Posts Tagged ‘Anni-Frid Lyngstad’

50 år B&B

8 June, 2016

berns-2

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)

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…)

Frida photo for auction at ABBAWORLD.com

1 October, 2010

Coming soon to ABBAWORLD.com Frida is offering a special gift for auction, a special photograph that she has taken herself . 

In her life after ABBA and away from the public sphere Frida has taken up photography as a hobby and has taken many photographs on her travels around the world. Particularly in Africa, where many animals still run free in the wild. 

Now she is offering one of her personal photographs on auction through ABBAWORLD. The photo is of a pride of lions fighting, a unique oportunity for most professional photgraphers, let alone a hobby photographer.

Frida has offered ten prints of her photograph which will be available for auction at ABBAWORLD.com. Each photograph will be individually numbered and personally signed by Frida. The highest bidder will also rececive a special personal message from Frida.

All profits from the auction will be donated to Kinder in not, a foundation that Frida and her friend Dan Daniell founded to help children in need. The auction should open next week at ABBAWORLD.com. Check the website for details.

(thanks to Ingmarie Halling and Jason Tuazon-McCheyne)

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!

Frida sings!

20 September, 2010

ReconnectionTo the surprise of almost everyone last Tuesday afternoon (CET) Swedish Radio premiered the first new recording by Frida in six years. There had been rumours that Frida had recorded something new after comments she made during interviews at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in March.

Frida has recorded a version of the popular hymn ‘Morning Has Broken’, as the opening track on Swedish guitarist Georg Wadenius‘ new CD Reconnection. Reconnection features songs sung by a number of Swedish artists, including Helen Sjöholm and Peter Jöback.

Widenius has had a long career in both Sweden and the USA since the 1960s. During his career he has worked with many domestic Swedish stars plus some of the biggest names in the international music world. In recent years he has worked on other ABBA-related projects, including Helen Sjohölm’s CD Visor (2002) and Anne Sofie Von Otter’s tribute to the Benny and Björn songbook I Let The Music Speak (2006)

Like almost everything else that Frida has recorded in the last decade the song has strong religious overtones, but also a strong personal connection for Frida. The lyric for ‘Morning Has Broken’ was written in 1931 by British poet Eleanor Farjeon, based on a traditional Gaelic tune that had been used as a Christmas carol in the 19th century. It is best known to most people in the hit single by Cat Stevens in 1972. Read more about ‘Morning Has Broken’ at Wikipedia.

Reconnection will be released on October 25 2010.

Vote for the UK's favourite ABBA song

14 September, 2010

UK television network ITV is asking ABBA fans to vote for “The Nation’s Favourite ABBA Song” for a new 90-minute TV special to be broadcast later this year.

Fans have a choice from ABBA’s 25 UK chart hit singles, from Eurovision winner ‘Waterloo’ in 1974 to ‘Thank You For The Music’, released in 1983, six years after its appearance on ABBA – The Album, to promote a compilation album of the same name. Missing are the orignal 1973 release of ‘Ring Ring’ and the 1974 single ‘So Long’, both of which did not enter the UK singles chart, and the 1979 number 3 hit ‘Angeleyes’, the UK’s preferred side of the double A side with ‘Voulez-Vous’ – probably because ‘Angeleyes’ does not have a video, while the other side of the single does.

ITV promises that “band members Bjorn [sic] and Frida tell all about how these 25 songs came about”, but stories now circulating like this one probably exaggerate their participation – interviews with Björn and Frida, plus other ABBA-connected people and various celebrities have already been recorded.

Vote now at ITV.com. Voting closes on Monday 11th October 2010. It is unclear from the website whether votes from non-UK visitors will be counted.

ABBA wins Lifetime Achievement Award: Agnetha and Frida accept award together

23 January, 2009

BREAKING NEWS: Last night ABBA was awarded the Rockbjörnen Lifetime Achievement Award at a ceremony at Cirkus in Stockholm. The Rockbjörnen awards are voted by readers of Aftonbladet.

In a huge surprise moment, Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad-Reuss took to the stage together to accept the award.

See video of Agnetha and Frida’s award acceptance here. Read reports of the ceremony here  (in Swedish). A photo gallery, including many photos of Agnetha and Frida, can be seen here, along with a live blog (also in Swedish).

The pair were interviewed afterwards. Read the interview here (in Swedish) here (in English), and another English translation of the interview at icethesite.

2008 in review

1 January, 2009

Benny, Agnetha, Frida, Björn, Stockholm 4 July 2008 (fantasy photo, thanks to Raffem.com)2008 turned into one of the most phenomenal years in ABBA’s 36 year history, another peak in the ongoing ABBA revival.

Of course, this was mainly due to the film version of the musical based on the songs of ABBA, MAMMA MIA!

Following its premiere in London on 30 June, the movie became the number one film in many countries, even up against such blockbuster fare as the Batman sequel The Dark Knight. MAMMA MIA! has gone on to break box office records, becoming the highest-grossing film ever in the UK.

The movie divided critics and fans, but there’s no denying that it propelled ABBA back into the limelight. To date it has grossed more than US$570 million.

The Stockholm premiere of MAMMA MIA! on 4 July saw that rarest of events, the four former ABBA members at the same place at the same time. Agnetha and Frida danced together with actress Meryl Streep on the red carpet, and for the first time in over 22 years the four were photographed together, albeit alongside the film’s cast and crew. This disappointed many, but within hours Photoshopped pictures of “the ABBA reunion” (like the one above) were spread around the world.

The movie’s soundtrack CD was also a huge hit, topping the Billboard Album chart – the first ABBA-related album to top the US charts. The recently released DVD has already broken sales records in less than two months.

ABBA’s original recordings also made an impact this year, with the flagship compilation ABBA Gold topping the chart again in the UK, becoming the oldest number one album ever, and  it also topped the Billboard Pop Catalogue chart for the first time.

Other compilations including The Definitive Collection, Number Ones, 18 Hits and even the new box set ABBA – The Albums made chart appearances.

Updated versions of ABBA Gold, More ABBA Gold and the box set Thank You For The Music attracted new buyers, as did The Albums box set. A vinyl reissue of ABBA – The Album commemorated the 60th anniversary of the 12 inch 33⅓ rpm long-playing record.

Agnetha released a new double CD compilation of her Swedish and English solo songs, My Very Best.

Many unique ABBA books were released during the year, including ABBA & Me (a Dutch fan’s story), Historia de ABBA en ArgentinaMade in Suécia: o paraíso pop do ABBA (from Brazil), ABBA Let The Music Speak (a musician’s guide to ABBA), ABBA: The Scrapbook (a pictorial history), ABBA – The Story (the first full-length ABBA biography in Swedish, also in Norwegian and Danish versions), plus an updated version of the definitive English biography Bright Lights Dark Shadows.

Stig Anderson’s daughter Marie Ledin wrote a memoir of her father, Min pappa hette Stikkan. Benny denounced the anticipated tell-all, but in reality it was a loving tribute without the expected salacious gossip about the split between Stig and ABBA.

ABBA also joined the lucrative games market, with Singstar ABBA for PlayStation.

For a group that came to an end 26 years ago, that’s a lot more action than could be expected over many years, let alone all in one.

In sad news, drummer Ola Brunkert died in March at the age of 61 following an accident, and photographer Bengt H. Malqvist died in November at the age of 80.

And what of the future? There are those, including Benny himself, who see ABBA as over after this year.

2009 sees the 10th anniversary of the stage musical MAMMA MIA! along with the 35th anniversary of ABBA’s Eurovision Song Contest win; no doubt there will be commemorations for the twin anniversaries. ABBA’s Voulez-Vous album was released 30 years ago in April, and if past history is anything to go by, we may get a Deluxe Version of the album.

ABBA the Museum was to open in Stockholm in June, but due to problems with the site the opening has been postponed indefinitely. In the meantime the museum’s collection will be touring the world.

Benny Anderssons Orkester (Benny Andersson’s Orchestra, or BAO) will tour Sweden again in the northern Summer, and will also perform its first-ever concert in London in July. There is also talk of an English-language album – some songs have already been recorded.

Björn, Frida and Agnetha will probably remain as they have for the past few years, mostly maintaining their private lives with the occasional public appearance.

And while the music lives on, so will ABBA.

ABBA reunites – sort of

5 July, 2008
Aftonbladet

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.


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