Why does Benny restrict his audience?

benny_anderson_fFans trying to buy the legal download of the new Benny and Björn song ‘2nd Best To None’ from CDON or Bengans have been frustrated that it is only available to Swedish residents.

It’s happened before that obtaining new material from Benny has been difficult for non-Swedes, despite his obvious international following.

A couple of years ago Benny wrote a tune which was donated to the Red Cross and sold as a mobile phone ringtone. Like the ‘2nd Best To None’ download it was only available to Swedish customers.

When the Swedish production of CHESS was filmed and released on DVD in 2003 the DVD was available to a worldwide audience of ABBA and CHESS fans and musical lovers, but had no subtitles in any language, making it hard for non-Swedish speakers to understand, especially the documentary feature on the second disc.

Apprently ‘2nd Best To None’ will be made available on CD single. And the international CD ‘Story Of A Heart’, with English-language songs and previously released instrumental tracks will be released on 6 July. So it’s not all bad new for those of us outside Sweden.

Author: Ian Cole

My name is Ian Cole, and I live in Sydney, the capital of the state of New South Wales in Australia.

13 thoughts on “Why does Benny restrict his audience?”

  1. This is one of the best Abba blogs around and has genuinely interesting content for fans which is rare. Keep the great posts coming 🙂


    UrFantastic – Support your favourite acts and win concert tickets!

    1. Hi Chris

      IAN COLE has done a MAGNIFICENT job with his great and wonderful ABBA WORLD BLOG.

      [FABB]Ian is extremely thorough with all the information on ABBA to the very last detail.

      ABBA fans throughout the world are very fortunate to have Ian as an ABBA historian. What would we do without Ian?

      Thank you for the very kind COMPLIMENT! It is greatly appreciated!!!

      Kind Regards
      Samuel Inglles

  2. It is frustrating, but maybe it’s just an oversite that access by fans from other countries isn’t possible. Otherwise, he should know that there is a large and appreciative international audience for his non-ABBA music. I’m hoping (naively) that BAO come to Australia. A few weeks ago, I wrote an email to the Swedish Consulate in Sydney with this suggestion; just as the Swedish Embassy in Britain co-organised BAO to perform in England, but our consulate hasn’t responded yet …surprise-surprise 😦 I also suggested an outdoor venue like The Domain in Sydney during The Festival of Sydney would be ideal, and that there would be just as much interest in other Australian cities (to make the trip affordable). Then maybe there could also be official concerts at various venues (eg: Opera House, The State Theatre). What do you think Ian? (I’ve also tried emailing to Mono Music about a year ago, with a similiar suggestion, but they never got back). Sigh.

  3. Dear Ian.

    Hi. A follow up to my note from this morning:

    I must be telepathic (for want of a better word) 😉 This afternoon I received a reply-email from the Swedish Consulate in Sydney (I had originally sent my question on the 30th of April).

    I was told that the Consulate’s cultural budget is limited, but the kind woman who replied to me also agreed that: “bringing out Benny Anderssons Orkester is an excellent idea”.

    I wonder if Australia will ever be blessed with a trip from BAO? So many individual and group performers come out to Australia from around the world (compared to many decades ago), so it’d be magnificent if BAO could. Their music would go well on ABC Classical FM too (as, obviously, would the score for Kristina… and they did do a program on Chess a few years ago). 🙂

    Oh well, I guess all we can do is keep our fingers crossed. I think it’d be fantastic to see the band perform in Oz. I’d still be interested to know you view, Ian.

    Meanwhile, cheers for now. Tony

  4. Hi Tony,

    One of the arts festivals in one of the capital cities would be the ideal umbrella for a BAO/BAB visit to Australia. It’s a pity we don’t really have some sort of Swedish festival or event – that would be ideal too. If only…


    1. Hi Ian,

      Thanks for your message. Very much appreciated. Maybe we should tempt Benny with reminders of yachting on Sydney Harbour 😉 He’d probably be able to enjoy the harbour with at least a little bit more peace than he experienced in ’76 and ’77.

      By the way Ian, I really enjoy visiting your website. Thank you for a very interesting and comprehensive website.

      Cheers for now,


  5. Hi Ian

    An article in relation to Benny Andersson.

    Kind Regards
    Samuel Inglles

    * The Sun-Herald (Sydney) – Sunday, 10 May 2009 (Page 6)

    Sydney’s Best Entertainment Section – Kate Waterhouse – My Week

    Having a ball to discover a cure.

    Masks of all shapes and sizes made a statement at this charity gala.

    The high-profile neurosurgeon Charlie Teo personally invited me to the Cure For Life Foundation’s Unmask The Cure masquerade ball at the Horden Pavilion last Saturday night.

    More than 800 guests came, including Collette Dinnigan, NSW Governor Marie Bashir and Matt Shirvington. Most people were hidden behind Venetian-style masks but Charlie wore a furry lion’s head. Another guest wore a Mexican fighting mask and could have been mistaken for Nacho Libre.

    The Governor was escorted by Squadron Leader Alan Hunter who told me he had the best job in the world because “it is like working for your aunty”.

    John Singleton’s latest ex, Julie, was swept off her feet dancing and canoodling with a mystery man. I sat next to Shirvington, who might have legs for running but told me: “I’m glad my wife is at home because otherwise she would have made me dance.”

    Much-needed funds were raised with a prize to meet ABBA’s Benny Andersson auctioned for $31,000. I would have paid $31,000 not to meet him but each to their own. I wondered how such an obscure prize came about and was told Charlie played ABBA while performing brain surgery on a Swedish patient who knew Benny. He set up a meeting as a way of thanking the surgeon. Charlie, can’t you play Kings of Leon next time you’re operating?

  6. http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2009/apr/27/abba-benny-andersson-live-comeback

    Abba’s Benny announces live comeback … on a bandstandThe founder of Sweden’s most successful pop group is to play an outdoor show on Hampstead Heath. Next, Bob Dylan goes busking on Clapham Common
    Buzz up!
    Digg it
    Rosie Swash
    guardian.co.uk, Monday 27 April 2009 16.58 BST
    Article history

    Parklife … Abba’s Benny Andersson gears up for his outing on Hampstead Heath. Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

    Just as the world begins to recover from Meryl Streep’s high kicks in Mamma Mia!, Abba’s Benny Andersson has announced a live comeback … on a bandstand in north London. The multimillion-selling founder of Sweden’s most successful pop group has apparently eschewed the capital’s glitzier venues in favour of an outdoor show on Hampstead Heath, set to take place in July.

    “Benny is very excited to be playing. The Swedish have a long tradition of dancing outdoors and the music we dance to is perfect for this,” Staffan Carlsson, ambassador to Sweden, told the Camden New Journal. He added: “We long for the light … to go outside after all those dark winter months, so we thought a little free outdoor concert would be a great idea.”

    We admire Carlsson’s positivity in describing a location more often associated with schoolkids popping out for a crafty ciggie. Previous performers, as listed by the Camden New Journal, include, “The Absent Minded Professor, Clown Jenny and The Balloonatic”.

    Andersson said: “I have heard Hampstead Heath is beautiful and I look forward to performing there.”

    Carlsson added that the event would feature Abba’s music and traditional Swedish folk. The performance is part of a series of Swedish events planned for the summer in celebration of the appointment of a Swedish commissioner of the European Union. Andersson’s performance will take place on the Parliament Hill bandstand on 4 July from 2pm onwards.

  7. http://www.thecnj.co.uk/camden/2009/042309/news042309_02.html

    Camden News – EXCLUSIVE by DAN CARRIER
    Published: 23 April 2009

    Benny Andersson
    Abba’s Benny to play gig on the bandstand

    Supertrouper to perform sounds of Sweden in free outdoor summer concert on the Heath

    WITH more than 370 million records sold and a legion of dedicated fans, Swedish pop legends Abba could have the pick of any venue on the planet if they were ever to announce a reunion tour.
    But for Benny Andersson, one of the band’s masterminds, a modest place on Hampstead Heath is clearly worth taking a chance on.
    Andersson, who co-wrote classics such as Waterloo, Dancing Queen and Super Trooper for the foursome and worked as a producer on the hit musical Mamma Mia told the New Journal yesterday (Wednesday) he is ready to make a debut appearance on the Parliament Hill bandstand.
    Never mind stadiums and music halls, he will perform at a spot that normally plays home to a lone bagpiper on weekday mornings and is more regularly used as shelter to schoolchildren during wet lunch breaks.
    The coup of a booking was clinched by events manager Paul Maskell and will form the culmination of a week-long celebration across
    London of all things Swedish planned for July, celebrating the country’s taking on a six-month presidency of the European Union.
    Benny, who along with Agnetha, Björn, and Anni-Frid won the 1974 Eurovision song contest, said: “I have heard Hampstead Heath is beautiful and I look forward to performing there.”
    The bandstand’s summer programme includes gigs by children’s entertainers such as The Absent Minded Professor, Clown Jenny and The Balloonatic.
    Local acts performing include country swing artist Ginny Brown and pub-funk group the Dan Keys band.
    Sweden’s ambassador to the UK Staffan Carlsson said: “Benny is very excited to be playing. The Swedish have a long tradition of dancing outdoors and the music we dance to is perfect for this.
    “We long for the light and long to go outside after all those dark winter months, so we thought a little free outdoor concert would be a great idea.”
    But visitors should not expect Benny to don white flares and platform boots as was his wont in the 1970s: instead his orchestra will showcase classic Swedish music.
    Mr Carlsson added: “He is going to play for at least two hours and it will be Swedish folk music with an Abba sound incorporated into it. He is quintessentially Swedish.”
    Pupils at nearby Parliament Hill and William Ellis schools said yesterday they were thrilled to hear the news.
    Grace Campbell, 15, said: “Abba are still massive. I have some of their music and I’ll come and see Benny.”
    William Ellis pupil Trajan Wilson said: “We meet here at our lunch breaks, and if you are going up the Heath, you always tell your friends to come to the bandstand. Fair play to Benny for coming.”
    Mr Maskell said the appearance of the superstar was part of a long tradition of top acts coming to the Heath.
    He said: “In the 1960s, Pink Floyd and Jefferson Airplane played on the Heath. We are very pleased to welcome him here.”

    • Benny Andersson’s orchestra will perform on Saturday, July 4 between 2 pm and 9pm.

  8. http://www.startribune.com/entertainment/music/49893147.html

    ABBA’s Benny Andersson shoots down talk of reunion to fill Jackson void in London arena
    By LOUISE DIXON , Associated Press

    Last update: July 3, 2009 – 7:20 PM

    LONDON – Forget those reports that Swedish supergroup ABBA will be reuniting to cover Michael Jackson’s sold-out concert dates.

    “No one has even asked us, and if they asked us they would have ‘no’ as an answer, because (Jackson’s concerts were) going to happen in a week,” said Benny Andersson, who co-wrote ABBA hits like “Dancing Queen” and “Take a Chance on Me” with Bjorn Ulvaeus.

    “And even if it wasn’t happening in a week, no, no we’re not on,” Andersson said Friday.

    Jackson died while preparing for a run of 50 shows at the 02 arena in London, set to kick off July 13.

    There had been speculation that ABBA might reunite to fill the gaping vacancy at one of London’s biggest and most important music venues.

    AEG Live chief David Campbell was quoted in the Sun newspaper as saying, “There’s a little foursome out in Sweden we keep talking to.”

    If so, that foursome wasn’t Andersson, Ulvaeus, Agnetha Faltskog and Annifrid Lyngstad, who unofficially disbanded in 1982. Millions of fans have been clamoring for a reunion ever since.

    Andersson, 62, was in London on Friday promoting his new CD, “Story of a Heart.”

    He said he sympathized with AEG’s plight. “All of a sudden, they have 50 nights and they are just empty, you know. I don’t envy the situation of the management down there. I understand that they need to do something, but we are not the answer.”

  9. http://www.abc.net.au/atthemovies/txt/s2306607.htm

    Production details
    Release details: Limited Staggered Release – Vic 7/8/08; NSW 14/8/08. Check newspapers for screening details.
    Classification: M
    Duration: 94 mins
    Genre: Comedy/Drama
    Director: Roy Andersson
    Lead actor: Jessika Lundberg
    Cast: Elisabeth Helander, Björn Englund, Leif Larsson, Olle Olson, Birgitta Persson, Kemal Sener, Håkan Angser, Rolf Engström, Gunnar Ivarsson, Eric Bäckman and Patrik Anders Edgren
    Producer: Philippe Bober, Håkon Øverås, Pernilla Sandström
    Screenplay: Roy Andersson
    Music: Benny Andersson
    Distributor: Potential
    Language: Swedish
    Country: Sweden
    More information: Subtitled in English

    A comic drama on the meaning of life…

    Margaret: 4 Stars David:4 Stars

    You, The Living
    Rated M
    Review by David Stratton

    In an unnamed city, a man wakes up after a nightmare in which he saw sinister bomber planes fill the sky. It’s the start of YOU, THE LIVING, a film which has no formal plot but which consists of a series of vignettes handled in the deadpan style writer-director Roy Andersson previously demonstrated in SONGS FROM THE SECOND FLOOR.

    A Muslim barber takes revenge on a racist client. An apartment dweller objects to the noise of music being played upstairs. An old man walks about dragging a not very animated dog behind him.

    Among the characters who emerge are Anna, (JESSIKA LUNDBERG), who meets musician Micke, (ERIC BLACKMAN), in a bar and hopes this will be the start of a beautiful friendship.

    The Swedish auteur, ROY ANDERSSON, has made only four feature films in a career spanning forty years: one a decade! His last two films are companion pieces, series of strikingly realised scenes in which the human condition is skewered by means of the blackest of black comedy.

    Andersson owes something to Jacques Tati, in his very stylised approach to comedy, but his films are more surreal, more existential, than anything Tati ever made.

    The title comes from Goethe: “Be pleased then, you the living, in your delightfully warmed bed, before Lethe’s ice-cold wave will lick your escaping foot.” It sums up the absurdity, yet the compassion, of this very singular filmmaker and a film which is visually the most striking to arrive in cinemas this year.

    Further comments
    DAVID: Did you like it, Margaret?

    MARGARET: I loved it.

    DAVID: Oh, I’m glad.

    MARGARET: I loved it. But, at the same time, I know that people are not going to love it like we do.

    DAVID: That’s for sure. It’s not everybody film, yes.

    MARGARET: No. But it’s sort of like an art piece and it’s so compassionate and just beautiful. I mean, it’s very much in that Nordic style of filmmaking.

    DAVID: Yeah. It’s austere.

    MARGARET: You know I’m reminded of Kaurismäki and…

    DAVID: Yeah.

    MARGARET: Yes, that austerity.

    DAVID: Yeah.

    MARGARET: The colours. The framing, I love the fact that, you know, you’re given this chance to take in everything in the scene; that it’s very detailed. You know, I mean it looks stark but, you know, there’s stuff there that you want to…

    DAVID: Yeah.

    MARGARET: That nourishes you.

    DAVID: Well, you could actually take almost every image from the film…

    MARGARET: Yeah.

    DAVID: And hang it on the wall.

    MARGARET: Yeah.

    DAVID: It’s really beautiful.

    MARGARET: And the music is lovely.

    DAVID: Yeah.

    MARGARET: The Louisiana Brass Band.

    DAVID: Yes.

    MARGARET: No, I mean it’s just one of those films that you either love or don’t like at all.

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