Swedish Television, SVT, has opened up a small ABBA corner on their site. You can reach it by going here. There are 13 different TV-performances and also a slideshow with still pictures. Very nice effort. My hat's off for SVT. Here are the stillpictures from that site:
The conqueror. "Mamma Mia!" continues its victory train all over the world. This week it's the 5th anniversary for the show on Broadway, and on last Saturday it opened in Moscow, Russia. A Norwegian is in the works and there is talk about a tour version with the spanishlanguage version all over South America. But Björn has his eyes set on China. - It's like Moscow. The industry there isn't fully developed there yet and it will be so exciting. We don't know for sure if it will be Beijing or Shanghaj yet.
English tabloid magazines have been reporting that you and Benny will be in on the jury for the X-Factor talent show (similar to IDOL) in the UK?
- No, no, no, never!! I'm going over there to record a piece where young people shall "Mamma Mia!"
and ABBA-songs. That's it. I would never dream of sitting there telling people if they are fantastic or crap.
The rumour that you are going to write a musical based on Frida's life it's not true either, is it?
- No, that is completely wrong. I would never do that. It's kind of scary with these rumours that pop up and noone knows where they came from.
In connection to debate about the Danish Mohammed drawings you wrote several debate articles in Expressen, about the freedom of Regligion, freedoom of expression and censorship. How come?
- I wrote the first one when I started to feel that I really needed to say my piece in this matter. I almost got myself an ulcer from not doing it. So I thought, what the heck now, I just have to write something. even though it's something I have never written in my life before. I think we should be able to discuss religious ideologies just as easy as we can politicla ideologies. It is one of the biggest problems in our society tody and we have to be able to discuss it freely.
Why don't you let Benny put music to your political pamletts. Then you woul get some cred as proggers, which you didn't with your ABBA-music?
- Ha, ha. No way. I think it's too late. Benny and I aren't going to become proggers at our age.
Anne in Finland has written this text after reading the Russian articles, thanks Anne! Click on images to enlarge.
According to the article only Frida and Björn arrived at the premiére of the musical.
It says practically that Frida arrived on a normal route flight, while Björn arrived on his private jet.
This was Frida's first visit to Russia. This was all what the article
said about the musical, the rest was gossip talk and quotes from other
sources and earlier interviews.
The writer of the article has mixed his facts and says that Björn
arrived with his daughter and son from his second marriage. It also
said that Agnetha did not come, as she still bears a grudge against
Björn after their divorce. It also says that she is afraid of flying
and fanatics and lives a hermit's life in Stockholm.
Funnily, about Frida they say that she lives in a house in
Switzerland and she is now a grandmother. And they also say that Frida is
a hermit as well, wants to lead a quiet life, does not like media
attention and has
had a tragic experience of her daughter dying in a
car accident, followed by the death of her husband. But she has got new
hope from becoming a grandmother to her son's baby.
They quote Björn saying that the group broke up in 1982 because
they wanted to try something new and each member wanted to pursue a
career of his/her own. But according to fans the group broke up because
the members quarrelled. And some of ABBA's technical personnel (I
suppose they mean those who move your stuff during tours) had told that
the band members are only happy on stage, while the girls quarrel in
the backstage dressing room.
There's an article in a Russian from an online magazine here.
Benny Andersson is, sensationally, ready for Melodifestivalen - and maybe Björn Ulvaeus is too. The friend and colleague Tommy Körberg says that the ABBA-star can appear as songwriter for one of the wildcards in the contest. - I know that Benny is writing right now. For a wildcard entry, Körberg says.
ABBA took the schlager world with storm in 1974. "Waterloo" put ABBA in the history books of music for ever and was the step stone to their international career which no Swedes have accomplished since. But 350 millions record sold isn't enough. The songwriters Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus has since then written three successfull and sold out musicals; "Chess", "Kristina från Duvemåla" and "Mamma Mia!" (which is still running in Stockholm). Tommy Körberg, a long time friend and colleague to the songwriting duo now tells us that Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus are considering to participate in Melodifestivalen 2007. Tommy has been considered to perform the song. - We have discussed that they should write a song for me. But so far it hasn't happened. And I think I'm a little too old for schlager, nowadays it's mostly about attitude, a thing for the kids, Tommy Körberg says.
But are they going to enter the competition as songwriters? - I know that Benny is working on something. Then again he always is, 25 seconds of music every day as he says himself. For Melodifestivalen 2007? - As a wildcard perhaps. If Benny and perhaps Björn decide to make a comeback in the Eurovision world it would be an international event. Martins Österdahl, the project leader for Melodifestivalen 2007, is secretive when Expressen confronts him. - Well, let's just say this; I've heard the same thing.
Interesting "interview" with Benny, only 22 years old. Very open in telling his story. Taken from the magazine Min Värld issue 45, 1967. If I hadn't started to play with the Hep Stars I might have still been together with my fiancée, Benny Andersson admits today.
I really wanted to take care of Christina and my two kids. I really tried. But I couldn't give up this job.I still see the kids every now and then. To them I'm still "daddy". But I am aware that I might have to give them up completely one day - the day Christina wants to get married. It's my own fault...
Those who know me say that I changed completely when I joined Hep Stars. From a polite, water combed school boy to a long haired pop musician who always have to have opposite opinions on everything.
I don't know if that's true. I think that's a little exaggerated. But I did change, of course. Because I got the chance to do something that I really wanted to do. I felt free and I adopted different values. What other people expected of me wasn't so important anymore.
The change came very quickly. It didn't take before all the new things were natural to me. I realized that one day when I was thinking "My father knows his job very well. Soon he will make as much money as I do..." without realizing how absurd that thought was. I mean I wasn't even of age yet. It has made me lose proportions sometimes. But I make myself to take a step back every now and then. I try to understand how other people see us - it's funny but I sometimes get the feeling that I'm getting old.
We have come far now. Maybe even further than we ever thought we would. One day we have to prove what we know, without living off our popularity. I know that. But that thought scares me. I think it was different just a year ago, but now I don't have the desperate need to be an IDOL anymore. That feels good.
I joined Hep Stars just six months before our big break. While the others were struggling to be successfull I was a very middle class guy with an ordinary job, who was trying to find out what I wanted to become. I also had a family to consider. I was engaged, and had a little son.
When I finished school I didn't really know what I wanted to be. There was nothing I was really interested in. But I had to work, so I started selling washing machines. The start was very promising. At the first door I sold one. At the next I sold a freezer. I thought I had found my place in life. But that changed soon. Because after that, no more sales. I didn't become a salesman.
Then I tried to be a building engineer. Not a very good choice either. I was capable to do the job, it wasn't that. But walking around putting sticks in the ground and looking through binoculars wasn't very exciting I thought. So I went back to school again. I wanted to take the upper-secondary final examination and have some more time to figure out what I wanted to do.
I met Christina, my ex-fiancé, at the youth recreation centre. We acted together. She sang, I played the piano. We soon got engaged and Peter was born (he is now four years old, Helena is two).
No matter how young I was and whatever people thought about it it was the thing to do for me, then. I was happy over Peter. I was just 16, but that wasn't a problem. I can do this, I thought. And I really tried hard to make it work.
During this time I was living with my parents. Christina lived with hers. They were of course not very happy with the development of things. But it was something they just had to accept. And I think we handled it quite well. It probably helped that Christina was a couple of years older than I.
I played music all the time. Playing was the best thing I knew. It started when I was five years old and we lived in Eskilstuna. I got to learn how to play the accordion. And one day when I came home from school, I was nine or ten, there was a piano in the living room. For most boys that age it's torture to have to sit and play for a couple of hours every week. But for me it was great. Even though I didn't take any lessons, I played for three or four hours every day.
When I got older I thought of becoming a musician. But when I started a family I decided against it. I played in a hotel in Sälen one summer. Mostly I played in Stockholm with a couple of different bands. But that was just for fun, even though I wished it could have been more than that.
Hep Stars had seen me once in a restaurant when I played there. Lelle (Lennart Hegland) remembered me from an amateur contest in Bromma, where Hep Stars came in second. So when their piano player had to leave the group he called me on a Saturday. He asked me if I wanted to play with them at a school dance in Avesta. Did I ever! After that night I was a member of Hep Stars.
The relationship with Christina lasted two years. Helena was born the summer the Hep Stars were really "big". I really did what I could so my family wouldn't have to suffer. I wanted to take care of them. I really tried. But at the same time I couldn't give up my new job.
I never showed Christina in public. We thought it would hurt our popularity - I admit that. I also wanted to separate my professional and my private life. I thought that what did on stage was my business. But everything wasn't as it was supposed to be. Christina and I started to drift apart. I realized that it wouldn't last for much longer. At the same time I thought that I couldn't desert her and let her take all the responsibility for the children. It was a difficult time.
To be really honest I have to admit that if I hadn't joined Hep Stars Christina and I might not have broken up. At least not at that time. At the same time I can't blame Hep Stars for what happened. It was my decision. Hep Stars just gave me the chance when I wanted to play. If they hadn't done it, perhaps someone else had. Imagine if I and Christina had gotten married... It would only had made things even more complicated.
I see the kids every now and then. Sporadically, because of my job. Sometimes there's a couple of weeks between visits, sometimes I see them a couple of times the same week. To them I'm still daddy. But I am aware that in case Christina wants to move on and marry someone else one day I will have to give them up and agree to let someone else to have the moral responsibility for them. I have more or less given up that right.
Since I don't live with them, I can't be a "real" daddy to them. The fact that I'm helping by supporting them financially isn't enough, that's not the most important thing. This is the reason why I don't want to pose in some cute family pictures with them now. It wouldn't feel right. I have left them and I can't fake a happy family that doesn't exist.
I think that no matter how guilty I have felt, I actually did the right thing breaking up with Christina. It can't be right, in the long run, to live together in a relationship if your heart isn't in it. I'm much more happy now than I was when I really didn't know what I wanted. The others in the band can testify to that. You always have to do what feels right for you - even if other people don't think it's right...
It's always tragic when kids are caught in the middle. But on the other hand it happens every day. And surely, a pop musician who leaves his family isn't any worse than anyone else who does the same thing?!
When things like this happens, when you have personal problems and you don't even have the time to think them through it's great to have the others. I guess you could say that Hep Stars are like one big family. We really get along - Lelle, Christer, Sven, Janne, I - and "Felle". He is our "invisible" member, who is just as important as the rest of us.
You can't expect six young men to have the same opinions about different things, but I think we have a good ability to get along.
The others say that it's I who always disagrees with them. I know I am very stubborn. I never give up an opinion unless I'm proven wrong. And if I disagree with someone and it turns out that I was right, I really enjoy saying: "I told you so!".
As I have written most of our songs I have decided to concentrate on composing music. Even later on, when Hep Stars end. But then I need to study... To be honest, I can't read or write music! When I write a song it starts with me getting a melody in my head. If I forget about it it means that it wasn't any good. If I do remember it I write an English lyric to it. I haven't dared to write Swedish lyrics yet.
Sometimes I think about what I would have done if I hadn't joined Hep Stars. I would have liked to become a doctor. Or an architect. Or a commercial artist. The others in the band jokingly say that my favourite things are comic books and candy, but I do have a few more serious interests.
For example I would like to write a musical or a film. At the moment I'm working with Lasse Berghagen. And I sometimes think: If I wrote the music and wrote the Swedish lyrics - maybe that would work? But we will have to see...
Sometimes I would like to buy a motorcycle and drive that on our tours. Or something else in that style. I like things that are a little adventerous and unusual. Right now there's nothing better than sitting in a sulky behind a horse on a race track...
Personally I don't like when people show off their loved ones in the papers. I mean, it's so embarrassing if it doesn't work out. I don't think I ever would show my girlfriend to the media. That doesn't mean that I'm afraid to do it. Because I really don't care that much about being an idol. I hope people don't take that the wrong way. I want the fans to like me. It makes it so much easier to work if they do. And no matter how many times I have said that I love them, I wish I could explain the tenderness I feel for them. I would like to hug all of them and take care of them.
At the same time I think that there has to be a part of me that I keep to myself. One day I will get married, I guess. Like everybody else. Have someone who is always at home when I get back. It's possible that that's not what a girl wants, to become a housewife, but that's what I want. I think that someone should always be at home with the children, wether it's the mother or someone else.
I used to think that if a girl was cute, soft and quite it was enough. Now I don't think it is. You have to be able to talk to her. And demand that she is loyal to you. Maybe that's what's most important. But that's the only demand I have. Because if there's something I don't like it's definitely demands and nagging in every form.