Index – Culture – Waterloo, gimme, money – the secret of ABBA

Disco or metal? Duran Duran or Depeche Mode? ABBA or Boney M.? – once said the identity questions. Nana, that’s ABBA, I cut it. Just because my first cinematic experience was ABBA (The Movie) on their tour of Australia, we recorded their songs on my first cassette tape and wrote the titles on it myself with a pencil as I heard it, phonetically.

From the perspective of so many years, their songs are still playing fresh.

What could be the secret of this?

And what could be the reason that after 41 years, the legendary band is just coming back to the audience and starting touring? After the Japanese tour in March 1980, they no longer gave a concert, until their disintegration in 1982, they only appeared on TV shows. Although they have been with us in recent years and more and more generations have liked the highly successful Mamma Mia! their musicals and the films made from them, but in public the members could not even be seen much individually, let alone playing together.

The most likely explanation is that because of technical difficulties and the epidemic, they have not wanted to put together their postponed hologram concert since 2018, which would have actually enchanted the four legendary members on stage in the 1970s, Agnetha Fältskogot, Björn Ulvaeust, Bso many Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstadot.

They also recorded two new songs and didn’t wait any longer. They can’t even wait, as they’re all over 70. Now or never.

Money, money, money. Must be funny!

Many people think of ABBA as a rich supergroup. We have every reason to do so, as the Beatles alone have sold more records in the world. Even today, millions buy their songs every year, with an estimated 400 million copies of their total albums sold.

Composed of the initials of the members ’names, ABBA is one of the best known brands in the world. It is easy to pronounce and memorize in most languages. True, in 1972

there was already an ABBA in Sweden, a company selling canned fish,

but the band asked them for permission to use the name ABBA, to which the answer was okay. They can use it until they bring shame to the name. Well, they didn’t.

In addition, ABBA was not only a Eurodisco band, but also an industrial group.

Initially, they made their own extravagant, glam-style performance costumes themselves because the cost of the costumes could only be deducted from the notoriously high Swedish tax if they couldn’t be worn anywhere else, just on stage. This was no longer necessary later, but the ever-increasing revenues were always carefully grasped and invested. They had their own studio, record factory, but they bought a Stockholm picture gallery, a sports shop, a sports palace, and they had a bicycle factory (Monark).

And they threw themselves into the oil business.

No less than 40 million plates were sold in the socialist countries, but since nothing could begin with the money of the peace camps building the workers’ power, they received the consideration in crude oil, such as from the Soviet Union, and then turned it well and gave and bought the black gold. At the peak of their careers, in the second half of the 1970s, in addition to Volvo, ABBA was Sweden’s most profitable export.

They also politicized, more precisely, stood up for affairs. For example, when a state of emergency was declared in rebellious Poland (under Soviet pressure) in December 1981, a Let Poland Be Poland in the TV show, by the time their current album (The Visitors) suddenly became a shortage in the Soviet Union, and suddenly, overnight, their film also disappeared from Soviet cinemas.

Waterloo, couldn’t escape if I wanted to

Their songs were so burned into the ears of humanity that last year’s survey (when the Eurovision Song Contest was missed) brought out their contest songs as a winner. More than a third of those surveyed nominated Waterloo as the best winner of all time.

Their success in 1974 in Brighton, England, was rather unexpected. Not just because their biggest rival is the popular one Olivia Newton-John she was an English singer and everyone was convinced that she would be the finisher. But also because the English jury was also sure:

zero, i.e., gave zero points for their production.

When it turned out that ABBA had won, the English finalist congratulated the band by pretending to have fun, hugging them warmly.

What makes their songs so timeless has been tried by many.

While rock’n’roll is about rebellion and outsourcing, ABBA’s music is about hope, dreams and disappointments. Most of the songs were scored by the two male members, Benny and Björn. They had already played music together before ABBA and managed to develop a distinctive, unified, powerful, tight and lovable sound world that was instantly recognizable. A major role in this was sound engineer Michael B. Tretow, who experimented with a special, duplicate sound with sophisticated studio techniques. In several versions, he recorded the sounds on several soundtracks and then played them back slightly offset, sometimes in slow motion. If we look more closely, we can notice that there are many more voices in a song than we hear at first.

Maybe we didn’t even think about it, but it’s pretty striking that

we hardly know high quality ABBA processing.

Yet their songs are clear, simple, elaborate. However, the original ABBA sound is quite difficult to reproduce. Especially the angelic harmony of singers of different tones (Agnetha soprano, Frida mezzo-soprano).

The winner takes it all

The best-known pop band of all time was made up of two couples, and this brought huge creative energies and special emotions to the band. It was also one of the foundations of their attraction: here are two couples singing happy songs on stage and then going home and continuing to love each other.

He loved half the world.

But it was not ABBA that brought the members together. Blonde Agnetha Fältskog and bassist Björn Ulvaeus were married in 1971, a year before the band was formed. Brown Anni-Frid Lyngstad and keyboardist Benny Andersson were only in 1978, but they had been together since 1969.

When both couples divorced, fans immediately noticed it was in action on their last two albums (Super Trouper and The Visitors), sadness pervades the songs. In any case, he was born not long before Bjorn and Agnetha broke up Knowing Me Knowing You he is still optimistic.

However, a kind of melancholy has always been heard from the background, even at the peak of their careers. Which is no wonder in light of the vomited lives of members, especially singers.

Anni-Frid He was born in 1945 from an extramarital affair. His father was one of the sergeants of the invading German army, who, in the midst of starvation, seduced his young Norwegian mother with a sack of potatoes in 1943. As in several other occupied countries (such as France), the flirtatists with the Germans in Norway were stigmatized and expelled by society, so they fled to Sweden at the end of the war. However, his mother soon died of a kidney infection. Two-year-old Anni-Fridet his grandmother raised him in difficult conditions.

He had to go through several other tragedies. After the ABBA years, in 1992 he married Swiss-born Prince Heinrich Ruzzo Reuss von Plauen, who soon died of a cancer. Not long ago, her eldest daughter, Lise-Lotte, died in a car accident.

Agnetha grew up in a consolidated family in Jönköping, Sweden. He has been singing and acting since he was young. At the height of ABBA’s success, however, he found it increasingly difficult to deal with stardom and guilt for being far away from his children because of his musical career. He visibly dreaded the crowds, the loud noise, and the open spaces. He was afraid of flying. He also had to contend that his mother committed suicide in 1990, throwing himself off the sixth floor.

He was troubled and became more and more withdrawn, which was reinforced by the fact that he was 16 years younger than him.

he was obsessively harassed by a Dutch forklift driver for two years.

He first turned to the police, then surrendered and mingled in a romantic relationship with him (Stockholm Syndrome?). Two years later, however, in 2000, he banned the man from Sweden in court.

No wonder he retired for years to an abandoned wooded Swedish countryside where he didn’t even listen to music. It could have been about it again in 2004 Hearwhen released My Coloring Book solo album.

Now he’s active again, and if only in the hall of the Grammy Academy, he was voted one of the best songs of all time Dancing Queent would have been sung, they would have left an indelible mark on this perfect number.

(Cover image: Abba Concert in 1979. Photo: Paul Natkin / WireImage)