Friday, 11 July 2008

Hitkrant, February 1988: For my 15-year-old daughter, I have to compete with Madonna

Dutch magazine Hitkrant published this article in 1988, following the release of Agnetha's album I Stand Alone and single The Last Time.
Note the interesting spelling of Frida's name in this article: Anafried.They were called the new Beatles, and that was hardly exaggerated. Agnetha, Björn, Benny and Anafried, in short ABBA, made a convincing musical mark on the seventies, as John, Paul, George and Ringo did on the sixties. Six years ago, ABBA came to an end, but Agnetha Fältskog did not let that get her down. In the meantime, she is up to her third and clearly best solo-album ‘I Stand Alone’. Reason enough for your favourite magazine to go to Stockholm for a nice conversation with a sympathetic and beautiful Swede.

We meet Agnetha in a suite on the eighth floor of the Strand Hotel in the Swedish capital. In her leather pants and trendy sweater, you would think she’s 25 years old. But Agnetha is 38 years old and her first hit in Sweden dates back to 1968, exactly 20 years ago. Does she still remember it?
“Of course,” according to Agnetha, “I was 18 years old and proud as I could be because I had written the song myself and I never could have guessed it would enter the charts. It was fantastic, because making it big in show-business was my biggest dream. I even gave up school for that. Beforehand, I didn’t know that ABBA would become as successful as it did. Anyway, I had a lot of experience already when I met up with Björn, Benny and Anafried.”
ABBA won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 with ‘Waterloo’ and from then on it was clear sailing. One hit followed the other and they were famous all over the world. For Agnetha, ABBA was more than just a job. In 1971, just before the big success started, she got married to her colleague Björn. One year after that, daughter Linda was born and in 1977, son Christian was born.
“Not a very ordinary situation, of course,” Agnetha reminisces. “Björn and I were together almost day and night. On top of that, it wasn’t easy to combine ABBA with having two children. But I definitely wanted to have children. They meant and mean more to me than the success or the fame. I made sure that ABBA wouldn’t be away from home for more than a few weeks. I wanted to be a real mother.”

1982 was an important year. Not only ABBA came to an end, Agnetha and Björn’s marriage ended as well. From then on, Agnetha had to make it alone.
“Both the end of ABBA as well as my divorce were things that had to happen,” Agnetha says. “ABBA had given all they had to give and we didn’t have anything to say to each other anymore. Furthermore, we had had so much success, that we got tired of it all. We needed peace and quiet. Apparently, my marriage was tied to ABBA as well, so that had to end too. I toughened up, took care of the children and slowly I built a solo-career. The title of my album says that I survived it all. ‘I Stand Alone’ and I feel strong.”
Agnetha’s album has seen the light of day with the help of a few big names. Producers are Peter Cetera, known of Chicago and his solo-hit ‘Glory Of Love’, and Bruce Gaitsch, co-writer of Madonna’s ‘La Isla Bonita’. Another link to Madonna are the promotional pictures. They were taken by Italian Tolot, a man that has photographed Madonna a couple of times as well.
“I don’t want to be compared to Madonna at all,” according to Agnetha, “I’m much older and totally different. The fact that some of those ‘Madonna-people’ worked on my record, is pure coincidence. However, there is another connection which is much more fun. My daughter Linda is now 15 years old and crazy about Madonna. For her, I have to compete with Madonna. But I’m in luck, Linda thinks my new album isn’t half bad.” (she smiles).

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