Archive for the ‘Benny’ Category

50 år B&B

8 June, 2016

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Sunday 5 June 2016 marked the 50th anniversary of the first meeting of Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson. A chance meeting that became a firm friendship and songwriting partnership that endures to this day.

In a room filled with 300 or so invited family, friends and associates at Berns Salonger in central Stockholm, Björn and Benny celebrated the anniversary with a night filled with music, memories, and fun, arranged in secret by Benny’s son Ludvig Andersson, Görel Hanser, stage director and BAO member Lars Rudolfsson, and Master of Ceremonies Claes af Geijerstam.

The night featured an audio-visual presentation of Björn and Benny’s career. Interrupting the presentation were musical performances by guest singers, backed primarily by Benny Anderssons Orkester (without Benny), revisiting Björn and Benny’s vast catalogue.

Hep Stars lead singer Sven Hedlund sang Björn and Benny’s first song ‘Isn’t It Easy To Say’, apparently the first time he has ever performed the song live; Peter Jöback and Lill-Babs duetted on the Björn & Benny single ‘Det kan ingen doktor hjälpa’; Ludvig sang ‘Rock Me’ while his half-brother Peter Grönvall joined the band on keyboards; Pernilla Wahlgren and Lena Philipsson sang ‘Hole In Your Soul’; Helen Sjöholm sang ‘Where I Want To Be’ from Chess while Tommy Körberg sang BAO’s ‘Du är min man’, a reversal of their usual songs. Apparently there were other performances, but details haven’t been made public.

Paul McCartney sent a video greeting congratulating the pair on their long relationship and continued success. Björn and Benny have often professed that they were inspired to write songs, separately and together, by the example of Lennon and McCartney and The Beatles in the mid-1960s.

The night climaxed when Björn and Benny took to the stage to perform ‘Does Your Mother Know’, Björn handling lead vocals while Benny joined in on keyboards. After they returned to their seats, much to everyone’s surprise Frida and Agnetha were introduced to sing ‘The Way Old Friends Do’, dedicated to their old partners. Just as they did in 1979, Frida sang the first lines, Agnetha sang the next lines, then the two joined together in harmony. After the song, Björn and Benny returned to the stage for a brief emotional reunion.

With the formal events of the evening over, BAO took over with dance music until late in the evening.

Immediately the news of a so-called ABBA reunion flashed around the world. Unfortunately, as the story spread, it became more and more wrong about the events of the evening.

Due to an unfortunate misunderstanding of the song title, thanks to the way it had been introduced, it was reported in Expressen, quoting guitarist Janne Schaffer, that Frida and Agnetha had sung a song called ‘You And I’. Those are the first three words of ‘The Way Old Friends Do’, but are also the title of a song from Chess. So the story spread that they actually sang the song from Chess, perhaps not the best choice of song for a tribute. Then when other media outlets picked up the story and didn’t recognise that song title, but found that ABBA had a song called ‘Me And I’, they started reporting that the two women sang that song, an even less appropriate tribute than ‘You And I’ 

It was also widely reported that Björn and Benny joined the women on stage to sing, for an “ABBA reunion”, but that didn’t happen. The two men only returned to the stage after the song had finished. All the photos of the four together on stage on social media and elsewhere were taken in the minute or so after ‘The Way Old Friends Do’.

Pretty much every story stated that this was ABBA’s first public performance in 30 years. It was neither. The last (known) time the four sang together was 17 years ago, in June 1999 at Görel Hanser’s 50th birthday party. Prior to that they had also sung at Claes af Geijerstam’s 40th birthday party in 1986. Neither of these were public events, but like Sunday’s gathering, private parties for invited guests only.

The so-called last public performance by ABBA referred to in the media was not in public either, but to a small gathering of probably four or five with film crew and Görel and Anders Hanser, when they taped the performance of ‘Tivedshambo’ for Här är ditt liv (This Is Your Life) for Stig Anderson in January 1986. Hardly a public performance, but it was the last time “ABBA” were seen by the public, albeit on television 

After three decades of avoiding appearing as a group, this marked the second occasion that the four had been seen together this year. In January the four appeared on stage briefly at the opening of opening of Mamma Mia! The Party. Does this mean that a formal ABBA reunion is in the works? Of course not. On every occasion they’ve been together since 1982, it has been some private celebration, without media and fans present.

(Photo: Instagram @poptonten)

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Mamma Mia! It’s ABBA 2016

21 January, 2016

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Much to everyone’s surprise, not only did Bjorn, Frida, Benny and Agnetha attend the opening of Mamma Mia! The Party at Gröna Lund in Stockholm on the evening of Wednesday 20 January 2016, but the four appeared together on stage, posing and waving (briefly, for about 20 seconds or so).

(Photo: @grönalund instagram)

What is your favourite ABBA event of 2015?

1 January, 2016

2015 has been a slower year for ABBA, but there have still been many ABBA events, as well as things happening with Frida, Benny and Björn. What have been your favourites? Vote below for as many as you like. Please add any other events in the Comments.

 

 

What is your favourite ABBA event of 2014?

2 January, 2015

2014, being the 40th anniversary of ABBA’s win of the Eurovision Song Contest, has been one of the biggest years ever for ABBA. What were your favourite events? Vote below for as many as you like. Please add any other events in the Comments.

The 40th anniversary week

3 May, 2014

abba40The 40th anniversary of ABBA’s Eurovision Song Contest win was celebrated in great style in early April.

Of course there are many new releases to mark the anniversary, with ABBA – The Official Photo Book, Waterloo Deluxe Edition CD and DVD, ‘Waterloo’ single picture disc, The Singles 40 disc box set, and much more, with even more still to come.

The highlights of the anniversary commemorations were events in Stockholm and London on Sunday April 6th (the actual anniversary) and Monday April 7th.

On the Sunday afternoon ABBA The Museum in Stockholm held a concert on the museum’s forecourt, featuring an especially-created choir singing several ABBA songs. Benny Andersson joined the choir, playing piano as they sang ‘Thank You For The Music’, and then joining the choir on stage for a bow.

On the Monday night the Tate Modern gallery in London hosted ABBA The Official International Anniversary party, to launch The Official Photo Book and to commemorate the anniversary. One thousand ticket-buying fans joined 500 VIP guests for a night of ABBA music, with a small exhibition of photos from the book, and a brief appearance by Björn and Frida, which was followed by another performance by ABBA The Museum/The Choir.

The following Sunday (April 13th) Benny and Björn joined the London cast of Mamma Mia! at the Olivier Awards in London, performing one chorus of ‘Thank You For The Music’ for the awards show finale. Yes, you read that right: Benny and Björn actually performed on stage, on accordion and guitar respectively.

After a couple of interviews in London with Frida and Björn, there was much media and fan speculation that an ABBA reunion could be on the cards, after Frida said “that it would be fun, maybe, to record something”. Björn rather strangely added ” if there was out of, you know, pure magic, a fantastic song that would suit ABBA very well, you know, who knows”. Of course he wasn’t going to contradict Frida on camera, was he? Benny followed it up on the red carpet at the Olivier Awards, saying “I don’t think so”, then adding sarcastically “Well what do I know?”, clearly miffed that everyone was predicting an ABBA reunion except the one man who would be writing the music.

Agnetha was nowhere to be seen at any of these events. Apparently she was enjoying a holiday in Majorca. In May last year she missed the opening of ABBA The Museum, as she was in London doing interviews to promote her solo album A. In 2004 she missed the 5th anniversary of Mamma Mia! in London, which Björn, Frida and Benny attended (Benny quite reluctantly), as she was working on the documentary for her current album My Colouring Book.

Promoting her solo album A last year Agnetha was happy to use ABBA, from the cover sticker “New solo album by Agnetha Fältskog of ABBA”, to the title of her official television documentary Agnetha: ABBA and After, three-quarters of which was devoted to ABBA. As recently as November last year she hinted in an interview that she would be willing to do something with the other three, and that there were plans for the 40th anniversary (which set off another worldwide media frenzy of “ABBA reunion” headlines). But when there’s an actual ABBA event, she actively avoids the situation.

What is your favourite ABBA event of 2013?

27 December, 2013

Ring Ring Deluxe Edition (October)It’s been quite an ABBA year, especially for Agnetha. What have been your favourite ABBA events in 2013? Chose up to five from the list below, or add anything else to the comments.

 

What Agnetha really said

12 November, 2013

Following the sensational worldwide headlines started by their story over the weekend, today Die Welt has published online their full Agnetha story. The question of a potential ABBA reunion and Agnetha’s response becomes clearer. But still she does not say that there are plans for an ABBA reunion in April next year.

Here is the translation, courtesy of Google Translate. It’s not perfect, but you get the gist.

Die Welt: Of all the members of Abba, you were the one who always expressed most vehemently against a reunion Fältskog: Yes.
Die Welt: You also said that you would have a unique appearance with your colleagues, perhaps for a good cause, not mutually exclusive. If one was offering you, at an event like, say, “Live Aid” act, because you would seriously consider?
Fältskog: Yes. If we could unite all four on the purpose for which we want to do that, if it were only a one-time event – then, yes, we would certainly consider it. At the same time trickles yes. We’re all getting older. I can not imagine that we would go with my crutches on stage. Who knows what happened yet.
Die Welt: There are examples of successful Reunions: Led Zeppelin had a concert in London teamed up again in 2007.
Fältskog: I know, yes.
Die Welt: 20 million people were looking to buy tickets, 20,000 were in the O2 Arena. Would tempt such a thing?
Fältskog: I do not trust myself, nor anything to say (laughs).
Die Welt: Too bad. It almost sounds like there is something to say on the subject.
Fältskog: Sure, we think about it. See: In April 2014 it will be 40 years ago that we won with “Waterloo” the Eurovision Song Contest in Brighton. There are probably plans to make the occasion of this anniversary something. But I still do not know what comes of it. I also do not currently know it exactly.
Die Welt: Why not?
Fältskog: I’m a person who often makes too many thoughts. If such an event should take place, and I knew well in advance notice, I would break my head over it all the time. It eats too much life energy. It is similar to my fear of flying.
Die Welt: You suffer, since you had to make an emergency landing during their 1979 U.S. tour with your private jet, after you were caught in a storm.
Fältskog: Yes. If I have to fly today, I want not to know well in advance. That worries me too much. For me, it is better if such a request may reached me a week before, I care even on the same day.
Die Welt: It sounds like you would an Abba Reunion approach as a long-delayed but always made the leap ten meters tower: climb up fast, do not look down above, do not think, jump down.
Fältskog: That hits pretty well. Not only think – just do it.

Meanwhile, when asked for comment by Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter Benny has responded “It’s probably best if you ask her. I think that I probably ought to know if it were up to date” (Google Translate again). In other words, he doesn’t know a thing about any reunion plans, but if there were such plans he would know.

Before ABBA

28 June, 2013

Before ABBAFor people unfamiliar with the careers of the Björn, Benny, Agnetha and Anni-Frid before they came together as ABBA – and let’s face it, aside from hardcore ABBA fans and older generations of Swedes, that’s pretty much everyone – a new compilation CD has been released.

Before ABBA brings together three songs each from Bjorn’s group Hootenanny Singers, Benny’s group Hep Stars, Anni-Frid and Agnetha’s solo records, and the duo Bjorn & Benny.

Highlights include Agnetha and Anni-Frid’s first solo singles, the first three songs written by Benny, and the first recording to feature the voices of all four. It might not necessarily include the best songs from each, or include more of those songs that show the coming together of ABBA (e.g. Benny & Bjorn’s first joint composition, other songs featuring the participation of an increasing number of future ABBA members), but it’s a nice representation of the four careers, before becoming ABBA.

There is something delightfully retro about the artwork that I find really appealing. No fancy booklet, just the song details listed on the back, but it does have a cardboard gatefold sleeve with a short blurb (in Swedish and English) about he individual careers.

The catch is that the CD is only available in the store at ABBA The Museum in Stockholm. I don’t know if it will be available from the museum’s webstore, when that eventually opens.

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We Write The Story

21 May, 2013

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For the opening of the Eurovision Song 2013 Contest in Malmö, Sweden on May 18th Benny Andersson composer a new Eurovision anthem, with lyrics by Björn Ulvaeus, in collaboration with Swedish DJ an producer Avicii. ‘We Write The Story’ was written to tie in with this year’s Eurovision slogan We Are One, and even included the slogan at the end.

The song has all the hallmarks of a Benny composition. Listeners may even hear hints o the more anthemic moments of some later ABBA songs. But that’s to be expected, thy wer composed by the same man, after all.

‘We Write The Story’ was released exclusively in iTunes on the morning of the Grand Final, credited to Avicii & B & B And Choir.

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ABBA in social media

31 March, 2013

The recent creation of Agnetha’s official Facebook page to promote her new album A, has brought a long-time issue to a head: the plethora of ABBA member profiles and so-called official pages on Facebook.

For the record, none of the ABBA members are on Facebook as individuals. At least, not publicly. They may have hidden profiles for family and close friends, but they’re certainly not interacting with fans. If you are “friends” with an ABBA member on Facebook, you’re really not.

There are many profiles for ABBA members on Facebook. At best they are obvious fan tributes. At worst they are purporting to be the ABBA members, and post as if they really are the ABBA member. Recently fake Agnetha profiles have been making posts like “we’ve been working in the studio on my new album for all my fans”, obviously written to look like they’re coming from Agnetha herself. It’s disrespectful to the ABBA members, and it’s misleading and deluding fans.

Then there are the so-called official pages or official fan pages. They use the official tag to appear more authentic than other pages, but they are no more official than any other. There are at least two “official Agnetha fan club” pages! Some also borrow imagery from officially-authorised entities to enhance their official claim. Some pages even claim to be verified by Facebook – Facebook does not verify pages, that is something that Twitter does to authenticate celebrity profiles.

The only official pages ABBA and related are the following:

There are also official pages for the ABBAWORLD touring exhibition at its various locations, Benny and Björn’s musical projects Chess and Kristina från Duvemåla, the Mamma Mia! musical around the world and the Mamma Mia! movie.

There are only two official fan club pages:

There are no official or authorised fan clubs for individual ABBA members.

Complementing the official pages there are many excellent fanzines and fan pages that claim to be nothing more than what they are; they make no claim to be official or authorised. Some of these pages have become popular meeting places for ABBA fans to share news and stories.


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