ABBA announces release of new music after 40 years
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The announcement was live-streamed across the globe yesterday, confirming that all four stars had reunited in the recording studio after 38 years to produce an entire album of completely new music. Tracks from the album ABBA Voyage will feature alongside all their greatest hits in an extraordinary show of the same name which will launch in London next May. But why weren’t Agnetha and Frida there? Bjorn himself commented that the new album was inspired by the bonds between them: “I just knew it had to be about us. It’s about realising it’s inconceivable to be where we are. To release a new album after 40 years and still be the best of friends and enjoying each other’s company… who has experienced that? Nobody.” SCROLL DOWN TO WATCH TEH FULL 60-MINUTE ABBA VOYAGE ANNOUNCEMENT
When the band split in 1982, it followed the high-profile collapse of both marriages among the bandmembers and a clear desire for everyone to reclaim their individual spaces and careers.
But over the subsequent years and then decades, the four stars have remained close and Benny said: “It’s been 38 years but it’s like no time had passed in the studio. Everyone went into their roles… First, there was just two songs and then we thought maybe we should do some more and said, ‘What do you think girls?’ And then we did a new album.”
Benny also joked about his biggest worry before the recording started.
He said: “It was so joyful to be in the studio together again. Hearing Frida and Agnetha go for it, not knowing if they were still ‘there’, if you know what I mean. Five minutes before they came into the studio I was thinking, ‘I should have asked if they can still sing.’”
Bjorn added: “They’re such genuine musicians, creative souls. It is a privilege to hear them sing your music and words. I know they have it (the album) and they are happy with the work.”
None of the band members, however, will actually appear in the new shows. They have created digital Abbatars who will perform all the songs in the 90-minute concert. Even so, Benny also admitted he wished the girls could also have been there for the global announcement yesterday. WATCH HOW ABBA CREATED THE NEW DIGITAL VERSIONS OF THEMSELVES BELOW
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Benny said: “They should have been here but they don’t enjoy doing this, all the media… As much as Bjorn does.”
Both women, Agnetha in particular, have increasingly maintained a much lower showbusiness profile than their former husbands.
After divorcing Benny in 1981 after 12 years together, Anni-Frid entered the ranks of the European nobility when she married Prince Heinrich Ruzzo Reuss of Plauen in 1992. The couple lived in Switzerland at his family castle in Freiburg until his death in 1999 at just 49.
She remains the Princess Anni-Frid, Dowager Countess of Plauen, but has been living in Zermatt, Switzerland, with her new titled partner, Henry Smith, 5th Viscount Hambleden, since 2008.
Frida had two children from her first marriage to ABBA musician Ragnar Fredriksson. Hans Ragnar was born on 26 January 1963, followed by Ann Lise-Lotte on 25 February 1967. She died following a car accident outside New York on 13 January 1998, leaving behind one son, Jonathan.
Agnetha divorced Bjorn in 1979 and became somewhat notoriously branded a recluse, something she has ridiculed in later years. She had certainly always been the least comfortable member of the band with all the public attention, while also suffering from stage fright and increasingly chronic fear of flying.
Although she has been based at her remote farmhouse outside Stockholm, Agnetha actually released seven albums.
A three-year marriage to surgeon Thomas Sonnenfeld was followed by a short relationship with an obsessive fan, Dutch forklift driver, Gert van der Graaf. When she terminated the relationship in 1999 his began to stalk her and was deported from Sweden the following year.
Agnetha and Bjorn had two children together, Christian and Linda. Christian and his partner and daughter live with Agnetha in Ekero, while Linda lives nearby with her family.
As for the reunion of the central ABBA family itself, fans will be hoping that Agnetha and Frida will make an appearance at the launch of the ABBA Voyage show in London in May next year.
ABBA VOYAGE: LAUNCHES IN LONDON IN MAY 2022
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