Saturday, 12 July 2008

Pop Biz, 1979: ABBA in the footsteps of Columbus

Dutch magazine Pop Biz published this article about ABBA's US-tour in 1979. Most pics in the article are older pics, several of them taken on ABBA's promotional visits to Holland in 1974 and 1975.
The time has finally come for ABBA, the sympathetic Swedish group that conquered the world with their fantastic music: the big American tour, you can call it an adventure, has begun. It was preceded by weeks of tension. Weeks that caused the foursome sleepless nights because of the tension; weeks in which they didn’t think about anything else, and talked about nothing else. But now the weeks of tension have come for the fans, because many of them fear that this tour will be a farewell. Outwardly, it seems that the many internal tensions that troubled the group the past few months didn’t have any effect on the harmony within the foursome. But everyone knows that tensions need to find their way out. But that’s difficult if you are a popular group. ABBA’s manager Stig Anderson has always made sure that nothing could get in the way of the group’s success. Not even private problems. The whole divorce between Agnetha and Björn seemed to be solved without much distress. The dirty laundry wasn’t aired. Behind the scenes, the world may have shook sometimes, but outwardly everything was fine. The company ABBA remained intact. They kept on working undisturbed, so it seemed. Björn and Benny composed, Agnetha and Annifrid studied on their lyrics and choreography.

You have to be a true professional to be able to do this. Because private problems destroyed many stars. This is not the case with ABBA. At least, so it seems. Because many fans ask themselves if Björn and Agnetha will be able to see each other every day, without this causing tensions. Won’t this lead to a falling-out or collapse eventually? Maybe there has been some kind of agreement already: one more world-tour and then we’ll quit. People keep guessing and guessing. Agnetha has been spotted in the company of a tough Swedish skater. When there are press-conferences, she isn’t there. Neither is Annifrid. Benny and Björn do all the interviews. All of this is cause for speculation. Whether the two girls will continue together. Whether the boys only want to be producers from now on. Whether Agnetha wants to call it a day after her divorce. Whether Björn doesn’t feel like being on the same stage as her. And then the news about the American tour strikes like lightning. ABBA is cautious, due to their enormous success. One mistake could mean the end of a group of this calibre. For every artist, America is more or less the ultimate goal: if you are accepted there and have made it to the top, you can’t get any bigger. Certainly for ABBA, America is something special. Normally, America is the starting point to get the whole world at your feet, but ABBA has the world already... except America. ABBA, more or less Sweden’s most important export product, has made it big everywhere. In Australia, they’re just as popular as in Germany. As true Vikings, they conquered one country after the other. In the United States, people are warming up to ABBA as well, but obviously not enough to make the group decide to tour there. And they are working on just that at the moment. A monster hit, that will clear the way to the USA. An all or nothing game. It will probably turn out to be all: indeed, it was the Vikings who discovered America, and now they will see that the Swedes still have a lot to offer. When we have to believe all the stories going around, there would be a chaotic atmosphere in the group, because they don’t get along with each other very well anymore. The truth may turn out to be that ABBA is on the verge of becoming bigger than ever. It’s logical, isn’t it: if Agnetha is having an affair with a sportsman, that doesn’t mean that ABBA will fall flat. For now, everything is clear sailing. ABBA will conquer America and after that they will have even more success in Europe, if that’s possible. It would be senseless to give up this golden formula. But they will have to be able to keep it up.

No comments: