Monday, 24 September 2012
1978: Why ABBA's Agnetha was pregnant for fourteen months...
"Yes, I'm really sorry," ABBA manager Stig Anderson proclaims, "but it's just not possible to do this photo shoot today!" Photographer Barry Levine, the man that took practically all pictures of Sweden's export article number one the past few years, isn't happy about this arrangement at all. He flew in especially from Los Angeles. But he has to deal with the facts no matter what, even more so when Anderson tells him that Agnetha is pregnant. We are talking about October 1976.
In May 1977 Levine travels to Sweden again for a photo session for the inner sleeve of the ABBA album 'The Album'. Agnetha is still pregnant and perhaps because of that a little moody. Barry notices that the atmosphere during the photo shoot is very tense at times. A heavy rivalry between Agnetha and the dark-haired Anni-Frid seems to have evolved. In December 1977 Agnetha gives birth to her little son Christian. So that's a pregnancy of fourteen months, and medically a unique occurance. Or... was there something else going on?
"This is exactly the time that we have to make sure that the money keeps coming in," Stig says. "That's why we have to go after the dollars. Indeed, the girls can't keep on waiting until they have to bounce around on stage as old grandmas..."
It's clearly the vision of a tough businessman and that Anderson surely is. The sexy singers of the group are an important ingredient in the success of ABBA and you can't take advantage of that forever. On top of that, things weren't all well in the ABBA circle between the two singers and now it seems almost certain that Anderson has used Agnetha's pregnancy to calm the group down a bit. That's why it had to take that long. You couldn't come up with a better excuse, and probably Agnetha herself has made good use of it as well. After all, it's a public secret that the dark-haired Anni-Frid has become ever more envious of blonde Agnetha, who mostly steals the show during performances. And it isn't a secret either that Anna has recorded a solo record in the meantime. However, manager Stig Anderson has explicitly banned its release.
"The group has to remain a unity," he exclaims, still in an excited manner, thinking about the dollars that are about to pass him by. In the end, Anni-Frid has given in as well. But for how long? At least for the time being little Christian has subconsciously prevented the group from breaking up. But Anni-Frid isn't pleased at all about the fact that her own fiancé Benny, who's responsible for ABBA's image for the most part, is giving Agnetha so many chances to steal the show on stage.