Sunday, 28 February 2010

Bravo, April 1978: Bravo with ABBA – Meeting place Stockholm: as the only magazine, Bravo was allowed to photograph the Swedish quartet exclusively.

A report about the photo session that ABBA did with German photographer Bubi Heilemann on April 3, 1978 in Stockholm.
“If it were up to the photographers, we wouldn’t have any time left for concerts, television performances or recording sessions. We would have to let ourselves be photographed every day. That’s why we turn down requests for photo sessions whenever we can,” Björn says. For the first time in months, ABBA can be found in a photo studio again. It’s the first session since the birth of Peter Christian, Björn and Anna’s son. And it will be the last one for months to come...
At eleven o’clock sharp, Björn and Anna arrive at the photo studio, together with Lars Svensson, their costume advisor. “We nearly had to cancel the session, Anna was still in bed yesterday. She had the flu. But she feels a little better now,” Björn says. Anna is wearing a light leather coat with a fur collar, skin-tight yellow Cord jeans and a T-shirt. Björn is dressed casually in blue jeans, a white shirt and a black coat that almost touches the floor. Lars Svensson is dragging along 14 suitcases with the latest costumes that he has designed for ABBA.
Five minutes later, Benny and Anni-Frid arrive in a dark-red BMW. They’ve had this car for over four years already. Both of them look good, they are slightly tanned. “Indeed, we have just returned from our holiday. We were in Austria, in Lech, to do some skiing,” they smile. “Meanwhile, we were freezing here in Stockholm with ice and snow,” Björn and Anna reply.
The atmosphere within the group is fantastic, it seems better than ever. Both girls immediately disappear in their dressing room to apply make-up to their eyes and lips. Anni-Frid is powdering her face. “To keep the skin from looking shiny, that doesn’t look good in pictures,” she explains to me. In between proceedings, Benny reveals a genuine surprise: “We are planning to get married this year. In May, we will go to America for two weeks, we will record a couple of television shows over there and do some interviews. On May 11, we will be in Germany for an appearance on Starparade. Possibly in the summer, we will go to the municipal registry.”
I can’t believe it, but Anni-Frid confirms it as well: “It’s Benny’s idea. I’m not too keen on it myself. After all, I’ve been married once before. But the last word hasn’t been spoken about this yet. Benny would love to get married. For him, it’s his first marriage.”

ABBA get dressed; for nine hours long – until after 8 o’clock in the evening – they are patiently changing into new costumes, they pose and smile at the camera. They have brought along the double album ‘Saturday Night Fever’. The album side containing the Bee Gees songs is playing incessantly for hours. Anni-Frid: “At the moment, this is our favourite record.”
The four of them don’t even allow themselves a lunch break. Hellas, an associate of their record company, gets two hamburgers for each of them. With that, Björn and Benny are having a beer and Anna and Anni-Frid black coffee. In between, they are signing postcards. Finally, the job is done. Exhausted, Anna says: “This was the longest photo session that we’ve ever done. But after all, we do have a special understanding with Bravo. You were the first one that was interested in us, even before we achieved our enormous success.” Anni-Frid: “And after all, it was Bravo that helped me find my long lost father.”
Before we say goodbye, we are allowed to take a look at the recording studio that ABBA is building at the moment for two million German Marks. It should be ready in the beginning of May. Then, ABBA wants to record their new album there as well. You will soon be able to see the pictures that were taken at the session in Bravo: we are preparing a huge ABBA Star-Album for magazine number 20...

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