Sunday, 15 June 2008

Hitkrant, August 1982: Frida's solo-album doesn't interfere with ABBA

In August 1982, Dutch magazine Hitkrant published a report by Annet van Trigt, at the time a radio-presenter at Veronica. Frida's first solo-single had just premiered on Dutch radio, accompanied by a radio-interview with Frida. I remember listening to that broadcast and the excitement of hearing Frida's single for the first time. From the interview, I thought it was striking that Frida didn't know who was the producer of Agnetha's album. It was only after Annet named Mike Chapman, that she remembered it.
Veronica-reporter Annet van Trigt has become practically an ABBA-expert by now. So, wasn’t it obvious to ask her if she would write down, exclusively for Hitkrant, her thoughts about the interview with Annifrid she had recently on the occasion of the solo-project by the red-haired ABBA-singer? Annet said yes and here are her impressions.

On Friday-afternoon, August the 6th, Annifrid Lyngstad’s solo-single premiered in Veronica’s ‘Popjournaal’. After an entire morning of calls and a lot of negotiating with the record-company and Sweden, it was possible to call Frida for a radio-interview. Or rather, she would call us from Sweden at two o’clock in the afternoon. At two o’clock sharp, the phone rang in the studio, and yet again it became clear to me that the greater the artist, the easier the agreements are followed.

Frida: “To be honest, I wasn’t very keen at all on recording a solo-album. But after finishing our last ABBA-album 'The Visitors', it turned out that I had some spare time left, and I decided to make use of that to do this project. At the time I listened a lot to the music of Genesis; to me it was so powerful, that I decided to contact Phil Collins. If I were to do a solo-album, I wanted to do it with Phil as a producer.”
“He was interested immediately and then the long road of preparations began. When our plans started to become known, around 300 cassettes with song-propositions were send to us in no-time. All with the best intentions of course, but we thought it was just a bit too much to work through. After discussing it with Phil, I thought it would be best to approach songwriters myself.”
“The album 'Something’s Going On' offers a wide range of names. Among others, Russ Ballard, Bryan Ferry, Rod Argent, Pete Belotte, Giorgio Moroder and Stephen Bishop, worked on the album.”

“It was an enormous thrill for me as well to work with Phil. He is also playing the drums, percussion and he's doing backing-vocals on the album. That man is so energetic, it immediately affected the others as well, and on top of that his working-habit is very efficient. The preparations went on for almost a year, the recording itself was completed within a month.”
Imagine, your album becomes an enormous success. Aren’t you worried it will interfere with ABBA?
Frida: “Oh no, absolutely not. All ABBA-members are able to keep things like this totally separate. Apart from our ABBA-activities – and that goes for all members of the group – we have enough time to do our own things. The only thing that could cause problems is: what will happen if I will have to tour? I haven’t decided yet if I will go out on stage. The promotional film will have to do for now.”

Undoubtedly, Frida will remember the period before ABBA. In those days, she was to be seen on Swedish television regularly as a singer. Unbelievable, how time flies, because most people will remember the victory of the foursome at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 with 'Waterloo'. Despite the fact that this is now 8 years ago, the super-group is celebrating their tenth anniversary at the end of this year. Two years before, Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus were both members of a popular Swedish group, the Hootenanny Singers. In 1972, they decided to start the group with Frida and Agnetha. The hitmachine has been working at full force the past few years. In a timeframe of two and a half years, ABBA even sold more records than any other group (excluding the Beatles); a reason to celebrate at the end of the year!
Frida: “We’re not going to have a big party. What we will do, is release a double-album, with our biggest hits. Björn and Benny have been busy in the studio for a while and now we will come in to record the songs. There will be two brand-new tracks on the album.”
When will Agnetha release her solo-album, I understood there were plans in that direction?
Frida: “In January or February, she will start recording.”
Who will be the producer?
Frida: “I really don’t know.”
Isn’t it Mike Chapman?
Frida: “Yes, that’s right: Mike Chapman.”
When we finally ask if we have to interpret the title of her single in any special way, Frida answers: “No, not at all, it just sounded good.”


Ronaldo said...

Nice article!

Maybe Frida was not sure if word was already out about Mike Chapman. So she wanted to be diplomatic and act as if she was clueless.
I have to say that I am surprised that his name was already mentioned this long before the project even started with Agnetha.

Michel said...

Thanks, Ron.
Yes, you may be right. Frida might have been cautious. After all, Agnetha almost let the cat out of the bag about a solo-album to be released, when asked about ABBA's future plans in the 1981 TV-interview with Mies Bouwman, until Frida corrected her, saying that she meant a live-album.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the article Michel, I really enjoyed reading it.