Friday, 21 August 2009

Story, April 1979: Why is ABBA’s Frida now going her own way as well?

Another Dutch gossip article, this time from Story magazine. Of course, there is speculation about the end of ABBA, but also reports about a tour of Eastern Europe, Hungary, Poland and Russia...
ABBA is buying ‘half of Sweden’
It seems like ABBA has been caught by a spending fever. After (like Story reported earlier) the foursome bought a warehouse and a boat factory, they now acquired a merchant bank, a supermarket, a gas station, a motorcar paint shop and yet another warehouse, for 43 million Dutch guilders.
Because of this, obviously the rumours claiming that ABBA will split up in the near future have become stronger.
“Pure nonsense,” according to Björn. “We won’t split up at all. We are buying these things because we think it’s a good time to invest at the moment. What else should we do with all our money?”

Although ABBA still has commitments for the rest of this year, the end of this successful group seems to be in sight now. Although Agnetha, Frida, Björn and Benny deny it with emphasis.

“I couldn’t talk to Björn any longer. He has become a slave to his own success. All the time, he thinks about nothing else than ABBA. And then he doesn’t even notice when someone is speaking to him. In the end, I didn’t say anything to him anymore. And in the long run, I just couldn’t take it any longer,” Agnetha explains.
The sadness can be seen in her eyes. Restlessly, the singer is stroking her long blonde hair. The divorce from Björn after seven years of marriage has clearly affected her. But for her it was the only way out. She simply had to leave him with their two children Linda (6) and Christian (1). Otherwise, she couldn’t have coped with it any longer.
“I’ve tried everything to save our marriage,” she says, sighing deeply and desperately. “That’s why Björn and I went to the psychiatrist Håkan Lönngvist, at the advice of our family doctor. I hoped that he could help us out. But Björn only came along once. ‘I really don’t have the time for this nonsense,’ he said to me after that visit. Henceforth, I went on my own. A lot of people now believe that I’m having an affair with Håkan. That’s not true. He’s a good friend of mine, but just a friend, really. It’s very easy to talk to him. I need him, because I haven’t been able to express myself for a long time. Eventually, Håkan has convinced me that Björn and I couldn’t go on like this. That the situation was hopeless and that I should cut the knot now.”
The announcement of the divorce between the two ABBA-members Agnetha and Björn Ulvaeus came like a bolt from the blue. ABBA’s good image has taken a severe blow because of this.
“We’re so popular because we are making such a happy impression,” is what Benny said when someone asked him about ABBA’s successful formula. “We are never involved in scandals and one has never been able to say or write something negative about us. There’s nothing to gossip about where ABBA is concerned. According to me, that’s the reason why we have fans all over the world in all age groups.”
This statement by Benny dates back to less than a year. So much has changed since Agnetha and Björn’s divorce! All of a sudden, there’s seems to be no end to the gossip about ABBA.
Pessimists are predicting that it’s very well possible that ABBA will split up in the near future. They are suggesting that there are enough facts pointing in that direction. For instance, Agnetha will now probably not feel like being around Björn too much. Apart from that, ABBA is investing enormous amounts of money in warehouses and factories lately. To make sure they will have a steady income, when ABBA falls apart? And why is Frida going her own way since recently? No, not on a personal level – she and Benny are as thick as thieves – but she is clearly working on a career outside of ABBA.
The dark-haired singer will be the last one to deny it. “I’m going to play a part in a movie,” she says. “It’s a small part, but perhaps I will get more and bigger offers because of this. I would love to be an actress. Besides ABBA, that is to say, because ABBA will remain my top priority. Why wouldn’t I be able to do something else as well? My children are adolescents already, so they really don’t need me anymore. But take it from me, ABBA will keep existing. The movie is only a sidestep for me.”

The other three members are also strongly denying that the end of ABBA is in sight. Benny: “Not a bit of it. Obviously, it’s very sad that Agnetha and Björn have separated, but you have to be able to not mix business and your private life. Their private problems have nothing to do with their work.”
Björn: “Even if we wanted to, we wouldn’t be able to quit. We have far too much commitments for that. The entire year 1979 and a part of 1980 has been fully booked. In the spring, we will go on tour in Eastern Europe, Hungary, Poland and Russia. After that, Canada and America are on our schedule and so on.”
And Agnetha is not planning to chuck it either. “We have never talked about splitting up. I really wouldn’t want that either because I’m far too attached to ABBA. The main difference between me and Björn actually was that I wanted to do other things as well apart from ABBA, while ABBA is exactly the only important thing for Björn. But apart from this big difference, Björn and I have remained good friends. I actually enjoy keeping in touch with him. Our collaboration with ABBA will not suffer from our divorce. It might even be possible that it will get better, now that we don’t have anything to do with each other anymore privately, and therefore don’t have to annoy each other any longer.”

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