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When Abba split up we assumed that was the end of us

WE'VE seen that girl, watched that scene and we’re still digging the dancing queen, even though we are no longer young and sweet and well past 17. After the stage show, the film and the tribute bands, stand by for Abba The Museum.

PUBLISHED: 00:01, Wed, May 1, 2013 | UPDATED: 08:06, Wed, May 1, 2013

The grand opening on May 7 in Stockholm is what brings Björn Ulvaeus on a promotional trip to London before he heads off to Moscow “to put Abba on the map there”.

Frankly, it beggars belief that he needs to. Leaving aside my personal devotion to Abba, there’s no arguing with the numbers. Abba have sold more than 370 million records – mostly after they split up in 1982. More than 55 million people worldwide have seen Mamma Mia! the musical which is still going strong in London after 14 years. The star-studded Mamma Mia! movie is the sixth highest-grossing film and the fastest-selling DVD ever in Britain.

And lest we forget, Abba are still the only group to go on to make an international career after winning Eurovision.

They say you should never meet your heroes as they usually disappoint.

I’ve found this to be the case a few times but I really, really did not want it to be true of Björn. So I am delighted to report that in person Mr Ulvaeus is extremely amiable and unpretentious, which is no mean feat when you are one of your country’s most successful exports ever. He also looks exceedingly youthful for a man who turned 68 last week and has the twinkliest eyes.

The museum, which is on Djurgården island in central Stockholm, will be fully interactive, allowing visitors to dance with holograms of the band and “play” Abba melodies on a self-playing piano. “I have mixed feelings about becoming a museum piece but if it’s happening I’d like it to be right,” says Ulvaeus. “It’s amazing what we did together.”

Indeed so. Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson and their respective wives Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad produced some of the most memorable pop music ever. “We were the opposite of today’s manufactured groups,” says Ulvaeus.

“Benny and I were in different bands and happened to play at the same gig in 1966, just as we were going off to do our Swedish military service. We discovered a friendship and started to work together. And then we met the girls. And guess what? They happened to be great singers, one a soprano and one a mezzo. Benny and I didn’t go out looking for that. It just happened that we fell in love with two fantastic girls. The fact they could sing was a bonus.”

abba, bjorn, museuum, music, 80s, 70s,Bjorn Ulvaeus aims to put Abba on the map everywhere

Björn and Agnetha were the first to get together. Agnetha, the archetypal Nordic blonde, was also a well-known folk singer. “The guys in my band swear I fell in love with her when I heard her record on the radio,” says Ulvaeus. They met soon after at a concert and that was that. They married in 1971 when she was 21 and he was 26 and by the time of their Eurovision triumph in 1974 they were parents to a daughter, Linda, born the previous year. (Son Christian followed in 1977.)

Benny met Norwegian-born “Frida” a few months later. She and Agnetha began singing on the boys’ songs and from 1972 the foursome were releasing records as Björn, Benny, Agnetha and Anni-Frid. Their manager Stig Anderson thought the name unwieldy and began referring to them in his notes by their initials – ABBA. “We had a competition to find us a name but there wasn’t much to choose from so we stuck with Abba,” says Ulvaeus. “We never had cool names like Roxy Music in Sweden. I mean, I was in a band called the Hootenanny Singers and Benny was in the Hep Stars.”

Eurovision was a conduit to an international platform but it took them two attempts to be chosen to represent Sweden in 1974 in Brighton. Their winning song Waterloo and their outrageous satin and velvet outfits chimed with the glam rock trend. Even so the critics were amazed when Abba proved to be more than a one-hit wonder.

“It was natural to us to be considered uncool. Then we split up and thought, ‘Well, that’s the end’. The surprise for us was when we started to come back.”

Both couples separated during their decade as superstars but continued working together. Agnetha moved out just before Christmas 1979 and a week afterwards Ulvaeus met Lena Kallersjö at Benny’s New Year party and married her a year later.

I suppose we were talking through the songs. I wrote those lyrics and she sang them with total feeling
Bjorn Ulvaeus
“If I were a plumber and she a seamstress, Agnetha and I would still have split because we had become different personalities,” he says. Even so, as the lyricist, how could he give her lines like “Tell me does she kiss like I used to kiss you?” to sing in The Winner Takes It All? “I suppose we were talking through the songs. I wrote those lyrics and she sang them with total feeling. The title is not true. There’s no winner in divorce.” He says relations between them are friendly now, especially since they are grandparents to their daughter’s three children. “We spent the Christmas before last all together.”

After years hidden away on an island Agnetha is releasing a new album this month. Has he heard it? “I have. It’s very good,” he says, a little crisply. And what about relations between Agnetha and fiery Frida whom Ulvaeus has just described to me as “an explosive redhead”? Did they squabble over who got to sing which song? “If they did I didn’t see it.” Oh, come on. “They were always very professional and we were very democratic about how we divided the songs. It was Benny and me who got the occasional leftover.”

Abba lyrics are so on the money it’s easy to forget Ulvaeus was writing in a language that is not his own. He says he read everything he could in English to expand his vocabulary and learn the language’s rhythms. He and Andersson are protective of Abba’s back catalogue. When Madonna wanted to sample a snippet from Gimme, Gimme, Gimme, they insisted on hearing what she had in mind before saying yes. So when Judy Cramer approached them with the idea of building a musical around their songs, they were sceptical.

“Benny was not on board at all. I thought it could be a fantastic experiment. Judy had wanted to do a TV special in the Eighties but it never happened because the script was no good. So we said you can use any Abba song but don’t change the words and the story has to be more important than the song. We planned for it to run maybe for a year in a small theatre and could have stopped it at any time. Then [producer] Cameron Mackintosh heard about it and here we are.”

Nicole Kidman was considered as the lead for the film. “But then we received a hand-written letter from Meryl Streep saying how much she had enjoyed the show and we realised that was the age group we should be casting from. And she said yes straight away and that was the ‘open sesame’ for everything.”
I ask him what he thinks of the Abba tribute bands, mentioning that I saw Björn Again some years back and it was joyous.

“Do they really talk in fake Swedish accents?” he asks. They do, which is wrong now as he hardly has any accent after living in Henley-on-Thames for six years in the Nineties.

“Well, I prefer to take it as a compliment, even if they’re taking the mickey. As long as they respect the music.”

Our time is up and Mr Ulvaeus is due elsewhere. He stands up and shakes my hand, eyes still twinkling.

Thank you for the music, Bjorn. And thank you for being a gent.





Abba in 1974 PA
Peter Paphides
Saturday 8 June 2002 01.05 BST

The glass-fronted kitchen units are bright yellow and filled with many different kinds of crispbread. On the work surface there is a wooden block on which sits a large Plopp and a knife with which to cut it up - Plopp, of course, being a popular Swedish chocolate bar. When Benny from Abba walks in, though, it's a circular disc of crispbread that he goes for. But for the greying whiskers and an expensive suit, he's barely aged since the group dissolved in 1982. Five minutes later, Björn from Abba pulls up in his Lexus. Given that he and Benny employ everyone in the building, it's worth noticing that Björn makes his own coffee. Along with the communal Plopp and an office dog called Bjork, all the signs suggest that Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson's Stockholm HQ must be a nice place to work.

It's only after a few minutes that the nagging sense of something missing dawns upon you. But for a poster proclaiming the 1999 premiere of Mamma Mia! - Catherine Johnson's West End musical - there are no gold discs or awards to suggest that Björn and Benny's 1970s might have been unusually productive. It can't just be modesty, either, because you can't move for posters and discs relating to Chess, the 1985 musical they wrote with Tim Rice - and who remembers that?

"Actually," says Björn, deploying that impeccably precise English in which Scandinavians seem to specialise, "there aren't as many Abba awards as you might imagine. For the main part of the group's lifespan, the critics despised us." Maybe that's why, aged 57, he seems so happy to receive them now. Last month, at the annual Tony Awards, he and Benny, 56, received two awards for the Broadway production of Mamma Mia! Two weeks ago, they arrived in London to pick up a Special International Award at this year's Ivor Novello bash, and treated the throng to an impromptu chorus of Fernando.

"It's better than receiving a Brit, isn't it?" Oh, yes, I assure him. The Brits are a bit cheesy, really. Stevie Wonder and Leiber and Stoller have won this one. "Good. That's what I'd thought."


Björn Ulvaeus has two abiding memories of the Abba years. The first goes back to the group's Eurovision Song Contest victory in 1974. In the preceding years, Björn and Benny, along with the group's manager, Stig Anderson, had become obsessed with the contest - reasoning that it would be the only chance the group had of getting recognition beyond their own country. "Stig rightly suggested that the song should have an international theme, so we all came up with Waterloo. It's the feeling of having won that I remember more than anything else. Just sitting in a room the day after, discussing what we were going to do worldwide. Suddenly we had a sense of something beginning."

Everyone remembers the footage, of course - especially Björn's stage costume. Sporting a sparkling skintight satin jump suit with what appeared to be knee-length Cuban-heeled wellington boots, Björn looked so bizarre that security guards refused to let him pick up his composer's award at the end of the show. "They couldn't believe that someone who looked like that could have had a hand in the composition," he explains.

In truth, Björn had waited a long time to jump about on stage looking like a total loon. To understand why Abba were so brilliant in the 70s, we need to grasp just how bad the 60s were for them. Björn spent the most exciting decade of the 20th century in the Hootenanny Singers, clean-cut, short-haired purveyors of indigenous wholesome campfire fare like Song Of The Birch and I'm Waiting At The Stack. In 1963, just as his group scored their first Swedish hit, Björn heard the Beatles. "In my guts, I instantly knew that was what I would rather be doing, but we were beginning to have some success, so we kept repeating the formula. I would have much preferred to have been in a band like Benny's."


Benny Andersson also had a fairly clear idea of what he wanted to do in 1963 - and the fact that, at 18, he already had two children with his girlfriend, Christina, wasn't going to stop him. He grew his hair long and joined Sweden's nearest equivalent to the Beatles, the Hep Stars. He shifts uncomfortably when recalling his first brush with fame. Benny was not a frequent fatherly presence.

"I felt very immature at the age of 16, but clearly I was mature enough to get a girl pregnant. Whatever I might want to think, the fact is that I chose to keep on working instead of being with my family. Which, as you can imagine, was a disaster for them. But I've been talking to the kids through the years and for some reason, they feel that I made the right choice."

"When Björn and I finally met," recalls Benny, "our bands were staying in the same hotel. We met under an elm tree in the middle of a nearby park. We figured it would be a good idea to try and write a song together." By the time they got around to it, it was more in an atmosphere of desperation than glory. The Hep Stars had split up, but the Hootenanny Singers hadn't. "I remember," says Benny, "thinking it would be great to make a record like Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys, but also wondering if I did, who on earth was going to listen to it."

Instead, they recorded the soundtrack to a Swedish soft porn movie, Inga, and plotted their next move. The details of what follow read more like the synopsis of an unmade early Woody Allen film than the genesis of a supergroup.

Agnetha Fältskog, who married Bjorn in 1971 and had already scored a string of self-composed hits in Sweden, had the most to lose from the arrangement. Björn convinced his new wife that a cabaret run might arrest his and Benny's sliding fortunes. With Benny now dating aspiring Norwegian jazz singer Annifrid Lyngstad (known as Frida), the two couples decided to put together a . . .comedy revue.

Hidden away in Björn and Benny's personal archive, there is a picture of them dressed as schoolboys with lollipops and little helicopter propellers on their hats. After a year of playing half-empty nitespots to Swedish businessmen, Björn and Benny wisely put their school uniforms away.

It wasn't until 1972, a year later, that they had the idea of making a record as a quartet. Given that the couples were near neighbours and were spending all their time together, this seems incredible. And even then, People Need Love was a world away from the breathless pop majesty with which they later became synonymous - an unsexy beer-hall clomp on which yodelling featured heavily.

Also, the group - who had so far traded as Björn & Benny, Agnetha & Annifrid - had yet to think of a proper name. That came a year later when Stig Anderson ran a competition for Swedish radio listeners to come up with something snappier. When the best names on the short list were Alibaba, Friends And Neighbours and Baba, Anderson took things into his own hands and proposed that the quartet be called Abba. That this was also the name of a Swedish brand of canned fish didn't seem to bother him; nor did Björn and Benny's initial lack of enthusiasm. He wrote to the fish canners and asked them if they minded sharing their name with a pop group. "They wrote back and said it was fine as long as we didn't do anything that reflected badly on the fish industry." Abba was born.

Time spent with Benny and Björn is like time spent with a married couple, as befits two people who have been working together for 36 years. Benny is the alpha male - taciturn and vaguely intimidating. He borders on truculent when asked about his private life. Björn often seems to direct his answers at Benny, as if keen not to misrepresent him. In Björn's head, you suspect Benny is still "the cool one."

Benny recalls the writing of Money Money Money: "It was originally called Been And Gone And Done It. I said, 'Do you think this is really the best you can do?' " Björn seems both embarrassed and flattered that Benny remembers the episode. Björn's second abiding Abba memory focuses on their co-operation, too: "It has to be the day Benny and I were working on two separate song fragments. I was playing guitar and he was at the piano, just like we always were. Then we realised that if we slightly changed one of them, they formed a complete song. That was such a kick! I'll never forget it. That was when we got the melody to The Winner Takes It All."

"The songs became something of an obsession for us," admits Björn."Each song had to be different, because in the 60s, that's what the Beatles had done. The challenge was to not do another Mamma Mia or Waterloo," says Benny. From SOS ("Our first really exceptional song," says Björn), it was something that seemed to come incredibly easily to them. Not only had they mastered what people refer to as the Abba sound, they were writing songs especially for it. Björn: "Agnetha is a soprano and Frida is a mezzo-soprano, and that choral sense of tension you get with them is what happens when they harmonise."

Björn eventually took sole responsibility for the lyrics. "It wasn't really a job I enjoyed," he recalls. "I wrote a few stinkers." Benny: "I've told the record company that instead of releasing Abba Gold, they should put out Abba Wood. . .but, you know, they're not so keen on it. I don't know why."

"I'd like to nominate Dum Dum Diddle for Abba Wood," smiles Björn, referring to the infamous album track in which Agnetha bemoans playing, um, second fiddle to someone who is "only smilin'/ When you play your violin". Ouch. "I'd been working all night trying to come up with a decent lyric. And I thought, 'Well, I'd better take in something to prove that I've been working.' I showed them this song, thinking they'd say, 'Oh, no! We can't do that!'"

Benny: "And we said, 'Whatever - that's fine.'" He was improving, though. Also featured on 1976's Arrival album was Dancing Queen. Five years ago, when the Sex Pistols' 20th anniversary reunion tour came to London, John Lydon decided that the band should enter to the strains of Dancing Queen - the plan being to remind us how terrible music had become when the Sex Pistols came along. The idea backfired. On instant recognition of that piano flourish, the entire audience cheered and broke into spontaneous dancing.

Here are three wonderful yet ultimately trivial facts about Dancing Queen: (i) Benny and Björn were inspired to write it by the rhythm to George McCrae's smooth anthem Rock Your Baby; (ii) It bore the working title of Boogaloo, and for days no one in the group could work out a satisfying intro - at the last minute, Benny and Björn hit upon the idea of starting it halfway through the chorus "for maximum impact"; (iii) It is the most perfect pop song ever.

Björn: "The day that Benny and I finished mixing the instrumental track of Dancing Queen, I was so excited, I just could not rest. Agnetha was asleep and I just had to share it with someone, so I drove all over Stockholm looking for someone to play it to. Finally I ended up at my sister's house. I played it over and over again to her. We couldn't believe how good it sounded."

Benny: "It's nice if you can like a backing track, you know? But by the time it appears on vinyl, it's gone. It's over. You have no connection with it. You know that it's you, but you don't sit around thinking, 'Oh boy! Am I good or what?' It's not like that."

Björn has gone uncharacteristically silent. For him, I suspect it was a bit like that.

It's impossible to talk about Abba without talking about the darkness that gradually pervaded Björn's writing from 1977. It's in the Bergmanesque shadow-world of I Have A Dream, a world in which believing in angels might be our best hope for accepting an uncertain future. It's in Knowing Me, Knowing You, in which two estranged lovers survey the debris of their relationship. At this point, Björn must have had an inkling that family life was not altogether compatible with Abba. "We all hated touring," he says, "and we were always careful never to be away from Linda and Christian [their daughter and son] for more than a few days. But for Agnetha, it was really hard."

That became clear to all on the 1977 Australian tour, when the group was greeted with adulation of Beatles proportions. "If you look at Abba - The Movie [the film shot on that tour], you'll see that she was never quite able to let go on stage. She was always a bit fearful - whereas Frida is clearly having a whale of a time," Benny recalls. In her 1997 co-authored autobiography, As I Am, Agnetha writes, "Sometimes it was awful. I felt as if [the fans] would get hold of me and I'd never get away again. It was as if I was going to be crushed. No one who has experienced facing a screaming, boiling, hysterical crowd could avoid feeling shivers up and down their spine. It's a thin line between ecstatic celebration and menace."


The year the Abba movie came out, 1978, was also the year Benny and Frida finally married. Three months later, Björn and Agnetha divorced. Björn is keen to emphasise that "mine and Agnetha's divorce was never acrimonious. We just felt that we had grown apart." Agnetha is more elliptical. Referring to their marriage as "destructive", she says, "We all know that there is no such thing as a happy divorce. The reason behind our separation is one of those things I definitely don't want to go into."

A week after the couple spent their last family Christmas together, Björn met his current wife, Lena Källersjö, at a party. "I think," he avers, "that divorce can produce a very positive creative energy."

Most people, I tell him, find it hard to imagine why the group wanted to continue in such circumstances. "Well, I agree, it was odd in the beginning. I would come into the studio and I didn't know what she had been up to for the last two weeks, that kind of thing. But we were very professional about it. "

Did you not ask her what she had been up to?

"Hah-hah! No, I didn't ask her that!"

Abba's final two albums portrayed a man buried deep in the doubts and recriminations of his own interior world. Happy New Year, from 1980's Super Trouper album, was set at the end of a party where the "dreams we had before are all dead/ like confetti on the floor". On The Winner Takes It All, Björn wrote the lines, "But tell me does she kiss/Like I used to kiss you?/Does it feel the same/When she calls your name?" Then, in one of the greatest acts of sadism in the history of pop, he got his ex-wife to sing them. "I wrote that one very quickly," he says.

The way the song begins - "I don't want to talk" - it's like the slurred beginning of a drunken speech.

Björn: "Yes. I wanted it to be a bit like that.

Benny: "It's bloody clever."

"As a matter of fact," admits Björn, "I was quite drunk. And that's unusual, too, because it never works. Whenever you write drunk, whether it's music or lyrics, you look at it the next day and it's bullshit. But that was a good one. I remember presenting it to the girls, and there were tears, you know?"

Even the album's ostensibly cheerful title track began with the line, "I was sick and tired of everything/When I called you last night from Glasgow."

"I was especially proud of that one," beams Björn. "We had already finished the album, but we needed one more song. So I thought about those big spotlights that you get on stage. They're called super troupers, you see." He leaves a pause for effect. "But, you know, I also like the fact that the song could be about someone who is a super trouper."

As Frida's new punky haircut confirmed, her marriage to Benny was now on the rocks. Writing sessions at the group's summer retreat were yielding worrying results. The Piper saw Björn imagining the rise of some charismatic dictator in a distant land - with Agnetha and Frida's harmonies on the chorus treated to a sound like a procession of Nazi oompah-loompahs beating tin drums.

"I guess we were in a strange place," says Björn.

By the time the group's final album, The Visitors, appeared at the end of 1981, they had given up trying to pretend everything was rosy. Frida and Benny had by then divorced. Slipping Through My Fingers articulated Björn's regret at having prioritised work over Linda and Christian's early years. The title track sounded like Joy Division, and described the plight of "a Russian dissident slowly going crazy whilst waiting for that knock on the door. Somehow these were the characters I was empathising with." In terms of mood and psychosis, these songs were on a par with Pink Floyd's Animals or Radiohead's OK Computer. The sleeve showed them photographed in the reception room of some stately home, dwarfed by huge paintings of angels. All four members of the group are bathed in orange light; each is looking in a different direction.


"The sleeve designer," says Björn "was a close friend who saw what had happened in our lives."

"I thought he just liked the room," suggests Benny disingenuously.

Björn: "Yes, but it really reflects what was happening. Basically, we'd had enough."

At the time of Abba's demise, the extent of their legacy was unclear. The group never formally split - the public didn't care enough for it to warrant a formal announcement. They released a masterful farewell single, The Day Before You Came, and promoted it in Britain with a couple of glum TV appearances. Benny and Björn, of course, started hanging out with Tim Rice and decided that by using the tactical high tension of a chess tournament in the Cold War as a metaphor for failing relationships (heaven knows where they got that idea from), they might attain some of the critical acclaim owed to them.

In the 1980s, Björn and Lena moved to Henley-on-Thames and sent their children to a nearby public school. Benny remarried, developed a passion for breeding racehorses and released two albums of instrumental folk music. He and his wife also had two children. "This time," he says, "I was ready for it. It felt more relevant."

Imagining Abba would gradually fade into insignificance, they licensed their back catalogue to a host of budget price record labels "for next to nothing". Throughout the 1980s, you could buy Abba compilations at petrol stations and newsagents for loose change. "That was it as far as we were concerned."

For a decade, only postmodernists and pranksters seemed to ally themselves to the group's music. On their 1987 What The Fuck's Going On? album, the KLF, in their early guise as The Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu, sampled the entire intro and chorus to Dancing Queen for their track The Queen And I. When ordered to destroy all copies by Abba's publishers, they drove to Sweden in an attempt to find Benny and Björn. This, it transpires, is the first they've heard about it.

Björn: "Why did they do this?"

Um, they were making a statement about the nature of copyright.

"Were they stopped?"

Well, they came to Sweden, trailed by the NME, in order to explain their actions to you, but they couldn't find you. So they put all the remaining copies of their album on a bonfire.

"That's good," notes Benny flatly. Understandably, Benny and Björn seem sensitive to the derision of others. Their first reaction to the success of tribute bands like Björn Again was annoyance. "I thought I was being sent up at the beginning. I felt that talking in these funny accents in between songs was a little too much. But when bands like U2 get in touch with you and ask you to appear on stage with them, you realise that it's just degrees of affection. I think it took us a while to come to terms with that."

Surely, though, tribute bands and the success of Mamma Mia! is about people wanting an excuse to go crazy in a public place to Abba songs.

"I think it's kind of sad, actually," ponders Benny. "When you hear those songs being covered by young pop groups. I mean, hasn't anything happened in the last 20 years?"

"What I like," says Björn, ever the diplomat, "is when you hear it in a new song."

Max Martin, the Swedish writer-producer who penned Britney Spears' biggest hits, seems to be a case in point. The strange hymnal harmonies of Oops! I Did It Again and Hit Me Baby One More Time have Abba's DNA all over them.

"Well, some of those hits were produced in our studio, you know. Take away the production and it's actually quite a folky quality. That's why it sounds unusual to English ears. It's Swedish music with an American production."


These days, it's unadorned Swedish music that forms the basis of Benny and Björn's work. They're currently working on an English version of Kristina Of Duvemåla, their three-hour musical based on Vilhelm Moberg's 2,000-page epic about Swedish emigrants in the early 20th century. "It would be nice," says Björn, "if we could take it to London, but we're not sure at the moment." He doesn't say so, but you get the impression that backers might not be falling over themselves to invest in such a project. The problem is, I tell him, that post-Mamma Mia! musicals based on the back catalogues of established pop groups are all the rage.

Björn Ulvaeus smiles. "Ironic, isn't it? But you either accept it or give in to it. And for me, that's not what life's about. You know, last year an American promoter offered one billion dollars to reform for an Abba tour. When an offer like that comes along, you have to seriously consider it, because for that kind of money you can build hospitals. But then the four of us ended up thinking what kind of a year that would be - all the stress of disappointing people night after night. I could imagine the looks on the faces in the audience as they realised we had grown old." He shivers at the thought. "Really, there's no amount of money in the world that could persuade me to do that."

Agnetha Fältskog

Agnetha's first solo album following the demise of Abba, Wrap Your Arms Around Me, met with limited success, and the promotional duties associated with it seemed to traumatise her. When she appeared on Noel Edmonds's Late, Late Breakfast Show, she fell over on stage and injured her arm - an incident that bothered her so much that she devoted a chapter to it in her book, As I Am: 'As I lay in the hollow,' she wrote memorably, 'I remember thinking that if I can just get up, I'll save the show.'

Another solo album fared no better, and by the end of the 1980s she withdrew from public life and briefly married a surgeon. As I Am, co-authored with Swedish journalist Brita Ahman, was a response to Swedish press reports that Agnetha was living in self-imposed solitude like a latter-day Greta Garbo. Chapters on the Abba years boasted titles such as Abba's Last Tour Was A Success But Awful For Me and There Was A Fever, There Were Ovations, There Were Sweaty Obsessed Crowds. She had become a devotee of Deepak Chopra, and suggested that her mood swings and her "inability to commit to anyone" were connected to the fact that she was an Arien.

Agnetha's bad luck with men took a sinister turn in 1997 when she entered a liaison with a 34-year-old Dutchman, Gert van der Graf. Unbeknown to her, he was a fan who moved near her home in Eker just to get to know her. She sought a restraining order, which was duly granted when police visited his house and found a bucket of faeces and a dead turtle. Björn still seems protective of her: "People say she is a recluse, but I see her four or five times a year. I don't think she is unhappy."

Annifrid Lyngstad

Like Agnetha, Frida's solo career fizzled out by the end of the 1980s, despite a successful solo set entitled Something's Going On in 1983. In the early 1990s, she joined an environmental organisation, The Natural Step, and reinvented herself as a high-profile lobbyist. By this time, she was also a princess as a result of her marriage to Sweden's Prince Ruzzo Reuss, although it was a title she never used. Of all four Abba members, Frida has done the least to dissociate herself from her years in Abba. In 1993, she performed an a cappella version of Dancing Queen in celebration of Swedish monarch Queen Silvia's 50th birthday. In 1995, she approached Agnetha with a view to recording a duet on her album Djupa Andetag (Deep Breaths), but Agnetha declined. Frida explained: 'I've wanted us to do an album for several years.'

In 1998, Frida's 30-year-old daughter Lise-Lotte died in a car crash in America. The following year, Prince Ruzzo died, aged 49, following a long battle with cancer. Frida re-emerged a few months later to accompany Benny and Björn to the Canadian premiere of Mamma Mia! "I've realised," she said, "that I'm a very strong woman. I also have a very strong faith in God. I guess that's what's helped me through this."



Ulvaeus then married music journalist Lena Kallersjö on 6 January 1981.

Agnetha and Björn had decided in the autumn of  1978 to call their marriage over.

Agnetha and Björn had decided in the autumn of
1978 to call their marriage over.
They stayed together until after celebrating Jul one
more time for the childrens sake.
Then, on Christmas Day Agnetha and the children
left the house
and moved 7minutes away to the
new house
on Jupitervägen.
Several weeks later, on January 16, the fact that
they were getting a divorce was announced.
"What has happened only concerns the
2 of us." said Agnetha, "There is no point in
talking about what went wrong with our marriage.The fact is that Björn and I can
no longer live together."
" Christian doesn't know anything about
what's going on because he's too young,
but Linda understands. In the end the 3
of us sat down to talk about it. It's almost one month since we seperated and I think
she prefers to see her parents are happier now.
And anyway, I'm only 7 min. away from
Björn. The news is no surprise to Benny
and Frida because they are so close to us
and can see how we work."

fuente. http://www.fortunecity.com/meltingpot/huntington/108/id40.htm

... 1979 concert, Agnetha said they had to find a new way to work together onstage
because of their divorce. Looks like it was all ok.
Agnetha wanted nothing more than to stay at home with Linda and give her a
secure, loving home and upbringing. But Björn was in the swing with ABBA wanting
to work all the time.
Björn said regarding promotional trips during ABBA, "...between Agnetha and
myself it was always difficult, because I wanted to go, and
she didn't want to."

They maintain a friendship
these days. They have their children
and a grandchild in common. Linda and her daughter Tilda live on Agnetha's farm.
Björn goes out there several times a year.
Agnetha has been invited to Björns birthdays and Björn has been invited to hers.


Björn Christian Ulvaeus Bengtsson nació el 25 de abril de 1945 en Gotemburgo

Su padre: Erik Gunnar Ulvaeus (nació 22 abril 1912), Su madre: Aina Eliza Viktoria Ulvaeus (nació 14 diciembre 1909)

Casado con Agnetha Fältskog desde el 6 julio 1971 hasta el 9 julio de 1979

Casado con Lena Källersjö Ingegärd desde el 5 enero de 1981

Dos hijos con Agnetha Fältskog: Linda Elin, nació en Vallentuna el 23 de febrero de 1973 y Peter Christian, nació en Lidingö el 4 de diciembre de 1977

Dos hijos con Lena Källersjö: Emma Eleonora Ulvaeus, nació el 3 enero de 1982 y Anna Linnea Ulvaeus, nació el 29 abril de 1986
FUENTE datos Bjorn: http://www.freewebs.com/morsayo/Bjorn.html 

The Agnetha lookalike who toured with Bjorn

MEET the unsung blonde in the life of one of pop’s most successful bands. The Abba line-up, it seems, should have read Björn, Benny, Agnetha, Anni-Frid – and Lena.

PUBLISHED: 00:00, Sun, Mar 28, 2010 | UPDATED: 05:31, Sun, Mar 28, 2010

Music journalist Lena and her lover Bjorn during the US tour
IM, Email, and Social Networks in one easy to use application!
Music journalist Lena and her lover Bjorn during the US tour []
A new book lifts the lid on Bjorn’s love affair with the Swedish music journalist Lena Kallersjö, who went on to become his second wife, and reveals how close she became to the band’s core.

The pair started dating soon after Björn split with Agnetha, who he married in 1971 before the band became famous.


Amazingly, Agnetha has revealed that she had no problem when her lookalike replacement joined them on tour in America.

Photographs featured in the just-published Abba In America show Agnetha on her own as the group attempted to crack the States in 1979.

While Agnetha hung out with the band’s manager Stikkan Anderson, Björn and Lena carried on their love affair, and ended up marrying in 1981.

ABBA in America The legendary World Tour of 1979
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ABBA in America (The legendary World Tour of 1979)
Compiled by Swedish journalist Leif Schulman and photographer Charles Hammarsten, who followed Abba throughout the tour, the new book coincides with the band’s induction into America’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last week. The award was a real surprise for the Swedes since the US was the one place they tried – and failed – to crack, despite the 18-day tour.

Including many previously unseen pictures of the stars, it gives a unique insight into the highs and lows of the band, who had found fame in Europe thanks to their 1976 number one hit Dancing Queen.

Björn and Lena had only been going out for six months when he had to go on the tour. She missed Björn so much, she managed to get time off work and flew to the US for just five days to be with him.

But Agnetha hated being away from her children by Björn – Linda, who was six at the time, and Christian, who was almost two.

She revealed that following one previous tour: “When we came home my daughter Linda didn’t recognise me or Björn.” She had already decided that in 1980, there would be no Abba tour anywhere. Abba never toured again.

ABBA IN AMERICA (The Legendary World Tour of 1979) by Leif Schulman & Charles Hammarsten is published by Premium Publishing, £28. It can be purchased from premiumpublishing.com, amazon.co.uk and turnaround-uk.com.



April 5th - Agnetha turned 28
April 25th - Björn turned 33
October 6th - Benny & Frida were married in Lindingö Church
November 15th - Frida turned 33
December 16th - Benny turned 32
December 24th - A very sad day for Agnetha and Björn

1978 Performances

Click on the title of the show to see extensive info. 
WhenTV ShowCountry
10 JanTake A Chance On MePROMO
16 JanTV Times AwardsUK
January?ABBA - The Album AdvertUK
21 JanLoto ParadeFrance
16 FebBlue PeterUK
FebCome DancingUK
1978Pop QuestUK
17 FebAm Laufenden BandGermany
MarMulti-Coloured Swap ShopUK
MarKarusell TrailerSwitzerland
MarMusik sceneSwitzerland
12 AprLes Rendez-Vous du DimancheFrance
17-18 AprThank You For The MusicPROMO
17-18 AprOne Man, One WomanPROMO
17-18 APrEaglePROMO
9 MayRapportUSA
8 MayOlivia!USA
10 MayJames Last's Star ParadeGermany
22-23 AugSummer Night CityPROMO
OctGet It TogetherUK
18-19 OctTop ClubFrance
9 NovBarnjournalenSweden
15 NovThe Dick Clark ShowUSA
20 NovNews Centre 9:00Japan
20 NovNHK Let's Go YoungJapan
22 Nov11PMJapan
22 NovMusic FairJapan
23 NovThe Best 10Japan
24 NovGinza NowJapan
25 NovABBA SpecialJapan
17-26 NovABBA in JapanJapan
6 DecMike Yarwood's Christmas ShowUK
6 DecTop Of The PopsUK
7 DecJim'll Fix ItUK


February 16th - Björn and Agnetha's divorce was announced in the Swedish press
April 5th - Agnetha turned 29
April 25th - Björn turned 34
May - Frida films her first movie
May 18th - ABBA perform a surprise rehearsal concert at the Strand Pavilion, Landskrona
September 13th-November 15th - North American & European Tour
November 15th - Frida turned 34 (last day of the tour in Dublin)
December 16th - Benny turned 33

1979 Performances

Click on the title of the show to see extensive info.
WhenTV ShowCountry
9 JanUNICEF- A Gift Of Song ConcertUSA
8-9 JanUS News ReportUSA
late Jan?Gäst Hos HaggeSweden
3-5 FebGå på vattnet om du kan (FRIDA)Spain
15 FebChiquititaPROMO
14-18 FebABBA SnowtimeUK?
14-18 FebABBA in SwitzerlandSwitzerland
14-18 FebDisco in the Snow Part IISwitzerland
14-18 FebThe RaesCanada
14-18 FebABBA in Switzerland - InterviewSwitzerland
19 FebMusikladenGermany
5-6 AprVoulez VousPROMO
5-6 AprDoes Your Mother KnowPROMO
AprilDisco 100Germany
3 MayRapportSweden
28 May300 MillonesSpain
28 MayAplausoSpain
5 SepGimme! Gimme! Gimme!PROMO
5 SepEstoy SoñandoPROMO
13 SepEdmonton Press ConfCanada
SepIn ProfileUSA
?Midnight SpecialUSA
24 OctToppopNetherlands
10 NovMulti-Coloured Swap ShopUK
Sep-NovABBA Live In Concert
Sep-NovI Have A Dream (Live)PROMO
OctABBA Live In GermanyAmateur
21 OctABBA Live In DenmarkAmateur
OctoberCountdown Ends The DecadeAustralia
28 OctPrivate footage - SwitzerlandSwitzerland
4 NovOkay News ReportAustria
13 NovScotland TodayScotland
15 NovGood Evening UlsterIreland
1979Goodbye to the 70s


January 7th - Recording Spanish tracks began.
March 12th - 27th - ABBA in Japan for live concerts
April 5th - Agnetha turned 30
April 25th - Björn turned 35
May 16th - Agnetha seen out with her new man, Dick Håkansson.
June 23rd - Gracias Por La Musica LP released
November 15th - Frida turned 35
December 16th - Benny turned 34

1980 Performances

Click on the title of the show to see extensive info.
FilmedProgramme/AppearanceWhere shown
1980On And On And OnPROMO
MarchABBA '80 concert tour in JapanJapan
7 AprMåndagsbörsenSweden
May?Conociendome, ConociendotePROMO
May?Gracias Por La MusicaPROMO
MayEspecial Aplauso #100Spain
12 JulyThe Winner Takes It AllPROMO
SummerFocus ProjectNetherlands
late summerWonderful ScandinaviaUSA
3 OctSomewhere in the Crowd There's You
3-8 OctWords And MusicUK
3-8 OctSuper TrouperPROMO
3-8 OctFelicidadPROMO
3-8 OctHappy New YearPROMO
(3-8 Oct)Andante, Andante (Spanish)(PROMO)
21-22 OctStarsFrance
17 NovMåndagsbörsenSweden
27 NovShow ExpressGermany
27 NovSur Son 31France
1980?Bälinge byfestSweden
27 NovHappy New YearSweden
9 DecRapportSweden
DecemberInterview for JapaneseJapan
19 DecABBA daar vraag je me wat ...Netherlands


January 6th - Björn and Lena married in a double ceremony with Björn's sister Eva.
January 25th - Stig Anderson turned 50.
February 12th - it was announced that Frida and Benny would divorce as Benny had met another woman - Mona Nörklit.
March 16th - Recording for 'The Visitors' began.
April 4th - Finn Kalvik performed Norway's entry 'Aldri i Livet' at the Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin (Bucks Fizz won). Agnetha and Frida provided backing vocals on the recording of this song.
April 5th - Agnetha turned 31
April 25th - Björn turned 36
Summer - Agnetha was seen out and about with her new man, policeman Torbjörn Brander.
September - Polar Music HQ moved from Baldersgatan to Hamngatan 11.
September 12th - ABBA visit Bournemouth in England for the CBS Sales Conference.
November 15th - Frida turned 36
November - Agnetha & Linda's Christmas album was released.
Late Nov/early Dec - 'The Visitors' was released.
December 3rd - Benny and Mona married.
December 16th - Benny turned 35

1981 Performances

Click on the title of the show to see extensive info.
FilmedProgramme/AppearanceWhere shown
3 JanMulti-Coloured Swap Shop (BJÖRN)UK
1981Lay All Your Love On MePROMO
24 JanHovas VittneSweden
2 FebThe Tonight ShowUSA
April/MayA Wie ABBANetherlands/Germany
27-29 AprDick Cavett Meets ABBASweden
8 AugPeople's Choice AwardsUSA
18 AugLite Grand i örat (1) (FRIDA)Sweden
20 AugLite Grand i örat (2) (FRIDA)Sweden
25 AugLite Grand i örat (3) (FRIDA)Sweden
27 AugLite Grand i örat (4) (FRIDA)Sweden
29 AugWhen All Is Said And DonePROMO
29 AugDie aktuelle SchaubudeGermany
29 AugNo Hay A Quien CulparPROMO
11 NovRapportSweden
23 & 27 NovOne Of UsPROMO
24 or 25 NovRazzmatazzUK
27 NovSe Me Esta EscapandoPROMO
27 NovNo Hay A Quien CulparPROMO
27 NovMiesNetherlands
Dec?Monica & Andres - La Carta IndiscretaArgentina



January 3rd - Björn became a father for the third time when Lena gave birth to daughter Emma.
January 10th - Benny also became a father for the third time when Mona gave birth to son Ludvig.
February 15th - Frida began recording 'Something's Going On'
April 5th - Agnetha turned 32
April 25th - Björn turned 37
August 10th - Agnetha started filming 'Raskenstam'.
August 26th - ABBA's final recording date.
September 6th - 'Something's Going On' released.
November 15th - Frida turned 37
November 17th - Expressen announced that Frida had sold all her shares in Polar Music for 10M Swedish Kroner.
end November - Frida announced she was moving to London.
December 16th - Benny turned 36

1982 Performances

Click on the title of the show to see extensive info.
FilmedProgramme/AppearanceWhere shown
1982Profiles In RockUSA
21 JanHead Over HeelsPROMO
27 JanLet Poland Be PolandUSA
February?The Kenny Everett Television ShowUK
Feb/MarSomething Going On - The Making Of A Record Album (FRIDA)UK
28 MarSøndagsmagasinet (BJØRN)Denmark
29 MarMåndagbörsen (FRIDA)Sweden
JulyI Know There's Something Going On (FRIDA)PROMO
10 AugRaskenstam (AGNETHA)Sweden
AugFilmkrönikan (AGNETHA)Sweden
1 SepRapport (AGNETHA)Sweden
7 SepFrida In Norway (FRIDA)Norway
9 SepShow Express (FRIDA)Germany
15 SepLive It Up (FRIDA)Canada
SepThat's Life/Profile (FRIDA)Canada
SeptTop Of The Pops (FRIDA)UK
17 SepNationwide (FRIDA)UK
21 SepThe Day Before You CamePROMO
SeptPebble Mill (FRIDA)UK
OctCasablanca (FRIDA)Sweden
SeptFreeze FrameUSA
SeptTele-Illustrierte (FRIDA)Germany
SeptRundt om Skoller (FRIDA)Denmark
SeptToppop (FRIDA)Netherlands
SeptGood Morning America (FRIDA)USA
SeptLive at Five (FRIDA)USA
SeptFrida on MTV (FRIDA)USA
Sep-Oct?Frida Interview 1982 (FRIDA)?
19 SepOkay (FRIDA)Austria
2 OctMies (FRIDA)Netherlands
Por Siempre ABBAArgentina
Sept/OctNever Again (AGNETHA)PROMO
3 OctTo Turn The Stone (FRIDA)PROMO
9 OctChamps Elysées (FRIDA)France
OctAplauso (FRIDA)Spain
OctThe Story of ABBANetherlands
15 OctNöjesmaskinen (AGNETHA)Sweden
6 NovSaturday SuperstoreUK
6 NovThe Late, Late Breakfast ShowUK
8 NovMusikladen (AGNETHA)Germany
11 NovThommy's Pop ShowGermany
11 NovShow ExpressGermany
16 NovUnder AttackPROMO
16 NovKafé 18 (BENNY)Sweden
19 NovBarn på Flykt (AGNETHA)Sweden
19 NovNöjesmaskinenSweden
11 DecThe Late, Late Breakfast ShowUK
23 DecKanal 3 (FRIDA)Sweden




Fan Magazin, 1979: ABBA, fun in the snow

Dear readers!
I'm happy that I can have my say here. Because since my divorce from Björn, ABBA has been exposed to the wildest speculations. Although ABBA is involved in our private lives only at the sidelines, it's important when you can take a stand somewhere and finally say what's really true about all those rumours. In many publications there have been lots of wild speculations whether this would mean the end of ABBA or rumours have been spread that I had an affair with a psychiatrist in Stockholm. And many people especially wondered why there has been a divorce in the cleanest group in the world. I want to say on this occasion that we were not the ones who established the image of the 'almost sinless' group ABBA out there in the world. Many people portrayed us the way they wanted to see us. But we merely contributed the music to ABBA. Perhaps there are a couple of rock groups who - with the help of smart advertising people - are working to create a 'divine image'. But all of us are convinced that you can't maintain an artificial personality in the long run. Björn, Benny, Frida and I are not perfect people, like many would like to see us. We too have problems and very personal flaws. That's why you have to look at our divorce as a purely human issue. It was simply more honest to separate than to keep pretending in order to maintain a good reputation. Things weren't working out between Björn and me for quite some time. But we tried everything to get back on track. Yes, we even went into counseling with a psychiatrist who should get to the bottom of our problems. On this occasion the rumours about an affair started to emerge.
We wanted to stop those rumours right at the beginning. Björn and I didn't want people to openly rack their brains about our marital problems, just because we were seen with a psychiatrist. That's why we counseled this man at odd hours. I'm sure someone saw me with him at an unusual hour and therefore believed I had an affair. But there can really be no question about an intimate relationship. Björn and I are merely on friendly terms with this psychiatrist and we still counsel him, by the way.
The only man in my life at the moment is my son Christian!
Agnetha Fältskog

Hello friends!
What Agnetha has just told you is exactly right. The psychiatrist is really a good friend to us both. There is absolutely no romance between him and my ex-wife. And just like there is only one man in Agnetha's life at the moment, for me there is only one woman in this world: my daughter Linda!
Although I seem to have jumped out of the frying pan into the fire by now. In the meantime I have been accused of having an affair myself. Surely you must have heard about my tremendous flirt with the pretty Boney M singer Liz Mitchell. Well, this 'romance' wasn't as hot as it was explained by some newspapers. The saying that things are never as bad as they seem is especially applicable to us cool Swedes. However, Liz Mitchell is really a wonderful woman. A real sport, intelligent, pretty and always in good spirits. I spent a couple of wonderful evenings with her in Leysin, but there absolutely isn't anything more serious between us. Liz has her fiancée that she is very fond of and soon will be married to. And I don't want to be tied up this quickly either. It's not as simple as that!
I met Liz on our second day in Leysin. We danced together a couple of times at the hotel disco and later on we joined the other Boney M members at the table. I got along great with Liz right away. She is a very religious person and that's why we talked about religious matters. I must admit I was really amazed by Liz' amazing mindset.
Later on I took her to her room. But I didn't stay there! After one last 'night cap' I went back to my room. You should have heard Benny, Agnetha and Frida the next day. During our drive to the shooting location they wanted to know all about it and squeezed everything out of me! They mocked and laughed and poked fun at the 'new' Casanova in the group...
Björn Ulvaeus

Dear ABBA-fans!
To tell something about a new ABBA album is almost more difficult than actually composing the songs. It's not that everything that we have pieced together during months of hard work has to remain a secret, like it is often assumed. Usually we ourselves only know shortly before the album's release what is actually going to be on it.
For starters, the most important thing: the new album will be released at Easter. To us, that's a very important date that we can't overdraw. Around that time, the programme 'Snow Special' will be broadcast, that we filmed in Leysin. And according to the people from the broadcasting company, this programme will be watched by more than 500 million viewers in 16 countries. You can surely imagine that that will be a priceless promotion for our new record, that we don't want to miss out on!
A couple of months before an album is released, we are often asked about the title of the album and about the individual songs. As usual, I will have to keep these questions unanswered this time as well, because I don't know myself. Experience has shown that we agree on the title for the album shortly before the cover is being made. Sometimes even after the photographs have been taken. At least that's how it was with 'Arrival'. With our previous album it was something different. The title 'ABBA - The Album' was linked directly to our feature film. Not only because it was its soundtrack. We racked our brains for nights on end about the title for the movie. Over and over again we were looking for a suitable title for 'the movie'. Until we decided to keep it that way in the end. Naturally we applied this brilliant idea to our new record and our book as well. So you shouldn't be surprised if we decided - out of lack of originality - to call the new ABBA record 'The New ABBA Album'!
It's far more important for you to know if we more or less stay true to our sound on the new album. Or if it suddenly sounds like Led Zeppelin. Indeed, this British rock group was in our studio recently and recorded their new album there. On this occasion I must put an end to a rumour that a clever Englishman put in the papers. He actually thought that we had rented our studio for free, with the intention that this would be mentioned in the newspapers. We all make mistakes, but Led Zeppelin paid 650 Swedish kronor per hour, which is about 300 German Mark.
But now back to our album. I can assure you, it still sounds like ABBA, but not the way you have been used to. On our new album we try to put as much variation as possible into our arrangements. The voices of both our girls however remain the same as usual. But additionally, Björn should be featured more as a singer too. Until now, eight songs have been completed. In March we are going to record four additional songs that Björn and I have written already. It won't be until we have recorded all the songs that we decide which songs will be included on the album. There will probably be eight songs on the album - perhaps we will put together another song out of some song idea that we already have. Who knows, either way there's still a lot of work to do... Let's get to it! Cheers, your Benny.
Benny Andersson

Hi there, you all!
Before I will reveal something about our big world tour, I will explain something about our new album. Many people would like to know why Agnetha or myself never compose any songs. Many people think we are not able to do that. But that's not true! Agnetha used to compose a lot of beautiful songs in the old days and I have thought about song material myself before ABBA started. With ABBA, we deliberately don't get a chance. Which means that neither of us has ever had the need to compose our own songs since we got together with Benny and Björn. Until now, we've been completely surprised and won over by the brilliant ideas of our two writers, that there has never been any need for our efforts.
So much on my own account! Now, as promised, some concrete plans about our near future. Like Benny told you already, we will definitely be in the studio until shortly before Easter, so that the album will be ready without a delay. Subsequently, Benny and I will go on a fourteen day holiday to West India and immediately after that we will return to Switzerland once again where we will hopefully find a spot with snow so that we can indulge in our big skiing hobby. Not later than the beginning of June the first rehearsals for our world tour will begin, that's going to kick off in the early autumn. Since we are not an experienced live band, the preparations last much longer in our case. Until the concept for the tour is decided on. Until all the technical aspects work fluently, the crew has been put together, all of this last much longer with us than with other groups. Apart from that, we want to offer a perfect show, our songs should sound the same live as on the records!
We are often asked by what criteria the performance locations are chosen. That's really not easy. Likewise, television performances and press conferences have to be selected carefully, so that no one in any country is being short-changed. That's also the reason why we participated in the Unicef Gala in New York, or why we decided to travel to Leysin in Switzerland. We choose the occasions where we can reach as many people as possible with one appearance. On the tour, we will restrict ourselves to the largest cities as well. That's the only way to get back home within a more or less tolerable amount of time. Anyone who knows that we will travel to Germany, France, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, England and America on this tour will understand why! If we would only do one concert in every country, we will be on the road for ten days already without counting the days that we travel. That's exactly the problem. We don't want to be separated from our children for too long. Well, something has been decided on already. In October, we will visit Germany, Austria and Switzerland! Until then, bye for now, your Anni-Frid.
Anni-Frid Lyngstad

A for Agnetha: "On the occasion of shooting our television special, I was in Switzerland for the first time. And it certainly won't be the last time, because we are all very impressed with this country. And apart from that, it's ninety percent certain that we will visit this country during our world tour in the autumn."

B for Björn: "The wonderful region, the friendly people, altogether the entire atmosphere in Leysin was exactly the right thing for the first public appearance after the divorce from Agnetha. Only the weather gods weren't very accommodtive and only gave us one day of sunshine!"

B for Benny: "For the first time in our five-year ABBA career, we were able to combine business with pleasure while shooting this special. Any style of winter sports belongs to my major preferences, but what I like most is skiing!"

A for Anni-Frid: "Benny and I only knew Switzerland from Zermatt, where we already went skiing some time ago. After the recording sessions for our album have been completed, we will fly to West India for fourteen days and subsequently one week to the skiing paradise St. Moritz."

S for Snow Special: "The British broadcasting company didn't only shoot a huge entertainment show in this skiing resort, but also two other programmes with us. A 'Christmas Snowtime', a Christmas programme as well as a programme about our Swiss adventure."

S for snow: "The snow couldn't have been better for beginners. That's why Björn soon found his way on the white splendour as well and turned out to be almost as good as Benny. Though the ski slopes were firm, they were not frozen and therefore not very slippery."

S for Stenmark: "Since Benny showed so much talent on the ski slopes, everyone compared him with the Swedish top skier Ingemar Stenmark. This was meant ironically, of course. But, if Benny hadn't become a star on the world's stage, he would definitely have become one of those people on the planks dashing down into the valley."

P for press conference: "We had barely arrived in Leysin when we found ourselves facing the assembled world press for the first time since Agnetha and Björn's divorce. On this occasion, our British record company presented us with the first gold record for 'Chiquitita'."

P for party: "There is always something going on where the stars are. Almost every evening there was a party at the discotheque 'Casanova'. The greatest celebration however was organised by Boney M at the indoor swimming pool, where Marcia Barrett, Patrick Juvet, Liz Mitchell, Björn Ulvaeus, Leif Garret and Bobby Farrell posed for this picture."

A for arrival: "During our flight from Stockholm to Geneva, an engine of our clipper iced up in such a way that we had to return to Stockholm. With a new plane and with more than six hours of delay we finally arrived safe and sound in Switzerland."

A for autographs: "Autograph hunters were definitely not short-changed in Leysin. It's very rare that so many stars get together on one occasion. Agnetha isn't even spared from them on the ski slope and signs postcards, skiing suits, arms, hands..."

A for souvenir (Andenken): "As a souvenir from our wonderful time in the alpine country, we received a fondue set from the people from our record company, so that we can eat our new favourite food at home in Stockholm as well."

S for divorce (Scheidung): "For the reporters and all gossipers, Agnetha and Björn's divorce was the main topic of conversation. However, they both get along great despite their official separation, like this picture proves."

S for skating: "For the shooting of one of the scenes we are sent onto the ice. Agnetha has major difficulties with ice skating. Several times, she falls on her sexy behind... That's why Denise Bielmann, the Swiss champion in figure skating, gave us a couple of free skating tips."

S for sleeping: "Mostly, there wasn't much time to sleep. Because in the evenings we often had great fun, and the next day we still had to get up early, otherwise we wouldn't have been able to finish the filming. Instead, we managed to sleep in late a bit longer when we were back in Sweden."

S for make-up (schminken): "During all the scenes, the make-up artists, that's how the ones who take care of the stars' make-up are being called, are present. Sometimes it's not an easy job, because often they had to wait for hours in the freezing snow, until they had to apply some additional make-up again."

S for show: "In the gigantic show 'Snowtime Special' we are singing the song 'Chiquitita'. This television programme will be broadcast at Easter and will probably be watched by 500 million viewers."

I for instruments: "Since it is very difficult to play live when one is filmed in the snow, all our songs had to be performed to playback, which means they come from a pre recorded tape. Only in the big tent, Benny and Björn are playing their instruments."

I for snacks (Imbiss): "Since our film 'ABBA - The Movie' we know that one gets to eat very irregularly during filming. Likewise, in Leysin we almost exclusively eat sandwiches and little snacks. But in the evenings we are able to find the time for extensive meals."

I for idol: "The youngest participant in our show, Leif Garrett, turned into our idol. In many conversations he emerged as a spirited young man, who is not only able to sing but also to stand on his skis like a king."

M for machine: "When the last scenes are being filmed on Sunday afternoon, our new friend from Boney M - Bobby Farrell - has his photograph taken on a big ski slopes machine. This looked so smashing that we decided to pose in front of this impressive machine as well."

M for make-up case: "The make-up artists have the most difficult assignment during filming outdoors. Even on the highest mountain they tag along a gigantic make-up case, packed with little boxes, applicators and bottles. Over and over again, our red cheekies had to be touched up again."

S for ski elevator: "The most wonderful invention in skiing is the ski elevator. Without this practical help, the ski pass would only be half as much fun. Here, Benny is letting himself being pulled up the mountain by the conveyor belt."

S for stars: "For the British TV show, everybody who is anybody showed up. Apart from us, there were: Boney M, Bonnie Tyler, Roxy Music, Ted Gärdestadt, the Jacksons, Amii Stewart, Eruption, Kate Bush, Patrick Juvet, Leo Sayer, Curtis Mayfield and Leif Garret."

S for scariness: "During a schussboom, Benny loses control over his planks and makes a dreadful fall. When we see him lying in the snow like this, we get a little uneasy. But Benny only smiles. Apart from some scariness, nothing happened. Thank God! He wouldn't have made an especially good impression on stage with his leg in plaster!"

C for chalet: "A breathing pause in a mountain restaurant. While we are getting a sun tan, Benny shows his thirst for adventure by inspecting the romantic chalet, that's how a wooden house in the mountains is being called in this region. Here, he is posing for the photographers, smiling from one of the windows."

C for Christian: "If Agnetha had a new boyfriend already, is what a curious reporter asked her. She retorted that there was only one man in her life: her son Christian."

H for helicopter: "From Geneva to Leysin is about a two hour drive by car. Since we also filmed a scene in a helicopter, we were flown to Leysin. We will never forget the wonderful flight over the snowy region around Lake Geneva."

H for gloves (Handschuhe): "Always and everywhere, Benny is up for a little joke. For the photographers he even puts his gloves into his mouth. That was just what he was waiting for, in the true sense of the word."

H for hotel: "A group picture with the ladies in front of the Hotel Central Residence."

N for fog (Nebel): "Normally, we would have enjoyed one hundred percent beautiful weather at this time of year. That's what the inhabitants of the skiing resort assured us, after we had had some sun for one day out of the five days we spent there. On the other days, the fog was sometimes so dense that we could hardly shoot our scenes!"

N for notes: "Role study on the skiing piste. Once again we mull over our lines, before we dare to get in front of the camera."

N for night: "No one got very much sleep. But Björn got the least amount of sleep. He chatted with the pretty Boney M singer Liz Mitchell, mostly until the early morning hours."

E for warming up (Erwärmen): "Agnetha warms herself up with some glühwein. After that she too has to get back on the planks again, because the filming in the snow has not been completed yet!"

E for idea (Einfall): "Björn had the most daring idea. He wanted to fly to the top of a mountain with the helicopter, to get to a several kilometres long downhill run. Thankfully the fog prevented the take-off attempt."

E for parents (Eltern): "Björn and Agnetha brought their little daughter along to Switzerland. She was also accompanied by their nanny who's name coincidentally is Agnetha as well."

E for all's well that ends well (Ende gut): "All's well that ends well! On Sunday evening, the British broadcasting company arranged a huge party for all participants. First, a luxurious dinner was being served. Subsequently the party continued in the disco until five o'clock in the morning. But we didn't spend the long night in the dance club, we had an early night instead. Except Björn. Guess who he was flirting with again?"
Posted by Michel at 10:35 1 comment:
Labels: 1979
Sunday, 26 May 2013
De Telegraaf, 1979: ABBA's Björn shows his new love

ABBA star Björn Ulvaeus, who recently divorced his wife Agnetha, introduced the new love of his life yesterday.

He spoke enthusiastically about his feelings for the blonde Lena Källersjö who is now inseparable from him. Björn said in his London hotel room, while his ex-wife Agnetha was alone in her room a couple of doors further: "I had only been single for a week after I divorced Agnetha, when I met Lena. We started living together right away. I discovered that love comes easier when you have already lived with somebody. When Agnetha and I separated, I knew immediately that I would fall in love again. I realised that I wasn't cut out for a bachelor's life."
Björn thinks that the divorce from Agnetha has been easier on him than he had expected: "There were a lot of tensions," he said. "When it got much worse we tried to distance ourselves from the tensions but the situation became intolerable. Now we have a good understanding in our work and we've remained friends."

While Björn has found happiness again with a new girlfriend, friends are saying that Agnetha has far more difficulties. She only has loose and temporary relationships. Björn says: "I believe Agnetha likes being single. She has had a lot of relationships but I thought she was having a hard time with them."

Björn says: "Despite all our problems we have done the right thing by getting divorced. We were both very selfish and this caused numerous arguments. Agnetha isn't jealous of my new girlfriend either. We often go out to dinner together. Lena and Agnetha get along great with each other."


De Telegraaf, 1979: ABBA's Björn shows his new love

ABBA star Björn Ulvaeus, who recently divorced his wife Agnetha, introduced the new love of his life yesterday.

He spoke enthusiastically about his feelings for the blonde Lena Källersjö who is now inseparable from him. Björn said in his London hotel room, while his ex-wife Agnetha was alone in her room a couple of doors further: "I had only been single for a week after I divorced Agnetha, when I met Lena. We started living together right away. I discovered that love comes easier when you have already lived with somebody. When Agnetha and I separated, I knew immediately that I would fall in love again. I realised that I wasn't cut out for a bachelor's life."
Björn thinks that the divorce from Agnetha has been easier on him than he had expected: "There were a lot of tensions," he said. "When it got much worse we tried to distance ourselves from the tensions but the situation became intolerable. Now we have a good understanding in our work and we've remained friends."

While Björn has found happiness again with a new girlfriend, friends are saying that Agnetha has far more difficulties. She only has loose and temporary relationships. Björn says: "I believe Agnetha likes being single. She has had a lot of relationships but I thought she was having a hard time with them."

Björn says: "Despite all our problems we have done the right thing by getting divorced. We were both very selfish and this caused numerous arguments. Agnetha isn't jealous of my new girlfriend either. We often go out to dinner together. Lena and Agnetha get along great with each other."



Bravo, 1979: A new love with ABBA

For the first time, Björn showed his new girlfriend Lena in public. And there were rumours about Agnetha that she has a new boyfriend and is expecting a baby...

This year, on the ABBA tour, Björn could almost constantly be seen with a girl by his side, who looks almost exactly like Agnetha. It's his new girlfriend Lena Källersjö. During ABBA's concerts, the 29-year-old Swede was sitting behind the amplifiers on stage or she waited for Björn in the dressing room. Whenever he had to give an interview or prepare for the concerts, she was patiently reading a book, until he had some time for her.
Björn knows Lena - who is working as a secretary at a record company - for almost a year now. It all started shortly after Christmas 1978, when Agnetha had moved out of their common residence permanently.

"Lena and I met each other by coincidence at a mutual friends' New Year's Eve party. It was love at first sight," says Björn. Soon after that, Lena already moved into Björn's home in Lidingö. Since then he barely wants to make a move without her.
Björn: "At first, I only wanted to bring Lena along on the American leg of our tour. At first I believed that I could get along without Lena for the rest of this giant tour. But when we performed in Munich, I craved so much for her that I begged her to come over immediately."
What is actually Agnetha's opinion about all this, that Björn is bringing along his new girlfriend on their tour? Isn't she just a little bit jealous?
Agnetha: "Why would I? Even when I have spend a wonderful time together with Björn, my marriage to him is history. Why wouldn't I grant him his happiness? Apart from that, Lena is a very nice girl. During our tour, I even went out to dinner together with her and Björn a couple of times. Our children Linda and Christian get along great with Lena as well."

Despite all this bliss and contrary to several rumours, Björn and Lena are not thinking about getting married yet. They want to take some time before that.
Lena, who has been married before too, says: "I'm happy with Björn, even without a marriage licence. Apart from that, we have to find out if we are compatible in everyday life too. Because ever since we met, Björn has been working like a madman. Actually we haven't had the time for a true private life just yet."
Agnetha gave rise to hot speculations on this tour as well. Several concert attendees believed to recognise that a bit of a tummy was developing underneath her skintight stage outfit. And that was all it took to assume that Agnetha was pregnant.
"Complete nonsense," Agnetha denies, "if I was having a baby, I would be the first to know. Apart from that, I couldn't imagine who should be the father."
But the premature speculators even have the answer to that question. On this tour there was a man with whom Agnetha was very affectionate. Often she could be seen backstage in the dressing room in an animated conversation with Mats Ronander, the guitarist in ABBA's backing band. A little smile during the soundcheck that was aimed at only him fuelled the rumours. And during the concert at the Olympic Hall in Munich, she stroked his hair tenderly, when she thought she was unobserved.

When asked if Mats is her new boyfriend, Agnetha however shakes her head. But her answer is less convincing: "We like each other and I get along great with Mats professionally. But there's no talk about a friendship, let alone love. I don't know how things will develop between us. Maybe I won't see Mats ever again."
Despite everything, the fans still haven't given up hope that Agnetha and Björn will get back together again one day. When you see them standing next to each other on stage peacefully, it's hard to believe that they don't have anything to say to each other privately anymore.
But Björn doesn't see any chance for that to happen: "We have drawn a line under our marriage. The only connection we still have are our two children Linda and Christian. Apart from that it's not necessary to hate each other when you have separated. We are still friends, just like we were before."



ABBA star’s life of heartbreak. By John Wood

There was sadness and despair in the eyes of ABBA star Agnetha Fältskog (Anna) as she walked through the foyer of her London hotel.

It was during the visit of the famous Swedish pop group to Britain recently. The 29-year-old blonde had just left her hotel suite where, she admitted, she was “lonely”.

A few doors away, sharing a room with the new love of his life, was Anna’s former husband Björn Ulvaeus, 34.

Here there was no misery or suppressed tears and Björn was more than happy to talk about the woman who has taken Anna’s place – 30-year-old divorcee Lena källersjö.

“We are both marvelously happy with one another,” said the smiling Björn. “Lena has brought unique tranquility and peace into my life.”

Then coldly, when asked about Anna, he replied: “She moved out of our home last Christmas, 1978. Now we are friends. I look at her and I find it difficult to imagine that we had an intimate relationship.

“Actually I think she rather enjoys being a bachelor girl.

“We were incompatible. That is not the case with Lena: we are more than compatible.”

At the hotel, at first encounter, Anna had refused to talk about the break-up of her marriage and the way she has failed to find any form of contentment with anybody ever since that traumatic moment in her life. In the hotel lounge she wore dark sunglasses – to hide the redness of her eyes which had been noted by fellow guests in the lift. And she was wan and pale.

But her refusal to discuss her problems was before the group’s performance at London’s famous Wembley Stadium. Clearly, the unhappiness of one of ABBA’s stars had affected the performance of the whole group.

Although the show was a sell-out, a major London newspaper called the evening “a damp squib”. The paper added, for good measure: “Much of the group’s magic seemed locked into a Swedish iceberg: it was struggling to get out, unsuccessfully.”

Later, Anna admitted: “I just can’t help it. My heart no longer is in our performances.

“Maybe the fact that I have suffered a lot emotionally has something to do with it. I cannot say. But I see Björn there…and I remember many things.

“I try to be professional and sing and perform well, but the joy has gone.”

Anna also confessed: “All this success – which of course I appreciate – has not brought me happiness. Now all the feelings and hopes for the future are centred on my baby Christian (22 months old) and daughter, Linda (6 years old). I want everything for them.

“Linda starts school next year and I have to make an important choice – between ABBA and my daughter. She has to go to classes regularly, and that is when she is going to need me most.

“In fact, I’m pretty certain what I’ll do. I shall spend all my time with my daughter – and baby son. And if that means quitting ABBA – the end of the group, perhaps – then so be it.

“Now, with the divorce, I know that there are emotional problems which they (Linda and Christian) have to face. Being away from them for long periods is just too much. So I’m prepared to sacrifice my career, if necessary, to ensure their happiness.”

Anna is trying desperately hard to prevent the world noticing her anguish and the emotional storms which have resulted from the ending of her marriage to Björn.

With a brave show she agreed to dine out with Björn and the new woman in his life, Lena – who used to be one of her closest friends. But the strains and tensions simmering beneath the surface were clear for all to see.

Since winning the Eurovision Song Contest five years ago, ABBA has sold more than 100 million records.

Since their hit Waterloo, their other records, like Mamma Mia, Fernando, Dancing Queen and Voulez-Vous, have swept to the top of pop charts worldwide.

The foursome – Benny Andersson, his wife Frida, and of course Björn and Anna – have become multi-millionaires.

For the first time, Björn recently gave a glimpse of behind-the-scenes strains which caused the break-up of his marriage and which threaten to bring an end to the ABBA success story. That is, unless they can persuade Anna to continue in the group, or a replacement can be found for her who will be acceptable to the millions of ABBA fans.

“There were immense pressures as we became successful,” he said. “We had to strive to reach the top and then remain there. The more successful we became, the worse the pressure grew. I took our work seriously and immense thought and effort went into the choice of every song and our presentation. It was just too much in the end.”

It was too much, for Anna grew tired – and a little jealous, say some connected with the group – of the way Björn devoted so much time to the musical and financial aspects of ABBA.

“For days on end, he would not say a word to Anna,” one person said, “as he worked up to 20 hours in the 24 on a new number.

“Agnetha never took it as seriously. She tried to distract herself by going for runs in the woods near their home, or busying herself with the children. But in the end the very success they achieved professionally resulted in the breakdown of their marriage.”

Once Anna was full of happiness as she and Björn sampled the joys of world success. Now, for the divorced singer, there’s only despair as she sees her former husband in the arms of another and contemplates quitting the group.

Björn now tries to cover up for the marriage’s failure and the stress it is causing by declaring publicly: “Anna and I are now better friends than we were when we were married. I have not felt in any way jealous of her friendships with other men. And, of course, as you can see by the way she, Lena and I dine out together, she is no way jealous of my relationship with Lena.”

Those who have seen Anna, however, judge for themselves that it is not as simple as that. She has been out with men like the Swedish international ice-hockey star Lars-Erick Ericsson, but none of these friendships lasted.

And the 34-year-old Björn demonstrates that he, too, can be touchy, for he becomes angry when asked about the reported romance between his former wife and Hakan Lonnback, the psychiatrist the couple went to see last year as they tried to patch up their marriage.

“There was no substance in that story of a romance,” he says, his voice rising.

The truth, despite a public display of friendship between Anna and Björn, is that the strains are not diminished by the fact that their divorce is now almost a year old.

When television crews were invited to see for themselves how “happy they all were together”, the couple demonstrated this by smiling and even embracing for the cameras. But when filming was over, said one crewman, they stood apart and refused to talk or even to look at each other.

Now, many fear that the continuing emotional storm between Anna and Björn will bring about the end of ABBA.

Photo from 1977: Agnetha (who is pregnant with Christian), and Björn, pose for the cover sleeve of the single Take A Chance On Me - Anna and Björn in happier days. Now she is finding it difficult to hide her unhappiness and he is insisting they are still friends. Transcribed for ABBA World

New Idea (Australia) · 29 December 1979 (Pages 6 & 7)



El divorcio

"La gente piensa en lo afortunado que debo haber sido por casarme con Agnetha. Podía ver hombres que me miraban con envidia, pero no importa si cada hombre del público está mirando el cuerpo de tu esposa si tú ya no la encuentras atractiva, así es. La gente solía decir que nos separamos porque estábamos en el mismo grupo y nos acostumbramos mucho uno al otro. Eso es basura. La mayor parte del tiempo yo solía estar componiendo o trabajando en el estudio, y ella haciendo otra cosa. Y no pasábamos nuestro momento en la cama hablando de negocios. Lo que nos pasó a nosotros le pasa a muchas relaciones... simplemente seguimos caminos separados. Nos hubiéramos separado si yo hubiera sido un ingeniero civil y ella enfermera. Podría haber durado más, pero al final el resultado habría sido el mismo. Es obvio que cada pareja tiene peleas, pero nosotros estábamos teniendo el tipo de peleas equivocadas. Las que no puedes resolver porque no te puedes comunicar más. Y cuando descubrí que ya no quería volver a casa en la tarde y que intentaba demorarme lo más posible, con la esperanza de que Agnetha se hubiera ido a la cama, entonces supe que debía hacer algo al respecto". Björn, 1984.

unes, 9 de septiembre de 2013
Gracias a Alejandro Fabian Lopez!


Sunday, 7 September 2008
Story, December 1982: Agnetha and Frida: "Because of ABBA our marriages failed"
Is ten years of ABBA something to celebrate? Björn, Frida, Agnetha and Benny have their doubts about that. They not only look back on big successes, enormous fame and financial prosperity... ABBA destroyed their private lives as well. The foursome, once made up of two close couples, has memories of sorrow and loneliness as well.

ABBA has been together for ten years! So it seems, reason enough for the members of the group to have a celebration. But whether Agnetha, Frida, Björn and Benny will actually do this? In an exclusive interview with Story, Agnetha and Frida reveal how ABBA destroyed their private lives...
It’s amazing how things can change in ten years time! In 1972, Agnetha Fältskog, Frida Lyngstad, Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson recorded their first song. And none of the four dared to dream that they’d be famous all over the world a few years later, as the group ABBA. That first record, called ‘People Need Love’, applied to the foursome very much. At the time, Björn was madly in love with Agnetha. And Benny couldn’t keep his eyes off of Frida. And their dream was for the four of them to be happy and famous. And that dream came true. Because in 1974 the young group ABBA won the Eurovision Song Contest with the song ‘Waterloo’. And from that moment on they scored hit after hit. In the meantime, Björn and Agnetha had gotten married and Frida and Benny had tied the knot as well. “The four of us are so extremely happy in our work as well as in our private lives, it’s sometimes scary,” is what Agnetha once told a journalist. Their happiness seemed to last. Björn and Agnetha had two children together, Linda and Christian. And Benny and Annifrid made a happy family with Hans and Liselotte, the children from Frida’s first marriage.
And then it suddenly went wrong! Enormous problems started to arise for Agnetha and Björn. “Björn was absorbed completely by the music, he hardly paid attention to me anymore,” Agnetha says now, three years after the divorce. “Characterwise, I’m a very homely type of person and I can’t imagine anything more wonderful than sitting on the couch with my husband, watching a good movie on television. When we were just married, Björn felt the same way. But while ABBA was doing better and better, our relationship was getting worse. Towards the end, we only saw each other in the recording studios. I got more and more depressed and eventually I saw a psychiatrist almost every day. Together with him I came to the conclusion that I had to end my marriage to Björn as soon as possible, before I would become a mental wreck. Björn wasn’t surprised at all when I told him I wanted a divorce. He had seen it coming, but he didn’t know how to save our marriage. For Björn, his job will always come first.”
And as if there hadn’t been enough tears shed, a while after that, Frida and Benny’s marriage ended as well. “We’d had some problems for a while,” Frida explains honestly. “But in the beginning we wouldn’t face them. We just ignored them. You can keep that up for some time, but eventually you really have to do something about it. As time went by, Benny and I had made a life of our own and eventually we only came home to sleep. Some time after that, I discovered that Benny had an affair with the 37-year-old TV-presenter Mona Nörklit and from that time onwards he didn’t come home at all anymore. Well, why stay married then? Isn’t it much better for the both of you to start all over again? Since that time, I feel it’s a relief to be alone again. My two children are living independently. Hans is 19 years old and he has made music his profession as well. And Liselotte, aged 15, is attending highschool in America. I finally have time for myself. I love it! I travel a lot and, as you know, I recorded a solo album. What more could you want!?“
Björn and Benny claim to be very happy in their private lives as well. They have both remarried and become fathers again recently. A proud Benny is walking through the ABBA offices with the nine-months-old Ludwig, but when our photographer wants to take a picture, he says sternly: “No pictures, please. I want to keep my private life out of the media as much as possible.”
But Agnetha wants to share something about her children. “I’ve promised myself to spend all my spare time on Linda and Christian from now on,” she says decisively. “In the past, I’ve had to leave their upbringing to the nanny too much. That won’t happen anymore. They need their mother. I don’t want to do any tours anymore either, that will take me away from home for too long. I would have the feeling that I’m failing them and I definitely don’t want that. I took Linda with me to America once, but we both didn’t enjoy it. When I’m at home with Linda and Christian, I’m perfectly happy, so I want to keep it that way.”
So it seems that the fairy tale of ABBA will have a happy ending after all.




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