Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Pop Foto, June 1980: In Japan, things got difficult for ABBA

Dutch magazine Pop Foto published this article in the first half of 1980, following ABBA's tour of Japan.
The Japanese government doesn’t trust any artist anymore, that’s what ABBA’s Benny, Björn, Agnetha and Annifrid found out recently. Instead of an ecstatic crowd of screaming fans, a bunch of cool and suspicious customs officers were waiting for them. And all of that thanks to a careless Englishman!

Paul McCartney sure has something to answer for! After the so-called ‘drugs-scandal’, that the usually so impeccable Englishman was involved in a few months ago, the Japanese government doesn’t trust the luggage of any living soul anymore. It doesn’t matter if you’re one of the world-famous ABBA-members, or ‘just’ anybody, all incoming suitcases are searched in detail for illegitimate goods. For a moment, our Swedish musicians didn’t know how they had it coming on Narita-Airport, Tokio’s airport. Upon arrival in the land of the rising sun, everything, even Agnetha and Annifrid’s make-up boxes, was dragged out of the suitcases and bags and thoroughly investigated by industrious little men.
“We were startled,” Benny told afterwards. “After the 15 hours and 10 minutes flight from Stockholm to Tokio, a trip that’s not a walk in the park, we certainly expected a different reception. We really got our share....”
Actually, Benny, Björn, Agnetha and Annifrid didn’t want to tour again in the near future. Certainly not after last year’s tiring and unprofitable world-tour. But the Japanese performances were planned already. In that part of Asia, ABBA-records have been selling like hotcakes. But the musical Swedes had never been able to do more for their Japanese admirers than film a couple of quick TV-shows. And they wanted to change that! After the hour-long delay at the airport, the ABBAs weren’t bothered anymore. Outside the customs office several hundreds of Japanese fans were waiting for their idols. And that was the start of ABBA’s glorious victory-march throughout Japan. At the moment, the popular Swedes are back in their own country, where they are working around the clock on a new ABBA-album, that will be available in our country in the autumn (a new single is expected to be released in June already). So there won’t be much time for other tours the coming months. But that wasn’t ABBA’s intention either...