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.

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16 Responses to “ABBA today”

  1. Middle Man Says:

    I also get an awful lot of hits on my own blog from people searching for “ABBA” – and I am not entirely sure why as you will see in the following post:

    http://caughtinthemiddleman.wordpress.com/2008/02/09/strange-visitors/

  2. niamh Says:

    i realy enjoend wacthing the abba story thst was on on saturday night on tv 3. i realy enjoyed it very much please show more thank you

  3. Samuel Inglles Says:

    Hi IAN

    Here’s an article on the ABBA members today!

    Kind Regards
    Samuel Inglles

    Who – 28 July 2008 (Page 60)

    WHERE ARE THEY NOW? ABBA: With ‘Mamma Mia!’ in theatres/cinemas, we couldn’t resist checking in on the super troupers today.

    BJÖRN ULVAEUS
    “I can honestly say I never long to be onstage again,” says Ulvaeus, 63, who runs a small airline. Divorced from band-mate Fältskog in 1980, he lives on the island of Vågaskär, Sweden, with wife Lena, who has battled leukaemia since 2003. He recently revealed he suffers long-term memory loss, and can’t even remember winning Eurovision in 1974.

    ANNI-FRID LYNGSTAD
    An avid skier, Lyngstad, 62, lives in Zermatt, a Swiss village at the base of the Alps where British royals often cavort. A widow since 1999, when husband Heinrich died of cancer, Frida – the only member open to an ABBA reunion – dedicates her time to charity. Says a pal: “She likes a normal life. She’s not one for the glamour.”

    BENNY ANDERSSON
    Andersson, 61, broke Swedish pop-chart records when his group’s 2004 hit, ‘Du Är Min Man” (translation: ‘You Are My Man’), held the top spot for 38 weeks. Worth more than $125 million, the music mogul owns a hotel and horse farm. Says Andersson, who remarried after divorcing his ABBA mate Anni-Frid Lyngstad in 1981: “[ABBA] shared a wonderful thing together.”

    AGNETHA FÄLTSKOG
    When she showed up at the ‘Mamma Mia!’ Stockholm movie premiere hand-in-hand with Lyngstad, it was only the second time in 22 years she joined her band-mates in public. The ‘reclusive’ Fältskog, 58, even danced with Meryl Streep and Frida Lyngstad on the red carpet. Apart from a 2004 cover album, ‘My Colouring Book’, she prefers a quiet life on an island outside of Stockholm.

    Photo of ABBA in 1976: The year ‘Dancing Queen’ topped the charts.

  4. Samuel Inglles Says:

    Hi IAN

    Here’s an article mostly to do with ABBA!

    Kind Regards
    Samuel Inglles

    The West Australian – Monday, 7 July 2008 (Page 13)

    It’s all said and done, say ABBA.

    London.

    ABBA have vowed never to perform together again despite the enormous success of ‘Mamma Mia!’, the show and film based on their hits.

    Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, who wrote most of the group’s hits, said nothing could entice them back on stage.

    “We will never appear on stage again,” Ulvaeus said. “There is simply no motivation to regroup. Money is not a factor and we would like people to remember us as we were. Young, exuberant, full of energy and ambition.

    “I remember Robert Plant saying Led Zeppelin were a cover band now because they cover all their own stuff. I think that hit the nail on the head.”

    ABBA shot to international stardom after winning the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest with ‘Waterloo’ and are the most successful act in pop history after the Beatles. They had six number 1 hit singles in Australia, including ‘Dancing Queen’, ‘Fernando’ and ‘Money, Money, Money’, and despite splitting up in 1982 continue to sell millions of records.

    Throughout most of the band’s life Ulvaeus and Andersson were married to the two singers Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, better known as Frida.

    Both couples divorced before the band split but Ulvaeus insists the breakdowns were not brought about by the pressures of fame. “I don’t think the pressures of being in the band caused the splits,” he said.

    “On the contrary. If Benny and I had been in a band with two other girls and had wives at home the marriages would have split up much earlier. They were not acrimonious divorces.

    “We all sat down and said hang on, we have so much more to give. We are not going to let it end, are we? We are civilised people. So we carried on and some of our best work came after the divorces. ‘The Winner Takes It All’, for instance.”

    Both Ulvaeus and Andersson are amazed and delighted that ABBA continue to sell millions of records.

    “We didn’t think the music would live on this long,” Andersson said. “You know what pop music is. It is there for the time it actually happens. You are on the charts for 16 weeks or four weeks, then it goes and then something else comes up.” No matter how many records they sell, the band will always be synonymous with the Eurovision Song Contest. Both men rarely tune in any more but they are confident a Western European nation can win again, despite all the fears that the former Eastern bloc countries now dominates the event.

    “Of course the West can win again,” laughed Andersson. “It is just a question of getting the right stuff in there. I am proud of what we did in Eurovision, but I am not proud of Eurovision itself anymore. It is not producing good music of the kind it was in the 1960s. I think after us nothing good has come out of it.”

    Both men are delighted that their songs have had such an influence on the contemporary music scene. “With such string of hits you are bound to influence other people,” Ulvaeus said.

    Madonna is a huge fan and in 2005 asked Ulvaeus and Andersson if she could sample their hit ‘Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)’ in the song ‘Hung Up’.

    “Madonna wrote a very, very nice letter saying please, please we have had a wonderful idea which involves Gimme! Gimme!”, Ulvaeus said.

    “We said we would have to listen to it first but after half a minute I knew it was brilliant. That is one of the few we have allowed.”

    Ulvaeus believes that part of the reason the band’s work has endured is that they rarely toured and they concentrated solely on songwriting.

    “We toured very little. Almost nothing,” he said. “That is why the songs are still out there. They are carefully crafted. It was the very best we could achieve. Touring we thought was a waste of time. It was much more productive and much more creative to write and record.”

    Ulvaeus and Andersson are thrilled by the global success of the musical ‘Mamma Mia!’. The movie version features more than 20 of their hits and stars Meryl Streep, Colin Firth and Pierce Brosnan.

    “Meryl Streep is a goddess,” Ulvaeus said. “And at first we couldn’t believe that she wanted to do it. I was completely taken by surprise when I saw her performance in the movie. To hear her delivering the songs with all the emotion we put in the lyrics is more than we could have dreamed of.”

  5. Samuel Inglles Says:

    Hi IAN

    I hope you are well and happy – Mamma Mia? – This is another ‘ABBA TODAY’ article!

    Kind Regards

    Samuel Inglles

    Sunday Tasmanian – 13 July 2008 (Page 3)

    Super Troupers: The music of ABBA is a gift that keeps on giving, writes Lawrie Masterson.

    Let’s get this out of the way right off the top. Never mind never saying never – ABBA will ‘never’ do a reunion performance, let alone a tour.

    “None of us wants to do that,” says Benny Andersson, who wrote the group’s songs with Björn Ulvaeus and occasionally, their late manager Stig Anderson.

    “Even if we wanted, I think we would do our fans no favours. You have all these videos, you have ‘ABBA-The Movie’, you have all the records and some sort of remembrance of what was in the 1970s. I think we would just destroy all that if we joined up again.”

    Sitting beside Andersson at a resort near Athens, Ulvaeus adds: “We thought maybe in a couple of years (after breaking up) we would come back together again, but, of course, that never happened, and it never will.

    “When you see all the old videos and so forth you see this young group with all the energy and ambition that’s in there and I think that’s the charm of it.”

    That may be so but Andersson and Ulvaeus are still mining gold from their compositions 25 years after ABBA broke up. And they have struck a vein richer than either could have imagined.

    After the 1994 Australian films ‘The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert’ and ‘Muriel’s Wedding’ revived interest in several of ABBA’s hits, British producer Judy Craymer, writer Catherine Johnson and director Phyllida Lloyd breathed new life into the Swedish group’s entire catalogue by crafting a narrative around 24 ABBA songs and turning them into the stage musical ‘Mamma Mia!’.

    Since it opened in London in 1999, more than 30 million people around the world have seen the show and it has been produced in eight languages.

    And now comes the Hollywood version, with Andersson, 61, and Ulvaeus, 63, as executive producers shepherding the re-recording of their songs by an ensemble cast led by Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgård and relative newcomer Amanda Seyfried.

    “I just thought I was writing the lyrics for a pop song that would live for as long as it was in the charts,” Ulvaeus says.

    “In my wildest dreams I never thought I would be sitting here today.”

    Other than giving their blessings and showing up on the occasional opening night, the two women of ABBA, Anni-Frid ‘Frida’ Lyngstad (married to Andersson for three years) and Agnetha Fältskog (married to Ulvaeus for nine years), have no connection with either stage show or movie.

    “I remember doing the stage show, I spoke to both of them just to say, ‘How do you feel about this?’” Ulvaeus says.

    “I think it was Agnetha who said, ‘As long as it’s not the story of ABBA, that’s fine’.”

    Formed in 1972, the group managed to survive for a decade despite their marriage break-ups which, in fact, Andersson credits with improving the songwriting and heightening the emotion of hits like ‘The Winner Takes It All’. “We did some of our best stuff after the divorces,” he says.

    With their catchy tunes, flashy costumes and the dark-haired Lyngstad and blonde Fältskog providing the sex appeal, ABBA seemed destined to scale the world charts after winning the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest with ‘Waterloo’.

    But apart from some European countries, no one else took much notice. The major markets of the US and Britain were indifferent.

    Eventually, after recording an album that contained songs including ‘Mamma Mia’, ‘S.O.S’, and ‘I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do’, they hired a budding film director named Lasse Hallström to make some videos which were sent to their different record labels.

    In far away Australia, the TV show ‘Countdown’ was in its heyday and Ian “Molly” Meldrum recognised a good thing when he saw it. The clips were played almost ad nauseam on ‘Countdown’ and soon ABBA was big Down Under, at least.

    “All of a sudden we were number one in Australia,” Andersson says.

    “When the English found out that we had a big hit in Australia they said, ‘Well, maybe we should release this’. That’s when it all started and then everyone followed after that. We’re so grateful to the Australian people.”

    Andersson and Ulvaeus, who began their songwriting collaboration in 1966, continue to compose together. Their most notable work since ABBA was the musical ‘Chess’, written with Tim Rice, which ran for three years after opening in London in 1986.

  6. bobj Says:

    Did you know that during their prime, ABBA incorporated and became the second largest corporation in Sweden, following VOLVO autos??????

  7. Dwight Wallace Says:

    You guys r the best thing ever happen tothe world of music,may God bless u all.

  8. Henrik Says:

    Lol GOD BLESS?
    Say that to Björn, and thank him for all the Humanist (pro-human, anti-religion) work 😉

  9. Grace "ABBA Fan" M. Says:

    Abba rocks they just came out with Abba singstar it totally rocks if anyone loves Abba as much as I do you should totally get it!

  10. Hugo Says:

    Grande ABBA!!! Desde Argentina!!! Es cierto que vuelven a grabar!!!!!!!! Uds. son Música Para Toda La Vida!!!!! Saludos!!!!!!!!

  11. Samuel Inglles Says:

    http://www.theroyalforums.com/1083-anni-frid-lyngstad-from-abba-pop-star-to-princess/

    Anni-Frid Lyngstad: from ABBA Pop Star to Princess
    February 16th, 2009 Goto comments Leave a comment “I am in fact very up and down. I am very different from day to day. I am a serious person. But I have a fright in me which is very difficult to forget. I thought that it would be better when I would be older, but it seems to be worse and worse…”
    Anni-Frid Lyngstad

    Click the image to see the IBL photo gallery
    Frida Lyngstad became successful worldwide as a member of the Swedish pop group ABBA.
    Songs like “Dancing Queen”, “Mamma Mia!”, “Fernando”or “Super Trouper” made them unforgettable. Frida became known as ‘the brunette’ or ‘the redhead’ of the girls, always surrounded by an air of style, elegance and beauty.
    How does it happen that the 70s popstar is titled “Her Serene Highness, Princess Reuss of Plauen” nowadays?
    Well let’s have a look at her life!

    Early Life

    Anni-Frid Lyngstad was born on November 15th 1945 in Bjørkåsen (Norway). She was the result of a liaison between 19-year-old Synni Lyngstad and a German officer, Alfred Haase, just before the end of the Second World War. Alfred Haase returned to Germany without knowing about Synni’s pregnancy.
    Frida, aged 2, and her mother soon left Norway and moved to Sweden where Synni died in 1949. Frida was raised by her grandmother alone. Already as a child she showed huge interest in music and used every possibility to start a career in the music business.

    When she was 17 years old Frida became a mother for the first time – her son Hans was born. She married the father, Ragnar Frederiksson, a few months later in April 1963. Their second child, daughter Lise-Lotte, was born in 1969. The couple got divorced in 1970.

    In 1968 she participated in the ” Melodifestivalen ” – the Swedish heats for the Eurovision Song Contest – with the song “Härlig är vår jord” (”Our Earth is Wonderful”), and finished fourth. Backstage she met her future spouse and ABBA pianist Benny Andersson.

    ABBA Career

    Click the image to see the gallery at raffem.com
    A short time later the relationship between Benny Anderson, Anni-Frid Lyngstad and a friendly couple, Björn Ulveus and Agnetha Fältskog , led to the formation of ABBA. In 1974 the band made the breakthrough after winning the “Grand Prix d’Eurovision de la Chanson ” (nowaydays the Eurovision Song Contest) in Brighton with their song “Waterloo”. Between 1974 and 1982 the band became successful and famous worldwide.

    Frida contributed lead vocals to some of ABBA’s biggest hits like “Fernando”, “Money, Money, Money”, “Super Trouper”, “I Have a Dream”, “Knowing Me, Knowing You” and shared lead vocals with Agnetha Fältskog on “Mamma Mia”, “Waterloo”, “Dancing Queen”, “The Name of the Game”, Voulez-Vous”, “Summer Night City” and others.
    In 1981 Frida and Benny, who married in 1978, divorced. In 1982 the band ABBA broke up and Frida moved to London.

    Prince Ruzzo

    In 1986 Frida moved to Switzerland, where she met her third husband, Prince Heinrich Ruzzo Reuss von Plauen. On 26 August 1992 Frida and Ruzzo married and Frida became “Her Serene Highness, Princess Anni-Frid Synni Reuss, Princess von Plauen.” She has two stepdaughters, Princess Henriette and Princess Pauline. Frida and Ruzzo became close friends of the Swedish Royal Couple, King Carl Gustav and Queen Silvia.

    Years of bitter fate

    “Though this time may feel it’s never ending- Time will help and heal- These moments will pass-So raise your head, and take up your heart-Hold it closely to you And the tears and pain will fall away-Like blossom snow-You will know -That you can be your own best friend – The sun will shine again!”
    Anni-Frid Lyngstad- lyrics of “The sun will shine again”

    In 1998 Frida’s daughter Lise-Lotte died in a car accident in the United States, where she lived with her son and husband. She was 30 years old. A year later, in 1999, Prince Ruzzo died of lymphoma. Frida completely withdrew from public life for a few years.

    In 2004 Frida recorded a new song with former Deep-Purple member Jon Lord, called “The sun will shine again”, working up her fate. During the last few years Frida was often seen during the premiers of the musical and movie “Mamma Mia!” , the annual “Polar Music Prize” and charity events she took part in with Queen Silvia of Sweden.

    Today, she still engages in charity work – environmental issues in particular. She currently lives in Zermatt, Switzerland.

  12. hjelen moulon Says:

    i just miss abba big time

  13. Sahar Says:

    Hi, Thank you SO MUCH for providing all the articles and info.
    I am a BIG ABBA fan and got all the info and more. 😉
    Really enjoyed reading all the articles. Thanks once again. 🙂

  14. Best Year's Blog Says:

    ABBA singers to appeal to fans for vote…

    As part of an upcoming TV tribute, the Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Bjorn Ulvaeus members have come forward making an appeal to their fans in voting for their favorite song from the band. The event will be seeing the two revealing all about their time they h…

  15. Marcos Donizeti Venturoli Says:

    elas continuam lindas

    Desculpe-me por só me comunicar em Portugues

  16. Julie Compton Says:

    Quit with phony rx ads!! Of course Frida and Agnetha are perfect as their voices haven’t changed after all these years and I seriously doubt Abba will ever reunite . I do believe the girls should record again without the guys

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