Saturday, 22 August 2009

Bravo, June 1974: Love is playing a part with ABBA

An article from the very early days, published in German magazine Bravo only two months after ABBA had won the Eurovision Song Contest with Waterloo. It’s clear that there was still a lot to learn about ABBA, since this article ‘revealed’ what no one knew yet; ABBA consisted of two couples in love.
The things that one should know about the four ABBAs: how they live, how they love, how they play.

Anni-Frid wants to get married soon
Anni-Frid Lyngstad was born on November 15, 1945 in Eskilstuna. Before she joined ABBA, she was already well-known in Sweden as a solo singer due to several TV-shows. Anni-Frid is the group’s quiet, mysterious girl. Apart from that, she’s responsible for the colourful, glittering stage costumes. Since two years, she’s in love with Benny, since one year she’s engaged to him and still this year she wants to get married to him. Both of them are living in the neighbourhood of Björn and Anna: in the Stockholm suburb Vallentuna where they have rented a house.

Benny is doing the business
Benny Andersson was born on December 16, 1946 in Stockholm. He is the group’s pianist and manager. On a daily basis, Benny is reading – that’s his passion – at least twenty newspapers from all over Europe. Benny knows exactly when and where ABBA has which position in the charts. At the moment he has plenty to smile about: in almost every European country, ABBA is at number one with their ‘Waterloo’. As the group’s pianist, he is now producing an album for his girlfriend Anni-Frid as a side project. “We all have the freedom to record albums of our own in Sweden,” Benny says...

Anna likes to play housewife
Anna Fältskog was born on April 5, 1950 in Jönköping. Before she joined the group, she had a big hit in Sweden in 1968 called ‘I Was So In Love’ and she was Scandinavia’s top singer. Despite her career, Anna loves the family life and she loves to cook. Anna is married to Björn and since one year they have a daughter together, named Linda. Just like Anni-Frid, Anna is releasing her own solo records in Sweden as well. Anna is a typical Swedish girl: blonde, full of life and she does as she pleases. Her secret ‘flaw’ is shopping at the supermarket for hours on end.

Björn is the secret boss
Björn Ulvaeus was born on April 25, 1945 in Göteborg. He can play several stringed instruments and in the recording studio he is responsible for the ABBA-sound. He has gathered experience with the Swedish folk group Hootenanny Singers, he played with them up till two years ago. Whenever Björn is not on the road with ABBA, he is producing other Swedish stars such as the 17-year-old singer Ted Gärdestad. Still, instead of spending time at the mixing console, he’s having more fun performing live with ABBA, where he is playing bass and guitar. Since several years, Björn is driving a red VW.

“This triumph has cost us a great deal of nerves,” blonde Anna sighs when she picks Bravo photographer Bubi Heilemann and me up at the Sheraton hotel in Stockholm in the morning. “Ever since we won the Eurovision Song Contest with ‘Waterloo’, we’ve been on the road constantly. London, Brussels, Amsterdam, Madrid, Hamburg. Now we’re back home again since three days,” Anna says. “Thank God!”
Anna prefers to be here in Stockholm. In the city with its many canals, boats, the pretty girls and the fun discotheques, where Anna has to show her identity card most of the time when she wants to order a Gin-Tonic. Because in Sweden you are allowed to drink alcohol at the age of 21, and Anna looks as if she’s 18. Time and time again, occurrences like this are a welcome opportunity for ABBA to joke around. They love to laugh a lot. And their device is typically Swedish: work to live. And not the other way around.
Since Brighton, ABBA is known as the most successful Swedish pop group. Bravo found out what no one knew yet: at the same time, ABBA are two couples in love (Björn and Anna, Benny and Anni-Frid), a joyful bunch that’s producing good music...
On a small, secret island, a two-hour drive from Stockholm, the foursome owns a house and a sailing boat. The quartet spends its happiest hours there.
Anna and Anni-Frid, the two singing and dancing girls, are the main attraction of ABBA at the moment. Originally, it was the other way around. Two years ago, Björn and Benny contracted these blonde girls as backing singers. Not only because of their talents. It was love at first sight with all four of them, and it has remained that way up till this day...
At three o’clock in the afternoon, we’re strolling with ABBA through Stockholm’s Old Town. Suddenly, they get the urge to do something crazy. Björn and Benny hurry into a music store, to get a guitar and a banjo. And right in the middle of a small, idyllic market place, they start to play. Women with shopping bags, working men, police men, boys and girls are standing still, spontaneously singing along, clapping their hands. ABBA happens to be a group, that not only on the television screen, wins a person’s heart by storm...


Iris said...

Thanks , for all the new articles . I can´t get enough of it !

Michel said...

Thanks, Iris. Glad you like them!