Posts Tagged ‘ABBA today’

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.

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.

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