Posts Tagged ‘ABBA reunion’

“There will never be a musical reunion…”

18 December, 2012

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

Here we go again…

15 December, 2011

We’ve managed to go for almost 12 whole months without another ABBA reunion story doing the rounds of the world’s media outlets. Then Benny goes and opens his big mouth…

For the past few weeks Benny has been extremely vocal, mostly in the pages of newspaper Dagens nyheter, in his opposition to plans to rebuild Slussen in Stockholm. You can read several items covering the full story at icethesite.

In another interview in Svenska Dagbladet last weekend Benny sort-of jokingly offered to reunite ABBA and write a new song for the group to perform to oppose the development. “If I knew with 100 percent certainty that it would help, I would call the others and ask if we could do a gig. I’d try at least” he said.

And of course, here’s where the English-speaking media picked up on the story. First the English-language Swedish news site The Local (Abba great hints at reunification gig). Then Britain’s Daily Express asked the question (ABBA TO REFORM?), finally Austrian Times tells us it’s a done deal (Abba reunion says Benny).

Personally I don’t understand Benny’s objections to the redevelopment plans. Slussen is one of the most unattractive parts of Stockholm. In a city that is famously pedestrian-friendly it’s a notoriously pedestrian-unfriendly area. The current construction dates back to the 1930s, and apparently parts of it are sinking. Though I will admit I have not seen the plans in great detail, just various photographs of models that have accompanied many of the news stories over the past few weeks.

Agnetha wants to reunite ABBA

6 January, 2011

That is the unbelievable headline that has been whizzing around the world for the past week or so, after Swedish magazine M-Magasin published a rare interview with Agnetha in the last week of December. In the interview she is asked what is called “the mandatory ABBA question”, which should give an indicati0n of the light-hearted tone of the question:

Will you ever reunite? It’s a dream I and millions of others are hoping for. Can you think of ABBA again?

– No and yes. We will hardly ever be reunited for a tour like the Rolling Stones and other big bands. But I don’t hold for impossible that we do something together in the future. Please note that this is not something I have discussed with the other three members, it’s more of a feeling I have that it would be great to come together and talk a little about old times and maybe make a performance together. But that would only take place once, perhaps for a charity of some sort. Now I almost fell off the couch. ABBA reunited. But Agnetha assures me again that this somethings she hasn’t discussed with the others and nothing has been decided.

She never says that she “wants” an ABBA reunion, just that it’s not “impossible” that the four could do “something together in the future”. Not that that stops the insane media frenzy that has built around a misinterpretation of what she said.

Ironically she also says in the interview:

I’m not interested in being in magazines, tv and newspapers at all. A lot of people think it’s just an attitude, that I want to create this air of insecurity.

Unfortunately her innocent comments have seen her blasted over seemingly every newspaper, TV news and magazine in the world over the past week.

See the ABBA Omnibus website for a full analysis of the story, under Muse > ABBA in the news (or directly to the page here). For one of the few media reports that sees the story for what it is see this story from Paul Cashmere in Australia.

It’s also the third time within the last twelve months that the media has gone overboard about a perceived hint of an ABBA reunion – see FFS! Another reunion story and The ABBA reunion story. But it’s not going to happen.

FFS! Another reunion story

1 October, 2010

British fans were surprised to see the front cover of tabloid newspaper Daily Express declare “ABBA STARS TO SING AGAIN“, featuring a lovely photograph of Agnetha and Frida taken at the Mamma Mia! movie premiere in Stockholm in July 2008.

Inside the paper Frida is quoted “It would be great to do something with Agnetha,” … “If we did, it would be hard to avoid all the pressure because of Abba. It could never be low-key.”

That’s the basis of the entire story. The quote comes from an interview Frida gave to Swedish paper Dagens Nyether that was published on 20 September. (Read the original story here, English translations at Mikory’s ABBA Blog and icethesite)

In the interview Frida is asked ” if there is one singer with a quality she wished she’d had” she names Agnetha, and when asked “Have you ever spoken about singing together again?” she replies:

“We talk and laugh about it sometimes, but life is changing, we’re getting older and there are so many other things that may be more important and which take up our time. It is clear that it would be great to do something with Agnetha. It is difficult though. If we would do something it would be so hard to avoid all the incredibly pretentious context that it would bring and all the associated pressure. There is such a fascination and curiosity that we could never do something simple and low-key, just because of that I do not think it will come off.”

And on the basis of that, another British tabloid beat up is born. As the story has travelled around the world it has been twisted to say that Frida is “keen to head back to the studio with [Agnetha]”.

It hasn’t helped matters that ABBA fans everywhere had already been discussing the original interview with such comments as “Frida would love to sing with Agnetha again”.

Oi vey!

The ABBA reunion story

27 March, 2010

Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past 24 hours or so you’ve probably run across the headline “ABBA to reunite?” or “ABBA hints at reunion” or something similar. It’s been reported on probably every news site in the world and also made newspapers and TV and radio news. A Google search reveals over 250 hits on this this story.

The hubbub came about from an interview with Benny and Björn in The Times (London) on 26 March headlined Abba to reform? ‘Yeah, why not?’. The article, which was supposed to be about the upcoming Kristina concert at Royal Albert Hall, starts with Benny joking about the inevitable reunion question. Later interviewer Pete Paphides suggests “the idea of an intimate, one-off performance for invited guests and families, perhaps with a small orchestra, focusing on some of the more “mature” material from the later albums”. Björn jokes that they could perform ‘The Way Old Folks Do’. Benny replies “Yeah, why not?”, then goes on to say that he doesn’t “know if the girls sing anything any more” and “It’s not a bad idea, actually”. That’s the full extent of the reunion “hint”.

A second article in The Times The Way Old Friends Do? Abba offer hope to new generation of fans with reunion hint emphasises Björn and Benny’s responses, but not the tone of the original article that made it apparent it was pretty much in jest. The story is credited to Pete Paphides and Patrick Foster, though I suspect Paphides’ name is attached only as the author of the original piece. He has written many positive articles on ABBA topics in the past, and I don’t think he’d be responsible for such speculation. It seems that then every wire service and news agency in the world picked up this story, not the original interview, and ran with it.

Within hours The Telegraph (London) posted an article headlined ABBA: ‘Reunion is never going to happen’, quoting ABBA business associate and spokeswoman Görel Hanser “It’s simply not true. It was a passing comment Benny made, almost as a joke – nothing more than that. … There is no prospect of ABBA getting back together – it’s never going to happen. I think the fans know that deep down but we’re sorry if we got anyone’s hopes up.”

Just two weeks earlier when ABBA was inducted in to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in New York Frida said in her speech “We haven’t been a group, we haven’t performed or sung together for 28 years. We broke up in ’82 and I never think we will reunite again – it’s a bit too late for that.” And on 4 March in a BBC Radio 4 interview the following exchange between Benny and Björn took place:

Question: Will you ever share a stage with the girls again, will ABBA reform?
Björn: No.
Benny: Why do we have to say no to a question all the time?
Björn: If we say yes but don’t mean it then there will be headlines tomorrow.

A wonderful blog post titled Mamma Mia!: Abba Reunion Rumors Resurface makes sense of the recurring reunion stories.

Thanks icethesite and ABBA on TV for links and information.

ABBA reunites – sort of

5 July, 2008

from left: Benny Andersson, Pierce Brosnan, Amanda Seyfried, Meryl Streep, Agnetha Fältskog, Anni-Frid Ruess, Christine Baranski, Colin Firth, Catherine Johnson, Phyllida Lloyd, Judy Craymer, Björn Ulvaeus and Dominic Cooper. Photo: Scanpix/Mats Andersson; Aftonbladet

Last night saw the long anticipated ABBA reunion – sort of.

There had been speculation for several weeks that “ABBA would reunite” for the Stockholm premiere of the MAMMA MIA! movie.

Many had predicted that all four would not turn up, or all would turn up but remain separated (myself included), as they did when the musical opened in Stockholm in February 2005.

Anni-Frid, Agnetha, Benny and Björn appeared on the balcony of the Hotel Rival, alongside the lead actors from the film and the director, producer and screenwriter. Though they still managed to remain separate – Benny and Björn to the far sides of the group, Agnetha and Frida together in the middle.

Meryl Streep, Agnetha Fältskog, Anni-Frid RuessMuch to the delight of ABBA fans everywhere (and the attending media) Frida and Agnetha together embraced star Meryl Streep on the red carpet, and then the three joined together in a circle dance. Video can be seen at Aftonbladet and probably all over YouTube.

As fabulous as it is to see Agnetha obviously enjoying herself with her former collegues, I do wish she would get herself a stylist when she goes out in public. She has worn this same outfit of white top – with a hint of black lace showing from underneath – and black pants for at least two or threee of her recent reported public outings, and it’s not particularly flattering. We all remember that black wrap-around mesh thing she wore to the stage musical’s opening in 2005. Women of a certain age should not go sleeveless. She’s still an attractive woman, she just seems to want to dress down her image.

This is the first time the four ABBA members have been seen together by the wider public since singing ‘Tivedshambo’ on video for a Stig Anderson television tribute in January 1986. Though it is not the first ABBA reunion since then – they have sung together several times for close friends’ birthdays, the most recent known occasion was Görel Hanser’s 50th birthday in June 1999.

See ABBA World’s MAMMA MIA! THE MOVIE mini-site for the latest news on film premieres.

MAMMA MIA! movie premiere dates

22 May, 2008

Several cast members of the MAMMA MIA! movie will be travelling the world in early July to attend various premieres of the film.

Expected (so far) at most of these dates are Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Amanda Seyfried. Presumably the world premiere in London and the New York premiere will see all the cast. Producer Tom Hanks is confirmed for the New York event.

Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson will apparently be in attendance at the London (world premiere) and Stockholm events, and presumably also New York. Anni-Frid Reuss and Agnetha Fältskog have been invited to the Stockholm opening, but have apparently declined, despite media reports of an ABBA reunion that night. Word is Björn and Benny are definitely not going to Australia.

World premiere: Odeon Leicester Square, London: 1 July 2008 *
Amsterdam: 2 July
Berlin: 2 July *
London: 2 July (charity preview)
Stockholm: 4 July *
Sydney: 8 July (press junket only?) *
Melbourne: 9 July *
New York: 16 July *

(* announced cast attendance)

Additional information:
Meryl Streep coming to Australia for Mamma Mia
Buy tickets for the Prince’s Trust world premiere of Mamma Mia! The Movie
Attend MAMMA MIA! Film NY premiere + VIP after party

See ABBA World‘s Mamma Mia! The Movie section for all the latest news and more.

ABBA to reunite?

12 May, 2008

Today’s Sydney Daily Telegraph broke a story to set ABBA fans everywhere aflutter: “ABBA will reform” for the Stockholm premiere of the MAMMA MIA! movie on July 4. (read the story here)

Will this happen? Personally, I doubt it. The comment hints at the hype in the lead up to the 5th anniversary of MAMMA MIA! in April 2004, when all four were expected to join the celebration, but only Björn, Benny and Frida were there, Agnetha chosing to decline the invitation.

If it happens, I imagine it will be like the opening of the musical in Stockholm in February 2005: if all four turn up, it will be individually, the four never appearing together.

If indeed it does happen, and the four reunite in public in whatever fashion, I’ll be as happy as anyone else. But I’m not holding my breath.

There’s a bumper sticker that says: “Is it true, or did you read it in the Daily Telegraph?”

ABBA today

24 December, 2007

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.

Tribute bands trading as "ABBA"

2 July, 2007

ARRIVALABBA tribute bands have become a booming industry, ever since Björn Again started performing at pubs in Melbourne, Australia in 1989.

I’ve never been a fan of tribute acts. I don’t need a facsimile. I can enjoy the real ABBA at any time on a multitude of CDs and DVDs. But that’s just me. For those people who do want to get that live-on-stage ABBA experience, because they may be too young to have seen the real thing, or they may want to relive it, these dozens of tribute acts give something more that you can’t get from CDs and DVDs.

I have to admit that I’ve seen a few tribute band performances: I saw Björn Again’s first ever performance in Sydney in 1989 (I didn’t enjoy it at all), and I saw Arrival from Sweden when they toured Australia a few years ago (an enjoyable night and a very good recreation). I’ve also seen Australia’s FABBA and BABBA, and I wasn’t too impressed with either.

Tribute acts generally fall into three broad categories:

  • Those attempting a faithful replication of an ABBA performance.
  • Those that are part homage, part parody.
  • Those that cater for the party crowd, often just two girls in ABBA-style costumes with a backing tape.

Many of these acts use the name “ABBA” in some form – ABBAlanche, ABBA Again, ABBA Alive, ABBA Gold, ABBA-cadabra, ABBA Girls, ABBA Babes, ABBAesque, ABBA Forever, Gimme ABBA, ABBAsolutely FABBAulous. You get the idea.

What’s surprising is that these tribute acts are allowed to use the word “ABBA”, which was once upon a time noted as being “a registered trademark of Polar Music International AB”. When the ABBA*Teens released their first single in 1999, Benny himself requested they stop using the name ABBA, because “there is only one ABBA, and they are not it” (though Björn had previously given his permission, and the group had been created by Stockholm Records specifically as an “ABBA” for the late-90s teen market). At another time, Björn Again was sued to stop using a logo featuring a reversed B.

What peeves me (and I know I’m not alone) is those tribute acts whose advertising can be seen to be misleading, that doesn’t make it clear it’s a tribute act, not the real ABBA.

For the last few summers, the USA has had “ABBA – The Tour (or The Show or The Music or The Whatever) featuring members of the original ABBA band”. To those not in the know, this would suggest that the act features at least one of the original ABBA members, not the musicians who backed ABBA in the studio or on tour. In previous years, this tour featured Swedish band Waterloo; this year it’s Arrival.

Several years ago Australian newspapers carried advertisements for something called “ABBA Thank You For The Music 25th Anniversary Tour”, complete with a photo of ABBA circa 1977. Nowhere did the advertising mention that it was tribute a act, ABBAsolutely FABBAulous, performing.

One of the most frequent search terms of this very blog over the past month or more has been “ABBA tour USA 2007”, which indicates to me that there are still people out there who think that it’s ABBA, not a tribute act, that is touring.

Of course, the real ABBA continue to refuse to reunite for anything less than “something special” – even that infamous alleged billion-dollar offer. They’ve proved what they mean by “something special” by singing a song together at friend and business associate Görel Hanser‘s 50th birthday party in June 1999.

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