Sunday, 1 March 2009

Joepie, July 1982: ABBA's life was indeed hanging on a string

For the first time, the ABBA headquarter has admitted, in the words of Benny, that the famous foursome was in danger of not making it into 1982. For that matter, he did that with much pleasure, because all private and professional problems have been solved gloriously. And at the same time, he revealed what the group has in store for us the coming months.

“Indeed, we have a difficult and awful time behind us, that could have meant the end of ABBA,” Benny admits. “For starters, all four of us were over head and ears in relationship problems after the divorces. On top of that, we started to doubt our musical future, because we had the feeling that we didn’t offer enough variety with our compositions. We talked about it day and night and finally decided to let the audience have the last say in the matter. The success of our new album ‘The Visitors’ would determine whether ABBA would live on our die. Well, the sales figures were overwhelming and they were still going upwards which was the clear sign for us to continue.”
“The atmosphere is excellent now,” Björn steps in. “Probably because we allow every member more time to catch their breath and focus on what he or she likes to do. So it isn’t very surprising that all four of us are working on our own projects, without damaging the interests of the group. This way, we could continue for years to come.”
“Last year, I’ve said several times that ABBA would make one more album, that it would be over after that,” Benny says slightly bored. “I take that back. Ever since most problems have been solved, I’m taking a rosy view at my life and my career again.”

Björn and Benny didn’t sit still the past few weeks. Together with Frida and Anna they’ve recorded a couple of new tracks, that will be released as singles in the near future.
“It’s our intention to release a new single this summer, and another one in the autumn,” Björn clarifies. “Two out of these four tracks have been finished already (‘Just Like That’ and ‘I Am The City’). After that second single, a double compilation album will be released: 26 tracks among which those two new A-sides. This means that there won’t be an album with exclusively new material this year, but there will be in 1983. Benny and I are very busy working on that.”
In August, two new songs will be recorded in the studios in Stockholm. After that, the foursome will go on a promotional trip throughout Europe, to promote the double compilation album.
“We will do a couple of TV-shows that will focus on our unique string of hits,” according to Benny. “We are really looking forward to that, because in the meantime it has been quite a while since we were out on the road together.”
Which immediately evokes the question whether ABBA has any plans for live concerts.
“It’s not completely out of the question that we will set up a new world tour in ’83,” according to Benny’s diplomatic answer. “Stig has already cleared a couple of months in our schedule. He is now considering the various possibilities. So far, nothing has been decided yet. But with the atmosphere as it is, chances are that it will happen.”

ABBA’s new fervour doesn’t mean that the solo projects of the four members are a thing of the past. In the meantime, Björn and Benny have worked on their musical plans, that they want to launch next year as well. And after Frida, Agnetha is now working on her solo album too.
“Initially, Barry Gibb was going to produce her album, but those negotiations didn't lead to anything,” says Benny. “In the end, it turned out to be Mike Chapman, the man behind Blondie. Anna wanted to record the album in Los Angeles, but Mike preferred our studios in Stockholm. He had heard so many good things about them, that he didn’t want to let that chance go by. If things work out well, he wants to come here to record with Blondie. The recordings with Anna are planned for the middle of November. Until then, she’s very busy with ABBA.”

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