25 03 2010

London newspaper the Times, has a great interview with Benny and Bjorn in Friday’s edition of the paper. The boys are in London to oversee rehearsals for the UK premiere of Kristina.

The Way Old Friends Do? Abba offer hope to new generation of fans with reunion hint

They have always maintained that they would never re-form and famously turned down $1 billion (£600 million) to tour again, but Abba have given a new generation of fans hope of seeing the band perform live.

For the Mamma Mia! devotees who have come to the band’s music nearly 30 years after they split, tribute bands and YouTube clips of the Swedish foursome in satin and spandex seemed the closest they could get.

But in an interview with The Times today, Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, the male half of the Swedish group, offer a beguiling change of tone.

Asked if they would consider an intimate one-off performance — perhaps with an orchestra — that could be beamed around the world, Andersson said: “Yeah, why not?”

He added: “I don’t know if the girls sing anything any more. I know Frida [Anni-Frid Lyngstad] was in the studio.” Then a little later: “It’s not a bad idea, actually.”

Ulvaeus threw in a reference to the Super Trouper album’s last song. “We could sing The Way Old Folks Do,” he said. The pair’s comments may offer little more than a glimmer of hope, but they are in contrast to previous statements by the band members, who split in 1982.

Only two years ago Ulvaeus said: “We will never appear on stage again. There is simply no motivation to regroup. Money is not a factor and we would like people to remember us as we were — young, exuberant, full of energy and ambition.

“I remember Robert Plant saying Led Zeppelin were a cover band now because they cover all their own stuff. I think that hit the nail on the head.”

Andersson has also previously derided talk of a reunion. “We’d need a good reason to re-form and I just don’t see one. We could never recreate the old days. I’d rather be remembered for the way we were 30 years ago,” he said.

Abba have enjoyed a renaissance. One in four British households owns the DVD of a film version of the Mamma Mia!, the musical inspired by their works. They have sold 370 million records, and sell about three million each year.

This year AbbaWorld, an attraction based on the careers of Ulvaeus and Andersson and their female bandmates Agnetha Fältskog and Lyngstad, opened at Earls Court, in West London. Visitors pay £22 for an adult ticket to see costumes that the band wore in 1974 on their way to winning the Eurovision Song Contest, and have the chance to wear a silver jumpsuit and sing and dance with holograms of the band.

Ulvaeus and Andersson are promoting their new musical, Kristina, which opens at the Royal Albert Hall on April 14. The production is based on a 2,000- page epic by the Swedish novelist Vilhelm Moberg, but has been changed for an English audience.

Ulvaeus said: “We’ve cut the play down from three hours down to two hours . . . And, also, I approached Herbert Kretzmer, who did Les Misérables, to translate the lyrics into English.”

Abba are thought to have sung together only once since they split. In 2003 they joined in a rendition of a Swedish happy-birthday song at the 50th birthday party of Gorel Hanser, Ulvaeus and Andersson’s manager, in front of about 150 guests.

In 2000 they turned down a $1 billion deal to reunite for a 100-date tour. At the time Ulvaeus said: “This is the budget of a small country so we had to give it some thought. In the end we decided that, whatever offer was on the table, it would be stupid to re-form and utterly ludicrous to change the images people all over the world have of us.”

It remains to be seen whether the female members would be interested in a reunion. Fältskog lived as a recluse on a remote Swedish island, saying that she hated fame, while Lyngstad married a German nobleman and is a princess.

Please note this is the ‘TIMES’ take on the reunion, Benny is always making a joke of it. So don’t get excited just yet!!!




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