31 01 2013




Listen to Australia’s Love affair with AᗺᗷA

29 01 2013



How can we resist you?

27 01 2013


ᗅᗺᗷᗅ were loved worldwide, but it was Down Under where they first found fame, writes Neil McMahon

Stars in our eyes … Swedish pop supergroup Abba. Photo: Penny Stephens

Fittingly, Abba conquered us most completely while sitting around a campfire, where the likes of Lawson and Banjo long ago found Australians most comfortable absorbing the music and the myths that brought them together.

But neither of our national poets could have imagined this: the birth in 1976 of a fresh legend as foreign as could be to the land of the jolly swagman. Like Paterson’s morose sheep thief, Abba’s Fernando was a man once young and full of life, but there the similarities ended.

Neither the song nor the singers had any logical claim on Australian hearts. These were Swedes, singing about a Mexican, sitting around a shabby piece of studio fakery purporting to be a campfire – not a jolly jumbuck in sight.

But, my, how we loved them.

For 14 weeks in early 1976, Fernando drove the nation to distraction as it stayed atop the singles chart for so long that it was banned in Sunday church, otherwise known as Countdown, where high priest Ian ”Molly” Meldrum learned he’d made a big mistake in banishing the fireside film clip.

As Meldrum recalls in Bang a Boomerang, a new documentary exploring Australia’s love affair with the Swedish foursome, this was not a relationship to be trifled with.

”After the 10th, 11th week and it was still No.1, I made this rash decision that we can’t play it again … we’ll show it as No.1, but we’ll then show in full our prediction for what we think will be the next No.1,” Meldrum recalls in the program, airing January 30 on the ABC. ”And all hell broke loose. The ABC switchboard was jammed.

”People complaining, how dare we not play this song again.”

Meldrum was not the only music industry figure startled by the intensity of Australia’s affection for the Swedes, though by 1976 he’d had a while to get used to it.

As Bang a Boomerang tells it, it was Countdown’s hunger for video clips to fill its weekly airtime that played a critical role in Abba’s explosion as a musical force. The documentary aims to put on the historical record once and for all the truth: that while the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest may have been the band’s first big break, the true birth of Abba as global pop conquerors began in Australia.

It is a compelling case. As Meldrum says, it was only his badgering of RCA – the group’s local record company – that persuaded them to release the album track Mamma Mia as a single.

Thanks to its accompanying video clip – which established the trademark Abba visual style – the song went gangbusters.

”They had no option but to release it as a single,” Meldrum says.

Meldrum was a key player, but just as instrumental was RCA’s Australian PR rep, Annie Wright. She was in her early 20s then, and was the go-between for the dealings between Countdown and the faraway Swedes.

”I had no idea what lay before me,” Wright says. ”It was just an explosion. We knew they were perfect pop songs but no one could have predicted the extent of how Australia would embrace them. It was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before or since.”

Wright would become an Abba intimate – through 1975, when she delivered the video clips that won over the Countdown crowd; in 1976, when she was side-by-side with the group on a promotional tour; and then in 1977, the year of the band’s astonishing concert tour.

The 1976 trip should have been warning of what was to come: a Reg Grundy-funded TV special hosted by Daryl Somers drew higher ratings than the moon landing. But the ’77 tour stunned even industry veterans who thought they’d seen it all, Wright says.

”It was very surreal, for everyone, from [promoter] Paul Dainty, to the band themselves … Nothing has ever come close to the hysteria, the adoration. And most people never knew that Australia was where they broke.”

Bang a Boomerang sets the record straight on that score, and for those who played a part in that long-ago madness it is a welcome documentation of a time they will never forget.

For Annie Wright, who grew so close to the band they invited her to Sweden to holiday on their private island, the memories are many.

Among her favourites is the anxiety that preceded the group’s Sydney concert in March 1977, which was threatened by wet and wild weather.

But Wright had a direct line to god, or a reasonable facsimile: legendary weatherman Alan Wilkie.

”I was ringing him at Channel Nine every hour,” Wright says.

”I had a hotline – no mobiles in those days, no emails or faxes – I was calling him every day prior to the concert. He was great, and we were living on hope.

”But the show must go on. Paul Dainty had written on the tickets, ‘Come rain or shine’. I bet he regretted that.

”And they went on despite it being dangerous. Frida had a fall, they were mopping down the stage constantly. But the audience didn’t care. There was just this great love and it was mutual.

”They loved performing for Australians, they loved the reaction. It became a real family, Australians became their family.”

Nearly four decades later, the love affair continues – despite that 1977 tour being the first and last time the group performed here in concert.

There was a period of estrangement – the documentary shows just how deathly uncool Abba became for a time – but affections were re-established with fervour many years ago.

Wright is delighted the history of Abba has been preserved in documentary form.

”It made sense to tell a new generation where it began. I’m surprised even people of my generation don’t realise that it all started in Australia.”

Bang a Boomerang, ABC1 on Wednesday at 8.30pm

Sydney Morning Herald

Date January 28, 2013

ᗅᗺᗷᗅ – THE Ticket!

23 01 2013



Watch this space for more details!


22 01 2013


Keyring – Abba Logo, Gold
Pre order now!

50mm Soft Enamel Keychains. 5mm Injection alloy, real Gold plate
Without enamel infill. Individually bagged.
Copyright info in raised metal on back of keychain.


ABBA: Bang a Boomerang: sneak peek

19 01 2013



Watch a 2 min preview of the upcoming Australian documentary on ABC

logo_abc1_48ABBA: Bang a Boomerang
8:30pm Wednesday, January 30 2013


ABBA: Bang a Boomerang tells the inside story of Australia’s colossal 70s crush on the Swedish supergroup ABBA and their music, and how this unequalled and enduring fan-worship changed them and us forever.

ABC’s innovative music program Countdown and its host Molly Meldrum were instrumental in bringing ABBA to a burgeoning mid-70s television audience looking for something different. It was due to Countdown that Mamma Mia was released as a single, first in Australia and then the world, and the ABBA phenomenon was born. Viewers were going into record shops wanting to buy the single. Molly rang RCA records asking about the release of Mamma Mia and was told there were no plans to do so.

“We then played it again in defiance and they had no option but to release it… it was lucky, it went to number one,” Meldrum said.

ABBA: Bang a Boomerang digs deep into heartfelt memories, cardboard cartons of memorabilia, face-to-face encounters, local pop icon recounts, lavish personal and public ABBA museums and Australia’s rich media archives to relive a moment of collective national ‘craziness’, when we did literally go ABBA mad. The result is a warm, bright, captivating engagement with ABBA’s time Down Under that will remind us all of the band’s impact and how our open-hearted embrace of all things ABBA would eventually define us. One in three Australian households owned an ABBA record – from Prime Minister Fraser to eight year olds around the nation, we were hooked even if some of us didn’t want to admit it back then and we didn’t realise the crush would be for keeps.

Sky News:ABBA singer getting Gary Barlow’s help

2 01 2013


Updated: 11:26, Wednesday January 2, 2013


Former ABBA singer, Agnetha Faltskog, is getting Gary Barlow to help relaunch her career, by reportedly recording a duet with her.

The blonde Swede is working on her first original material in 25 years and the Take That singer and songwriter has reportedly written two tracks which will appear on her album. One is said to be a duet, which is already being tipped as a hit.

A source told the Daily Star newspaper: ‘Gary is one of the UK’s most successful songwriters so it makes sense for Agnetha to call in the big guns. It’s a great mix of old and new together in one duet.’

Gary, 41, recently said he had met the 62-year-old star when he was in Sweden. It is thought they were introduced by mutual friend, Jorgen Elofsson, a songwriter who has written tracks for Britney Spears, Westlife and Kelly Clarkson and who is also helping Agnetha with her comeback.

The ‘SOS’ singer had pursued a solo career for a few years after ABBA split up in 1983 but released hardly anything throughout the 90s.

Her last album, ‘My Colouring Book’, saw her sing covers and was released in 2004.

While ABBA’s music has become more popular than ever in recent years, the band – which also included Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad – continue to resist a full scale reunion.

Bjorn said earlier this year: ‘We are the only group of that status that has never been reunited. I think that is cool.

‘It is a strength for Abba that you remember those young, ambitious, energetic people during the 70s rather than some feeble old folks who feel compelled to get up and play all the time.’

Aftonbladet article on Agnetha & Gary.

1 01 2013


Agnetha Fältskog, 62, sings a duet with Gary Barlow, 41.

ABBA legend makes an exclusive partnership with Take That star on his comeback album.

– Gary has written a song they have sung in together, says Staffan Lindé.


Agnetha Fältskog betting hard on her comeback. Nöjesbladet can now reveal that the shy singer has recorded a duet with a superstar from a much younger generation.

– Gary Barlow has written a duet and sing it with Agnetha on her new album, says a source with good insight. (Staffan Lindé)

It is 25 years since ABBA star  recorded an album of new material.

For more than eight years since she released cover album “My Colouring Book”. But for his comeback in the 00’s she has Agnetha called in the real heavy artillery.

Nöjesbladet was the first newspaper in the world in October reveal that Agnetha went into the studio with Swedish super producer Jorgen Elofsson to record a new album that will be released on the record label Universal.

Agnetha’s spokesman Staffan Lindé confirmed the collaboration, but referred to Elofsson for more information.

Worked with Britney

Elofsson has previously worked with superstars like Britney Spears, Westlife and Kelly Clarkson, and now the most secretive of the biggest global artists.

Nöjesbladet has repeatedly sought Jörgen Elofsson during autumn and winter.

– I’m in Los Angeles, you woke me up, it’s the middle of the night, he responded in november before he hung up.

“I’m sitting in the studio”

– I do not want to talk to you. I have no time, I’m sitting in the studio, call later, said Jörgen Elofsson in mid december when he was back in Sweden but then refused to answer the phone.

Nöjesbladet has continued to seek Jörgen Elofsson without result.

Neither Agnetha Fältskog’s economic spokesman Staffan Lindé answered repeated phone calls.

Been quiet for 17 years

Agnetha Fältskog’s career choice:

Recorded his first song, “I was so in love”, 1967. Released several albums in the late 60 – and early 70’s.

As a member of ABBA from 1970 to 1983, she became one of the world’s best-selling artists. Only the Beatles and the Rolling Stones have sold more albums in the world. Recently the  collection album “ABBA Gold” has becomet the album which has sold the most copies for the UK.

After ABBA Agnetha released a solo album “Wrap your arms around me” 1983, “Eyes of a Woman” in 1985 and “I Stand Alone” in 1987. She also gave the kids album “Come join us in our carousel” in 1987 with her son Christian Ulvaeus, then nine years.

After 17 years of silence came “My Colouring Book” in 2004.

Gary Barlow’s career choice:

 Take That,  is one of the most successful boy bands and Barlow wrote a lot of hit songs for the band. The debut album “Take that and party” was released 1992

After the boy band’s breakup, he released his first solo album “Open Road”. The album was number one on the UK charts. Has since released two more albums.

Take That reunited in 2005  minus Robbie Williams and embarked on a highly acclaimed tour.

2011  Take That (Williams included) set out on a world tour. In 2012, Barlow has been a jury member of the British “X Factor”



Happy New Year!

1 01 2013