1 February 2000
How much would it be worth to se a reunited ABBA on stage again? One billion SEK. Recently the group turned down an offer in that breathtaking size.
The lasting ABBA-fever has made the concert-arrangers all over the world overbid each other considering the price for a couple of concerts with a reunited ABBA. According to the magazine Eventertain the group has recently received an offer from a group of Japanese interests.
The payment for eight concerts in Japan, Australia and England would be one billion of SEK for the four Swedes to share. But Thomas Johansson, director of the concert arranger EMA-Telstar and manager of ABBA denies that information. - That is a kind of urban tale where people has mixed together different pieces of information. But it is true that we have been offered breathtaking sums for a reunited ABBA. As late as last year we got a very serious offer, but it came from British and not Japanese interests.
- Was it about a one billion-gage? - I can't reveal any figures, but it involved tremendous, gigantic amounts. It is my business to further those offers to the four members of the group, and I do that. But everyone knows what it is all about. ABBA has no plans for a reunion, it is as simple as that.
Source: Expressen. Translation Linda Granqvist/ABBAMAIL
Benny Andersson: It's an insane amount of money to say no to.
ABBA was offered one billion dollars, almost nine billion kronor (SEK), to reunite. But they said no thanks. - We came to the conclusion that it wasn't for us, Benny Andersson says.
ABBA broke up officially in 1983. It was Agnetha Fältskog who finally announced that the group didn't exist anymore. And that's the way it has remained. The former members have made it clear that there will be no reunion.
Hotter than ever
Right now ABBA is hotter than they've ever been since the 1970's. The greatest hits album has sold 16 million copies and A*Teens are ruling the charts. This has made concert-arrangers try to outbid each other to see a reunited original-ABBA on stage. Last year they were offered one billion dollars, 8,859,830,000 kronor, by an American/English consortium, for 100 concerts.
- At least we discussed it. It's an insane amount of money to just say "no thanks" to. But we came to the conclusion that it wasn't for us, Benny Andersson says.
He and Björn Ulvaeus think that one of the reasons for ABBA still being around is just because the band broke up in 1982, and hasn't been on stage together ever since.
- We have never made a comeback. Almost everybody else has. I think there's a message in that, Björn Ulvaeus says.
The two of them are now instead focusing on trying to put together a new musical. But so far the progress is a bit slow.
- We meet regularly, once a week, on Mondays, us and Lars Rudolfsson. If you're planning to do something, you have to be active, the ideas won't just appear by themselves. So we'll see. But we really want to do something. So when the idea comes along, sooner or later, it will feel really good, something to spend your time on, Benny Andersson says.
Is there anything at all that can reunite ABBA?
- No, I don't think so. It's over, Björn Ulvaeus says.
Source: Aftonbladet. Translation Claes Davidsson/ABBAMAIL.
S T O CK H O L M , Feb. 2 — Sweden's 1970s chart-topping pop group ABBA has turned down an offer worth $1 billion to get together again after 17 years.
"It is a hell of a lot of money to say no to, but we decided it wasn't for us," Benny Andersson, one member of the Swedish quartet, told the Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet today.
The offer came from an American-British consortium that wanted ABBA to reunite for 100 concerts to cash in on the current international revival of the catchy songs that brought the group fame and fortune.
A Revival, Sort of
The teen band A-Teens has put ABBA songs back into the charts with its cover versions of "Mamma Mia" and "Gimme Gimme" while a musical based on ABBA songs, Mamma Mia, has become a hit in London's West End, sending sales of album "ABBA Gold" soaring.
Andersson and his colleague Bjorn Ulvaeus, who wrote Mamma Mia and other musicals, attributed ABBA's renewed success to the fact that the band had never gotten back together.
"We have never made a comeback. Almost everyone else has. I think there is a message in that," Ulvaeus told the newspaper.
Road to Fame Lined With Polyester
ABBA rocketed to fame in 1974 when Anna-Frid, Bjorn, Benny and Agnetha won the Eurovision song contest with "Waterloo," dazzling audiences with their shiny polyester garb.
The group quickly became Sweden's most famous - and most lucrative - cultural export with a string of hits including "Money Money Money," "Super Troopers" and "Dancing Queen."
The bespangled 1970s group - and the marriages between Agnetha and Bjorn, Benny and Anni-Frid - split up in 1983.
Since then Benny and Bjorn have remained a team, writing musicals and producing records, while attempts by Anni-Frid and Agnetha to launch solo careers flopped.
Source: ABC News
The original story in Expressen, quoting Eventertainment magazine, reported that the alleged offer was 1 billion SEK (Swedish kronor), equivalent of roughly US$140,000,000. When the story appeared in Aftonbladet a day later, the offer had already transformed into 1 billion US dollars (almost 9 billion SEK), and it was in this form that the story hit the international wire services, such as the ABC News story above. Since then it has also reported as 1 billion British pounds (almost 2 billion US dollars) or 2 billion Australian dollars (at one point, a very rounded-up conversion).
Later wire stories tied in the fact that the musical Mamma Mia! was making its North American debut in Toronto, Canada in April, tickets were on sale, but the musical was not the story of ABBA. Others reports added that the Swedish teen group A*Teens were releasing their first album of ABBA covers in the USA. Perhaps the whole thing was a very clever free publicity campaign?
Interestingly, in the first story Thomas Johansson denies the billion number, actually calling it an urban myth. But repeated reportage of this story have turned it into a factoid (that is, unsubstantiated information accepted as fact due to constant repetition in print), to the point where Björn Ulvaeus himself confirms the figure when asked in interviews.
This site uses frames. If you came directly to this page from an external link, welcome to ABBA World. Please click here to go to the home page.