Friday, 25 January 2013
Veronica, August 1982: Anni-Frid is singing her song... alone!
The album should be released around this time. The title is very appropriate: 'Something's Going On'. And indeed there is. The production of this chunk of studio diligence was in the hands of Phil Collins, not unfamiliar due to his own solo work. For unknown reasons, Anni-Frid didn't keep her ex-husband Benny and the sorcerer's apprentice Björn out of the project. Although the gentlemen's share remains limited and they had to be content with playing second fiddle. As a matter of speaking, because I don't see them playing any fiddle. Collins was the one who wielded the scepter: guys like Bryan Ferry, Russ Ballard and Rod Argent contributed songs to the project. When asked about the when and how about the album, the flaming beauty wants to share with us that she felt the time was right for some solo work, apart from the annual ABBA album.
Meanwhile, Anni-Frid's blonde colleague Agnetha hasn't given up in this unfortunate position either. Since the ABBA men are working for months on end in the studio on one single guitar line these days, both women have time to spare to do some shopping. And even then there's plenty of time left for solo albums and/or other activities. Agnetha has carefully inquired about the working schedule of successful producer Mike Chapman, the man that helped Blondie to achieve worldwide fame. That isn't necessary anymore for Agnetha, but a solo album still remains a leap into the dark to the ladies. Because, what they ask themselves while doing the dishes, does the general public really want to listen to solo work by a group member? That's why the two ladies don't want to work with just anybody. But they do want to work with Phil and Mike. It will cost them some money, but on their salary they could hire Paul McCartney or Stevie Wonder. They probably will for their second album.
The musical sidesteps of the ladies are some kind of therapy as well. Just to take a break for a couple of months from divorces, threats, stories about the end of ABBA and, most importantly, a change of scene. Because for every ABBA album, Anni-Frid and Agnetha have to go into the studio with their ex-husbands. And although manager Stig Anderson may announce that both couples have separated as friends, you can't disregard an experience like that. Agnetha's wounds may have been healed by now, although she isn't in a hurry to get married a second time. Doesn't anyone fancy an attractive millionaire, the quiet type, to spend a holiday together on a private island? Poor Agnetha, whenever she makes small talk with her plumber, it's immediately suggested that she is engaged.
Things are different for Anni-Frid, the pain is more severe. She has her share of scars on her soul. Two life companions have left her after a couple of years of apparent happiness; she met her father only a couple of years ago. Everything seemed to go well with Benny. After an engagement time of more than five years, they got married. An expensive ring for her, a grateful glance for him. But they had barely digested their wedding cake before Benny hopped into the bed of a Swedish television personality. And he didn't reconsider his decision. Anni-Frid was alone again. The psychiatrist probably made the suggestion to sing her troubles away. The most recent ABBA albums are full of lyrics about the downfall of two happy marriages. Indeed, on 'The Visitors' they are merely visitors in each other's worlds. There's a bandage of gold on the wounds, but especially to Anni-Frid the tears are still right behind her eyes.
The ambitions of our beautiful redhead reach even further than singing on multiple albums. Anni-Frid wants to act as well. She has already played a part in movie, filmed in Spain, that will probably never reach the Dutch cinemas. But she is available and open to discuss her salary. There seems to be plenty of talent. She has a personality and the camera loves her. She understands the art of coming across spontaneous and credible, she knows what the audience wants.
In ABBA's feature film she was the least camera shy. Ever since that experience she has never hidden her desire to play a part in a real movie. But since they are making very little films in Sweden, Anni-Frid has to turn her attention abroad. Until recently, there simply wasn't any time to withdraw from ABBA's world for a couple of months. But now there is. ABBA will probably go on for some time to come. And why not? Success is guaranteed and they don't have to be together for more than three months per year. The rest is spare time.