Soundtrack of my life: Benny Andersson
The Abba star tells Craig McLean about six records with a very special meaning for him ...
Benny Andersson at the Covent Garden Hotel
Benny Andersson, photographed at the Covent Garden Hotel. Photograph: Suki Dhanda
Sunday 17 May 2009 00.01 BST Last modified on Tuesday 25 September 2012 16.57 BST
The first record I bought ...
Elvis Presley, Jailhouse Rock (1957)
In Sweden we did not have commercial radio at the time. But there was this pirate station in the Baltic, Radio Nord. I'm not sure if I heard it there, but people were certainly talking about this guy. And I realised there was something out there that I hadn't heard before. Especially the flipside, Treat Me Nice, because that starts with a piano thing - I'd started piano a year before.
My introduction to melody ...
Mantovani, Film Encores (1957)
For some strange reason when I was 12, 13, I bought this. There was a lot of wonderful music on it: Laura, Limelight, Three Coins in the Fountain. You know what Mantovani is like: strings and tons of reverb. So very not rock'n'roll. I learned all these songs and that brought me into melody-making. The essence of good music to me has always been good melodies.
Memories of my first flat ...
Rattviks Spelmanslag, Gardeby Laten (1950)
I was 18 and got a place in Stockholm. In the morning I would get my little portable gramophone and play this. All the villages up north have their own spelmanslag , groups of fiddlers, and Rattviks was one of those towns. I played Gardeby Laten every morning in my new flat to come into a good mood. I was always tuned into fiddle music, the core of Swedish folk.
How all music is linked ...
Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares, Sableyalo Mi Agontze (1986)
I was sitting in the car maybe 20 years ago and this song came on the radio. What is this? It's like sheep! It's really raw stuff, women singing songs they've known since their grandmothers grew up. Folk music from Bulgaria is not exactly the same tone language as Swedish folk but there's something in it that makes you tick. All folk musics are more or less connected.
Proof that pop isn't dead ...
Alanis Morissette, Jagged Little Pill (1995)
I listened to this a lot when it came out, at a time when I wasn't writing pop songs any more. It was a remembrance of solid golden pop, from a fantastically talented woman with great writing and a great voice, and a very nicely produced album by Glen Ballard. It's one of the top 10 albums in my life when it comes to pop records, alongside Rumours and Hotel California .
The spirit of Swedish pop ...
Robyn, Robyn (2005)
Robyn is a great artist. She was 16 when she started and was straightaway a big star in Sweden. She's a hip kid, in the middle of whatever is going on, without being a chameleon like Madonna. She still has her own style all the time. We played at the opening of my hotel, the Rival, in Stockholm - I played piano and she sang, on her song O Baby. She has her act together.
Andersson began playing accordion with his father and grandfather when he was six.
His group the Hep Stars were one of Sweden's biggest bands in the 60s.
The man who wrote the music behind Mamma Mia! is not a fan of records from musicals.
Andersson has a stable of racehorses in Arundel, Sussex.
Story of a Heart, the first UK album from the Benny Andersson Band, is released on 6 July.
'Virtual' ABBA Coming Soon Through Partnership with Simon Fuller and Universal Music
10/26/2016 by Fred Bronson
Anders Hanser © Premium Rockshot
Promising the next step in virtual reality, the members of the Swedish quartet ABBA have teamed up with entertainment entrepreneur Simon Fuller and the Universal Music Group to launch a digital experience that will allow a new generation of fans to see, hear and feel ABBA in a way described by Fuller as “previously unimagined.”
Fuller, the creator of American Idol and manager to acts like the Spice Girls and Annie Lennox, has been quietly investing in virtual reality technologies, developing hyper-realistic digital humans in the field of entertainment. “I was imagining who would be my very first choice to work with on an extraordinary new virtual reality experience to capture the world’s imagination,” the XIX Entertainment founder and CEO tells Billboard. “In a second, I thought it simply has to be ABBA. I approached them directly and thankfully they all fell in love with the idea and now that idea is fast becoming a reality.”
The Swedish group is personally involved in the creative process. “The creativity and ideas flowing from the members of ABBA over the past few months have filled me with great excitement,” Fuller said. “We are exploring a new technological world, with virtual reality and artificial intelligence at the forefront, that will allow us to create new forms of entertainment and content we couldn’t have previously imagined.”
ABBA performs their song Waterloo during the Eurovision Song Contest in Brighton on Feb. 9, 1974.
ABBA Songs Remixed: Listen to 5 of the Best
Speaking for the group, Benny Andersson added, “We’re inspired by the limitless possibilities of what the future holds and are loving being a part of creating something new and dramatic here -- a time machine that captures the essence of who we were. And are.”
ABBA parlayed their win at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 with “Waterloo” into international success, breaking out beyond the borders of Sweden. A long string of pop hits, including “Dancing Queen,” “Knowing Me, Knowing You” and “The Winner Takes It All” continued until 1982. Then Andersson and ABBA co-founder Björn Ulvaeus turned their attention to a stage musical, Chess, written with Tim Rice. ABBA never recorded or toured together again.
A revival began in 1992, with the U.K. duo Erasure recording a four-song EP of ABBA songs, Abba-esque, and the release of ABBA Gold, a greatest hits compilation that has sold over 30 million copies worldwide. U.S. sales have reached 5.7 million, according to Nielsen Music, and in the U.K. the album is 17-times platinum, making it the second-best selling album in British history, runner-up only to Queen’s Greatest Hits.
It is now almost 35 years since ABBA performed live together, and interest in the group has never waned, helped along by stage productions of the musical Mamma Mia!, which opened in London’s West End on April 6, 1999 and is still playing. The New York run lasted from 2001 to 2015 and is the eighth longest-running show in Broadway history. The movie adaptation of Mamma Mia!, starring Meryl Streep, opened in 2008 and was an international box office success. It is the highest-grossing movie musical in U.K. history.
ABBA photographed in 1970.
ABBA Reunites, Performs in Stockholm for 50th Anniversary Party
As a group, ABBA has resisted calls to reunite. They have famously turned down a billion-dollar offer to perform live. An appearance of all four members in June at a party celebrating the 50th anniversary of Andersson and Ulvaeus’ first meeting generated headlines everywhere. “Our fans around the world are always asking us to reform and so I hope this new ABBA creation will excite them as much as it excites me,” said Frida Lyngstad.
The ABBA catalog has turned into crown jewels for the Universal Music Group. “Having the privilege of working closely with the band for over two decades, I can comfortably say there are few recording artists who like ABBA bring together their mastery of craft, a high level of professionalism and enormous commercial success,” said Lucian Grainge, chairman and CEO of UMG. “I’m thrilled to be involved in this innovative new project that will introduce the band who are responsible for some of the greatest songs and melodies in pop music to a new generation of fans.”
Abba consienten volver, pero en realidad virtual
Por Sebas E. Alonso | 26 oct 16, 16:35
abbaHace casi 35 años desde que Abba se separaron. Desde entonces, se han negado a hacer giras de reunión incluso por mil millones de dólares, aunque muy de vez en cuando se les ha podido ver juntos en algún que otro acto. Sin embargo, hay una fórmula que sí ha logrado reunirlos: volverán como protagonistas del nuevo experimento de realidad virtual que han ideado Simon Fuller (American Idol, Spice Girls, manager de Annie Lennox) y Universal. Según informa Billboard, este nuevo proyecto les presentará de manera “jamás imaginada”. Eso lo damos por seguro.
Al parecer Fuller quería probar con algún artista de primera categoría los avances de las nuevas tecnologías en cuanto a “desarrollo de humanos digitales hiperrealistas en el campo del entretenimiento”, enseguida pensó en Abba y ellos han aceptado. Hay, de hecho, unas declaraciones del mismísimo Benny Andersson: “Nos inspiran las posibilidades ilimitadas de lo que trae el futuro y nos encanta ser parte de la creación de algo nuevo y dramático, una máquina del tiempo que capture la esencia de lo que fuimos. Y somos”.
También hay unas declaraciones de Frida Lyngstad: “Nuestros fans de todo el mundo siempre nos están pidiendo que nos reunamos así que espero que esta nueva creación de Abba les emocione tanto como me emociona a mí”.
De momento no hay fecha para el momento en que vea la luz este experimento.
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