Monday, 5 April 2010

Joepie, September 1979: ABBA is feeling great, how about you? – Swedish top group has already sold 100 million records!

A report from Belgian magazine Joepie about the opening night and the accompanying press conference of ABBA’s 1979 tour.
It seemed as if ABBA had brought along all of their silver, gold and platinum records to Edmonton in Canada. In the hotel room, where the famous Swedish quartet gave a press conference on the occasion of the premiere of their world tour, literally an entire wall was covered with sparkling, shining discs. Their Canadian record company even added to that number by handing out two gold and five platinum albums for the impressive sales figures of the group in that country. At the table in front of that wall, accompanied by ‘big boss’ Stig Anderson, a slightly tense but still generously smiling ABBA. “Not without pride we can announce that ABBA has sold more than 100 million records since they started out,” Stig was beaming above his prominent moustache. The press gathering had been declared opened with a brand new world record!

This meeting with journalists from all corners of the world, among them Joepie’s regular photographer from London André Csillag, was actually meant to be the official launch of ABBA’s 1979 world tour. In particular, to give the photographers the opportunity to take some pictures of the occasion, as well as a series of pictures of the new show.
For that matter, during the entire run of the tour, it won’t be possible to get an appointment with the complete ABBA, because the tour, that will last for over two months, is considered to be too exhausting. Especially for Frida and Agnetha. There will also be severe restrictions for photographers during every concert, firstly because the fans should not be bothered too much and secondly because the concerts in London and Brussels will be filmed for an ABBA special.
But obviously it could be expected that ABBA would be asked a couple of ‘annoying’ questions. Not only was there the recent divorce between Agnetha and Björn to talk about, but especially the rumours about the end of the group. Of course, they had been expecting this and they had prepared themselves, supported like a tower of strength by their manager, not without reason called the fifth ABBA.
“We are happy that our divorce is now completely final,” Björn said convincingly when asked what the deal was between Agnetha and himself. Whereby he was supported with a spontaneous wink from his ex-wife, but still his colleague. And how were they feeling now? Whereupon Agnetha, more mesmerizing than ever, replied with her prettiest smile: “We are feeling great, how about you?”
That their divorce has been finalized in the most amicable atmosphere was proved yet again the next day during the concert. After the opening song, Björn introduced the group to the fans. The last one to be introduced was Agnetha. “And this is... Agnetha... my ex-wife,” he hesitated playfully, whereupon Agnetha acted as if she wanted to walk off, but then threw herself in his arms as if she was his best friend!

Obviously, the long-awaited question that was on everyone’s lips was what was true about the rumours about the quartet splitting up and their farewell to live performances. Their unified, carefree faces took away every doubt immediately. “Everything is going terrific with ABBA, why would we quit?” Benny wondered. “Apart from that, all four of us are still full of plans,” Björn continued, “but I can’t tell very much more about that at the moment. Maybe our manager Stig Anderson wants to do that.” For a while, Stig frowned his eyebrows, cleared his throat and said, clearly in a sharing mood: “Look, we know perfectly well that there’s life after ABBA. The girls were already famous before they joined the group. Benny, Björn and I could continue composing hits. We could have second homes in London, New York or Los Angeles. Everyone will ask us if we want to write songs for them. And then there is also our studio in Stockholm, Polar Recording Studio, that’s going really well. We’re now already running one year behind on our working schedule, the studio is that busy. So there’s no talk at all of ABBA splitting up, although it’s possible that we will organise things differently in the future than we are doing now.”

For instance, from a different ‘home’ country? “The ABBA members and I don’t believe that it’s worth it to move abroad,” Stig emphasized. “We prefer to be able to live a normal, everyday life in Sweden. It may sound insane but it’s the truth.”
But will this be a farewell to the exhausting and nerve-racking tours and the live performances? The ABBA fivesome had to laugh cordially at so much stubbornness. “May we finish this tour first before we give an answer to that question,” Björn replied jokingly. Meanwhile, boss Anderson skilfully took care of the closing speech. “You know, this tour will not make us any money, even though every concert is completely sold out, which seems to be the case according to the latest reports. But this is something that we owe to the fans. And do you know what delights us most? That we have proved that good music for everybody can come from anywhere, and certainly not only from England or North America.”
After we managed to get hold of Stig for a joint drink, he invited Joepie to an exclusive and extensive interview in his Swedish headquarter. In between some of the performances, he would have to go home for business anyway, so we might as well fly along with him. As a present from us, starting next week, you will get his revelations about the future of the biggest pop group in the world today.

2 comments:

Karin said...

Hi Michel,

Is there a possibility to email you. I would like to ask you a question?

Thanks,
Karin

Michel said...

Hi Karin, I've added an e-mail option in my profile, so you can reach me there.