New music from Benny and Björn

On top of the news that Agnetha is recording, the two men of ABBA also have new music coming.

First up Benny Anderssons Orkester (BAO) is releasing a new Christmas album, Tomten har åkt hem (Santa Claus has gone home), featuring new songs by Benny (with lyrics by Björn) and traditional Swedish Christmas music.

BAO is also releasing a career spanning box set, BAO IN BOX. The set contains 6 CDs, featuring all the contents of the six BAO albums (studio and live, including the new Christmas album). The CDs have been reformatted into themes – orchestra music, folk music, songs (2 discs), on tour, Christmas music.

The box also includes two DVDs featuring the 2001 documentary Benny Anderssons Orkester 10 år …(ten years) and Benny Anderssons Orkester på nya äventyr (…on a new adventure), filmed in 2001.

Tomten har åkt hem and BAO IN BOX are both scheduled for release in 14 November. See here for more information (in Swedish) and here for images of the box set contents and tracklistings.

Meanwhile, Björn has written lyrics for a new song, ‘I Can See Myself In You’, music by Tobias Gustavsson and sung by Tommy Körberg and Danny Saucedo. The duo will perform the ballad at the opening of the new Friends Arena in Stockholm on 27 October. The single is released digitally worldwide on 15 October (except the USA, it is expected later).

Agnetha is recording again

Hot on the heels of the news of ABBA The Museum and the ABBA figures at Madame Tussauds comes the surprise revelation that Agnetha is recording new material!

Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet reported on Thursday that Agnetha has been in the studio with Swedish songwriter and producer Jörgen Elofsson. Elofsson’s website shows a list of dozens of international and Swedish stars for whom he has written and produced songs over the last two decades.

Agnetha’s long-time spokesman Staffan Lindé confirms that Agnetha has indeed been recording.

Unlike her 2004 album My Colouring Book, which featured Agnetha’s recordings of songs from the 1960s, the new album promises to be new songs. Whether this will be songs written by Elofsson, Agnetha or both is not clear. The finished product is expected to be released by Universal Music, bringing Agnetha back to the same company that releases ABBA for the first time since 1985.

I’m a little cynical about the timing of the news, coming just one day after the announcement of ABBA The Museum. It seems timed to tag on to the media reports about the museum (which it has), just as news of My Colouring Book coincided with ABBA and Mamma Mia! anniversary events in 2004.

ABBA The Museum and ABBA at Madame Tussauds

ABBA at Madame Tussaud'sThis week exciting news with two different ABBA exhibits.

The biggest news is the long-awaited announcement of the opening of ABBA The Museum (previously ABBAWORLD, previously ABBA The Museum) in Stockholm.

ABBA The Museum will be located in a new complex on Djurgården, near the Gröna Lund amusement park, Cirkus theatre and Skansen open-air museum. The complex will also house the Swedish Music Hall of Fame, Melody Hotel, restaurant and bar, and museum shop.

The museum is expected to hold many of the exhibits from the ABBAWORLD touring exhibition (as seen in London, Melbourne, Györ, Sydney and Prague), plus new exhibits. It will likely be smaller than the London version of ABBAWORLD, possibly the size of the Prague version. 

It is expected that ABBA The Museum will open in April or May 2013 – the date and ticket sales will be announced later this year. See the official website for more details, FAQ, and sign up for the free newsletter.

Also in news this week is the unveiling of the ABBA figures at Madame Tussauds in London (pictured above). It’s taken a long, long time for ABBA to be represented in the famous wax museum. After a residency in London it is expected the figures will appear at other Madame Tussauds locations around the world.

Fans have been commenting all week on forums everywhere, discussing the figures’ appearance, resemblance (or not)  to the ABBA members, the arrangement of the figures, the museum’s description of the figures’ costumes “in the unique style from their 1975 video for ‘SOS’”.

Regardless, it is a huge honour that ABBA will finally appear among a host of other music legends.

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