Monday, 6 December 2010

1998: The fairytale princess of pop music

Even today, men are still getting shiny eyes when Agnetha is the subject of conversation. “I was once madly in love with her” or “my first big crush” – that’s how the blonde Swede is mostly remembered. As an ‘A’ from ABBA, Agnetha Fältskog has remained unforgettable. Apart from that, the singer has always been more than one quarter of the Swedish foursome, whose success can only be compared to the Beatles: for years, Agnetha was the fairytale princess of pop music. A new CD with tracks from her time with ABBA and as a solo singer awakens memories of those pop years gone by.

In 1982, ABBA split up. Musically and privately, they didn’t have anything in common anymore. Agnetha’s marriage to fellow band member Björn ended in 1978 after seven years of being together. Their colleagues Anni-Frid and Benny were married from 1978 until 1981.
After the disbandment of ABBA, Agnetha went her own way. With the Brit Mike Chapman – who put Smokie, The Sweet, Suzi Quatro and Blondie on a successful course – she recorded her first english language solo album ‘Wrap Your Arms Around Me’ in 1983. Chapman himself penned the catchy title track, that still reminded one strongly of ABBA and that made it into the top ten of several European charts. The single ‘The Heat Is On’ even made it to number one in Sweden and Norway and number two in Holland and Belgium. Both of these most familiar hits from Agnetha’s solo career are among the stronger tracks on the new CD.
Several renowned names from rock and pop music worked on her subsequent solo projects: Eric Stewart from 10CC, Jeff Lynne from Electric Light Orchestra and Peter Cetera from Chicago. In 1987, she recorded the duet ‘I Wasn’t The One’ with the avowing ABBA fan Cetera.
Even before her time with ABBA, Agnetha composed and produced several songs herself. On her 1984 project “Eyes Of A Woman” she resorted to her pen once again and she composed the song “I Won’t Let You Go” that was released as a single. Still, this track and its accompanying B-side “You’re There” remained the last compositions that Agnetha released up till now. “I still try to compose, but to be really good and to create something truly original, you need to be very disciplined, at least in my case,” she explained at the time.

After a break of several months, Agnetha appeared on top of the single charts again in her home country in November 1986 with “The Way You Are”. The song was part of the Swedish promotional campaign for the Olympic Winter Games 1992 and is included as a bonus track on the new CD, just like its B-side “Fly Like The Eagle”. Although the campaign remained fruitless, it was the start of a very productive year for the singer. In 1987, Agnetha recorded two albums: firstly, an album of Swedish children’s songs together with her son Christian, and secondly, her third international solo album ‘I Stand Alone’ together with Cetera. However, apart from her Nordic home country, this album remained unsuccessful.
In the following years, Agnetha withdrew from the limelight. In 1990, she married the Swedish surgeon Tomas Sonnenfeld. Even the ABBA revival in the first half of the nineties, couldn’t entice Agnetha out of her self-chosen seclusion. What remains for the fans is the memory of her unprecedented career as a singer with ABBA. Two tracks on the ‘Greatest Hits’ CD bring this period back to life once more: firstly, the song with the appropriate title ‘That’s Me’ on which Agnetha is sharing lead vocal duties with Frida and a song that she considers as one of her favourite ABBA songs; secondly, ‘The Winner Takes It All’ which undoubtedly is one of the group’s best songs and shows Agnetha’s voice at its best.


Monica said...

Nice article thank you for the translation. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Michel said...

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you as well, Monica. And thanks for your regular visits and comments!

Monica said...

You are very welcome Michel thank you so much for everything. The articles are always interesting to me because I live in the USA and I never had access to these magazines growing up in the 70's.

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