” Abba is a big part of all of us ”
For many it is still the “Blonde Abba ” . Now Agnetha Fältskog is singing again – even a reunion with her group is not excluded.
A talk about her life and the past.
By Martin Scholz
On her very high heels she stalks carefully, almost shy in the suite of Stockholm “Grand Hôtel”. The light in the room dimmed , it is 4 o’clock and already pitch dark. The platform shoes , with which they went on stage earlier , are now on display at the Abba Museum, which is located about a kilometer as the crow flies . “Where should I sit down?” Asks Agnetha Fältskog . “Wherever you want . “It assumes the right side of the sofa space – just on the shell , which the reporter has placed there.
“Oh, I’m terribly sorry,” she startles , as if she had accidentally stood on a cat . The scene is somewhat reminiscent of those terrific – absurd – bed sketches by Loriot and Evelyn Hamann – especially Faltskog the reporter then asks her to sit beside her . She apologizes but then again , for her “is rusted English” and they hope that they understand that at all.
In the last ten years, Fältskog had a world star, who was once locked away , lived with her daughter and three grandchildren on an island near Stockholm. A few months ago, the then 63- year-old had returned unexpectedly with her latest CD “A”. The London ” Times” wrote of a ” triumphant “, the “Guardian” of a “very dignified” comeback. Perhaps this sign of life is just the prologue for a bigger image.
The World: Ms. Fältskog , the least know that you have sung several songs at the end of the 60 in German. Do you speak German today?
Agnetha Fältskog: A bit (laughs). But not too much. At that time I noticed this it was relatively easy because I had German classes at the school. I still remember a few of these songs – “I do not like question mark” was one. But that’s an eternity ago.
The World: 1968, to be exact. You then have several months living in West Berlin , where they recorded songs. Why are you of all went to Germany – London would not have been at the time the more interesting city for an international music career?
Fältskog: At that time it was very popular for many Swedish and Scandinavian singers to go to Germany . Simply because they could be successful as a musician there. Since I already had in Sweden at the time success as a singer , you thought I would be able to classify me as. I got the offer to come to West Berlin and recording songs in German. There I met the German producer Dieter Zimmermann . We wrote the music and lyrics together , later we were a couple for a while .
The World: 1968, Berlin was next to Paris, the protest capital of the world. What have you noticed the time of the student riots?
Fältskog: Not much, to be honest. I just wanted to sing. That was my drive. I remember especially the recordings in the Hansa Studio, which was very close to the wall. I found everything exciting time in Berlin. I was 18 or 19, for the first time far away from my home. I wanted to try life. Germany was a good place for it. Later I also worked in Frankfurt.
The World: What were you doing there then?
Fältskog: there I had some appearances in TV productions , so I just do not know it . Regardless, these months in Germany were a very exciting part of my life. My desire to be a successful and famous singer in your country , at that time , however, was not fulfilled. I found my German songs not bad, but none of them came into the charts.
The World: Looking back, you have to ensure well be grateful, if it had worked then you would be today if possible an ex-pop star and not a world star, to the “New York Times” celebrates because, like you published a new album in ten years.
Fältskog: Yes. Hit was anything but pop. I have also noticed at that time.
The World: Your current album “A” would not have happened basically. Ten years ago, you announced to not want to continue making music anymore . Why have you changed your mind ?
Fältskog: I’m really in 2004, my album “My Colouring Book” is my last. Then this young producer and songwriter Peter Nordahl and Jörgen Elofsson came with all these great new songs to me that they had written for me. I just thought, “I would be quite silly if I did not do that.” So I said yes.
The World: Many of these new songs are about missed opportunities, from leaving and from aging. This has much to do with you and the ups and downs in your life, right?
Fältskog: There are songs about how it is always so in life, right? And those are not all deeply sad ballads, there are also a couple of faster, more optimistic songs below. But, yeah, I like the sad songs, they have a longer shelf-life than the happy-go-lucky songs. Sad songs make you, so they burn themselves into your memory.
The World: Let’s stay a little bit of sadness at: The Abba hit “The Winner Takes It All ” is about a man who leaves his wife – and has also been interpreted as a metaphor for the distinction of the two Abba couples. What goes through your mind when you hear this song on the radio today?
Fältskog: I love this song. I hear it again and again gladly. “The Winner Takes It All” is one of our best songs. But it is not just a song, it ‘s a lot more to it. When I hear him swing with many memories of that time. This also applies to “The Visitors”, our last album. It was very moody, the recordings went extremely difficult. This album and its history will always be a part of me. All these Abba memories in me. I live with them. I’m dreaming a lot lately of the other three members of Abba .
The World: Are these good or bad dreams?
Fältskog: There are good dreams. Strange things happen in it, as it is in dreams like that. There is a recurring principle: I am often the one who has to solve a problem. There are always situations where I ask myself: “My God, what am I supposed to do?”
The World: What are these problems? Questions like: “What we put on when we go on stage tonight?”
Fältskog: (laughs ) Something like that, yeah.
The World: Was that your earlier role in Abba – solve problems?
Fältskog: No, that’s the curious. It just develops in my dreams. I can explain it myself poorly. These dreams seem to be part of the process when the ice would melt off somewhere. They see, Abba is a big part of all of us. Still.
The World: When did you and the other three last meet?
Fältskog: Frida and I met back in the summer. Björn, I see every now and then, such as the birthdays of our common children and grandchildren. Benny and I immediately met after I had my new solo album. I just had to know what he thought of it. It meant a lot to me when he told me . “This is a very good album, Agnetha”.
The World: Abba long time were not very appreciated in your home . There are now in Stockholm ABBA Museum, which has attracted 250,000 viewers since its inception a few months ago. Has your home reconciled with their icons?
Fältskog: Yes, things have changed. The Abba – museum is great. Björn has the most work with because he oversaw the planning with lots of meticulousness. But it was so many years ago, that the profits were not in our own country. After we had won with “Waterloo” in 1974 Eurovision Song Contest, we were seriously questioned by Swedish journalist: “Do you not know how many soldiers died in the battle of Waterloo?”
The World: Waterloo is in the song is a metaphor for a personal Waterloo, the failure in a relationship.
Fältskog: Yes, then such criticism came mainly from the liberal-left corner in Sweden. Anyway, it was not fashionable for a long time, like Abba in Sweden. Also, because we were considered to be successful professionally.
The World: Does this disregard hurt you?
Fältskog: I prefer to think conciliatory moments. Much later, people kept coming from Sweden to me and said: ” . . I must confess to you what we have always loved your music really – but we were not allowed to say at that time”
The World: Of all the members of Abba , you were the one who always expressed most vehemently against a reunion.
The World: You also said that you would have a unique appearance with your colleagues, perhaps for a good cause , not mutually exclusive. If one was offering you , at an event like, say, ” Live Aid ” act, because you would seriously consider ?
Fältskog: Yes. If we could unite all four on the purpose for which we want to do that, if it were only a one-time event – then, yes, we would certainly consider it. At the same time we’re all getting older. I can not imagine that we would go with my crutches on stage. Who knows what will happen?.
The World: There are examples of successful Reunions: Led Zeppelin had a concert in London teamed up again in 2007.
Fältskog: I know, yes.
The world: 20 million people were looking to buy tickets, 20,000 were in the O2 Arena. Would tempt such a thing?
Fältskog: I do not trust myself, nor do I have anything to say (laughs).
The World: Too bad. It almost sounds like there is something to say on the subject.
Fältskog: Sure, we think about it. See: In April 2014 it will be 40 years ago that we won with “Waterloo” the Eurovision Song Contest in Brighton. There are probably plans to make the occasion of this anniversary something. But I still do not know what comes of it. I also do not currently know it exactly.
The World: Why not?
Fältskog: I’m a person who often thinks about something like this. If such an event should take place, and I knew well in advance, I would break my head over it all the time. It eats too much life energy. It is similar to my fear of flying.
The World: You suffer, since you had to make an emergency landing during their 1979 U.S. tour with your private jet, after you were caught in a storm .
Fältskog: Yes. If I have to fly today, I want not to know well in advance. That worries me too much. For me, it is better if such a request may reached me a week before, I care even on the same day.
The World: It sounds like you would approach an Abba Reunion like a long-delayed leap from a ten meters tower : climb up fast, do not look down above, do not think, jump down.
Fältskog: That’s pretty much it. Don’t think about it – just do it.