Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Hitkrant, August 1981: Two more years for ABBA / ABBA stops touring

The first signs that the ABBA-era was drawing to its close: an article from Dutch magazine Hitkrant, August 1981, headlining there will be two more years for ABBA. In hindsight it turned out to be even one year less. In August 1982, ABBA recorded their very last song.Still a few more years to go and ABBA will celebrate their tenth anniversary as a hit-group. Who doesn’t remember the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974? That’s where the Swedish group achieved their first victory with 'Waterloo'. So that would be 1984: a year of celebration. But if we have to believe Björn Ulvaeus, there will be no party.

Recently, the blonde singer/guitarist stated in an English magazine, that ABBA will quit within two years. And he really meant to say that all four members will go their separate ways from then on. Of course, this announcement was to be expected eventually, but nobody thought it would come so soon.

Insiders claim the group is preparing for a short farewell-tour at the moment. Although Björn stated in that same interview he couldn’t imagine the group would undertake a big tour, travelling from city to city, ever again, ABBA still wants to thank their audience.That mini-tour, that would possibly come to Holland as well, will be accompanied by an album. A luxuriously packaged album, with partly old and partly new songs. A token of consolation. For more ABBA, see page 6.At the ABBA headquarters they are very polite, but also not very talkative. Rumours circulating about the Swedish super-group are neither denied, nor confirmed, all in a very civilized manner, and that doesn’t make it easy to keep the fans informed about what’s happening in Stockholm. There was talk about ABBA to stop touring, so that’s when you pick up the phone, dial the number of ABBA’s record-company and ask if it’s true.

“Well,” is what they’re saying in Sweden. “Touring is very tiring and ABBA has come to a point where touring isn’t that necessary any longer. So it is possible they won’t do that anymore.” Is that definite? “It is likely,” is the – still very friendly – answer, and that will have to do.

There still seems to be something going on: the constant postponing of the new single and album, the persistant rumours that the group is on the verge of breaking up, the impossibility to get to talk to one of the ABBA-members. And now the news that Björn, Benny, Frida and Agnetha will stop touring. No artist has ever denied that touring is extremely tiring, neither has Agnetha. Last year, she revealed in an interview with a Swedish newspaper, that she has considered several times to turn her back on ABBA: “Sometimes the pressure gets too high and that’s why I have asked myself repeatedly if I want to keep on doing this the rest of my life.”

The care for her children is the main reason for Agnetha she at least wants to stop touring with ABBA. It’s difficult for her to leave Linda and Christian behind and a world-tour of six, seven months is getting harder and harder for her. “Also I want to concentrate more on composing and working in the recording-studio, that’s what I’m good at and what I like to do. A new solo-album is possible too and I really think this is the road I have to pursue.”

So, in the meantime Björn has stated in an English magazine that the end is drawing near for ABBA and that he can’t imagine the group will ever tour extensively again: “My guess is that ABBA will call it a day within two years.” A shock for the fans, but ABBA has been working for almost ten years now: years in which the group achieved unprecedented success. Is it really a surprise the foursome has had just about enough by now?

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