same day 3,000 exclusive ticket packages for the opening week will be released at three different levels – platinum, gold and silver.

See for more information and ordering links.

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