ABBA-Mania

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ABBA-Mania

Post  misery guts on Tue Jan 07, 2014 9:46 am

One of the biggest groups in the world during the 1970's, and still likely the biggest band Sweden ever produced, they were a supergroup of 4 star talents who managed to combine a talent for songwriting with two superb singers. Their strength in marriage eventually crumbled, and their songs reflected a full range of human emotion, before they called it a day in 1982.

Their 1992 compilation 'Gold' is one of the biggest-selling albums ever. In 1999, a stage show, 'Mamma Mia' utilising their songs became a huge success and led to a movie version which is the most successful British film ever.

This being the 40th anniversary of their big break in winning the Eurovision Song Contest in Brighton, it's high time to give them some acclaim, especially as rumours of a reunion seem stronger than ever - they having rejected the idea for over 30 years.  Here's some examples of their work:

Waterloo

Mamma Mia

Dancing Queen

Money Money Money

The Winner Takes It All

 flower sunny
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Re: ABBA-Mania

Post  misery guts on Wed Jan 08, 2014 8:30 am

Agnetha: Abba & After...
And in contrast to all the above - a film plugging the current solo album by Swedish superstar Agnetha Faltskog, from her pre-Abba songwriting turns, the high watermark with the band, and varying solo spells since. Her performing reticence is legendary, and fair enough, really. One notable absent interviewee was Frida, but on the other hand, we did get Gary Barlow, who's duetting with her on her album. Hmm... at least Agnetha's still got a great voice.

ABBA @ 40: The Abba Years
A straightforward doc with the 4 main members, clothes designer Owe Sandstrom and engineer Michael Tretow, as well as Pete Waterman. With 1974 marking 40 years since their Eurovision win, there'll be more on them in the coming year.

ABBA @ 40: ABBA - Live In Concert
From Wembley, London, c. 1982. There was some behind-the-scenes stuff along the way, as well as an impressive array of hits, all in under an hour.
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Re: ABBA-Mania

Post  misery guts on Thu Jan 09, 2014 9:20 am

The Joy of ABBA
An ironic title, frankly, given much of the comment, from third-rate journalists and critics. Notably, the only band member present was Bjorn, and that in material from 2007.

ABBA at the BBC
Put together to complement the above, this featured 16 of their hits, including less familiar numbers like 'Kisses of Fire', which was nice. As they were rather too big a name to be live on Top of the Pops, it was a good show for videos.
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Re: ABBA-Mania

Post  misery guts on Sun Jan 12, 2014 11:31 am

ABBA: When Four Became One
Intriguing 'before they were ABBA' look at their pre-Eurovision journey, with other members of bands like The Hep Stars and The Hootenanny Singers. Maybe the most fun came from learning that the Swedish musos thought ABBA's commercial style was an abomination, and that they ran an alternative song contest on the same night that ABBA won Eurovision (there being only 2 channels in Sweden at the time, viewers had a straight choice of the two). Generally, most people interviewed were impressed by Benny, Bjorn & co, and unsurprised that they put the work in to achieve greatness.

ABBA: Dancing Queen
The rest of their story, made by the same people, mixing admiration for their magnum opus 'Dancing Queen', with the aftermath of Eurovision. Australia went berserk for them, and their concert movie was thus shot whilst they toured Down Under. Other contributions came from Dr John (!) who apparently had a song which inspired one of ABBA's, and the always-reliable Alice Cooper, who had a weird experience staying in the same hotel as ABBA and wondering why the massed crowds outside sounded like they were chanting for Alice (until he realised in his half-asleep state, that they were calling for ABBA, on the floor above). There wasn't much else on the decline & fall, but it was still a quirky account.
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Re: ABBA-Mania

Post  misery guts on Thu Jan 15, 2015 11:23 am

Rock Milestones: ABBA - The Visitors
Mildly melancholic treatment of the Swedish megastars' final album, encapsulating the dwindling of their spotlight, as the marriage breakdowns signalled the end of their unity and interest in each other. Some of the songs were still worth considering, though three blasts of "Slipping Through My Fingers" was at least 2 too many.
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Re: ABBA-Mania

Post  misery guts on Wed Jan 28, 2015 9:31 am

ABBA: Absolute Image
Costume designs and analysis of album sleeves ahoy. Also the movie and the touring. Some of these things have become iconic, though never intended to be.

By odd coincidence, I have recently been able to get vinyl copies of their last 2 albums, "Super Trouper" and "The Visitors" Smile
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Re: ABBA-Mania

Post  misery guts on Thu Mar 19, 2015 3:43 pm

Discovering: ABBA
Yet another run-through of the familiar tale of how 4 talented Swedish musicians came together in a genuine super-group, and slowly became unstoppable, until their USP of being 2 married couples broke apart, and they all got fed up with the touring. Their continual lack of reformation has probably done them more good than if they ever go and do it.
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Re: ABBA-Mania

Post  misery guts on Thu Mar 26, 2015 1:35 pm

The World's Greatest Albums - Abba : Arrival
A pretty thorough look at their hit-packed 1976 effort, containing several #1s, and my personal favourite, Money Money Money. Even some of the duff tunes were judged generously.

World's Greatest Albums: Abba - The Gold Singles
A more serious track-by-track consideration of the 1992 compilation which effectively reawakened and redefined the band's legacy, as proper entertainers capable of fun pop dance numbers, and grown-up emotional epics. Perhaps this was edited as they omitted both "The Name of the Game" and "One of Us", which is a shame, really. An exhaustive look, backed by some lesser-seen performance clips than usual.
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Re: ABBA-Mania

Post  misery guts on Mon May 18, 2015 11:58 am

Music In Review: ABBA 1973-1982
This starts as an album-by-album major effort, but tails off a bit. Two or three people connected with famous tribute act Bjorn Again give their thoughts, which makes a change. What was fun was the love for more esoteric tracks like "So Long" and "Honey Honey".
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Re: ABBA-Mania

Post  misery guts on Fri Aug 14, 2015 11:39 am

ABBA - Rock Case Studies Part 2
Ideally, it would have been good to see Part 1 first. Still, who knows? Anyway, this was much the usual fare from Gimme Gimme Gimme etc onwards, up to their end. Someone identified their trend of "Sad Verse - Happy Chorus" as being a key trait of their success. Much waffle about their legacy too. The music still stands, though.
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Re: ABBA-Mania

Post  misery guts on Wed Oct 14, 2015 7:55 am

ABBA: In Performance
A curio considering their career through their appearances on telly shows & specials and the songs they did. A pretty thin premise, but it does at least throw light on some of the lesser remembered (in the UK anyway) songs of theirs, from later rocking On And On And On, to earlier letdown Dum Dum Diddle, which may be better forgotten.
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Re: ABBA-Mania

Post  misery guts on Tue Dec 15, 2015 8:42 am

The Story of: ABBA
Well, it's a familiar and well-worn story, but at least the four band members were telling it, together with a gentleman I assume to be their manager. Because it was from 1984, it captured them at a time when the end of the band was relatively fresh, and the obvious lack of reformation was not yet all that obvious. So talk of future plans varied according to individual hopes of staying in the same business.
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Re: ABBA-Mania

Post  misery guts on Mon Jan 04, 2016 9:01 am

ABBA - Thank You For The Music
Despite the predictable title, this was just a short half-hour culling performances on various shows, which leads to three goes at "S.O.S." and two of "Fernando", amongst the odd others. A nice record, though.

Britain's Favourite ABBA Songs
Another top 20 show, with some very Z-list talking heads involved. But the list is very interesting for a few surprises near the top:
20 Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight)
19 Super Trouper
18 Mamma Mia
17 Thank You For The Music
16 Does Your Mother Know?
15 Chiquitita
14 Voulez Vous?
13 Money Money Money
12 The Name Of The Game
11 S.O.S.
10 I Have A Dream
09 Take A Chance On Me
08 Summer Night City
07 Waterloo
06 Fernando
05 Knowing Me, Knowing You
04 One Of Us
03 The Day Before You Came
02 Dancing Queen
01 The Winner Takes It All


I suspect the oft-pedalled idea of ABBA as just a party band has run up against the truth that whilst half of them might be jolly, there's an awful lot of great heartache records in their canon.
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Re: ABBA-Mania

Post  misery guts on Sat Jan 23, 2016 2:05 am

The four original members of ABBA have got together again, for the first time since 2008 - but only to promote a restaurant:

'We are here to party': Abba reunite – in a Stockholm restaurant
Mamma mia! The four members of Swedish pop phenomenon Abba were reunited in Stockholm on Wednesday – but, sadly for fans, only for the opening of a new entertainment venture: Mamma Mia! The Party.

Questioned by reporters, Benny Andersson insisted that he didn’t think the four of them would be getting back together on stage.

“We are here to party,” added his fellow composer Björn Ulvaeus.
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Re: ABBA-Mania

Post  misery guts on Fri Jun 03, 2016 2:41 pm

Finally sorted my record player out last week, and {after spinning a copy of Bob Marley's Legend that I didn't know I had}, I had a blast with a first listen of my copies of Super Trouper and The Visitors, both of which I found good listens. The former probably is rightly considered the better for having more known tracks from it, but their swan song isn't too bad, either.
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Re: ABBA-Mania

Post  misery guts on Tue Jun 07, 2016 7:30 am

^^^Also listened to a double-LP compilation, The Singles: The First Ten Years

Meanwhile, reunion rumours continue:

Abba reunion: Iconic pop group 'emotional' after performing together at 50th anniversary party
Abba songwriters Andersson, 69, and Ulvaeus, 71, hosted the private party at the Berns Salonger hotel to celebrate half a century since the quartet met for the first time. Despite years of brushing off the possibility of a reunion, Faltskog and Lyngstad graced the stage to duet on their 1980 song Me And I for which they were joined by their songwriting former husbands.
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Re: ABBA-Mania

Post  misery guts on Sat Aug 27, 2016 12:57 am

ABBA unplugged, by Karl French
This 2005 biography is pretty thorough on the albums and the personal stories, and manages to cover plenty of bases beyond the music. He tries to debunk myths such as their perceived lack of success in the USA, and considers how their Australian domination ended much earlier than everywhere else. Plus plenty more besides. A good value read.
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Re: ABBA-Mania

Post  misery guts on Thu Oct 27, 2016 6:54 am

More reunion hype, apparently with a big event planned for 2017:

ABBA to reunite in 2017
The group has announced they will work with Fuller on what is being described as a "groundbreaking venture that will utilise the very latest in digital and virtual reality technology".
Lyngstad said fans around the world always ask about a reunion, and added: "So I hope this new Abba creation will excite them as much as it excites me".
Sounds like that 3D hologram stuff that's been tested with guys like Ronnie James Dio.
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