Sunday, 21 September 2008

Hitkrant, December 1980: ABBA threatened / Attack on ABBA's happiness

ABBA is grounded: Agnetha, Björn, Frida and Benny are under severe police protection and are not allowed to leave their homes. The cause of all this is that the famous foursome has received an anonymous threat. The Stockholm police wouldn’t tell us what the nature of those threats was, but the rumours vary between kidnapping to murder. Therefore, the appearance on the German television programme ‘Show Express’ became uncertain. Nonetheless, the ZDF has found a solution: a direct link between the studio and Stockholm has been set up, that will enable ABBA to show the 3 songs they were supposed to perform, from a safe place in Stockholm; the programme will be broadcast tonight (thursday).

The terrorist threat has affected ABBA more than the group wants to admit. During the few days that ABBA received several European journalists in Stockholm, it becomes clear that there’s an enormous fear. The pop-group that is making so many millions has difficulties coming to terms with a possible attack on their happiness.

Agnetha, Björn, Benny and Anni-Frid are sitting at a round table in the boardroom of the ABBA-headquarter. In a time span of five years, the Swedish group has managed to become Sweden’s biggest export product: in the past five years, ABBA has gathered together no less than 1 billion Dutch guilders! Their latest album ‘Super Trouper’ is on top of the charts all over Europe and within three weeks, the album sold 2 million copies.

Despite the enormous success, there are still people who think ABBA sounds ‘plastic’. Benny says: “All right, we’ve been hearing that criticism for years now, but we will never get used to it; we do accept it. I think it’s because we don’t use any drugs, don’t tear our hotel rooms apart and aren’t drunk all the time.”

Benny adds: “People don’t have any idea how much time we spend on one song. It often takes weeks before we’re satisfied. We don’t write for a certain group of people, we write for ourselves. If we wouldn’t do that, the whole thing would have collapsed a long time ago.”

When the subject of the kidnap threat of Linda Ulvaeus arises, which was the reason for ABBA not being able to leave the country last week, tears well up in Agnetha’s eyes. “We don’t want to talk about that,” Björn says. And Agnetha says: “Sometimes I burst into tears, when I just think about the state of the world at the moment and all the things that could happen to us.”
“The nuclear bomb, for instance. Are we all facing our death, we and our children? I want my children to grow up in a better world. Then it all gets too much for me at times, because I think that better world won’t happen anymore. All the money we’ve made can’t change that!”
‘The Winner Takes It All’, is what Agnetha sang on the previous single. But what is that ‘all’, you might wonder...

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