ABBA Reunion, New Recordings: Update

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Abba (L-R) Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Benny Andersson, Agnetha Fältskog and Bjorn Ulvaeus

Plenty of classic rock bands have reunited over the years, so why not one of the world’s most successful pop bands?

ABBA announced on April 27, 2018, that “after some 35 years, it could be fun to join forces again and go into the recording studio.”

Two new songs – “I Still Have Faith in You” and “Don’t Shut Me Down” – were expected in December 2018 for a TV special and a subsequent avatar tour. In September 2018, Abba announced that the new recordings were being pushed to 2019.

Then, on January 21, 2019 a representative for the group told the trade paper, Variety, that everything is being moved again. “Hopefully this fall,” the rep said.

At that time, Variety also relayed an interview where the group’s Benny Andersson says Abba may record a third song. “We had such a good time, we really, really did, we were all back to where we ended, having fun. It was just like no time had passed, we all felt that and we were all happy about feeling that.”

On April 3, Abba’s Björn Ulvaeus reiterated to a Danish newspaper that new music should be coming “in September or October.”

Two months later, in early June, Ulvaeus was vague when he spoke to a U.K. radio station. “Yes there will be a new song, a couple of new songs coming,” he said. “But I’ve been saying this for such a long time… I’m not saying when anymore. I’m just saying we have them and they will be released eventually.”

A year earlier, in June 2018, Abba shared pictures of themselves in the recording studio. (See below.) The picture of Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad (aka Frida) elicited some great comments on their Facebook page by fans debating which one was which.

Nancy Wu wrote: “I actually think it’s Frida standing and Agnetha sitting down. If you Google “Agnetha headphones” there are many more photos of her wearing her headphones in front of her head like in this photo.”

To which Jono Beard responded: “It’s obviously Frida sitting down because, erm, it IS Frida. That’s what she looks like. You guys are weird.”

The group formed in 1972 in Stockholm, Sweden and in 1974, Abba, named for the first initials of its four members—Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad—won the Eurovision Song Contest with a song called “Waterloo.” Their subsequent worldwide success included such hits as “Honey Honey,” “I Do, I Do, I Do,” “SOS,” “Mamma Mia,” “Fernando” and “Dancing Queen.” Nine of their songs hit #1 in the U.K. In the U.S. ten reached the Top 20.

One of several photos posted by the group on June 8, 2018. Fans debated which one was Frida and which was Agnetha. (Photo: Gorel Hanser via Abba’s Facebook page)

With hundreds of millions of records sold worldwide, they are one of the most biggest-selling music acts of all-time. The musical, Mamma Mia!, based on their hit catalog, opened in London in 1999 and in New York on 2001. Both productions are among the most successful musicals ever on the West End and Broadway. A movie version was released in 2008 and a sequel arrives this year.

Here’s the group’s complete April 27, 2018 announcement, on their social media pages:

“The decision to go ahead with the exciting ABBA avatar tour project had an unexpected consequence. 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!

Abba’s Benny Ulvaeus and Bjorn Andersson in the studio (Photo: Gorel Hanser, via Abba’s Facebook page)

“It resulted in two new songs and one of them, “I Still Have Faith in You,” will be performed by our digital selves in a TV special produced by NBC and the BBC aimed for broadcasting in December.

“We may have come of age, but the song is new. And it feels good.”

Agnetha Benny Björn Anni-Frid

Stockholm, Sweden, April 27th, 2018

Los Angeles’ famed Sunset Blvd.

The “avatar tour project” that the statement refers to a 2016 announcement about virtual reality tour. That earlier announcement was “to create an original entertainment experience with the Swedish pop superstars that will enable a new generation of fans to see, hear, and feel Abba in a way previously unimagined.”

That VR tour is proceeding with virtual “Abbatars.”

Related: On June 5, 2016, the four members had an impromptu reunion

Best Classic Bands spoke to Atlantic Records president, Jerry Greenberg, who signed them to a worldwide deal. Our story details how “Dancing Queen” made them stars in the U.S.

And in 2010, Abba was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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