Getting the band back together

ABBA

Thank you for more music: ABBA record first new material in 36 years

They said it would never happen, but it has: the four members of ABBA have reunited in the studio to record their first new material in over thirty-five years.

In a statement released today via ABBA’s official Instagram account, the group described their decision that “it could be fun to join forces again and go into the recording studio. So we did. And it was like time had stood still and that we only had been away on a short holiday. An extremely joyful experience!”

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The Swedish quartet shot to fame in 1974 after winning the Eurovision Song Contest with Waterloo and went on to achieve twenty-five hit singles – including nine number one hits – over the next decade. Although they never officially broke up, the last time ABBA recorded together was in the summer of 1982 when they completed half a dozen tracks including their final two singles Under Attack and The Day Before You Came. Although the group became deeply unfashionable for much of the next decade, they underwent a spectacular revival in fortunes in 1992 when Erasure’s Abba-esque EP of ABBA covers topped the UK chart. Released in September that year, the compilation album ABBA Gold entered the chart at number one and has been an almost permanent fixture on the chart ever since, returning to the top spot for five weeks in 1999 and another two in 2008; now the second biggest selling album ever in the UK (outsold only by Queen’s Greatest Hits), it remains in the UK chart to this day, having spent well over 800 weeks on the listings and sold over thirty million copies worldwide.

Despite this success, the members of ABBA have consistently dismissed any idea of a reunion, turning down offers including a proposed world tour in 2000 which would have earned them a reported one billion US dollars. “There is simply no motivation to regroup,” Björn Ulvaeus said in 2008, “we would like people to remember us as we were.” This is not to say that there haven’t been tantalising glimpses: to mark the thirtieth anniversary of their Eurovision success, the group made cameo appearances in a video made for the interval of the 2004 contest, while the group members attended the premiere of both the stage musical Mamma Mia! in 2005 and the film version in 2008. All four members performed together for the first time in thirty years at a private party in 2016.

While the group still has no apparent intention of performing in public again, the two new songs are expected to be included in a new “avatar” tour which will feature holograms of the band performing on stage. This digital version of ABBA will also perform one of the new songs I Still Have Faith In You in a TV special to be aired in December 2018.

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