Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Joepie, 1979: ABBA mysteries: the end in 1980 and a fifth ABBA member!

In spite of all the rumours, the most popular group at the moment – ABBA – will stop existing in the middle of 1980! At least on paper, because the mutual contracts that tie the four members and their manager Stig Anderson together will expire officially at that time. It is obvious that no one can say beforehand what Benny, Björn, Agnetha, Anni-Frid and Stig’s plans will be at that moment in time. And all five of them are completely silent in that respect. Joepie already puts all the facts and suppositions in perspective.

Allegedly, it should be a fact that Stig Anderson has already signed contracts with the four ABBA members individually. This means that their collaboration is going to last for some time to come, even if the foursome would decide to stop working together as ABBA. Stig wisely kept on the safe side and of course he is right with such top talents.
What’s equally sure, is that Anni-Frid, Benny, Björn and Agnetha will be venturing out in new artistic fields individually, no matter what happens with ABBA.
Anni-Frid already played – apart from ‘ABBA – The Movie’ – the leading part in a Swedish movie and she is not planning to leave it at that. Only recently, she was in Spain for some test shootings for a next movie. A movie career, that would demand so much of her time that there would hardly be any time left for pop music, shouldn’t be ruled out.
Agnetha, after her divorce from Björn completely on her own two feet, is going to occupy herself with the career of new artists and especially making solo records as well. Her first one is already in the making, to celebrate her ten year singing career.
Benny is planning to start his own production company.
Meanwhile Björn would prefer to step out of the limelight and work behind the scenes, primarily as a composer that comes up with new ideas.
At last, the four from ABBA would work on certain projects together. The first one concerns the young Swedish newcomer Ted Gärdestad, who represented his country this year at the Eurovision Song Contest in Israel. Althoug he was hardly successful, their confidence in his talent remained unshakable and we are bound to hear more from this young man. “He is the first one with whom we are trying something new and we keep believing in him completely,” according to the ABBAs. And they add in a convinced way: “He belongs to the family and you might even call him – not considering Stig because he doesn’t sing anyway – the fifth ABBA member!” But obviously you shouldn’t take that literally.

Another reason to put an end to ABBA might very well be the increasing difficulties that Benny and Björn experience to keep composing the same high quality ABBA material. Up till now, they have always refused to record songs by other composers and they want to keep it that way. And it is obvious that their possibilities – after the ongoing succession of hits and outstanding album material and despite their huge talent – will become exhausted or at least very limited. Indeed, they have already experienced this while putting together the songs for their latest album ‘Voulez-Vous’, that was released later than scheduled because of that.
“You have no idea how hard we had to work to achieve the quality that the audience expects from us,” Björn says in a modest way. “I still get dizzy when I think about the slave labour it has cost us. We can’t afford to record songs of lesser quality or even flops. If that would be the case, we would prefer to stop releasing records altogether.”

Indeed, ABBA is not the only group that deals with problems like these. Simon & Garfunkel split up at the height of their fame because they had written themselves empty. Gerry Rafferty put an end to Stealers Wheel because he had had enough of it. For a long time, he refused every million dollar offer to be able to retreat on his secluded farm. It seems to have worked out well for him because he has a wonderful solo career now.
Either way, 1980 will be the year of the truth for ABBA, if only because their mutual contract will expire then. Will there be a new contract for a couple of years? Will they go their separate ways? Will they start working on something new? A spokesperson of the ABBA empire doesn’t tell it all either. Diplomatically, he says: “From what I hear, ‘Voulez-Vous’ is their last album. Maybe two more singles will be released around the time that their contract expires. But for the time being I can’t say anything more about ABBA’s future.”
Either way, our correspondent in Sweden is keeping his eyes and ears open to keep you posted about the hottest ABBA news.


Monica said...

Very interesting as I was reading this article I don't remember hearing about that originally. I only remember the rumors that ABBA was splitting up during the 80's.

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