Agnetha Fältskog wants to reunite ABBA

By David Lillemägi

Agnetha Fältskog wants to reunite ABBA. There she reveals in a big interview with Amelia Adamo in M. Singer Magazine wants to meet other members - and perform again.
- A reunion, a one-time basis, perhaps in connection with any nonprofit, I think maybe we all could imagine, "says Agnetha Fältskog.
Agnetha Fältskog has been long estranged limelight for many years. But in a major interview with Amelia Adamo in M Magazine she talks candidly about life today - and reveals that she wants to see Abba reunited on stage.
- We will hardly be reunited for a tour, the Rolling Stones and other old bands do now. But however, I can imagine that we do something together in the future, "said Agnetha Fältskog to Magazine M.
- It's just a feeling I have that it would be fun to get together, talk a bit about the past and may occur together. A reunion, a one-time basis, perhaps in connection with any nonprofit, I think maybe we all could imagine. I am open to see you and do something, she adds, but points out that she had not had contact with Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad.

Had kept away

Then Abba split up in 1983, the chill between the members has been hard to hide. Agnetha divorced four years earlier with Bjorn Ulvaeus and locked themselves up after Abbas' departure. Since then she has been unavailable.
- I am very uninterested to appear in newspapers and television. Many believe that it's just an attitude, that I want to create a sense of shyness. Men But I really have no desire. I got an overdose. But I have not completely pulled me back, I have made three solo albums after ABBA-time, "said Agnetha to Magazine M.
Now she is happy with life on the farm outside of Stockholm. And the music have found their way back to her. She sings at the piano and has a bag with half-finished songs.

Want to sing theme song

- I was 15 when I started as a vocalist in a dance band. 18 years old, I made my first album. When I was 25 was formed Abba. After Abba, I've done three solo albums. Maybe I have been sufficiently productive.
But still, there are dreams.
- I would like to sing the theme song for a feature film. Think "Titanic"! she says.

Source: Expressen, translation: Google.

On 27 December 2010 Swedish tabloid Expressen published the above article, a preview of a forthcoming interview with Agnetha in M-Magasin.

In the interview, published on 28 December, interviewer Amelia Adamao asks Agnetha what she calls "the mandatory ABBA question":

Will you ever reunite? It's a dream I and millions of others are hoping for. Can you think of ABBA again?

Agnetha responds:

- No and yes. We will hardly ever be reunited for a tour like the Rolling Stones and other big bands. But I don't hold for impossible that we do something together in the future. Please note that this is not something I have discussed with the other three members, it's more of a feeling I have that it would be great to come together and talk a little about old times and maybe make a performance together. But that would only take place once, perhaps for a charity of some sort. Now I almost fell off the couch. ABBA reunited. But Agnetha assures me again that this somethings she hasn't discussed with the others and nothing has been decided.

No where does she say that she "wants" an ABBA reunion, only that she can see that it's possible for the four to do something together, that she has a "feeling ... that it would be great". See Mikory's ABBA Blog for an English translation of the entire interview.

In an interview in October 2010 Frida in Dagens Nyether was asked “Have you ever spoken [to Agnetha] about singing together again?” and she responded: 

“We talk and laugh about it sometimes, but life is changing, we’re getting older and there are so many other things that may be more important and which take up our time. It is clear that it would be great to do something with Agnetha. It is difficult though. If we would do something it would be so hard to avoid all the incredibly pretentious context that it would bring and all the associated pressure. There is such a fascination and curiosity that we could never do something simple and low-key, just because of that I do not think it will come off.”

Again saying it's not impossible, but it's not going to happen either. See the ABBA Omnibus blog for more on this story.

Similarly, when Benny and Björn were asked in an interview in March about the prospect of an "intimate, one-off performance for invited guests and families, perhaps with a small orchestra, focusing on some of the more “mature” material from the later albums" Benny responded jokingly "yeah, why not", Benny and Björn then joking about singing songs like "The Way Old Folks Do". Which of course set off another frenzy of ABBA reunion rumours - so much so that spokeswoman Görel Hanser issued a statement saying that Benny was joking. See the ABBA Omnibus blog or this story here for more on this story.

Meanwhile, over in the UK...

ABBA Ever After for Prince William and Kate Middleton

28th December 2010

By Kier Mudie

ABBA could answer a Royal SOS by singing at Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding.
Bookies are giving odds on them reforming when Wills and Kate say I Do I Do I Do I Do I Do on April 29.
The band, which split in 1982, is back in the spotlight after the smash 2008 film Mamma Mia!
And Head Over Heels couple Kate and William, both 28, are rapidly becoming known for their “unstuffy” approach to royal life.
Fans can take a chance on ABBA making a comeback with bookies Ladbrokes offering odds of 66-1. The firm’s Alex Donohue said: “The return of ABBA would be sensational news for fans. Unfortunately for us it would cost us a lot of money, money, money.”
Other big names from the world of pop are said to be in the running. Sir Elton John, 63, is tipped by royal watchers as he was close to William’s mum Diana.
Sir Paul McCartney, 68, has been given odds of 9-4 while rapper Dizzee Rascal, 25, is rated at 20-1.

Source: The Daily Star.

On 28 December 2010 British tabloid the Daily Star published the above article which speculated that ABBA may perform at the wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton in April, citing a bookmaking website giving odds of 66-1 that ABBA would reunite for the occasion. In typical tabloid fashion, making 1 + 1 = 5, taking one hint of a story, adding to an upcoming public event, and creating an event. Just as The Sun did in June 2009 when it announced that ABBA was to fill the dates at the O2 arena in London after Michael Jackson's death.

Thus every news outlet in the world picked up on the stories, under headlines such as “Agnetha wants an ABBA reunion” “ABBA considers reunion”, "ABBA star hints at reunion", “ABBA to perform one-off show”. Most articles contain some variation of either the Expressen or the Daily Star articles, stating that Agnetha’s reluctance has been the major reason that ABBA has not reunited, that ABBA is a step closer to a reunion now that “reclusive” Agnetha has come forward. Many articles contain “facts” such as the ABBA members are not on speaking terms, that the other three have considered a reunion but Agnetha was always against it.

Later articles have proposed the "one-off" concert at the O2 Arena in London or the Glastonbury Festival. One Twitter post advised of "inside information from Live Nation" to keep September 4th free.

In the interview in M-Magasin Agnetha also states that “I'm not interested in being in magazines, tv and newspapers at all. A lot of people think it's just an attitude, that I want to create this air of insecurity”. An ironic counterpoint to the media frenzy that has been generated by the interview.

All of this is ignoring many well-known facts: 

ABBA has "reunited" at least six times since the end of 1982, when the band “took a break”. The only publicly-seen reunion was a January 1986 performance of Stig Anderson’s song ‘Tivedshambo’, filmed when their former manager was honoured with a This Is Your Life television programme. They came together to sing at at least three friends’ birthday parties in the 1980s and 90s, the last known occasion Görel Hanser’s 50th birthday in June 1999. They apparently met to discuss the alleged offer of one billion dollars to reunite in 1999 or 2000. The four were also together at the July 2008 premiere of Mamma Mia! The Movie in Stockholm, and are rumoured to have also gotten together at the stage musical’s Swedish premiere in February 2005 (despite those reports that Agnetha allegedly fled the theatre due to the pressure of being recognised).

Frida has stated in almost every interview she has done for the past decade that she once imagined doing something with the other three, but that the time for a reunion is long past. She has also said many times that her musical life is now behind her. She has recorded just a handful of guest vocal appearances on other artists’ recordings since her 1996 album Djupa andetag, most recently in 2010 a cover of ‘Morning Has Broken’. She has not performed live on stage since 1992, though she performed several lip-synched performances with Jon Lord in 2004.

Björn has not performed on stage for even longer. He is adamant that ABBA persists because it lives in memory, and feels that to reunite as four sixty-somethings will tarnish that memory of ABBA as four young, vibrant people. 

Benny is most hostile to the thought of an ABBA reunion. In 2002 when invited to an all-star ABBA tribute concert he responded “why would we go to such a thing?” In 2004 just a few days before the fifth anniversary of the Mamma Mia! musical in London he was refusing to attend, stating that “these things always lead to speculation about an ABBA reunion”, though he eventually relented, and looks clearly uncomfortable in footage of the event. Indeed, that event did lead to much speculation of an "ABBA reunion", with Iambic Productions in the UK weaving a 90-minute documentary around that very possibility (Super Troupers – 30 years of ABBA). In his interview screened at the ABBAWORLD exhibition Benny states that when not writing for films or television his musical outlet is Benny Anderssons Orkester (Benny Anderson Band), with “the two best singers in Sweden”, that is Helen Sjöholm and Tommy Körberg.

In 1999 all four recorded separate interviews for the documentary The Winner Takes It All - The ABBA Story. It was said at the time that all four agreed to participate for the last time to an "ABBA" project. In 2004 the four relented and made cameo appearances in the short film Our Last Video Ever!, which made its television debut during the Eurovision Song Contest broadcast. When released on DVD later that year the title was changed to The Last Video at the insistence of the ABBA members, to confirm that this would be the final "ABBA" project.

In 2005 no ABBA members attended a Danish TV celebration on the fiftieth anniversary of the Eurovision Song Contest, which was widely tipped to reveal that ABBA’s ‘Waterloo’ was voted the most popular Eurovision winner of all time. Which indeed it was, and Universal Music Sweden’s then managing director collected the prize and later passed it on to Björn and Benny back in Stockholm. There are some who feel that this programme was an elaborate attempt to wangle an ABBA reunion, which was widely rumoured in the weeks before the programme. 

And most famously in 2000 ABBA allegedly declined an alleged one billion-dollar offer from an unnamed consortium to reunite for 100 concerts and a new album. That story in itself has grown in stature with increasing amounts mentioned since the first news revealed an alleged offer of 1 billion Swedish kronor, an amount which was actually denied as excessive in initial reports. Read that full story here.

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