They’re back! Forty years after going their separate ways, ABBA, the  Swedish supergroup who became a worldwide phenomenon, has  reunited to release new music and to promote a long-planned virtual  concert. 

The band, which has sold over 400 million albums, released two new  songs on 3 September; I Still Have Faith in You, and Don’t Shut Me  Down, both of which appear on their upcoming album Voyage, set for  release on 5 November. 

Band members Bjorn Ulvaeus, 76, Benny Andersson, 74, Anni-Frid  “Frida” Lyngstad, 75, and Agnetha Fältskog, 71, had rejected past offers  to regroup, including an offer in 2000 which was rumoured to be in  excess of one billion dollars, for a 100 show world tour. 

The band broke  up in 1982, with their final studio album The Visitors, being the last  music they released…until now. 

ABBA On Sydney Harbour Bridge

As part of the global promotion for the release of the two new tracks and  upcoming CGI concert event, avatars of the four band members were  projected onto the pylons of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, along with a  lighting display spanning across its iconic arches.

The display was part  of a larger promotional campaign, with other events being held in Tokyo,  London, New York, Stockholm, Rio, Reykjavik, Berlin and Cape Town.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled for Sydney to be part of our global album  launch. Sydney has always been a special city to us and we have  wonderful memories of the time we spent performing in Australia,” the  band said in a statement.

‘Why don’t we just do  a whole album?’

While ABBA waited decades to get back together in the studio, it never  faded into obscurity. In fact, the band continued to hold a powerful sway  over fans, and amassed even more, based on the popularity of the  musical Mamma Mia, and a greatest hits collection, ABBA Gold, which  has sold over 30 million copies. 

The band, which formed in 1972, soared to immense and enduring  popularity after their song Waterloo won the Eurovision song contest in  1974.  

ABBA has also recently ventured into social media, recently creating a  TikTok account which has 897K followers. The account amassed  millions of streams within the first 24 hours.

Speaking of the band’s reunion in a taped message, Andersson said,  “First it was just two songs, then we said, ‘Maybe we should do, I don’t  know, a few others? What do you say, girls?’ They said yes, then I said  why don’t we just do a whole album?” 

Despite decades having passed, and the strife which ended the  marriages of the two couples in the band, the reunion was a happy one. 

Lyngstad & Fältskog, who both pursued solo careers after the band split,  expressed pride in the finished songs. 

Getting Back Together In The Studio

“When we got back together in the studio I had no idea what to expect… but Benny’s recording studio is such a friendly and safe environment,  and before I knew it I was really enjoying myself. I can hardly believe  that finally, the moment has come to share this with the world,” said  Fältskog on Instagram

“Those first sessions back in 2018 were such fun and when Benny  called and asked if I’d consider singing some more I jumped at it!”  Lyngstad said on Instagram. “And what songs!! My respect and love go  out to these exceptionally talented, truly genius songwriters! Such joy it  was to work with the group again. I am so happy with what we have  made and I dearly hope our fans feel the same.” 

In an Instagram post, Ulvaeus and Andersson spoke of their admiration  of Fältskog and Lyngstad.  

“They’re such amazing singers those two, I was completely floored by  the way they delivered those songs,” said Ulvaeus. “They’re true  musicians, totally unimpressed by pop star glamour but still having a  great time being creative in a recording studio. The ‘Voyage’ project has  injected new life into us in more ways than one.” 

“It’s hard for me to say what the most joyful thing for me with this project.  If it’s the involvement in creating the concert together with everyone or  being back in the studio together again after 40 years,” said Andersson.  “I think hearing Frida and Agnetha singing again is hard to beat.” 

In a YouTube livestream event watched by over 200,000 people,  Andersson and Ulvaeus introduced the new songs and talked about the  creative process of the band’s upcoming concert residency.

“The bonds that we have were so clear,” Ulvaeus said. “It was great. It  all came rushing back in a matter of seconds… We went into the studio  knowing that if we didn’t think it was up to scratch, we would never  release it. So we’re proud of it.” 

The Voyage Concert

“We’ve done as good as we could at our age,” said Andersson. 

The “Voyage” concert, featuring the digital ‘ABBAtars,’ will be held at a  3000 seat purpose-built ABBA Arena in London’s Queen Elizabeth  Olympic Park, starting 27 May 2022. Tickets for the concert will go on  sale 7 September. 

“When you come to the arena you will have the four of us together with  an absolutely glorious 10-piece band,” Andersson said. “And even if not  in the flesh, we will be right there, thanks to the work of the creative  team and ILM.”  

The concert, which has been in the planning stages since 2016, will  include 22 songs and the band members, who are now “old sensible  people,” according to Ulvaeus, will appear as they did in 1979. 

First new Music After Four Decades

“There’s an old saying in the music industry. You should not leave more  than 40 years between albums,” said Ulvaeus. 

“It’s about realizing that it’s inconceivable to be where we are,” Ulvaeus  said. “No imagination could dream up that, to release a new album after  40 years and still be the best of friends, and still be enjoying each  other’s company, and have a total loyalty. Who has experienced that?  Nobody.” 

Andersson, still seems incredulous over the longevity of the world’s  greatest party band. “It’s somewhat incomprehensible…we haven’t done  anything together for 40 years but still it seems we’re still around. The  music is played everywhere…I never actually understood it. I’m very  happy and grateful for it obviously…it’s good stuff.”


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