Posts Tagged ‘Agnetha Fältskog’

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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Agnetha Fältskog – The Girl With The Golden Hair

22 May, 2016

978-1-78155-521-7The life and career of Agnetha are celebrated in Daniel Ward’s new biography Agnetha Fältskog – The Girl With The Golden Hair.

Though unauthorised and thus with no direct input from Agnetha or those close to her, the book is extremely well researched. All phases of Agnetha’s life are covered, from her early childhood when she first fell in love with music, her infamous first public performance aged five, singing on the dance band circuit, her solo recording career, through the ABBA years, and on after ABBA, to her 2013 album A and beyond.

The Girl With The Golden Hair is well written and an enjoyable read. It’s very respectful and not sensationalist in any way. The unfortunate episodes of Agnetha’s later life are not avoided, as they shouldn’t be, but they are covered delicately and with respect.

There is also a photo section, with many familiar but some lesser-seen photos of Agnetha through her life – a few that I don’t recall seeing before.

I was honoured to be asked to read a draft version of the book. I’m happy to see that I was able to make a contribution to the finished product.

Daniel has also written ABBA – The Quiz Book, as well as crime fiction and articles for medical publications.

If you are a fan of Agnetha, I’m sure you will enjoy this book. More information can be found at the publisher’s website.

 

 

 

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 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.

Dance Your Pain Away

12 August, 2013

At 10 am BST today (almost three hours ago as I write this) Agnetha Fältskog’s new video ‘Dance Your Pain Away’ was to debut on YouTube.

In June a competition was held through Agnetha’s website, Facebook page and Twitter. Fans were invited to submit videos of themselves dancing to ‘Dance Your Pain Away’. The ten clips that attracted the most votes would be included in the official music video.

Surprisingly the clip was actually online several hours before the anticipated launch time, which led to many hours of discussion among fans online. As it was not on Agnetha’s established YouTube or Vevo channel, it was widely supposed to be fake.

Finally launch time rolled around and the clip was announced to the world on Agnetha’s various online presences. It was indeed the clip that had been online and discussed. Fans everywhere have since been complaining about the quality of the clip ever since. They are expressing their outrage at this insult to Agnetha’s legacy (to paraphrase some of the hyperbole), ignoring the fact that Agnetha has final approval on every aspect of her comeback.

Having watched the clip a few times now, and getting over the initial shock, the biggest problem is the attempted insertion of Agnetha into the clip. Opening and closing with the single sleeve, with multiple stills of Agnetha flashing across the screen, and seemingly random inserts of Agnetha’s appearance at Stockholm Pride last week actually cheapen and detract from the rest of the clip, with people joyously dancing to Agnetha’s music.

Judge for yourself.

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.

(more…)

A by Agnetha Fältskog

11 March, 2013

AAgnetha’s new album A will be released on 10 May 2013. The single ‘When You Really Loved Someone’ is available TODAY (Monday) when you pre-order the album on iTunes. No news of availablility on CD or other download platforms as yet.

Track list:

1. The One Who Loves You Now 3.30
2. When You Really Loved Someone 3.31
3. Perfume In The Breeze 3.31
4. I Was A Flower 4.08
5. I Should’ve Followed You Home 4.04
6. Past Forever 3.30
7. Dance Your Pain Away 4.10
8. Bubble 4.21
9. Back On Your Radio 3.43
10. I Keep Them On The Floor Beside Me 4.06

Also expected at 10.00 am GMT Monday a new website at www.agnetha.com or www.agnetha.co.uk.

What’s the story with Agnetha’s new album?

10 March, 2013

When You Really Loved SomeoneEver since the news broke in October last year that Agnetha was in the studio making a new album there have been endless rumours, leaks, misinformation and confusion, but not much actual news and no official announcements.

In mid February several new photographs of Agnetha surfaced, and were quickly shared everywhere. Eventually they were tracked back to several posts on the Pop Justice Forum, but no official source has been identified. The photos were taken at Ulriksdals Slottsteater in Solna, just north of Stockholm.

Last Monday (March 4th) a link appeared on Amazon.com’s MP3 store for a new Agnetha single, ‘When You Really Loved Someone’, for release on Monday March 11.

The image above right was shown as the single cover. After a rush of initial excitement many fans debunked the photo, claiming that it was obviously photoshopped, Agnetha looked keyed in, the lighting and shadows were wrong, the grammar of the title was clunky, the lettering was not professionally laid out, etc etc. A general conclusion was that it was an “elaborate hoax”.

Yet the title has been proven with a listing on the BMI (Broadcast Music International) website, and on the CV for filmmaker Matt Mead, listed as 3rd Assistant Director on the video (since removed).

Aftonbladet checked with Agnetha’s spokesman Staffan Lindé, who simply said to contact Universal Music. Tanja Määtä of Universal Music responded “We can not comment on that”. By Tuesday the page was removed from Amazon.

Then on Friday a 30 second sample appeared on the AllMusic site, again showing the single image above.  The sample clearly showed Agnetha’s voice, though the title ‘When You Really Loved Someone’ never appeared, giving rise to a theory that this was another song. Again, within hours the page was removed.

On Friday afternoon (Australian time) Noise11 checked the story with Universal Music (presumably the Australian office). The response was that “the album was on their schedule for a TBA (to be announced) release date but that it has since been removed”. There were also indications that the AllMusic sample was not a finished recording.

Meanwhile, Universal Music Sweden responded to a fan’s question on Facebook that there would be “exciting news” next week. ABBA Intermezzo Fan Club also reports that they will have “confirmed news” on Monday 11th.

So what’s going on?

Personally, I believe that the cover and song that appeared on Amazon and AllMusic are genuine, but were preemptively uploaded. Had the Amazon listing been an outsider’s store, it would have seemed dubious. But it was listed in Amazon’s own MP3 service, which would presumably be difficult to hoax.

Yes, the apparently single cover looks photoshopped, but so does every album cover and publicity photo these days. It could have been to fix colouring or lighting, it could have been for an artistic effect.

It would seem that whatever publicity isn’t ready, or perhaps there will be no pre-publicity, and the songs will just be released to the world. Though the lead up to My Colouring Book in 2004 got a lot of media attention, that didn’t translate to sales outside of Sweden. So there may be a feeling that it’s not worth expending any money on publicity. It could also be dependant on Agnetha’s participation in any publicity. This week’s events have proved that word of mouth gets the story out just as quickly, with major news outlets reporting both the Amazon and AllMusic posts.

All these leaks then retractions, and a lack of definite denials, hint that things are ready but not quite ready for the public.

I expect that we will get some form of official announcement this coming week, if not the single itself. We’ll see what happens in the next few days.

Agnetha, fashion legend

14 January, 2012

Much to everyone’s surprise Agnetha made a rare public appearance at ELLE Galan 2012 at the Grand Hôtel in Stockholm on Friday night. Agnetha received a standing ovation when she took to the stage to receive ELLE’s Fashion Legend award.

In awarding Agnetha ELLE described her as “A shining superstar – a voice in a million. A fashion legend, just as stylish now as she was then. Thanks for all the glittering outfits. Thank you for the music. You are forever our dancing queen” Agnetha made a short speech, thanking the jury, the other prize-winners and everybody else in attendance. She hoped that everybody, despite it being Friday the 13th, was having a grand time, because she certainly was.

Part of Agnetha’s acceptance speech can be seen on YouTube. ELLE’s website has a tribute to Agnetha, including reports on the night (in Swedish).

UPDATE 17 January: see the whole ceremony here (Agnetha comes in at around 73 minutes), and an extract of Agnetha’s appearance only here (both only in Swedish).

Thanks to Carl Magnus Palm and Håcan Andersson on Facebook.

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.


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