Monday, 17 August 2009

Weekend, May 1981: ABBA’s misfortunes

Dutch gossip magazine Weekend speculating about ABBA’s continued existence, shortly after the divorce between Benny and Frida had been announced. The poster included here, featuring the same photograph as seen in the article, comes from Dutch magazine Pop Biz. The picture was taken on the occasion of ABBA's appearance on Show Expres in Germany. Due to kidnap threats, ABBA was unable to travel to Germany, therefore the performance was taped in Stockholm on November 27, 1980 and linked to Germany by satellite.
ABBA has never been closer to a permanent break-up. The divorces have disturbed the mutual understanding within the supergroup. Are the vast amounts of money going to win from love and passion? Is ABBA finally going to find their own Waterloo?

The future of supergroup ABBA is unstable. Due to the recent series of personal dramas behind the scenes of the world famous pop group, the continued existence of ABBA is now more unsure than ever. The group shook to its foundations when it became known that Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Benny Andersson would go their separate ways. And to think that they were considered to be the happiest couple in show business! A severe blow for the fans and for the success of the group ABBA on a business level, because not too long ago, the other ABBA-couple, Agnetha and Björn, announced their divorce as well.
The group’s manager Stig Anderson talks about this string of difficulties: “There’s a heavy price to pay for success. The difficulties on a personal level are caused by the fact that an almost unbearable tension arises when you live and work together for years on end. Still, we will do everything in our power to keep ABBA together as a group.”

The constant publicity surrounding the group definitely doesn’t make this task easier. Benny was rapidly exposed when he tried to hide his relationship with the 37-year-old television presenter Mona Norklit, newly divorced as well. That was the immediate cause of the divorce between him and Frida. For a long time, they had been able to hide their personal problems, but now they ruthlessly surfaced.
“We will remain good friends,” is what the ex-spouses are saying, but it remains to be seen whether this can be maintained when there are lots of concerts to be done. In the meantime, Björn got married to Lena Källersjo, who by the way is a dead ringer for Björn’s ex: Agnetha. When Agnetha and Björn got married in 1971, there was almost a riot outbreak by the many thousands of fans that didn’t want to miss anything of the fairytale event. But this time, Björn was more cautious. He and his sister got married at the same time. In a small village church, under absolute silence of the local pastor and on top of that, on a national Swedish holiday, when no newspapers appeared.

The one person that seems to be the victim of this marital tragedy seems to be Agnetha, who turned the appropriate song ‘The Winner Takes It All’ into a worldwide hit last year. She still hasn’t found a new love. “I still haven’t met somebody. On a daily basis, I receive hundreds of letters with marriage proposals of men from all corners of the world. Of course, I hope to run into Mister Right someday... but when will that be? Meanwhile, I try to enjoy my so-called freedom as much as I can and that’s only relative, because whenever I go out with an acquaintance, it’s all over the newspapers that same day. For that matter, I don’t believe in the notion of a ‘happy divorce’. It really hurts when you separate. I went through hell.”

As if the problems of the amorous kind weren’t big enough already, recently the group had to deal with the terrifying threat of a kidnapping ‘of one of the group members, or the children’. They were placed under police protection. Obviously, a fear like that makes the life of a top artist unbearable. The members of ABBA now only see each other during recordings or concerts. ABBA, the top group that once won the Eurovision Song Contest with ‘Waterloo’ and after that had no less than 17 top five hits, is shaking. There’s only one more chance for the group to keep existing and that’s the excellent understanding between Benny and Björn, the creators of the ABBA-successes. Whenever they don’t feel like it any longer, it’s definitely over.


Karin said...

The Dutch gossip magazines, as usual, made a lot of mistakes in the article. The picture where Björn and Agnetha show their baby is not Linda, but Christian. The man who is accompanying Agnetha was Dick Hakansson and is not named Ericsson. But I really like to read the articles. Some of time are even new to me, although I collected every magazine in the Netherlands in which an ABBA article was placed. Thanks again Michel!

Michel said...

Indeed, Karin. They probably thought any name ending with 'son' sounded Swedish enough.