Six facts about the pop group, ABBA
Suddenly, all is right in the world again with the news that ABBA has recorded two new songs more than 35 years after the group split up, vowing never to reunite.
One of the songs, "I Still Have Faith in You," will premiere in December in an ABBA tribute TV show.
Variety reports the song is part of the “Virtual ABBA” experience slated to go on a concert tour next year. Members of the iconic Swedish pop group will perform as computer-generated avatars — call them ABBAtars — for the show.
The group announced the new songs in an Instagram statement Friday from the original four members, Benny Andersson, Bjorn Ulvaeus, Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Agnetha Faltskog.
The band broke up in 1982 and has rebuffed the notion of reuniting many times since then. They were reportedly offered $1 billion to play a concert in 2000.
"There is simply no motivation to regroup,” Ulvaeus once said. “Money is not a factor, and we would like people to remember us as we were — young, exuberant, full of energy and ambition.”
But that tune has changed.
“The decision to go ahead with the exciting ABBA avatar tour project had an unexpected consequence," the group said in its statement. We all four felt that, after some 35 years, it could be fun to join forces again and go into the recording studio. So we did. "And it was like time had stood still and that we only had been away on a short holiday. An extremely joyful experience!"
Ulvaeus revealed details of the band’s project this week, according to The Guardian. A two-hour TV show, co-produced by NBC and the BBC, will feature the band performing as the avatars that will go on tour next year.
Ulvaeus said he and his fellow band members were digitally scanned and “de-aged” to look like they did in 1979 for their third and final tour.
The four got together at a Stockholm studio last year to record the new music, according to Sweden's The Local.
"It was like the olden days. It's classic ABBA, but updated to 2018," manager Görel Hanser told the Swedish publication.
The second song they recorded, "Don't Shut Me Down," has no release date yet. The two songs will be part of the hologram tour, Hanser said.
He cautioned fans that this does not signal a full-scale ABBA tour.
The iconic Swedish foursome got its big break in 1974 by winning the Eurovision Song Contest, the longtime annual international TV song competition, with the song, "Waterloo." It topped singles charts all over Europe and became a hit in the United States, too.
The name, "ABBA," comes from the initials of their first names — Agnetha, Björn, Benny and Anni-Frid, known as Frida.
From late 1975 through early 1982, eight of their 15 consecutive singles became No. 1 hits in the United Kingdom, including "Mamma Mia," "Fernando," "Dancing Queen," "Knowing Me Knowing You" and "Take a Chance on Me."
The band was known for its sparkly, sequined, disco-era costumes, which they wore partly because they were tax-deductible working clothes under Swedish law.
“In my honest opinion we looked like nuts in those years,” Ulvaeus once said. "Nobody can have been as badly dressed on stage as we were."
Their bright and catchy pop songs still enjoy earworm status to this day.
The group was Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010, recognized as one of the most successful and beloved pop groups in music history, with hundreds of millions of albums sold worldwide.
The success of their 1992 greatest hits album, "Gold," sparked interest for a new generation and gave rise to the stage musical "Mamma Mia!" and 2008 movie version starring Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan and Christine Baranski.
The movie sequel, "Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again," hits theaters in July.
“There’s lot of songs in there, lots of new ones," Lily James, who will appear in the sequel, told the BBC last week. "Lots of ones, actually, that weren’t in my repertoire of ABBA and I think they’re going to be huge hits again, and reawaken the love of ABBA.”
Cher will also appear in the sequel.
She surprised the CinemaCon audience at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas this week to promote the movie. She appeared onstage with an army of dancers to perform ABBA's "Fernando," according to The Hollywood Reporter.
She wore a glittery pantsuit and platform heels. Balloons dropped from the ceiling. The audience stood in ovation.
ABBA appetite is clearly whetted.