My television debut

Ian on ABBA: Dancing QueenThis week I made my television debut in the new documentary ABBA: Dancing Queen, broadcast on SVT1 in Sweden last Wednesday night.

I’ve had a few TV appearances before, most notably a morning news report on an Australian ABBA fan event in March 1987. But this was my first sit-down on-camera interview.

It’s a rather unnerving experience to go through. Trying to concentrate on the questions, to think of something interesting to respond, to speak clearly and coherently, all under the glare of bright lights and the gaze of the camera. I don’t know how people in the public eye do it all the time.

The film takes a look at ABBA’s biggest hit and most well-known song, intertwined with the story of ABBA’s phenomenal success in Australia. It features lots of ABBA footage, some of it not seen on TV since the 70s, along with interviews with ABBA’s musicians, people involved in the Australian concert tour and ABBA – The Movie, international rock legends, and many more. You can watch the film here (in Swedish, all interviews are in English with Swedish subtitles). It’s a thrill to be included in such esteemed company.

Dancing Queen is the first of three ABBA documentaries screening on SVT1 over the next few weeks. See here for details about all three films. The films are produced by Roger Backlund, Carl Magnus Palm and Viktor Petrovski for Happy Monday Media. Hopefully we’ll see the films broadcast elsewhere later in the year.

Coincidentally I should be appearing in another ABBA documentary, Bang A Boomerang – Why Australia ♥ ABBA, at the end of January.

“There will never be a musical reunion…”

Björn“There will never be a musical reunion … oh, I should say on stage, never a musical reunion”.

These words, uttered by Björn Ulvaeus in an interview last week announcing ABBA The Museum, have set off another wave of ABBA-reunion-fever among ABBA fan circles. He specifies there will be no on-stage reunion, so there must be some other form of reunion happening, such as a non-singing public appearance, a group interview, or neven a new recording, so the theory goes.

But of course, Björn means nothing of the sort. In the same interview he discusses the possibility of an ABBA appearance at the opening of the new museum: “I will have to give everyone (each group member) a preview and take it from there”. He has previously said that he has invited the other three to the opening, but does not know if they will attend.

Agnetha’s comments twelve months ago that it was not “impossible” for the four to do something again have fed the latest reunion fever. Because the infamously reclusive Agnetha said it, something will happen, according to the theory. But like Frida in so many interviews, she’s playing the media game. If she says “no, I don’t want to do anything with the other three”, there will be endless hounding from the world’s media. Hinting that some form of reunion could be possible diffuses the question, and it gets a lot of headlines.

Just as Björn is hinting  in last week’s interview (if you read between the lines), that there may be some sort of reunion for the museum opening. It gets a lot of media attention.

Maybe we’ll see all four at the opening of ABBA The Museum in May next year, just as we did for the Stockholm premiere of the Mamma Mia! movie in 2008. Maybe like so many other events since 2004 we’ll see one, but no more than two, ABBA members.

Source: A new museum for ABBA, but no stage reunion

The end of ABBA


Today marks the 30th anniversary of ABBA’s last appearance as a group, before taking a “break” that has continued to this day.

Having done almost no in-person publicity for 1981’s The Visitors, the last three months of 1982 saw ABBA on a publicity blitz promoting the compilation ABBA – The Singles – The First Ten Years, new singles ‘The Day Before You Came’ and ‘Under Attack’, and commemorating the band’s 10th anniversary.

In October ABBA were interviewed for the Dutch television special The Story Of ABBA. This special has been made available on DVD under several different titles.

On November 5th a party was held at the Belfry Club in London celebrating ABBA’s ten years. Epic Records, ABBA’s UK licensee, presented the group with a large framed award featuring gold records of ABBA’s 23 singles featured on The Singles album.

The following day Agnetha and Benny appeared on the UK morning children’s television show Saturday Superstore. That evening the whole group appeared on The Late Late Breakfast Show, being interviewed by host Noel Edmunds which ended with an “impromptu” performance of ‘Thank You For The Music’. This programme is featured on The Visitors Deluxe Edition DVD released in April this year.

On November 11th ABBA were interviewed on German TV’s Thommy’s Pop Show. Later the same day they performed ‘The Day Before You Came’, its B-side ‘Cassandra’, and ‘Under Attack’ on Show Express. This latter performance is a popular one among ABBA fans.

On November 19th ABBA appeared on Swedish talk show Nöjesmaskinen (The Entertainment Machine), in one of the group’s most relaxed interviews ever. It’s almost as though they know the end is near, and they (mostly) drop their guard. They performed another rendition of ‘Thank You For The  Music’ around Benny’s piano, and also performed the newest (and as it turned out final) single ‘Under Attack’. This programme is also featured on The Visitors Deluxe Edition DVD.

On December 11th ABBA made their final appearance as a group, with a satellite interview on The Late Late Breakfast Show. It was a rather ignoble end, with an inconsequential interview filled with silly questions. The show ended with performances of ‘I Have A Dream’ and ‘Under Attack’. These two performances were included on the Number Ones DVD (2006).

Then ABBA took their well-publicised break, so that Benny and Björn could fulfil their dream of writing a musical (Chess, with British lyricist Tim Rice), while Frida and Agnetha resumed their solo careers. For years all four maintained that the group was just on a break but would reconvene at some point, but it seems obvious that none of them were really interested in being ABBA anymore; the last couple of years as a group had been difficult and it became evident that inspiration for the group was gone.

(Thanks to ABBA on TV and ABBA Annual for some details)

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