Sunday, 24 October 2010

Hitkrant, 1978: What does ABBA’s future look like? – Making hits is getting ever more difficult

It all started in November 1973: Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Stig Anderson came together on their little island and wrote ‘Waterloo’. On April 6, 1974, ABBA won the Eurovision Song Contest with that song and then the fences were down. A supergroup was born and at this moment ABBA is an institute for millions of people.

But how long will Agnetha, Anni-Frid, Björn and Benny be able to last? Can you keep on scoring hit after hit? Apparently not, we’ve been able to see that in our own charts: ‘The Name Of The Game’ didn’t get to number one, because Father Abraham with ‘The Smurf Song’ and Queen with ‘We Are The Champions’ prevented it from getting there.
At the time of writing, ‘Take A Chance On Me’ is kept off the number one spot as well. Again by a Dutch artist (although she is actually singing in English): Yvonne Keeley. Are these the first signs? Is ABBA’s popularity diminishing?

Becoming a star isn’t easy. Being a star is equally difficult. But remaining a star is even more difficult. Especially if you want to have a private life as well, apart from your life as an artist.
Agnetha is having problems with that the most. Her little daughter Linda – who has just turned five years old – and her son Christian who was born in December demand more of her attention every day. In the end, she and Björn are not only pop stars, but first and foremost parents as well!

The question about ABBA’s future has been asked many times before. What are they going to do then? Agnetha and Björn already have plans: “We want to buy a farm somewhere in the countryside and then have a lot of animals. Maybe we will become farmers!”
Either way, Agnetha wants to get out of the show business then. Björn isn’t very keen on that: “I’d like to keep on producing and writing music and that goes for Benny too. That is to say: if I can make enough money with that!”

That doesn’t seem to be problem according to us: most probably, the ABBA members have made enough money already to be able to live without worries for the rest of their lives.
But meanwhile the problem remains: how do we stay on top? They are working very hard on that. The musical masterminds of ABBA – Björn and Benny – are feeling more and more pressure. Composing, always looking for a sound that’s different than other people’s music. Working very hard and keeping in shape, that’s the only way to last in the pop scene. Doing business is part of the package as well, something that especially Björn is very good at. Managing the enormous ABBA fortune is something that’s not only looked after by manager Stig.

ABBA is still a supergroup. But not all ABBA singles are becoming number one hits anymore. In 1976, the four Swedes won the Hitkrant trophy with a convincing lead, but our readers clearly went for Queen in the popularity poll of 1977. ABBA will have to think hard about following new paths in their career, if they want to maintain their gigantic success!

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