9. Mamma Mia! – 5,123
8. Beauty and the Beast – 5,461
7. Oh! Calcutta! – 5,959
6. A Chorus Line – 6,137
5. Les Miserables – 6,680
4. The Lion King – 6,791
3. Chicago – 7,185
2. Cats – 7,485
1. The Phantom of the Opera – 10,860
DECEMBER 23: MARIA YLIPÄÄ
Maria Ylipää attended a movie premiere last week (photos here and here). She said in August her family will move for about two years in Sweden. So it looks like KRISTINA will be done in Stockholm til spring 2016.
DECEMBER 20: GULDET BLEV TILL SAND..
DECEMBER 14: LARS RUDOLFSSON
Newspaper Expressenś theatre prize of 2013 goes to Lars Rudolfsson for his 30 years long career.
DECEMBER 7: MARIA ABOUT KRISTINA
Maria Ylipää comments in a Finnish newspaper the coming Swedish productions of KRISTINA.
She says it feels good to continue as Kristina. The play and the role are great ones. It is also a welcomed change for her to enter new scenes and see how things are done elsewhere. Maria also looks forward to improve her skills in the Swedish language when she lives in the country. Her whole family, two daughters and husband, moves to Sweden next August as rehearsals begin in Gothenburg.
DECEMBER 7: CIRKELN
Production of CIRKELN starts on March 31, 2014. For the main role, the chosen girl is non-professional.
Score of the film will consist of pop songs by Ludvig, with Benny supervising.
Benny and Ludvig chose to produce the film themselves to have full artistic freedom. But the film needs to be sold outside Sweden to get the expenses back.
If CIRKELN does well at box office, they will produce film of the two other books aswell.
DECEMBER 7: MARIA YLIPÄÄ
Maria Ylipää performed (singing most of the song in Swedish) the dramatic and beautiful classic STORMSKÄRS MAIJA yesterday at concert for Finland´s Independence Day. She told afterwards for the press that her baby girl is four months old. Maria will make real return to work next summer. Here video of Maria´s performance and video interview. Do watch the performance, Maria is brilliant as is the song.
DECEMBER 4: BJÖRN IN TRAIN
Abidaz, In & ut
Daniel Adams-Ray, Innan vi suddas ut
Sibille Attar, Sleepyhead
Axel Boman, Family vacation
Agnetha Fältskog, A
Håkan Hellström, Det kommer aldrig va över för mig
Melissa Horn, Om du vill vara med mig
In Solitude, Sister
Kaah, Matcha din look
The Knife, Shaking the habiutal
Könsförrädare, Curse all law
Lilla Namo, Tuggare utan gränser
Oskar Linnros, Klappar och slag
Mack Beats, Centrum
Veronica Maggio, Handen i fickan fast jag bryr mig
Petter, Början på allt
Serengeti, Rebellious hearts
Stor, Shere Khan XIII
Syster Sol, Mellan raderna
Tonbruket, Nubium swimtrip
Watain, The wild hunt
Jenny Wilson, Demand the impossible
Lars Winnerbäck, Hosianna
On Sunday it was unveiled that shooting of Cirkeln, the film based on the book with the same name, starts in April 2014 with premiere sometimes in 2015. Benny and his son Ludvig produce the film via their company RMV Film. They both have been very involved in the pre-production of the film.
Far this following production team members of Cirkeln have been announced:
Levan Akin, director
Cecilia Norman Mardell, producer
Sara Bergmark Elfgren and Levan Akin, script
Lisa Berggren Eyre, production manager
Hanna Bengtsson, visual effects supervisor
Roger Rosenberg, production designer
Jonas Rydengren, location scout
NOVEMBER 15: GOLD!
-It was fantastic to see Agnetha enter the stage in front of a packed Apollo, who had no idea she would be there. Quite naturally, she goes in and takes the room. Invites you to dance with Gary Barlow, both of who perform at the absolute top level. A small unexpected and historic moment. Jörgen and I never cease to be amazed by this wonderful and talented woman. She was absolutely amazing.
NOVEMBER 14: MM! HELSINKI
NOVEMBER 12: ABBA THE MUSEUM
NOVEMBER 12: MAMMA MIA! HELSINKI
March 2014 – Auckland Music Theatre - The Civic, Auckland
May 2014 - Taieri Musical Society - Regent Theatre, Dunedin
Sept / Oct 2014 - Napier Operatic Society Musicipal Theatre, Napier
February 2015 - Rotorua Musical Theatre - Civic Theatre, Rotorua
April 2015 - New Plymouth Operatic - TSB Showplace, Rotorua
June / July 2015 - Hamilton Operatic - Founders Theatre, Hamilton
August 2015 - Abbey Musical Theatre - Palmerston North
Oct / Nov 2015 - Blenheim Musical Theatre - ASB Theatre, Blenheim-
April 2016 - Showbiz Christchurch - Isaac Theatre Royal, Christchurch
We know that B&B will most likely be involved in new Swedish productions of KRISTINA in 2014 an 2015. But it hardly needs that much rewriting and can´t be called as new musical. Travel journalists meeting took place September 19, GöteborgsOperan announced KRISTINA September 23.
Björn leaked the news of MM! in Helsinki, KRISTINA´s return to Sweden and his involvement in HJÄLP SÖKES before official announcement. So, maybe this is another similar case...Hopefully it has not been an misunderstanding during the meeting of the travel journalists and Björn and B&B really are working on a new musical. Well, he has said "we", hopefully it means him and Benny.
OCTOBER 20: MAMMA MIA! RETURNS TO LAS VEGAS
- Something's coming, I think, that I literally was the poor cousin once in my childhood. My one year older cousin belonged to the family number one in Västervik and I was confronted with the material abundance in his home. His Italian shoes were far too expensive for us, my mom said, and inside me was born will for revansch, one day I would have all that, me too. I would have become a civil engineer, it was the fastest route to success in the paper industry, said my uncle, use manager. Luckily, I slipped on a banana peel into the music track and there I found my passion.
- On a way that I had never imagined because success has been so large and has been going on for so long. There is not a day that doesn´t remind me of ABBA. Newspapers, TV, Internet, radio and people coming up to me, there's always something somewhere every day. So, I've forgotten what it's like not to be an ABBA. But I can honestly say that every day I am grateful and humbled by this that our songs still played everywhere in the world and that they in some strange way become so famous and survived for so long
- When something you set out to do to, succeed in accordance with the measure used. A musical can get good criticism, and many would be satisfied with it, but I want it also to draw a large crowd to be a success in my book. It can also be a success when one attract his grandson to laugh.
- It requires that you surrounds yourself with talented people if you are not sufficiently gifted for the task itself. And you seldom are. There you cultivate the good ideas and choose the ones that pass the toughest scrutiny. Then you implement it in the hard work and if you are lucky with inspiration.
- When it comes to song lyrics, so this happens when Benny Andersson (it is mostly him I work with) has a melody. We listen to it together, discuss a little bit and then I take the demo version at home. The I play again and again to see if it tells me what it's all about. Surprisingly often, melodies do that. Something pops up in the back of the brain, lures out of obscurity in some miraculous way, and without knowing how it happened, you have a few words, an idea to begin with. I've learnt to trust what the song says. Sometimes it's mad and must be rejected, but not very often. And with this first embryo comes fluency, inspiration.
- It means that I approach each new task with "What if this is the time when I do not get anything out of me! This I can never do!" So this way the low self-confidence whispers, but reason and experience, which over the years has grown stronger, and has always emerged victorious from the battle sputters:" Bullshit! Roll up your sleeves and go ahead! "
- With me it is so I do not really understand how you think if you are not humble about their successes.
- I think that the more or less autonomous networks that I am, disappears in the moment of death. I do not think there is an universal meaning to life. Everyone must create his own. It becomes very much a matter of trying to create a stable platform for the children and the grandchildren, for those who one loves, and to enjoy as much as possible here and now. Because I have a very skeptical and critical mind, I have it extremely difficult to manipulate myself to believe, something that I lack is good reason to believe.
- I myself have never worshiped any idol, so I find it hard to familiarize myself with how it would be.
- The creative explosion. We had our window in time when nothing could stop us. That's how it felt.
- Photo sessions.
- I say, as so many, that it was most important in it's first stage. Then it gave the artistic and personal freedom.
- It has always been around since I got my first guitar at eleven years of age. Perhaps it has slipped a little more in the background now. If I really sit down and listen, it is a symphony of Beethoven.
When musical songs now are collected on a CD, it's not quite as easy to be lyrical. It is so with musicals that a significant portion is lost when they are flatten into discs. Especially when, as in this case, there were live animals on stage.
That the CD still has become something more than a souvenir from the staging is not only due to the stabile Benny Andersson made some nice melodies that can stand on their own, but mainly because of Sofia Pekkaris vocal efforts. With a security that can be compared with Helen Sjöholm and a beautiful soulfulness that steps out of the speakers she raises the songs given for her into musical heaven. Her vibrato in the rather wonderful country pastiche "Svarta silhuetter" is worth some sort of prize and should get continuation. Maybe a pure country band with Benny Andersson?
Lollo Asplund in Corren writes: “Benny Andersson´s music smells like Balkan music and klezmer. Beautifully singing Sofia Pekkari makes moving interpretation of Björn & Benny's ballad "Den jag ville vara", a given Svensktoppen (radio chart) hit, just like ""Svarta silhuetter".
For years, Peter Grönvall has worked in the studio as a music producer. But the desire to write own songs remains. Since last autumn, he works on upcoming album of One More Time as he burns to complete it.
Since May of this year, Peter Grönvall been fully involved with his wife Nanne Grönvall's upcoming album - which this time is an original album, which means that all material is newly written - mostly by Nanne yourself. Peter's job is to take care of the technical things.
Though they have worked together for 32 years and been a couple for 27 of them - a very happy such that - they are very different when it comes to musical taste, explains Peter.
- There we do not have many commonalities. Imagine that you take two circles that overlap each other a little bit - it's the area we share.
- I like the most symphonic and classical. If I have too much influence, she tells quite sharply, haha. But we keep on until both feel satisfied. It might not be something that one expected, but it often gets really good though.
In the back of my mind, there are plans to do more own things, such as composing film scores. Most recently there were Kalle Blomkvist films that came from 1996 to 2001. And last fall, he began writing on new One More Time album - Nannes and Peter's team that won the Eurovision Song Contest 1996 with the song Den Vilda, and where even the singer Maria Rådsten is included.
- It will be my next project and it gets a lot of newly written music that I myself make. I long very much after that.
Peter has a lot to chip off when it comes to music. Not least from father Benny Andersson, as he is one of Sweden's most popular musicians and hitmaker. Even mom Christina Grönvall has worked as a singer in the Elverkets Spelmanslag- it was also where she met Benny. Despite this, Peter dreamed as a child to be an astronomer. For various reasons, he also chose music track.
He tells that it started when as a very shy 12-year-old sat down in his dad's basement in Lidingö and played on the piano. Ten years later he formed with, the then girlfriend Angélique Widengren and Nanne group Sound of Music, which quickly gained great sucess. Since then things have rolled on.
What impact has your dad had on your music?
- Some seemed to think the Sound of Music had prawn sandwich all the way because my father's name was Benny Andersson, but it was rather a disadvantage. The first album we worked with very copious, and it became very good.
- Then it is clear that it has had an impact that I grew up with him. One has learned much from the beginning, it took me until much later to understand how important it was. Now it just feels good that dad and I are doing the same thing, and it's reassuring. I always have someone to ask and someone to relate to
What has influenced and shaped ABBA, is adversity, both on the personal level and career-wise. 1980s was a cold decade for ABBA. The group's last two singles flopped, the world had moved on to other music. From 1982 to 1992, ABBA songs were seldom heard on the radio. Group's albums were listed as expired and disappeared from the shops.
"We believed that royalties would continue to come in during 1983, possibly that it would last until 1984, but beyond that? Never. There ais even a paper (decision) that we were convinced of that. "
"In the 1980's we were away from the radar," agrees Björn Ulvaeus.
ABBA never split officially. Releases ran dry only. In conjunction wit UNDER ATTACK, the group's last single, was released in late 1982 was also a double compilation album with the optimistic title THE SINGLES: THE FIRST TEN YEARS.
But there was no "The next ten years". It was a break that got longer and longer and longer. And that lasted until now, when the members symbolically reunited by all four signed this cover for Di Weekend - yes, all the signatures are fresh - and everyone agreed for own interview.
"I know it is regarded as a shame to do this, but I like the most when it's freezing," says Agnetha Fältskog, looking out to the sides and spoons then up a couple of ice cubes in her glass of wine with chablis.
London trip is Agnetha Fältskog's first overseas stay and airfare for decades. A journalist from one of Germany's largest newspapers is informed that his interview time has been postponed in the tight schedule. He replies, "No problem. I can wait, I've been waiting for this for 30 years. "
Agnetha Fältskog is not just a glamorous leading lady, she was and is also deeply involved in all aspects of music making. She is a driven pianist and songwriter.
"It's always difficult to tell yourself what you are good at. I know I can sing, I can write. But what I'm really good at is just that: to understand what the text is about. I always ask questions about the background of the text, go into it, the text becomes. "
A bit like an actor working?
"Yes. I go into the bubble when I sing. During the recording, there is nothing else. "
How often do you sit down at the piano?
"Unfortunately, far too seldom these days. People wonder what I've done in all the years I have not been seen in the media, but I've been busy. I have a farm with horses to care for and I have grandchildren.
ABBA members had all 10,000 hours behind them before they started the group. Björn Ulvaeus was 16 when he formed in Västervik West Bay Singers, model Hootenanny Singers, 18 when he got a record deal with Stig Anderson.
Benny Andersson played piano for the audience when he was 13-14 years old and was 18 when he became a member of the Hep Stars. Anni-Frid Lyngstad was 13 when she began singing with various dance bands. Agnetha was 15. When she was 17, she got her first number one in Sweden.
ABBA also did the music of their divorces. THE WINNER TAKES IT ALL has its origins in the divorce between Agnetha and Björn.WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE is Frida's and Benny's counterpart.
After the divorce, Frida met in the 1980's Ruzzo Reuss, German prince and landscape architect. When they married in 1992, she received the title of Princess Anni-Frid Reuss, Countess of Plauen. Seven years after the marriage, Ruzzo Reuss passed away from cancer.
Anni-Frid Synni Lyngstad was born in Norway in November 1945. His father was a soldier from the German occupying forces. Because of the way "german-child" was received in Norway after the war, Anni-Frid moved to her grandmother in Torshälla where she grew up.
Anni-Frid was the main stage artist in ABBA, who most clearly showed that she liked being on stage. One of ABBA's hallmark is the contrast between Agnetha´s bright pop voice and Frida's darker soul voice. The depth she reaches in songs such as THE KING HAS LOST HIS CROWN, makes one shiver.
"I love soul. I have listened my whole life soul and R & B. "
"The fact that it goes straight to the heart. There is a deeply language. There is a resonance in the soul, a way to process all kinds of emotions. Body and soul are merged and become one in soul music. "
Is it a dream that sometime sing with Stevie Wonder?
"I've actually done! At a friend's birthday (EF-billionaire Bertil Hult) I sang with Stevie Wonder and Elton John together Happy birthday on his birthday party. It was great for me. "
Benny is the one of the four ABBA members who is by far the most active today. He tours and releases new album with BAO, Benny Andersson Orkester. Parallel with their musical projects, Björn and Benny collobrate in silence with BAO. Bjorn pulls in and write lyrics to a few songs on each album. Each BAO album thus has a couple of new songs with Andersson-Ulvaeus as composer name, a world news if they bothered to advertise it.
"I like to keep going."
How often do you sit and write new music in this way?
"Every day. I sometimes get asked, 'How long does it take to write a new song?'. A few years ago I made a list of how much music I have written in my life. Hep Stars, ABBA, Chess, Kristina från Duvemåla, BAO, the works. Alltogether around 20 hours of music. No more comes out of them. If you divide the 20 hours in 50 years, you get the answer: how long does it take to write a song. "
Hootenanny Singers had to join in the military service. At the roadside, they encountered the Hep Stars, and invited them to an after party by shouting: "Party in Lidköping"
"We were somwhere in Skara neighborhood," recalls Benny Andersson.
"We thought: fun, we will! In the evening we drifted around in Lidköping and were looking for their hotel. But there was no hotel with that name. After we called someone, it turned out that we had heard wrong - they had said Linköping. It was not so much to do. We drove there instead and arrived a few hours late. "
"We partied so long that we are forced out of the hotel," says Björn Ulvaeus.
In today's history books state that Benny Andersson wrote the music and Björn Ulvaeus wrote the lyrics.
It was not so. All ABBA songs they wrote together, although Benny pulled the main load musically and Björn Ulvaeus wrote the lyrics.
Even during their heyday in the 1970's, ABBA got no recognition at home. Profiles and powerbroker in Swedish television and radio - there were only government channels - declared that ABBA's music was shallow and reprehensible. ...Nynningen and NJA Group were better. Even the music teacher at my school laughed at ABBA.
When ABBA had just won the Eurovision Song Contest in Brighton with WATERLOO, they were met by a reporter from Rapport, who did not congratulate, but held out the microphone under their noses and asked if it was distasteful to make entertainment of a fight where so many people died.
"The media brought up prog as the world thing. But record sales during the same time gives a very different picture of what was widely rooted in folk depth. It was aus and the dance bands. When prog wave peaked, we issued an album (ABBA THE ALBUM, 1977) which in Sweden alone was pre-ordered in 760,000 copies. It felt pretty good. "
The revaluation of ABBA began in 1992. One sign was that U2 during their visually groundbreaking Zoo TV Tour played a cover of DANCING QUEEN. During the gig at Globen in Stockholm Björn and Benny stepped, without warning, on stage and backed Bono on guitar and piano.
Another sign was that when Nirvana - the world's hottest bands during that year - played at the festival Reading in England, Kurt Cobain personally wanted to have ABBA Coverband Bjorn Again as support act. Kurt Cobain said that he loved ABBA, and shockwaves went through the grunge crowd. That it was regarded gay to like ABBA was solely for the benefit of Kurt Cobain who hated rock's guy culture.
In May 1989, Stig Anderson sold the company Sweden Music, including the entire ABBA catalogue, to the multinational giant Polygram. The sale created strained relations with ABBA members. The price has been stated to be around 300 million Swedish crowns - a gigantic understatement, in retrospect. But, as I said, nobody thought ABBA was worth something at the end of the 1980s.
ABBA catalogue was until Polygrams takeover, spread across a variety of record labels in different countries in a way that differs from ABBA from other world class groups. In the U.S., ABBA was at Atlantic, in England at Epic, in Australia at RCA, Polydor in Germany, in Sweden on Polar.
"Stig simply took the whatever deals he got when he traveled around with WATERLOO," says Benny Andersson.
"The interest was pretty weak. Stig said by that time, 1974, everal record labels said that it's out with the piano in pop. "
Polygram cleaned up the label confusion, pulled out all the old editions, all the old albums and collections, and focused instead on collection ABBA GOLD that was released in late 1992. Opening song was DANCING QUEEN. It proved to be one of therecord history's brightest decision.
ABBA GOLD has today sold in 30 million copies worldwide. In Sweden, the album is still this week on sale list. In Britain ABBA GOLD recently passed the Beatles Sgt. Pepper on the list of all time best selling albums and is now in second place. (Number one is Queens Greatest Hits).
JUNE 14: MORE ABOUT DI
JUNE 14: ABBA CHRONICLE
There is no longer any reason for ABBA to reunite.
The question is if there ever was one.
What unites ABBA to the Beatles, except they did immediate but complex pop music gone to music history, is also their short careers.
Beatles albums career spanned just over eight years. 1973 stepped Björn, Benny, Agnetha and Anni-Frid into ESC ("Ring Ring Ring" was third), later that year, they took the name ABBA. Eight years and some world successes later, the last studio album, THE VISITORS came out.
Then, put the point with a collection album. In perfect time.
in the DI-interview ABBA Frida regards the band's final album as her personal favorite. That is no stupid choice. Just as the Beatles last album, "Let it be".
But between the notes and text lines is heard the sound of the four members on the way to elsewhere
The cries of reunion have never stopped, despite successful solo moments, acclaimed musical adventure and other projects, but in retrospect appears ABBA members' disinterest to hike the nostalgic comeback road as one of their many genius.
Had they continued to give out records together had their magical 70's probably never reached the enormous recognition that met them in the form of "Mamma Mia". They had become the Bee Gees. They had been sharing museum sign with Roxette and Europe instead of getting their own.
Agnetha Fältskog is now the most current ABBA member. The album "A", which came in May, is a fine disc.
It is also very revealing where uartet stands today. They have moved on, a long ago.
The DI-story outlines a clear picture of a band that never had any problems wrestle comeback monster. The members ended ABBA 30 years ago. It was as bold, as it was clever.
JUNE 14: DI WEEKEND
JUNE 14: ROYAL MUSIC COLLEGE
The college has decided to do the interior by themselves to cut down the rental expenses. Modern interior and technique is expected to cost 114 million Crowns. The money tha tthe college gets from the goverment, is meant for education, not for buying equipments. Two founds have donated alltogether 45 million Crowns. So, 69 million Crowns are missing.
-If things go as is expected, it will also attract people who have nothing to do with music that way, actively. I think they will find their way here. They will find the Valhallavägen and say "this is a pretty nice place to be." We can see it, we can listen to it., It can really become a living place and I'll do what I can to contribute for it.
Swedish Film Institute has started gender equality project collect Augmented Society. One of the first persons to write for their page is Benny Andersson.
MAY 20: KRISTINA SOON OVER
This week KRISTINA closes in Helsinki with 110.000 people seen it. Finnish TV´s Swedish department have visited Svenska Teatern to meet the four main actors to hear their feelings. Robert Noack says KRISTINA has been a great experience, but now it is time to go on. Birthe Wingren tells that it is alway sad when something ends, but that is part of theatre job. Maria Ylipää, who is pregnant, says it is getting hard for hard for her to jump around the stage. Oskar Nilsson and Noack come from Sweden, both mention closeness to the sea as best part of Helsinki
One can certainly pick on the harmless it and hackneyed lyrics. But it's dressed in a production that fit and ultimately, it sounds as a whole. Piano-based "I was a flower" and "I keep them on my floor beside my bed" stand out. In these days when the ABBA museum opens and a possible ABBA reunion is in the news again, it's nice that someone in the group looking forward.
The very first meeting is between music critic and journalist Camilla Lundberg and composer Benny Andersson. Here, for example, we hear the story of who influenced Benny's choice of orchestra for CHESS and the Royal family's role in the process.
They of course speak about music and will include in on how hard it must be with perfect pitch.
- I don't think that perfect pitch is needed to something, says Benny Andersson.
Agnetha Fältskog is not musically innovative with her first CD of new songs since 1988 (1996, she released the double-CD "My Love My Life"). Why would she be there anyway?
But Agnetha is back with all their creativity in full containers. There are songs on this record that belongs to the best she's done. The powerful ballad "I Was a Flower" about a girl who follows a nice guy until she is no longer a flower.
Best pop song with a delicious chorus and the song that has the biggest hit-feeling: "Back On Your Radio".
There are a couple songs that float by without making a major fuss. "Dance your pain away" has a pretty good lyrics and she sings well, but it sounds like a disco song from 1973. It discourages me from giving it a higher rating.
But with that exception, this is a CD that will not make any of her many admirers around the world disappointed.
It is 24 years ago Agnetha recorded her own song for the last time
It's just great performers as such does not mean anything at all.
Now she has been persuaded to venture into the limelight, with a bunch of songs that lure. And it is a worthy comeback, especially compared with 1987's "I stand alone" mode, where more effort was put on hair than the music.
A is a mature, rather than modern record, with aspirations towards the timeless classic and magnificent. Sometimes you find the right in the quest, as in the opening track "The one who loves you now", or brittle "Bubble", but for exmple in "Past forever" and "I'll keep them on the floor beside my be" it sounds a tad dated. The echo from ABBA's discoera is nothing that sounds different in "Dancing the pain away". As a whole, it is stable, but a little boring.
Agnetha has no voice just knocks everything in it's path. But she has the ability to brighten a great dish. As in ABBA where everything rested on strong songs and distinctive sound.
A good team is needed around for Agnetha to get the best out of her.
But I collapse and shake my head.
Do not know if Agnetha herself has handpicked songwriter and producer, or an untalented record company guy got the mandate. Anyway, it just goes wrong.
Bungler with greasy fingers has been allowed to rampant in the studio. Not a tone, not a grant, nothing escapes the retina curse.
Anxiousty becomes so big that you can not even trust the forces of Agnetha's voice. For safety, the butter knife bre over her too.
It ends in some kind of cool rippling schlagerpop. Too bad, it could have been so much better.
As blonde boyhood dream in the phenomenon ABBA, she put the world under her feet in the 1970s, along with Björn, Benny and Frida. Of this resembles the new ABBA museum on Djurgården in Stockholm. But Agnetha was far more than just a poster face. Her bright distinctive voice, both unmannered and softly sensual, was an important cog in the special ABBA sound, and it was her voice that stood out in several of the group's biggest hits - "The winner takes it all", "Take a chance on me" and "One of us", to name a few.
One should also not forget her earliest career as a young Swedish schlager lass who wrote her songs herself, which was to say the least unusual in an era when most songs of Svensktoppen radio chart had American origin, or came from established (mostly male) composers.
Then after ABBA's outrageous success and world tours, publicized marriage and divorce, she became known as pop music's own Greta Garbo. This is through her media timidity, and by consistently leaving limelights, with the exception of a few solo albums - the artistic comebacks that blew past almost as fast as they were presented.
Without wishing to appear as yet another stalker, I can not help but mention how I almost stumbled on her feet at the premiere of Kristina från Duvemåla in Malmö. There she sat iclose to me, and I - dropped mouth open. Just like the assembled journalists in the foyer immediately pounced on her.
Now the producer and songwriter pair Jörgen Elofsson and Peter Nordahl have unlikely succeeded in resurrecting Agnetha defunct career, with an album that has its strength in not trying to restyle or launch her in some special way, no catchy "modernizations" as in some previous solo projects but rather as a starting point to utilize and highlight her voice as much as possible.
And the voice is fully intact, despite several years of inactivity and the fact that Agnetha is 63 this year.May be that occasional singing lesson has been spent to get her on form again. The new album with the telling name A (ABBA) is a warm and romantic excursion in old embossed melodic pop that fits her still silvery, clear singing voice like a glove.
Jörgen Elofsson and Peter Nordahl seem to have been inspired both by the classic ABBA sound and Agnetha's early solo hits, in a kind of ABBA-pop of a little more homespun twist. With a large soundstage languishing in "When you really loved someone", and stylish ballad pop in her own "I'll keep them on the floor beside my bed" - yes, even 70s disco "Dance your pain away".
Or bubblegum type Middle of the road in the "Back on your radio". Musically hear the disc at home there and then, no doubt. But there's a bright and a bit naive root in Elofsson's and Nordahls light pop that appeals, at times almost like a 16-year-Robyn in mature vintage. Feels liberating unstyled, and really good. Patinated nostalgy pop for the wee hours.
Best track: When you really loved someone
When she returns with newly written songs, signed Jörgen Elofsson, in production of Peter Nordahl, the..pop songs are very few These sound without exception also mostly hollow. Do we want to hear Agnetha with autotune, as on the childish "Back On Your Radio"?
The heart is there in the big ballads, directly related to the oldies record that she did in the 00s: mildly pompous songs, carefully modernized, sometimes classy, sometimes just a cliché-ridden or so gracefully wrapped that they slide past. The voice she has left. It should get more to do.
Best track: The One Who Loves You Now
It all depends on what expectations you have. Looking at this album as a direct extension of the intelligent pop wonder ABBA, one becomes disappointed. This is something different from it. One must understand that right away.
It takes fifteen seconds. Then ABBA rushes through your head.
Not because the opening track "The one who loves you" sounds like a hit, feels particularly Björn & Benny-scented or even Michael B Tretow-fleshy. No, the reason is of course Agnetha Fältskog's voice - the dreamy, clear, wistful, and in the cortex forever imprinted. With her archetypal ABBA voice follows the memory of endless summer vacation, of dill chips and thumbed cartoonbook, wet towels on the bridge in Lerkil, tangled cassette tape and unplanned bike tours, Björn Borg-finals in the summer house, the old house, the one with woodmat and composting toilet.
The memories pile up, not only because of Agnetha Fältskog's surprisingly sustained voice, also the producers and songwriters Jörgen Elovsson and Peter Nordahl must be added.
Where Agnetha for nearly ten years ago went completely astray with her cover album "My coloring book", has Elovfson / Nordahl written songs that match Agnetha's voice perfectly, actually let her shine, and which also feel completely timeless. This could have been in 1973 as well as 2013. In good and bad.
"When you really loved someone" is vibrant and dramatic with lavish strings from the Royal Radio Symphony Orchestra, "Perfume in the breeze" sounds like a bittersweet Air Supply-hit from the early 80s (complete with whistles and a sound brass nod to Flash And The Pan) and the previously mentioned "The one who loves you" a different singer could have easily make into a languorous Eurovision entry type Malta, but thanks to Agnetha's voice grows for each verse and landing finally in something like a sleek Bacharach flirt.
That was the good. There are other things too.
"I was a flower" and "Past Forever" is a pair of strangely pale ballads which are not able to keep the interest alive, the duet "I should've Followed you home" had definitely worked better with Robbie Williams than with colourless Gary Barlow, and the bouncing disco ball "Dance your pain away" feel in this context completely ... well, apart. Much like the melancholy sweeping "Bubble", a song that never gets out of that bubble where Agnetha obviously has been in since ABBA split in 1982.
That said, this is very ympathetic and sometimes roar sleek disc which allows us to iron the perhaps biggest question mark around a reunion. Agnetha voice holds.
Agnetha Fältskog has been Swedish champion in this genre ever since "Elva kvinnor i ett hus" from 1975, an album that still sounds quite unique in its blend of natural wisdom and blue-eyed naivete. Today's 25 year olds sing about line to the club, Agnetha sang the lunch line at work.
In interviews before her first album with new material in 26 years she still emphasizes how ordinary she is deep down inside. And nothing on the "A" says against her.
Songwriters Jörgen Elofsson and Peter Nordahl don´t try to recreate ABBA's great achievements, even less they want to make Agnetha Fältskog to a modern electro queen. Instead, they dress her in the most casual adult sound you can imagine. "A" is a suite of songs that never play over, which is so tasteful that they are likely to melt down in the Ikea sofa, but also shows new details for each listening.
With another singer, it could have become very boring. But despite prestories of singing lessons and low self-confidence, Agnetha Fältskog sings as if the 70s never ended. The voice is crystal clear, and she still has the ability to become one with her songs, getting every phrase sound as if it's about her.
Therefore it is disappointing that the lyrics do not venture further away from love ballad's most beaten paths. A pop album as adult as "A" had deserved lyrics about falling asleep in front of the TV and flip through the paper at work.
On her fifth album in English she uses her voice for the first time in nine years. Album of this year with the simple title of "A" is her first new material in 26 years.
The fresh ABBA museum in Stockholm was opened on 8 May, but she did not attend because of record launching overseas.
No, it's not Björn and Benny who have written the songs, but Jörgen Elofsson, known for collaborating with major ones like s Britney Spears and Westlife, and for a number of Idol songs.
It starts with "The One Who Loves You Now" and the single "When Your Really Loved Someone", both powerful set of MGP-style, but without great character.
On "I Should Have Followed You Home» stepper Gary Barlow of Take That in duet.
It lubricated the thick of production - unfortunately, I must say. Pro pop, but far below the classics Agnetha got frolic with the ABBA.
The honest, lovely tenderness in her voice is well kept and captivates the moment, but is best expressed in the more quiet and simple songs - especially in "Perfume in the Breeze" and the lovely "I Was a Flower." Conclusion: Solid work, but far from brilliant.
Something can certainly be attributed to production, which is sublime and exclusive on this release.
But nevertheless sounds Agnetha, as if time has been her gracious. 'A' is the otherwise very private and withdrawn singer's first release since 'My Colouring Book' was published nine years ago, but she sings on the opening track 'The One Who Loves You Now " she is now:' Ready to risk it all once more. '
Too much syrup and for many strings
The risk involves the ten new tracks that, at its best, pulling reminiscent of Karen Carpenter on the fine 'Perfume in the Breeze' and 'Bubble', and when it is bad, leaning against a fixed musical tradition where it all dipped in sugary syrup with strings from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
Unfortunately, we are mostly in the latter category with tracks like 'Past Forever "and" I Was a Flower' and a somewhat tame duet with Gary Barlow on 'I Should've Followed You Home'.
On the other hand there is a bit of a genuine surprise in the fast discounted flapping 'Dance Your Pain Away ", which must be one of the closest one gets the idea of how ABBA would sound like if they had existed to this day.
Hats off to the now 63-year-old Agnetha, showing that you do not get too old for that kind of excesses.
Overall, however, this is most of all a publication that reaches more backward than forward. Not because there partout must be something wrong with it, but you miss sometimes a little more daring and just an attempt to put Agnetha Fältskogs amazing voice into some new frames.
At 'A' she most of all the voice from the past.
There is no other singer in the world who sings like Agnetha Fältskog. It's not just about clarity and power of her voice, but about her ability as a storyteller. Like a method actor, she becomes one with the content of the text. Agnetha Fältskog has not sung so well for 30-35 years, as she does on her comeback album.
The album "A" is not written as a continuation of ABBA but óf Agnetha Fältskog's sololabum from the 1970s. Albums like "När en vacker tanke blir en sång" (1971) and "Elva kvinnor i ett hus" (1975) are Swedish classics where Agnetha herself wrote all the songs.
The songwriter Agnetha Fältskog settles this time down at the piano only once, at the concluding "I keep on the floor beside my bed" with a melody and an arrangement that takes thoughts to photographers from the 1970s with its saturated colors.
The rest of the songs are specially written for Agnetha by Jörgen Elofsson, one of Sweden's greatest hitmaker, earlier this year, Grammy-nominated in the U.S. for Song of the Year.
Together with arranger and co-producer Peter Nordahl, with a background in jazz, Jörgen Elofsson has made an album of a kind that is not really done anymore. With real musicians in the studio as subordinate to the stories in the lyrics - listen to Mattias Torrells guitar - and so much detail in the production, that Quincy Jones described as "ear candy", the discovery of new things on each listening.
And then there's that voice. When Agnetha sings harmonies with herself, it is impossible not to think of ABBA. Initiation "The one who loves you know" sweeps aside the feet. Agnetha Fältskog has not forgotten the dance floor, a couple of songs glow in the lights of a rotating disco ball. Listen to how she makes her entrance in the Gary Barlow-duet "I should've Followed you home." Gary Barlow is falling and we are with him.
After the English-language album "I stand alone", which came in 1987, there has certainly been a stagnant career more focused on the private person Agnetha than the artist. 2004 the silence was broken with a temporary cover-album 'My coloring book', an album that in retrospect seems like a parenthesis. Well made but little uninteresting.
When the now 63-year-old pop singer from Jönköping is once again stepping forward with a new album - appropriately timed to the opening of the ABBA-museum, -is situation differently. With the newly written original material, mainly by hit-maker Jorgen Elofsson, it is worth taking most seriously. An attractive and worthy comeback, although it probably does not mark the beginning of a new phase in her career. Agnetha Fältskog does not belong to the artistes who have to live their life in the spotlight, on the contrary.
Producer pair Elofsson / Nordahl has worked with a relatively small group of musicians, including guitarist Mattias Torell and drummer Per Lindvall, who laid the foundations. To this has been added the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, recorded on the home stage Concert Hall under the direction of arranger and conductor Nordahl.
It's naturally no album that breaks new ground - especially the startling boring cover that seems to have been found on a shelf for unused cover art from the 1990's - but it is qualitative schlagerpop from beginning to end. Especially good is the opening of "The one who loves you now" and "When you really loved someone," and finishing with "Back on your radio" and "I'll keep them on the floor beside my bed." The latter, the only track that Agnetha herself co-wrote, gives the romantic strings and George Harrison-sliding guitar yearning for more. Much more.
Particularly relevant. ABBA belongs to the big ones. It is a truth that keeps in both Sweden and the UK. That's going to get confirmed in both Australia and Azerbaijan.
Agnetha Fältskog's records are another thing. They remind me of, say, Queen members' solo albums. They are there for the fans, some of them are more better than others - but their impression is of marginal importance.
So the question is why Agnetha Fältskog, 63, does it again?
"A" is an inspired album. Agnetha sings with full presence of mind. Although she only co-wrote one of the tracks, concluding "I keep them on the floor beside my bed," it sounds as if she means every line of text. Like she sings straight from the heart, without protective net. It reminds how she, and Frida, put down all their soul in the music that was created in ABBA's famous Polar studio.
Hit-maker Jorgen Elofsson, one on Billboard as recently as last year (Kelly Clarkson) helps with confidence and old-school thinking. "A" Ogle not for a second on what works on the charts. The sound grazes to be both dated and timeless.
It is a first class produced, arranged and mixed record.
Some tracks feel a bit restrained, almost pale in their expression, but the whole is dignified and elegant.
MAY 10: TT SPEKTRA ARTICLE
Swedish newspapers have today published article made by news bureau TT Spektra in London. Mainly nothing special except these bits:
Agnetha "hardly dares to tell" that she actually wrote two songs herself and Elofsson and Nordahl chose the better one for the album.
Comment about the album by from Elofsson:
-We wanted to make it as if she had not been in ABBA. We could not copy ABBA, it would have just been ridiculous. But when Agnetha started singing, it became ABBA, anyway - but with more singer-songwriter feel and more 70s
Elofsson and Nordahl are mainly responsible for the costs of the album project.
Agnetha is not keen to sing live:
- Yes, it's not my strong side indeed. Gary Barlow asked if I could do this duet we sing on the album, live with him. And I said, "I have to think it over." But I do not think. I'll be very careful with what I undertake.
Producers and songwriters Jörgen Elofsson and Peter Nordahl have not attempted to place Fältskog's voice in the present. That she would try to compete with names like Rihanna or Gotye on the current hit parade is an absurd thought. The only thing that is reminiscent of 2013, are euro synths in the single WHEN YOU REALLY LOVED SOMEONE.
The reason for Elofsson and Nordahl for taking the project project was simple. They wanted to hear Agnetha Fältskog's voice on record again. And here they also had the chance to, which was the whole idea from the beginning, to live out their analog '70s fantasies.
It gives for the sound of "A" space, reverb and richness of details - George Harrison guitar in "I keep them on the floor beside my bed"! - Which is rare today. The strings, for example, are recorded by the Royal Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra.
The "Moonlight Shadow" smooth sound is champagne for the ears. It's like being embedded into a bed where the mattress is formed by the body.
Thoughts settle down in a time machine and travel back to time when radio was dominated by The Carpenters wistful sound perfection, a group that feels increasingly underrated and forgotten today. Opening tracj "The one who loves you now" could just as easily be released by Karen Carpenter.
West Coast pope is not far away. "Perfume in the breeze" lives up to its title - it's perfume for car radio´s softest stations. And "I was a flower" is the album Black Rose, a cinematic ballad where Fältskog creates great drama even though she barely raises her voice.
Tracks that reveals her background in ABBA is kept to a minimum. However, there is a blink of the disco song "Dance your pain away".
Additionally music´s melancholy mood reminds the last records that ABBA released. It is autumn in several tracks. Several themes and melodies walk, emotionally, among yellowed and fire-colored leaves.
"A" would have deserved a stronger dynamic. The songs are a bit repetitive and there´s an Eurovision ballad too much. But alot is so good, that the album paradoxically is like a new start.
Agnetha Fältskog was concerned in advance that singing wouldn´t hold. She can clean up the turmoil now. Her voice is still one of Sweden's most elegant instruments, crystal clear, and unsurpassed
Sanna Nielsen: Kristina
Christer Nerfont: Karl Oskar
Bruno Mitsogniannis: Robert
Åsa Fång. Ulrika
Marianne Mörck: Fina-Kajsa and narrator telling the storybetween songs.
Anders Eljas conducts Jönköping Sinfonietta
MAY 2: BJÖRN IN KUPE
Björn has given a long intervieww for Swedish railways´s (SJ) magazine Kupe at his home. When you are in Stockholm (for the museum opening) do pick up a copy of this mag from a railway staiton. The pictures are wonderful!
Here the most important parts:
When asked about best memories from the ABBA period, Björn replies the songs, they are still alive. To question what Björn misses the least from that time, he says all the photoshoot that they had to do. They were tiring, like the travelling aswell
Relation to the other ABBA members:
-Benny and I meet every or every second week at work, even if we don´t socialize in privace any more. We are like two brothers who do not neeed to be together all the time.
-Agnetha and myself have two children and three grandchildren together, so we of course meet quite often. We celebrate Christmas together and on Saturday Linda has birthday , so there´s a party together for her.
-Frida splits her time in Switzerland, Majorca and London. But when she is in Stoclholm she usually lets me know and then we meet. The last time was ten days ago.
Writing lyrics was being discussed. Björn thinks the lyrics of DU ÄR MIN MAN and GULET BLEV TILL SAND are really good ones.
To question is it harder to write lyriics to a musical or a pop song, Björn says:
-The latter, no doubt about it. A pop song is supposed to be catchy, all words have to be in exactly right place. Words have to sound good, fonetically and not to chave. It is damn hard.
Have you ever considered writing a book?
-No, It is such a lonely work.
But Björn admits that he once began writing his memoirs, But it ended up quickly.
-I have never written a diary and I realized that I remember too little. So there was no other choice than stopping with it.
If Björn wrote a book, it would be of pop music, not popular music, as according to Björn no-one has really written a book about it. Björn reads quite some. Not so many novels anymore, but rather books aboutr science and philosophy.
The last few years Björn has been publicly commenting religions, politics etc. it all began after 9/11, Björn does not want to become a politician as politicians are afraid to say what they really think.
Björn has money and would not need to work, just relax and enjoy of all achievements.
-Yes, sometimes i can take it easy. But the last year has mainly been 8 to 5 , every day, actually.
A lot of time went with HJÄLP SÖKES, the book publisher Fri Tanke that Björn owns with a few other persons and real estates. Björn unveils that he for example has bout former Ericssson headquarters at Telefonplan in Stockholm. With a building company he intends to develope it into 350 flats for young people. Making money is not main reason for Björn to operate with real estates. He does it, because it is exciting, fun and creative.
About the ilness of Lena, Björn tells that one does not learn to live with uncertainty and it effects their daily life.
How is she today?
-It is still there. There are different sequences in such an ilness and even if it steadily becomes worse, there are not yet any visibler symptoms, which is a blessing.
Björn tells how Lena and he met:
-.Me and Agnetha had decided to divorce, but wanted to spend the last Christmas together because of the children. On Chirstmas Day she moved out and a few days later I was a New Year´s party at home of benny and Frida. Lena was there and then everything was clear! We have now been together for 32 years.
Quic kquestions to Björn:
Descibe yourself with three words:
-Kind, dutiful and somewhat talented
What isyour happient moment?
-When my children were born, of course. In the work? When I went to lay down after we had won the Eurovision Song Contest 1974 with WATERLOO and only by then I fully rrealized what has happened and the whole world stood open.
Whe ndid you cry for the last time?
-When i went to meet my friend Hansi Schwarz and understood that it was the last time that we meet. One week later he was dead.
What makes you laugh?
-My grandchildren. The ysay so funny things.
Which drugs you have tested?
-Grass and hashish. But never during ABBA time.
Do you have any hidden talent?
-I am a good skipper
Which person (alive or dead) you admire the most?
What is the biggest misunderstanding about you?
-During the ABBA years was claimed that I was such a good businessman, smart and sleek I am better now, but absolutely not by then!
What will stand on your tombstone?
-It is up to my children to dcide, but I hope they will choose a quatrain from something that I have written.
APRIL 30: PER LINDVALL
Drummer Per Lindvall has been interviewed on Swedish radio. 35 years ago, around age of 20, he became drummer for ABBA. Lindvall tells that he plays also on Agnetha´s new album and on WE WRITE THE STORY.
APRIL 29: SOFIA PEKKARI
Sofia Pekkari, who plays in HJÄLP SÖKES, visited his brother´s radio broadcast show Pekkaris Kök. A bit after middle of the show Sofia sang DEN JAG VILLE VARA from the musical. You can listen the show here, the link opens quite slowly.
APRIL 28: PIERCE BROSNAN
Pierce Brosnan in Empire magazine about MAMMA MIA!:
Did you have any idea just how huge Mamma Mia! would be?
None. None whatsoever. I thought it would find an audience, of course – I knew it had an audience and a very strong following before I signed up. I had experienced the mightiness of ABBA in their day, but never did I know or believe that it would be such a monster hit.
It was criminal how much fun we had on that film. Once you got over the agony of singing and the sheer fear of opening your mouth to sing something like S.O.S., the rest was all gravy. It was just the company of Meryl. Meryl led the way. She was just a joy to behold each and every day in her love of the piece and her own courage getting out there and singing. We became a company. [Director] Phyllida Lloyd was very wise in having us all go to Pinewood Studios each and every day.
That was one of the surprises too. I said yes to this gig. I thought, “Fantastic. This will be great.” Then, of course, I end up going to work on the first day and realise I’m going back to Pinewood Studios. I felt, “Oh Jesus Christ, this could be interesting.” I went through the gates at Pinewood and I prayed they didn’t give me my old dressing room. They said I’d be in the Stanley Kubrick wing instead. “Thank God for that!”, I thought. So they gave me this beautiful dressing room, and I went in and pulled the curtains back and… there was the 007 soundstage right outside. 007 was back all over again.
APRIL 26: AGNETHA IN HELSINGIN SANOMAT
Finland´s biggest newspaper Helsingin Sanomat has interview with Agnetha. Done some time ago at Grand Hotel in Stockholm like many of the recently published interviews. Helsingin Sanomat was one of the very few newspapers for which Agnetha gave telephone interview around release of MY COLOURING BOOK.
Agnetha says that she is in London when ABBA THE MUSEUM opens. She adds that they´ll see is it possible to have some sort of link send a greeting. She doesn´t say more clearly, do they try a live TV link from London to Stockholm (as world link would suggest) or will she record a special message for the opening.
Today music is not listened that much by Agnetha. Mainly from television. Radio she listens on car, she drives quite a lot. She for ex drives from Stockholm to Copenhagen for shopping.
As we know Agnetha prefers studio working rather than live performances. She tells that one gets support from the team in the studio - but on the other hand one has to do comphromizes.
Today Agnetha has two dogs, in Scandinavia quite rare Pražský Krysařík from Czech and a Pug Dog.
APRIL 26: ABBA THE MUSEUM ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN
APRIL 26: FRIDA´S IDEA
It is Frida, who got the idea of the red telephone at ABBA THE MUSEUM, where ABBA members can call, and visitors can reply. Ingmarie Hallning expects Frida to call as it is her idea.
APRIL 26: MM! BJÖRN IN SVENSKA DAGBLADET
Svenska Dagbladet has visited ABBA THE MUSEUM several times during February-April. Harry Amster´s article has lots of nice photos.
Björn Ulvaeus opens the door to ABBA´s history
They split for more than 30 years ago, but the success story of Abba will never end. Now ABBA mseum on Djurgården. SvD has followed the work before the opening and talked pop history with ABBA member and financier Bjorn Ulvaeus.
It's freezing in Stockholm. Therefore, I guess it will be nice to get into the ABBA museum. But that's not all. There´s something so infernal in the museum which is located between Gröna lund and Liljevalchs on Djurgården. It may be due to all exterior walls are not mounted.
Everywhere is pallets, planks, ladders and cables. We go through one empty room after another and finally they sit there around a large table, the gang who will ensure that the museum will be ready for inauguration on May 7. Here's CEO Mattias Hansson, marketing manager Catarina Falkenhav, curator Ingmarie Halling, Pelle Berglund, construction supervisor plus a few more.
When I gaze sweeps over the premises I think: "This you will never fix." Then roars Mattias Hansson: "Here we go!"
The meeting agenda includes everything from Hep Stars to Hootenanny Singers in public parks. With that Björn Ulvaeus started, who sang in the Hootenanny Singers, a folk pop group with hits such as "Gabrielle", "Marianne" and "Around tiggar'n from Luossa". The problem was that Ulvaeus were not so fond of taht music. He had heard the Beatles and 60's bands that exploded out into the ether and realized that he would rather be with the Hep Stars, where Benny played the organ.
But back to the museum's bare walls. Ingmarie Halling, who is head of Eehibitions, shows me around. I gently point out that in a few months everything should be ready.
-Do not say that, she says panicky and laughing at the mess.
If everything works, visitor of the museum first sees an ABBA film by Jonas Åkerlund, which is screened in a 360 degree cinema room. The film ends with a black box and immediately a blackbird is heard. The visitor opens the door and steps out into Gamleby Folkark in the 1960s. Then follows the RING RING room - furnished as a 1970´s home with a red telephone, ABBAs original clothes, a pole with ´newspaper posters, manager Stig Anderson's office where there is a press kit with the biographies and a WATERLOO single. Stig had thought of everything if ABBA went and win the Eurovision Song Contest with WATERLOO in Brighton in 1974.
-I never thought we would win. We chose the WATERLOO and HASTA MANANA. But WATERLOO was more fun to drive, says Björn Ulvaeus when I meet him at a restaurant on Djurgården.
These days he has become 68. He usually get compliments that he looks younger. Narrower he is definitely than during ABBA years, which is because he trains. When he goes through the menu to see what he'll order he chooses away dishes with too many carbohydrates.
We're talking about the transparent mini helicopter from the cover of the album ARRIVAL. And the Polar studio, of course. And then the bench where Benny and Anni-Frid kissing while Björn and Agnetha sitting next to and are acidic.
-It's a fun picture, iconic. The whole story of ABBA is a real Cinderella story, says Björn Ulvaeus.
Ingmarie Halling has worked as a stylist with ABBA intermittently for 36 years and still meet all four private. Now she is the curator of Abba the museum and has previously been responsible for the exhibition ABBAWORLD around Europe. She's one of those who konow ABBA members best, mainly because she spent many hours with the band during the tours, especially in the dressing room where she fixed makeup and clothes and a thousand other things. Thus, she is also well suited to describe the members.
-Agnetha is incredibly earth-bound, a small-town girl who does not complicate life. It hurts me that people talk about her as a Garbo for it is she really is not. Rather, she is a little naive and does not think that people recognize her. Frida is the nomad, globetrotter who puts down roots and then it is her home. She isurbane and street smart.
-Björn is curious and open to new ideas and arguments. A strange combination of businessman and poet. A contractor by God's grace. Benny meets all the criteria for a musician. When he has a piano or an accordion around, he can survive everyday life. At a party, he can almost apologizing for disturbing, but he sits there and plays. On tours he cared a lot of us who worked around. He has inherited incurring that everyone is eeded. All four are very down to earth and no divas anywhere.
Actually, ABBA THE MUSEUM doesn´t open after one week. In fact, it is the Sedish Music Hall of Fame which opens its doors with ABBA museum as an important component. Here the Swedish artists from the 1920s to the present day are presented. Everything from Tages and Cornelis Vreeswijk Roxette, Europe and Swedish House Mafia.
For Björn Ulvaeus has not been obvious to go for an ABBA Museum. Especially as a museum in reference books described as "a collection of objects," frequently "preserved antiquities." Mattias Hansson, CEO of the museum, said half-jokingly, half seriously:
-Björn Ulvaeus is involved to found his own statue.
As late as 2007, Bjorn Ulvaeus hesitant to an ABBA museum. In Expressen he said in an interview: "I think it's really important not to take part in shaping a museum of himself. It would feel so totally wrong. "
Then it was about ABBA museum that would be in the old Customs House on Stadsgården. In 2008 the ticket sales bagan but the customs house was in poor condition and the costs were higher than anticipated. The contract with the property owner Stockholm Hamnar demolished. Instead of an ABBA museum in 2009, Photographic museum opened in the house in 2010. For a couple of years ABBAWORLD toured with many of the gadgets that will be available in ABBA THE MUSEUM.
Björn Ulvaeus´song writing partner Benny Andersson has said about the new museum that "I have nothing against it, but think maybe they could have waited for 30 years." He will not say much more than "the museum will stand on its own feet." Björn Ulvaeus however says that he has got distance since ABBA split up in 1982 and now sees himself as a drummer for Abba the museum.
-Yes, when one has gone into this, then it is to do it from start to finish. It is not enough to create content, but also putting it on the map. Therefore I will go to England, Russia, Germany, Finland, Norway and Poland to make pr.
But earlier ABBA did not want to hear about a museum?
-Yes, so it was. There is something strange about creating a museum about yourself. Usually it is a museum of dead people. And the other three in ABBA are more passive supporters.
But not you?
-No. That's because it takes place in my hometown, where I live. If someone else was in it so maybe it would not be as good. Here on the island of Djurgården, I go with my grandchildren and they will point and say "look here grandpa, here we go into". Then I want to be proud of it. After so many years I can keep doing this as if it were someone else, investigate why ABBA reached out so terribly far, says Björn Ulvaeus and smiles.
Just where he puts his finger on the crucial issue. How could a Swedish group defeat an entire world, something not done before and that almost everyone saw that completely unrealistic?
-An ingredient is the amazing story of us, that we so organically became a group. In a natural way. Benny and I metand start working together. Quite apart from this fact, we got together with two women who happen to be great singers, a blonde and a redhead and also beautiful. We hang out, sing for the fun of it and have no intention to start a group. Eventually growing up that we should do something together. It happens to be so real plus all adds something that is hard to put your fingers on.
-Then we had the Stig with its outreach and indomitable will to create something great outside Sweden. He convinced us to "why not". We saw that the only way out was the Eurovision song contest for otherwise it was blocked. The Anglo-Saxon world was not listening to anything that came from here, it went directly into the trash. But we would be so big, no one could imagine. After WATERLOO, it id not go so well and there were moments when I thought "there´s no more than this."
When S.O.S was released in Australia, ABBA made a video that they sent to the other side of the earth.
-Then it took with storm, and the British realized that there was life in that Eurovision group that should have been dead long ago. It took off and was a beeline for a long time. It seems that many of our songs have become part of contemporary life. They are there all the time. Or as Phyllida Lloyd, the director of MAMMA MIA!, said: "The songs are part of our cultural heritage."
Are you proud?
-Absolutely. Giant proud, amazed and humbled. Otherwise, I would not get involved with this museum. It is not possible to emotionally embrace the journey that ABBAmade. As we have sold 380 million records and touched the hearts of people. Or that 50 million people have seen MAMMA MIA!
The museum is financed by companies like Universal and Mediatec. Even CEO Mattias Hansson has joined in with a smaller portion. But the biggest financier is Björn Ulvaeus himself who will not tell you how many millions he coughed up, but says the museum costs "several tens of millions Crowns."
After the opening ceremony on May 7, Björn Ulvaeus will scale down his involvement, even if he is still the largest shareholder, and attends the board meetings.
-We have a CEO who will take care that it rolls on.
Just how the museum will do, is another major issue. If it is a success or not. Björn Ulvaeus think it may be problematic for example, during the cold season.
-Then there will be so many people there. We'll grow into it and see how we can attract people. But if you are a foreign tourist, you know the Swedish brands like Ikea, ABBA and then some. Locals I believe are not interested in ABBA.
In the 70th century Sweden, it was not socially acceptable to like ABBA. Culture pages printed articles where the progressive rock supporters complained about commercial brainwashing and how detestable ABBAs 'simple' pop music was. ´Their contempt - or even hate - sometimes almost reminded of Palm hatred.
Expessen's former music journalist Mats Olsson has written a short text to ABBA THE MUSEUM about the period. He notes that ABBAs music was regarded as flattened, mendacious and market-but it was ABBA who sold the most records while proggressive was a media event. Moreover ABBA inspiredyoung girls and boys themselves to sing and make songs.
Ingmarie Halling recently chatted with Anni-Frid Lyngstad of prog time.
-She said it still is a thorn in her heart when people say that they thought ABBA´s records were good but they hid them.
Björn Ulvaeus do not think prog rock movement was something that upset about.
-We were not affected by it because we were so totally focused on what we were doing. Proggen was never something important, a marginal phenomenon. They were not a single damn thing innovation. Aside from a few songs with the National Theatre, and Hoola Bandoola that was a good band. But of course we knew that some horrified and said that "they sell so many records, it is somewhat suspect." But do not forget that there was another Sweden - we had advance orders of 760,000 copies of THE ALBUM. The criticism was so peripheral.
But of course you did just products to make money?
-Haha, yes, we had a formula, a hit factory! And that we were two couples who were married was a gimmick! All that we were accused of. But the fall in its own absurdity. If you listen to the songs today, they are so different from each other. We tested all sorts of styles, not knowing what it was that made people liked it. It was hurtful to hear that we did the songs on pure speculation.
National Encyclopedia writes, among other things, that ABBA "is characterized by the carefully crafted style blends of 1970´s pop and dance music." But not a word about the lyrics.
-Benny was the musical engine but we always wrote together. The lyrics I wrote when there was a basic track with overdubs, so you had a feeling of what the song actually was. Lyrics have always been unfairly treated, but the songs that remain often have lyrics with high quality in one way or another.
Björn Ulvaeus does not always remember how the lyrics came to. In recent years, he complained that many of his memories of ABBA time are forgotten. But it has noticeably improved in working with ABBA museum, and thus be able to dig back into the past. As the "FERNANDO with the refrain: "There was something in the air tonight, the stars were bright, Fernando They were shining there for you and me, for liberty, Fernando."
-I remember that Frida and Benny first did it in Swedish and I thought it was such a fussy lyric about a "Latin lover". One night I was lying on the dock in Viggsö and looked up at the stars. And there was something in the air. FERNANDO was turned into an old freedom fighter.
Just barely a month to go until the opening ceremony. I note that the seedy is gone but still ABBA museum is a giant construction site, both indoors and outdoors. As the person responsible, it should be easy to panic.
-I see thousands of things that can go wrong and wake up four every morning. I lay in the fetal position, cold sweat and splint has fallen off, jokes CEO Mattias Hansson.
But the truth is that he wakes up and ponder on all that will become clear.
-Sure, I may start thinking that we should have lockers but I'm not worried that it will not be clear.
Many of the museum's departments are getting ready even though almost no ABBA items are yet ere. RING, RING room has a cute picture of the four of ABBA members with Agnetha Fältskog calling with a giant red phone. On the walls hang pictures and clips where one of the headlines of 1970 reads: "Fästfolk privat, Festfolk på scen. Polar Studio is there but without equipment. The details are important, as the wood in Gamleby Folkark as patinated to make it look worn out. They worn cinema seats are from Torshälla where Anni-Frid Lyngstad grew up. Stikkan´s office has gota flower in the window and a low dresser.
ABBAś manager had a significant impact on the group's breakthrough, but was not always easy to deal with. He was, according to Björn Ulvaeus, a troublesome personality that the group finally found it difficult to work with. Stig Anderson's daughter Marie Ledin published a couple of years ago the book "My dad named Stikkan" where his alcoholism is described as fractions of the songs copyright. The mythical manager created the Polar Music Prize and wrote songs like "”Är du kär i mej ännu Klas-Göran?”.
-Stikkan was our mentor but became more and more focused on the business side, which meant that as soon as ABBA was mentioned was in the context of money, money, money. We wanted to alienate ourselves from it because we did not like it. Rolling Stones manager never talked about how much money they earned or what companies they bought. We wanted a manager who was acting in the background. But no one will deny his importance, says Björn Ulvaeus.
Of course, ´DANCING QUEEN is at the museum, the song that defeated the United States and took the number 1 position in most of the world. Björn Ulvaeus think it is one of ABBAś top three songs and that it "means a lot for the gay movement." The videos can be seen how the King and Silvia look happy when ABBA performs the song at the wedding in 1976.
-I did not know it would be a hit. I was equally uncertain about every single we released. But it turned out that when Benny and I felt like "damn what this is good" as it was millions of others who felt the same.
How was it to hit the U.S.?
-It's good because we were not prepared to lay down the work required in the USA - tour and visit all the radio stations in each new city. We wanted to be at home, writing songs and being with our children, not to go from city to city. We did a tour in the USA for a month in autumn 1979 but played in places that did not take more than 10,000 people.
In the museum there's the cottage , with the white piano, where Benny Andersson sat when he wrote songs with Björn Ulvaeus. Song writing took place on Viggsö, a summer place that Björn Ulvaeus and Agnetha Fältskog bought in 1971. The guest cottage became writing place. Next to it stood Stig Anderson's house and on the other side the island, ten minutes walk, stood Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad's house.
-Benny and I harrowed, harrowed, harrowed and got ideas, fragments, loops. We could run around the clock, and then it used to fall into place. Many think that a good chorus is what is needed. For us, every little thing in the song is just as important.
The crucial reason that Bjorn and Benny started writing songs was The Beatles breakthrough in 1963. So when I ask Björn Ulvaeus if it's okay to mention Andersson / Ulvaeus related to Lennon / McCartney, he answers a definite "no," and squirms. There appears creeps in him, he points out.
-They are the greatest and they are gods. Constantly unmatched and nothing to talk about. When compared with the Beatles, I say "no, no, no, away!" Small town kid sits inside, he smiles.
But I would not let go of The Beatles. Liverpool group released George Harrison as songwriter and even Ringo Starr wrote a couple of songs. But in ABBA there were no songs from Agnetha Fältskog even though she had a brilliant career before ABBA with many hits.
-We wanted her to write and nagged. I remember I wrote lyrics to her song DISILLUSION which was featured on the debut albumRING, RING but then she stopped completely.
The clothes wereone hallmark of ABBA. At the museum, one can try clothing sets by scanning one's face and stand in front of a screen. Ccostumes become visible virtually. It is also possible to become the fifth ABBA member by going into the white room with a small white scene. The band appears as a hologram in natural size and visitor can dance and sing with them. All fans can then watch the appearance online, share with friends and get guaranteed appreciation, whether it is good or lousy.
-We did not measure the clothes so much weight but people seemed to think they were important. Honestly - you should wear something, preferably something that said something and would be noticed. We became symbols of 1970's fashion although many groups like Sweet, Queen and Gary Glitter, had equally crazy clothes. I was quite plump when we did WATERLOO in Brighton but went down to the idol weight. Other contemporaries used drugs and was never hungry. But for me it was a constant dieting, haha.
What kind of signals you wanted to send with the clothes?
-In Brighton, we wanted to be noticed. Stand out. Point. Then they wanted to look worse and worse until we became a bit more sophisticated in the end. New outfits belonged to the rules of the game. The music was the core but we wanted to go all the way.
ABBA did not go to clubs when they recorded TV somewhere in Europe. A married couple who absolutely did not live rock'n'roll life.
-We were never in the London in-clubs but recorded the Top of the Pops and then flew home to the kids. No-one ever has tried to foist on me drugs. No-one asked "would you like some cocaine?" which of course was super common. Either people working for us kept them away, or they thought that those magnificent Swedes do not want anything anyway. We could concentrate in music, says Björn Ulvaeus and looks relieved.
Agnetha Fältskog met Hootenanny Singers singer Björn Ulvaeus when she as a solo artist did a folk park tour in the 1960's. In an interview, she told: "Björn and I looked a little at each other back then. He had recorded 'Raring', "Honey" in Swedish, and I thought it was so cozy and asked someone if Björn could send it to me. It came quite soon in the post, haha. He had signed it, so that was cute. Then we were in the same TV program, a program in the memory of the composer Jules Sylvain and I saw that Björn was there as a solo artist and I was very happy, whoa now we get to meet again! "
-Agnetha and I sang a duet and then said it undoubtedly boom, says Björn Ulvaeus about how they met in Målilla sports park in Hootenanny Singers dressing room
-She knew who I was because we had hits and she had her first hit, and it was played on the radio. What talent, I thought. I was fond of it was behind his voice. Do not really know why.
In 1970 both pairs stood on stage of Trädgår'n in Gothenburg and did restaurant show Festfolket, which flopped completely
-Benny remember that it could be nine people in the crowd on weekdays. I remember three. We had a chunks of original songs but otherwise it was cabaret numbers, many written by Peter Himmelstrand. It was cabaret shows primetime and we had to support ourselves. We were one of the worse shows, it did not suit us. I was unhappy.
They had recorded HEJ GAMLE MAN where Agnetha and Frida for the first time, sang in the chorus. It became a big hit at Svensktoppen.
-Self-confidence got better and we realized that we should do our own stuff, not that other crap. The best part of all is that the floor show is not documented, one needs not to turn to today. Like the number that Benny and I made as dressed like little boys with hats with propeller and large giant peppermint sticks, says an obviously pleased Björn Ulvaeus.
Two weeks to go until the opening ceremony. Curator Ingmarie Halling thinks- or knows - that everything will be in place on May 7 when the gates open. But still many of ABBA stuff absent. Thereś no crisis, she emphasizes.
-But sorted chaos.
The mixing console at Polar Studios has just arrived from Germany. It had been resold and Ingmarie Halling found it from internet. In the studio at the museum are also ABBA's original drums that an underground band in Katrineholm used for several years. On the walls hang lots of pictures of legendary producer Michael B Tretow.
The museum also Agnetha Fältskog's kitchen in Lidingö. She had divorced in 1979 from Bjorn Ulvaeus but they met often and this depicts how her daughter Linda starts school and from a radio is heard ABBA song SLIPPING TROUGH MY FINERS with lyrics by Ulvaeus about how the children disappear from one's life: "I have to sit down for a while, the feeling that I'm losing her forever, And without really entering her world. I'm glad whenever I can share her laughter, that funny little girl. "
When I look at concert recordings with ABBA, Bjorn Ulvaeus is the happiest, he jumps up and down when they thank the audience. Still, he notes that it was more fun to be in the studio and record new songs, than to tour, something they only did four to five months in a decade.
-The audience does not weigh that up to create new. Without diminishing, it became very similar wherever you play. Except in Japan, where they sat and listened to the whole concert on edge without reacting. But in the end they were completely crazy. Writing and producing gave much more. The reason you and I are sitting here talking about ABBA 40 years later is because we spent so much time on songwriting.
What was your best concert?
-That's a great question. I can imagine that it was at Wembley in London where we played a whole week or at Budokan in Tokyo.
ABBA were together for ten years starting in 1972. Alone In the UK, they had nine number ones. But the group split-up in 1982. Additionally the couples separated.
-We had a period of seven or eight years when we stood at the height of our creativity. Then leveled off. We did not analyzed what it was but it felt that we wanted to try something different. But it was not so that we decided never to do something together. Benny and I had talked a long time about making a musical.
Did you fight a lot?
-No, there were no fights. How we fought as couples is a different thing and nothing to be discussed publicly. The creative force remained after we had separated us, as we did some of our best songs.
Every year, rumours of an ABBA concert pop up. A few days ago it was Agnetha Fältskog who in Die Zeit Magazine did not rule out a reunion: "Maybe a concert for some charity. I would at least do not say no right away if the question came. "Benny Andersson has also told to Svenska Dagbladet that" if it would help lock I would call the others in ABBA and ask if we're doing a job. "
in 2000 ABBA said no thanks no to a reunion tour despite the fee on unreal one billion dollars. In a Sunday interview with Svenska Dagbladet in 2007 Björn Ulvaeus explained why the group said no to that much money. He thought about how it would feel to go in night after night to an audience that will be disappointed. Thought also that they had aged, the energy was no longer there and no-one any longer was able to jump on the speakers. More like four sleepy people singing the old songs. What would that do to him as a person, wondered Ulvaeus.
Today he agrees with himself.
-Exactly so. How disappointed everyone would be. "Is that them there?" I do not mean that you should be ashamed for becoming old but it was so long ago and belongs to that time. Stones have decided to play all the time. We would suddenly bring it up. What the hell for?
Yet the statements from you and the others in the ABBA that you have not shut down the door for a reunion?
-Then I close the door now, says Björn Ulvaeus with a wry smile
APRIL 25: MM! HELSINKI CASTING
The song is about Europe.
- If something I think we can be proud of, something that unites us - the enlightenment. An original topic perhaps for a song in Eurovision, says Björn Ulvaeus.
- We have worked separately as is done nowadays. One sends to each other and fill in retrospect.
How the opening number will look like on stage at Malmö Arena on May 18, he can not say.
- But there will be many people who sing. Hopefully, but I do not know, also those who participate in the contest, ends Björn Ulvaeus
- Had someone told me when I was younger that one day in the future I would have chance to make an album with Agnetha Fältskog and then sit in my studio and see how she is dancing to one of my songs on my patio, I had thought that the person was completely insane, laughs Jörgen Elofsson, who along with me and co-producer Peter Nordahl is sitting in the studio and with surprise are considering the spectacular scene.
In Jörgen's kitchen resides Universal Music's international promotions manager. While she was bewatching film activities in the house, she is talking in the cell phone - while she constantly checks her incoming mail to synchronize even the next week's program in London, where Agnetha and company this weekend goes to process not only the English audience, but basically the whole world.
In connection with Agnetha Fältskog's latest album My Colouring Book [Warner Music], released in 2004, was carried out for various reasons, not some international promotional campaign on the same level. Nevertheless, the album sold nearly one million copies. The recent years for ex MAMMA MIA! THE MOVIE (2008) boosted interest into ABBA members´destiny - that can reasonably be expected to increase further after the opening of ABBA THE MUSEUM in Stockholm in May - may, coupled with the new album's qualities, backing of the project, and not least Agnetha´s own personal commitment, to do A to an even greater global success.
The basis of the extensive global launch of the new comeback album was already laid when Jörgen Elofsson featured recording plans for Universal Music's top global executives at a meeting in Los Angeles at the beginning of the year. To Elofsson's Stronger (What Does not Kill You) by Kelly Clarkson at the same time was number one on the charts in both the U.S. and the rest of the world created the course extra good conditions for licensing of the album and appeared understood even a little extra to make it to the world priority it is now for the record company.
Last week was named When You Really Love Someone by BBC2 in the UK Single Of The Week and the single is now climbing on several charts around the world.
- It's especially England that apply to both the record company, Agnetha and us, so right now it's incredibly exciting, say Jorgen and Peter. This home has been a little quiet, but Agnetha has done plenty. The BBC, for example, was here and filmed last week. They are making a documentary about Agnetha, which will be shown at prime time in England and eventually also will be screened in other countries, including here in Sweden. Additionally, she will be on the cover of the next issue of music magazine Q!
- The big interest is also noticed in advance orders for the album, says Jörgen. It's the album that will sell, and it actually looks good in the whole world!
The album A is owned by the newly formed partnership Triple A, jointly by Agnetha, Jorgen and Peter.
- It seemed as if the stars were right when we met, says Peter with a smile. We feel all the time how the pieces fall into place.
- We are on the right place, continues Jörgen. This is meant to be!
When Jorgen Elofsson and Peter Nordahl enter the living room also to be interviewed by the TV team from Australia, I get the privilege to listen to the whole upcoming album for a second time - the first time was a few weeks ago at an exclusive pre-listening to a number of selected music journalists. It's hard to resist Agnetha´s reborn voice, the grand arrangements and the magnificent production of the new song material. Although Agnetha herself only has participated in the song writing process only on the closing track of the album, the whole album really feels like her´s. It is personal. Strong.
When Agnetha thencomes into the studio to greet me, I honestly get starstruck as I have not been since ... ever? Agnetha listens patiently to my long exposition of superlatives about the album and look sincerely happy. Afterwards, I remember almost not a single word she said, in addition to her warm "thank you".
To be continued ...
Palatial, folk music into pop of vintage and a bit of ABBA feel That way some involved musicians are describing the song.
- You hear the at once that it is Björn and Benny who wrote it, says Marica Lindé, singer.
Yesterday was the song was recoerded in the studio in Stockholm.
- It's been great, very positive energy and it feels like an honor to be with a voice in this recording, says Marica Lindé.
- It's hard to describe the music, but I would say that it will be grand.
She works as a freelance singer and has toured much of the United States with ABBA-covers, as Anni-Frid Lyngstad.
- I've been singing with Benny before so he asked if I could pull together a team for this, says Thérèse Löf.
After a demo recording in December, she chose six singers and six singers.
Among other Marica Lindé and artist Mike Grahn, notably known as the judges in the talent show "Fame Factory".
- It sounds fantastic. We understand that Benny has the position he has today, says Thérèse of the song, after the day's recordings.
- I think you recognize the music. It is very Benny trademark, and Bjorn's lyrics. It's a little folk music goes pop.
Soon, the instruments shall be added, and hopefully everything is clear in the week.
It seems to lean toward music that Eurovision audience feel at home in.
- I think this is a bit more ABBA, in comparison to what Benny usually does in Benny Anderssons Orkester, it's my personal opinion, says Thérèse Löf.
Is there a thought behind it do you think?
- I think maybe it does. Then it was 29 years ago they won, so they can certainly be a little jubilee feel for them both.
-ABBA was undoubtedly a phenomenon, and it is wortwhile to tell it´s story in a museum. I got involved in the project because the city of Stockholm wanted to have it and Stockholm is my home. Also a great location was found for it
The museum's Björn-wax figure is more handsome than you.
-It is impossible. No wax figure I can be more handsome than me. But the museum is getting the wax dolls, they are not just ready yet.
The museum's newest articles are from the year 1982.
-There's the stuff, even the old star-shaped guitar. It had traveled the world and ended up for a German guy, and he has lent it to the museum. I believe that more stuff will be get there, when people hear about the place.
The museum guards to paljettiunivormu and thick-based high-heeled shoes.
-Now that you mention it, so there should be at least one guard in that kind of suit. I'll speak about it with Securitas.
You will never retire.
-No, I won´t. In the work of song writer there´s the good thing that it is done til death. My father-in-law was working in a company run by the state, and there was no chance to continue when you were 67 years old. My father-in-law was annoyed, because the work had meant much to him. It was sad to see how he changed all of a sudden unnecessary. That's why I'm privileged. The size of the audience listening to my music continues to decrease, but there are always a few who are interested.
You and Benny will never separate.
-I hope and believe that this is the case. We met in 1965, or was it 1966. We've been friends ever since, and now we are like brothers.
You play in secrecy of death metal, as most of the other guys in Gothenburg.
-Death metal! [Laughs heartily.] There is something I would ever listen to. I listen to Beethoven, unlike most of the guys in Gothenburg. I was born in Gothenburg, yes, but I did not get to stay there for a long time.
In Karaoke you alway sings THANK YOU FOR THE MUSIC.
- I wonder what I would sing? In our old band Hootenanny Singers sang the song "Omkring tiggarna från Luossa". I might sing it, or ee the Swedish version of Honey, the 60's hit. Or DOES YOUR MOTHER KNOW, as I sang it in ABBA.
The talent of Maria Ylipää talent is wasted in Finland.
-Maria is so talented and lovely! He is by no meanings she is wasting her talents in Finland, but she should definitely be get to Sweden. I don´t have yet exact plans, but eventually it will happen. She will be a sensation in Sweden.
World Ice Hockey Championships in Sweden are more important event than the Eurovision Song Contest final.
-In Sweden, the Eurovision Song Contest is regarded as some kind of national treasure, even if it is only a TV show and entertainment. If the people of Sweden had been asked this 20 years ago, so hockey would have been definitely more important. Now, the situation may be even.
Swedish Eurovision Song Contest qualifiers are watched in Finland as direct broadcasts.
-What? Terrible! Pathetic, most of the song are pretty ethan ... [Grin and hangs his head.]
King Carl Gustaf is a surprisingly fun company to have a party with.
- I have met him on several occasions, and will meet again in May, when he during a provincial visits comes to see one of my real estate project. He is a comfortable man, but I do not go with him at a party. I have sung for him in Stockholm opera house, where he and Silvia got engaged or whether it was to get married. We performed DANCING QUEEN.
Sweden should go over to euro.
[Laughs heartily again.] -Supported the accession to the euro at the time, but I am very pleased that we kept the crown. Euro-problems do not seem to come to an end in any way. They always warn about new crisis, the next seems to be Slovenia. And the whole of the Mediterranean area should step out from it.
You is not no friend of herring.
-I love herring! Christmas at the table, especially, and in many different marinates. If you had to pick just one, so I would take matjes herring. Abba matjes herring!
Folköl (Swedish beer) is good.
Folköl is good.
-I hate folköl! Drinking Folköl is a terrible waste of time. I guess you do not have folköl?
No, but the average dilution of the beer is being discussed again
Forget folköl, it is a terrible thing! Even non-alcohol taste better.
APRIL 19: HJALLIKSEN VIERAANA ONLINE
APRIL 18: BJÖRN WANTS MARIA TO SWEDEN!
It's hardly the first book of ABBA issued, but it is the first official one . ABBA THE PHOTO ALBUM will be a photo cavalcade of 500 pages and with at least as many pictures.
Incidentally, the most richly illustrated book that has been made the Swedish group. The format is size as an LP cover.
At book pubsher´s house next to Moderna Museet in Skeppsholmen the selection of images is going on. Photographer Bengt Wanselius, the book's editor, is standing at a light table and holds up picture after picture. He has looked at a few tens of thousands, and boiled them down to 3, 000.
- Now comes the most diffigult moment, to opt out lots of nice pictures for reasons of space can not be included in the book, says Bengt Wanselius who received the August Prize 2008 for the brick sized "Directed by Bergman" and among many other things done "Strindberg's worlds."
The text is written by journalist and author Petter Karlsson. His previous contact with ABBA consist among other things that he co-wrote about ABBA founder and Polar Music Prize founders Stig Anderson in "Min pappa hette Stikkan".
When DN talks with Petter Karlsson is he just going through Björn Ulvaeus´ father's archives. Björn´s father started early collecting pictures, newspaper clippings and articles.
There´s no lack of pictures when it comes to ABBA. They were always there for photographers, at press conferences, in concerts, even at home in the kitchen. Efforts to trace the images seem to have gone relatively smoothly. Most of those contacted have wanted to help. Photographers around the world like the initiative and are happy to share their ABBA pictures.
To some extent the good mood in the work is because the former ABBA members themselves have given the green light to the book. It has taken many years of persuasion from the publisher's side. Whoever got the ball to start rolling was one of the veterans on Polar.
He believes that as the publisher promised a lavish product has been crucial to it eventually became a yes from the four former ABBA members . High technical quality, award winning design and the finest paper is more than any fan club has previously been able to accomplish.
- They were themselves enormously quality-conscious, put great attention to the music, sound production and graphics on album covers, says Jeppe Wikström.
Benny Andersson is happy about the release.
The book's structure is built chronologically. The 13 ABBA years hung on the year the album was released. You can see how clothes fashions change, new hair styles are introduced and at the end how the occasional wrinkle start to appear.
At the London Book Fair next week, the ABBA book will launched. Bengt Wanselius Bergman book has far this been published in eight countries. Advance interest for ABBA is hardly less.
- I travel a lot for my job. In the past, people asked if I knew Bjorn Borg when they found out I was Swedish. But no one asks anymore, now they ask for ABBA. It is the same in both the U.S. and Indonesia, says Jeppe Wikström
I found myself facing the challenge of creating a piece of jewelry that matched the new title, Shape of a Dream. And I ended up designing a completely new jewelry line with diamonds and white gold that included earings, a ring, and a necklace for galas, formal parties, and weddings. Who’d have guessed that Björn would end up working with jewelry?
“I take great pride in the fact that my name is mentioned in combination with Shape of a Dream” says Björn Ulvaeus.”
- The music and text that Bjorn has written ties together so many of our themes. First, the European perspective that we focused on, and the story as our slogan "We are one" stands for.
Martin Österdahl think the song will live on after the event and is played on the radio.
- I think and I hope, but it's hard to say. It definitely has the qualities to survive.
- Björn and Benny have said they were inspired and felt that they wanted to be on it when we talked about our idea. We want to make a Eurovision different from what we have seen in recent years and focus on the community, the music and the artists. The values are the main reason that "We Write the Story" became true.
The song began to take shape around the turn of the year and has been refined for long.
- Björn and Benny have written a work that Avicii then received and processed. I met Ash, Aviciis executive producer and manager, at the Madonna concert last summer. In parallel, we contacted Björn and Benny. Both parties were very positive about the project and suggested a collaboration rather quickly.
- Before ABBA won, there was not so many Swedish successes in pop. Then there is an incredible amount followed, and right now is Avicii in the front line. He was number one in England just a few weeks ago. To get everything in the same number, we are extremely pleased.
- What we wanted was that Björn and Benny would feel that they were doing something that is here and now, and with them we get also the history. This persistent question of the reunion has never been in anyone's interest. It was 40 years since they won, and it must have respect for, says Martin Österdahl.
When DN meets writers Sara Bergmark Elfgren and Mats Strandberg, director Levan Akin and producers Cecilia Norman Mardell, Benny Andersson and Ludvig Andersson has the final papers have been signed and it's finally clear that the novel "Circlen" becomes film.
- We are delighted to have been resolved and that we can start working. And getting a chance to work with Benny and Ludvig ... You get a little pinch in the arm, says Sara Bergmark Elfgren.
Mats Strandberg and Sara Bergmark Elfgrens book series Engelfors trilogy is a big success and was sold to more than 20 countries. In the spring of 2011 bought Filmlance rights to the entire trilogy, director Levan Akin was hired and they began casting for the film shooting. But in early 2012 announced the authors that they no longer supported the project: "We are way too big responsibility to our readers and the world we have created to be able to stand behind this production," the authors wrote in a blog post. Since then, the film has been on ice. But now, Benny Andersson and his son Ludvig new company RMV Movie has bought the rights of Filmlance and the film gets off.
Ludvig Andersson read "Circlen" two years ago and was charmed. And when he learned that the film plans stalled, he called his dad.
- I was in an airport when Ludvig called and asked if I had read the "Circlen". I had just walked past a bookstore where it stood in the window, so I bought and read it, says Benny Andersson.
Then they contacted Filmlance and reached an agreement to take over the project. Plans to start a film company was arouse after Benny was involved in "Mamma Mia!" and got interested into films. So far, "Circle" is the only planned film, but the idea is that it will be more eventually. RMV Film has rights to the entire Engelfors trilogy but whether all the parts to be filmed is not yet decided.
Why is your first film a youth novel about witches?
- Why not? What else would it be? I think it's fantastic that it's about young women and their efforts to solve problems together, it's interesting. And good that it is not about five guys, says Benny Andersson.
How will the film financed?
- We have a great advantage. We do not need to chase money as hard as normally. If only we get a script we can honk and go on
What is the budget?
- A little higher than a normal Swedish film. But not much higher, says Benny Andersson.
The director Levan Akin has the ambition to make a film that is different from others in the genre, which has its own expression.
- With this story, we need not imitate others. We can find an original tone, says Levan Akin.
So what kind of movie is it?
- Even if you take away the magical aspects of the story, there is still a story about what it's like to be young, to live in different family relationships, about relationships and about being a teenager. It's very fine and true stories, and we want to make a film that portrays it, says Ludvig Andersson.
- There will not be much "tits and ass", I can promise you, laughs Benny Andersson.
The seasoned producer Cecilia Norman Mardell will manage the daily work of the producer, but Ludvig and Benny Andersson will very much be tangibly involved in the film.
- We are not interested in just stand for money, we want to be involved and believe that we have the knowledge that will give joy, says Ludvig Andersson.
- The trouble with the film industry is all waiting, all no. It can be broken down by it. So Benny and Ludvig have this huge enthusiasm and that we all can be excited in full is amazing, says Sara Bergmark Elfgren.
Here you can listen to live recordings done at Svenska Teatern:
MARCH 24: GOTHENBURG