Sunday, 28 February 2010

Bravo, January 1977: Björn reveals ABBA’s plans

What will ABBA’s highly anticipated stage show look like? What will be next? Four weeks before the start of their tour through Germany, Björn gives the answer...

Bravo: On January 28, your first concert of your European tour will take place in Oslo. Are you having stage fright already?
Björn: “The girls do, but Benny and me don’t have any time for that. Since weeks, we’ve been rehearsing with the 10-piece orchestra that will accompany us on the tour. We want to reproduce the original sound of the recordings on stage, and sometimes that is darned difficult. Especially ‘Money, Money, Money’ is causing some difficulties.”
Bravo: Can you reveal something already about the show?
Björn: “We will perform without an opening act and therefore we will be on stage for a full two hours. Apart from the orchestra, we will also be joined by three backing singers. Obviously, we will play all of our hits, but as a surprise we will also perform three brand new songs, that have not been recorded yet. The song that turns out to be most successful on the tour will be our next single.”
Bravo: In which costumes will you perform?
Björn: “They are still in production at this moment. It’s sure and certain that Anna and Anni-Frid will change costumes three times during the show. The girls have made the designs themselves. I only want to reveal that they will look very sexy...”
Bravo: Is it true that you will fly to every concert in a helicopter?
Björn: “Definitely not, all four of us hate to fly. This rumour only came about because we are sitting in a helicopter on the album cover of our latest album ‘Arrival’. We will simply drive to our concerts by car.”
Bravo: How many concerts will you perform on this tour?
Björn: “16 shows have been planned in Scandinavia, Germany, Holland and England. With five concerts, we will spend most of our time in Germany on this tour. Since several dates have been changed, I want to confirm the dates for Germany once more: on February 2, we will perform in the Deutschlandhalle in Berlin, on February 3 in the Sporthalle in Cologne, on February 6 in the Grugahalle in Essen, on February 7 in the Eilenriederhalle in Hannover and on February 8 in the Congress Centre in Hamburg. The demand for tickets has been overwhelming. We could have sold out our concert in London 148 times...”
Bravo: With 30 million records sold within three years, you are the most successful pop group in the world. What gave you the idea to form a group consisting of two guys and two girls?
Björn: “Everything already started ten years ago. At the time, I was playing in the Swedish folk group Hootenanny Singers and I met Benny, who was with the Hep Stars. We both were the composers of our groups and on one evening we got together at some bar. From the first moment on, we noticed that we were on the same wavelength and that we complemented each other wonderfully. Right on that first evening, we completed five songs within three hours. One of them was ‘Ring Ring’, for that matter. Subsequently, Benny and I wanted to sing as a duo, but in the studio we thought that the sound was too thin. That’s why we brought in both our girlfriends the next day and the four of us sang, and all of a sudden everything sounded perfect.”
Bravo: Still, success wasn’t right around the corner...
Björn: “There had never been a group of this kind before, that’s why the record companies were sceptical. But we were not in a hurry either. Benny and I kept on playing with our bands, the girls recorded solo albums, and ABBA was just a side project. But I knew that we would make it one day. Our finest hour then arrived at the Eurovision Song Contest in Brighton in 1973...”
Bravo: Has this striking career actually changed you personally?
Björn: “Since I had already been a successful musician in Sweden, the international success didn’t hit me over. Benny, Anna and Anni-Frid were in the same situation. We got together and decided that we wouldn’t let ourselves be destroyed. That’s why we rarely go on tour, do very few television performances and see to it that we have a stable private life. The family life with Anna, our daughter Linda and our dog Ada gives me the peace and quiet that I need to compose and write lyrics.”
Bravo: What does ABBA’s future look like?
Björn: “Up till March, our schedule is fully booked and after that we will start recording a new album. Obviously, all four of us are dreading the day at which our success series, that every single reaches number one in the charts, will be broken...”

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