Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Privé, 1979: Will ABBA now become a duo? The group is in a crisis – Allegedly, Björn and Benny want to leave the group!

And... another variation on the ABBA goes duo rumour. This one is from Dutch gossip magazine Privé.
“ABBA will stay together for at least five more years,” is what their manager Stig Anderson said only a few months ago. But recently, he stated something completely different. “ABBA is starting to fall apart. Björn and Benny want to quit. And Agnetha and Anni-Frid will then continue together!” It seems like the upcoming world tour will become the foursome’s final curtain call.

ABBA is going to break up. Agnetha and Anni-Frid will continue on their own. The rumours about the split up of the Swedish supergroup remain persistent. Only a few months ago, ABBA’s manager Stig Anderson stated that the quartet would stay together for at least five more years. But recently, Anderson was telling a different story. He said, during a meeting with Swedish reporters, that ABBA - as a foursome - is starting to fall apart. “We must think about our future,” was his dry statement.
Strong words, coming from a manager whose pupils are still enjoying one success after the other. But it even seems that their world tour, that kicks off in the beginning of September and leads them through America, Canada and a lot of European countries, is meant to be a farewell. After that, Agnetha and Anni-Frid would continue as a duo. Benny and Björn both want to go their separate ways as lyricist and composer. The rumours about ABBA’s possible split already started before Anderson had even said one word. In all secrecy, Björn already has had dinner with the president of EMA-Telstar, another big record company, Thomas Johansson. Allegedly, the twosome had been in very good spirits.
The reason why the group, that doesn’t have any competition in the world at the moment and that even seems to surpass the Beatles in popularity, wants to split up has to do with several factors. You don’t just quit when, in a manner of speaking, the money is falling from the sky. Last year, manager Anderson’s income was no less than 25 million Dutch guilders. And still there’s this decision to call it a day. However, the collaboration between the successful quartet seems to be extremely difficult. It already started with Björn and Agnetha’s divorce. The blonde singer herself stated that the divorce has caused a crisis. She says to Privé: “Björn and I have been married for ten years. But it just didn’t work anymore. This was not a sudden decision, it was preceded by a long process. That’s why we decided to get divorced in all peace and quiet, but it shouldn’t have any consequences for ABBA. Still, after six months, it doesn’t seem to work that way. Look, you could say that ABBA was born from love. Björn and I were in love and Benny and Anni-Frid loved each other as well. The four of us were happy. And when we became successful almost immediately with the Eurovision Song Contest, everything started to move so fast, it just couldn’t go wrong. Now, after our divorce, there is still contact on a daily basis between Björn and me and despite the fact that we decided to approach things professionally, it’s still very difficult. After all, we also have two children together and you can’t ignore that.”
On top of that, both the singer as well as her ex-husband Björn have a new relationship since recently. Agnetha is deeply in love with the Swedish ice hockey international Lars-Erik Ericsson (29). Allegedly, the couple met each other after an ice hockey match and the past few weeks they’ve been spotted regularly in Stockholm. And Björn has found a new love as well. It’s Lena Källersjö, a 29-year-old Swedish model.

Allegedly, the romances of both ex-spouses have been detrimental for the atmosphere in the group. Agnetha and Anni-Frid already had made it clear that they weren’t very happy with playing second fiddle in the ABBA frame. It’s still Björn and Benny who are responsible for writing and composing the songs. And especially Agnetha, who has already composed a couple of songs of her own in the past, would feel unhappy with this situation. She says: “I’m planning to start writing songs for an album of my own again. I want to be able to have more respect for myself again. I want to show that I can be successful on my own as well. Things about which you can say: ‘That’s something that I have written and recorded myself. Now this is my success.’ With ABBA, Anni-Frid and me are only performing Björn and Benny’s songs.” It seems to become harder and harder to write these successful songs too. Agnetha said about this: “Björn and Benny are getting ever more tired. Sometimes they spend weeks, sometimes even a month, pondering on a new song. Then they are together day and night without anything being put on paper. This causes extreme tensions. They exhaust themselves, you can clearly notice, by having to write success after success. That’s starting to avenge itself. Their enthusiasm and inspiration seem to disappear. This can’t go on for much longer.”
Apart from Agnetha, brunette Anni-Frid has the intention to be more prominent as well. Recently, she has already made a movie in Spain, wherein she plays the leading part. And it seems that she liked it so much that she wants to do more movies. Apart from that, Anni-Frid would want to compose songs of her own as well and record an album of her own, or together with Agnetha. At least, take things a little easier. All this travelling is starting to become too exhausting.
Agnetha misses her children, six-year-old daughter Linda and Christian who is only one. “We travel a lot, all over the world,” she says. “For a while, it’s fun. But after a while, I get homesick. Then I’m craving for my children at home. I prefer a simple life, it’s still hard for me to accept that we are millionaires. Being with my children is now my biggest wish. The world tour that we will start in September will see to it that I won’t be home for months, actually I can’t do that to my son and daughter. Stig Anderson has made a concession. They will come over to London and during our stay in England, I will have them with me for a while. I’ve often thought if it would be better to quit altogether and spend all my time with my children, especially now that they are at an age that they need a mother.”

All these personal problems in the group seem to confirm that ABBA has run its course. However, if Anni-Frid and Agnetha decide to continue on their own and if Björn and Benny want to go their separate ways as lyricists and composers as well, it doesn’t mean that they will stop making money. All of them are millionaires and their money is, thanks to the guidance of their manager Stig Anderson, cleverly invested in houses, properties and shares. But the group has joint interests as well. Their record company and contracts. And this heavy chain, that ties Anni-Frid, Agnetha, Björn and Benny together, might well be the obstacle for their separation.
Perhaps, this is more important than all the emotional tensions that come with being successful. However, when you look deep in the hearts of the four members of the supergroup, their collaboration will soon be over permanently. Agnetha and Anni-Frid don’t hide the fact that they would like to continue as a duo, or maybe solo. And for Benny and Björn it’s getting ever more difficult to keep on producing hits. They would much rather go their own way as composers. Björn’s dinner with the president of EMA-Telstar is saying quite a lot. Sadly, it’s not inconceivable that their grand world tour will turn out to be ABBA’s farewell. It’s just not a nice prospect for the billions of admirers of the Swedish quartet and for their manager Stig Anderson, who has made this group so big. For him, it will be hard to swallow.

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