Forty years after their last studio album, legendary Swedish pop group ABBA announced their comeback on Thursday (2) in London, as well as releasing a new album featuring 3D images of their members, who are now 70. “It started with two songs and then we asked ourselves, why don’t we do it all?” Two of its historic members, Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Anderson, explained it at an online event in London.
The new album will be released on November 5, they said, to impress fans all over the world, from Rio to Tokyo to New York and Vienna, some sad since their separation in 1982, and others fans of Swedish idols many years after their breakup.
“It was so beautiful that we were all back in the studio again,” Anderson, 74, said as Ulvaeus recalled the advice to “don’t let more than 40 years pass between albums.”
His ex-wives, the other two ABBA members, 75-year-old Annie-Fried Lingstad and 71-year-old Agnetha Valtzkog, did not attend the London press conference but did follow the event online, according to their colleagues. In April 2018, the four announced their return to the studios for the first time, recording two songs (I Still Believe in You” and “Don’t Shut Me Down”), which were never released.
Their first was heard for the first time this Thursday at the new album’s presentation ceremony, accompanied by archival footage of the historic band, famous for their colorful costumes, catchy tunes and lyrics.
The authors of popular songs such as “Dancing Queen”, “Money, Money, Money” and “Waterloo” announced a series of 3D shows, “Abba-tares” – digital avatars of the four members of the group when they were young. The show, called ‘ABBA’s Journey’, will be shown in a theater built especially for the occasion in London. It will be 22 songs and its duration is about an hour and a half.
Swede Carl Magnus Palm, an expert with the group, told AFP Thursday that the creation of these digital avatars delayed their comeback. They had technological problems, and things didn’t go as expected. They were ready for it a year ago, but then the epidemic came.” In his opinion, ABBA resorted to “very advanced technology”, so his holograms would look realistic.
“The actual members of ABBA will not be there, but I think there will be live musicians playing alongside ABBA digital” and they will be seen as the younger versions of themselves. How did they see themselves in 1979,” he said.
Since their last studio album in 1981 and their dissolution in 1982, the legendary Swedish pop band who sold tens of millions of records has not released any new material. Their breakup broke the hearts of countless fans, whose flame was never extinguished: their most successful album, published in 1992, “ABBA Gold”, became one of the best-selling albums in the world.
After that, the musical “Mamma Mia” and the films based on it – starring Meryl Streep and Colin Firth – attracted new followers who weren’t even born during its glory years in the 1970s.
On April 27, 2018, the group’s members announced that they were back in the studio for the first time in nearly four decades. They recorded two songs: “I Still Believe in You” and “Don’t Silence Me”. But the promise to publish new headlines has been held up, and with the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic, the party has gone down the drain.
A legendary group that escaped from all directions
The members of ABBA — an acronym for their members’ names — are now all seventy: Anni-Frid Lyngstad, 75, Agnetha Fältskog, 71, Björn Ulvaeus, 76, Benny Andersson, 74. The couples are now divorced. The quartet, which helped make Sweden the third largest exporter of music in the world after the United States and the United Kingdom, formed in the late 1960s. “B” – Benny and Bjorn – met and began writing their first song in 1966. In 1969 they were joined by Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid – “Frida”.
In 1973, the group, which received the name ABBA a year later, failed to qualify for the Eurovision Song Contest. The following year, the competition was held in Brighton (England) and the quartet, still unknown, caused a sensation with “Waterloo”, named after the famous English victory over Napoleon’s army. ABBA won with a defeat, putting “Grease” singer Olivia Newton-John in sixth place.
With star-shaped guitars and skinny satin pants, the ABBA phenomenon was born before the eyes of millions of spectators. After “Waterloo”, they had other big hits, such as “Mamma Mia” (1975), which surpassed Queen’s Bohemian Rapsody on the British singles chart.
And the album “Arrival” (1976), which sold more than 10 million copies, and which includes songs such as “Money, Money, Money”, “Knowing Me, Knowing You” and “Dancing Queen” confirmed their fame.
Premiered at The Wedding of the Swedish King in June 1976, “Dancing Queen” became the most successful of the year. In 18th-century fashion, she sang ABBA to King Carl Gustaf and future Queen Silvia – to whom the song is dedicated – at the Stockholm Opera. “Take A Chance on Me” (1977) and “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (Man After Midnight)” (1979) completed the band’s long list of songs, which reached the rank of star.
Two divorces and one separation
Bjorn and Agnetha’s divorce in 1979 marked the beginning of trouble, but it also spawned one of their strongest hits, “The Winner Takes It All” as well as “Chiquitita”. In 1980, ABBA released the album “Super Trouper” and held their last show after touring Japan, and the following year, Penny and Frida broke up.
In 1982, the band announced that they would be taking a “rest,” but this break was a sign of their separation and the band did not return to release new songs.
Source: Agence France-Presse
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