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The ABBA thread


I Am A Swede

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Oh, yeah... I always knew that. Their voices are similar, but for me, I've always been able to tell them apart from one another. Benny and Bjorn blended VERY well, like on "Dance (While the Music Still Goes On)" very few groups have a magical blend so that at times they can sound like one person, and Abba had TWO pairs of them. I always felt it wise that Bjorn would always lead a couple songs, it kept the albums fresh and gave them variety. So many times, a group hits on a winning formula and they are too scared to stray even a LITTLE BIT from it, but then this song gets released as a single and is a major hit, so sometimes changing things up works very well.

And this is another one of his that's a fan favorite:

Many people seem to think Bjorn is unattractive, I always found him to be a sexy little thing.

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I LOVE Rock Me. It's so full of energy and (for ABBA) edge.

You can see why Agnetha's bottom got so much press attention.

I love the wholesome, harmonic simplicity of their early songs. They hold up so well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBvQV-rHis0

This is the only song on an ABBA album co-written by one of the ladies.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNJBvfkL0s0

I used to listen to this over and over and over. Too bad it didn't have a better video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mP_dk429rbc

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It's almost impossible to pick a favourite ABBA song, since they're all wonderful. Even the less famous ones, like these two.....

That's close to my very favorite ABBA song. I wonder if Bjorn was doing a Bogart impression at the start of that.

I'm amazed no shows or movies have ever taken off the spoken word part and used that in one of those montages where people die or leave town or break up. It's perfect.

The intro always reminds me of that "always wear sunscreen" one hit wonder. ABBA ahead of their time as always.

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It's amazing to look at a video like the one for "When All Is Said And Done" and realize that Björn, Benny and Frida are only in their mid-thirties and Agnetha is only 31, the same age that Britney Spears turns this year.....

They look so much more "grown-up" than many stars nowadays do when they're at the same age.

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The Visitors is wonderful. My favorites are Soldiers/Should I Laugh or Cry/One of Us. The only ones I don't care for are Slipping Through My Fingers (too treacly)/Two For The Price of One (too much annoying electronica) and then Head Over Heels (the song is fine, they just didn't seem to have their heart in it).

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ABBA never released a new album after "The Visitors", but they did record a few songs for a future album. Two of them, "The Day Before You Came" and "Under Attack" were released as singles in late 1982 with two more new songs as b-sides ("You Owe Me One" and "Cassandra"), but the album remained unfinished. Through the years rumours grew that some more songs existed. Finally in 1993 one of these songs, "I Am The City", saw the light of day on the compilation album "More ABBA Gold":

Yet another track finally saw the day in different bootleg versions during the 1990s. It was called "Just Like That":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEAwyzijIO8

You can very clearly hear similarities with the released "Under Attack" in this song.

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Agnetha was quite an accomplished songwriter in her own right. A fact that has, perhaps understandably, been overlooked thanks to the amazing success she had with ABBA. Here are a few examples of her songwriting skills.

From her 1979 compilation album "10 år med Agnetha" ("10 years with Agnetha")

One of her earliest, and biggest hits, from her 1970 album "Som jag är" ("As I am"):

From her 1975 album "Elva kvinnor i ett hus" ("Eleven women in a house")

From her first album "Agnetha Fältskog", released in 1968:

(Yes, the song is a retelling of the fairytale about Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs!)

Her very first single, released in late 1967:

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Björn and Benny have of course continued to work together after ABBA, with the musicals "Chess" and "Kristina från Duvemåla" as their most famous projects. But they have written a lot more during these past 30 years.

In 1987 they wrote this song for the movie version of Astrid Lindgren's book "Mio my Mio". (The movie was called "Mio in the Land of Faraway" and starred among others Christian Bale, Christopher Lee and Susannah York) It is sung by Karin Glenmark.

Also in 1987 Benny released a solo album called "Klinga mina klockor" ("Ring my bells"). Most of the songs were instrumental, but a few had lyrics, among them the title track. To sing that song Benny brought together a choir of 21 of Sweden's most famous female singers at the time. (One of them was Anni-Frid):

One of Benny's and Björn's biggest hits in Sweden after ABBA is "Du är min man" ("You are my man"). It was written for Benny's new group, Benny Anderssons Orkester, and is sung by Helen Sjöholm, the star from "Kristina från Duvemåla". It stayed on the Swedish radio chart "Svensktoppen" for 278 weeks (2004-2009) and spent 60 of those weeks at #1:

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Everyone knows of course that ABBA's big break came when they won the Eurovision Song Contest with "Waterloo" in 1974. Personally though, I think that "Waterloo" is one of their weaker songs. I think that "Ring Ring", which they entered in the Swedish qualification in 1973, is much better, yet it only finished 3rd that year.

And here's the Swedish version:

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Here's another Björn and Benny composition that might have been written for ABBA. It was originally performed by the duo Gemini (Karin & Anders Glenmark) in the mid 80s, but here it's performed by H & Claire (Ian Watkins and Claire Richards) who previously were members of the British pop group Steps.

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Agnetha Fältskog is back in the recording studio! She's working on a new album, the first with new, original material since 1987. According to Swedish newspapers she's working with Jörgen Elofsson, who's written for artists like Céline Dion, Britney Spears, Westlife, Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Lopez, Leona Lewis and Jennifer Rush

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