Episode 51: Mamma Mia (ABBA)

Here we go again… with the story of the dynamic 4-piece band from Sweden, ABBA! Leah tells the story from their beginnings as a fun project, to their international explosion to their modern day success and resurgence. Oh also, there’s jelly beans. 

Show Notes and Images

ABBA is a band that has captured millions of hearts worldwide, and led to the most successful jukebox musical of all time. Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad came together to win Eurovision in 1974, and go on to reach a previously unheard of level of fame around the world.

When we recorded this episode in August of 2021, we had no idea that the world of ABBA was about to be opened yet again. On September 2, 2021, one day before this episode went live, ABBA shocked the world by coming out of retirement and announcing their new album and digital concert experience, which you can learn more about here.

Episode Transcription

Hey guys, Leah here with one small addendum to this episode. So when we recorded this on August 17th, 2021, there was no news about when ABA was going to release these songs that they had been working on. Um, Left just indefinitely to hang in space. And then while we were editing this episode, they actually came out and announced that they were going to drop a new song for the first time since 1981 on September 2nd, 2021.

If you’re listening to this episode, this episode was released on September 3rd, 2021 could not have planned that better if I had tried, um, but wanted to make sure that we fixed the now inaccurate information that we didn’t. About when this new music was going to be released. So yeah, go listen to it.

I’m sure it’s a bop. I’m recording this in the first. So I really don’t know. Okay. I have been saving this. Oh yeah. You told you didn’t but you did tell me about it on Saturday. Okay. So for those. I don’t know, which is pretty much everyone listening. So for all of our listeners, our listeners pull up, pull up a seat because we’re going to get a little personal for a second.


Hey guys, Leah here with one small addendum to this episode. So when we recorded this on August 17th, 2021, there was no news about when ABA was going to release these songs that they had been working on. Um, Left just indefinitely to hang in space. And then while we were editing this episode, they actually came out and announced that they were going to drop a new song for the first time since 1981 on September 2nd, 2021.

If you’re listening to this episode, this episode was released on September 3rd, 2021 could not have planned that better if I had tried, um, but wanted to make sure that we fixed the now inaccurate information that we didn’t. About when this new music was going to be released. So yeah, go listen to it.

I’m sure it’s a bop. I’m recording this in the first. So I really don’t know. Okay. I have been saving this. Oh yeah. You told you didn’t but you did tell me about it on Saturday. Okay. So for those. I don’t know, which is pretty much everyone listening. So for all of our listeners, our listeners pull up, pull up a seat because we’re going to get a little personal for a second.

Um, so how much do I want her to be? So I’m on a medication. Let’s just say I’m on a medication. Everything’s fine. It’s just a management medication, but it causes me to have the most. Vivid dreams I’ve ever had in my entire life. And I’m already kind of a visual vivid person in general. They’re fucking wild dream guys.

I was not prepared for how much my mind was like, alright, cool. Let’s fuck you up. So here is the dream. It’s it plays out like an epic, like a hunger games ask dream. Okay. And at first I’m in a bar just hanging out, but I’m not myself. I’m playing a character. I’m playing a character. Who’s male and the big explosion happens.

The jelly bean empire takes over. Jelly empire. They like wearing jellybeans or are they like kind live jelly beans kind of. So basically here’s what happens, we’re humans and, but there’s, you know, there’s a guy at the top. I never saw him. I just met jellybean Hitler. Yes. And you know, like there’s the, um, character in every movie who’s the most.

Yes. So this was a female muscle. Second in command, if you will. And Christie the one on Kristy. Thank you. So they’re humans and everyone has to make jelly beans and they have to eat jelly beans as their only sustenance. And they, everyone carries a bucket, 10 bucket, filled a jelly beans with a string tied to their.

Wrist. Do you have any teeth left in this universe? I do. I don’t. I don’t believe in the Jew. I am a resistance fighter and the jelly bean empire. So you’re getting vegetables. I don’t know what I’m eating. I don’t remember eating a damn thing in this jelly, but basically says this has VeggieTales Nebuchadnezzar vibes.

The bunny, bro. You don’t even know the line. That was just about to come out my mouth. If you do not comply. You get sent to the cheddar grave is what it was called, not the furniture. So imagine like Cheez-Its going through a Fern. That’s what was like, it was cheese. It’s going through a furnace. You get pushed into a Cheez-It.

Fuck. No, but you can push into a Cheez-It is siloed people. If the cheese it’s people, I guess. I guess, I don’t know why don’t they taste sweet? No, it doesn’t make sense. If they were only eating jelly beans. Why does the cheese, it’s not tasting jelly beans. Why they taste like cheese, but maybe in this universe Cheez-Its tastes like jelly beans.

I don’t know. No one explained it to me. I am just the actor portraying the role of the resistance fighter in the jelly bean world. Okay. I basically go to a library and I read this book and I’m enlightened and I’m like, whoa, if I set this princess free, I can set the whole kingdom free. So I run away with the muscle following me and trying to.

Get to me, but I, when I get out of the city and I end up in the outskirts, the abandoned towns with the people hiding. Okay. And they give me some clothes and I’m on my way to find the princess. And then Josh wakes me up. Dammit, Josh. He wakes me up to go to the fucking gym when I’m trying to figure out who is the princess, how can I free her overthrow, the jellybean empire?

How do we overcome? Empire. That was, that was not what I was expecting, but these are the dreams I’m having here for it. I literally talked to my therapist about it, like, cause I’m like, should I be having dreams like this? And she goes, I’ve never heard of it, but the nightmares I’m like. Okay.

I’m Bethann and I’m Leah. And this is the jelly bean empire sponsored podcast. Just kidding. This is

Damn it never got to make jelly bean merge. God damn we do. Don’t wait, stay tuned. Don’t go to the cheddar grave.

Do you want to read. Overview. Yeah, I guess before I feel like, oh, before you do that, I forgot to mention our last episode that I put on our first ever user chosen topic poll you did on our social media. So if you voted in it, thank you. Um, this episode is not what was chosen in the poll because I was already almost done researching it when I ran the poll.

So sorry. But next episode that we record next month. I will be doing Tom petty and the Heartbreakers the first time ever. You’re going to know what I’m doing. I still don’t know what I’m doing. I only know because the people chose. So thank you. I will do one of those next year. Yes. So you will see my poll.

If you. Fucking choose the wiggles. I’m putting the wiggles back on there. Listen, listen, folks. I don’t want you to be the one to cover the wiggles. I want to be the one. So you can’t give me the wiggles. Can’t give Beth on the wiggles. We can’t cover the wiggles next year, too bad, so sad. I will run the poll for you.

Okay. So let me run the poll. Um, anyway, I’m going to scroll all the way to. The bottom of the list and I have landed on chill out and rock out by Jay Burke, 89 UK. I wonder where he’s located. No, no. Um, UK says UK. That’s why I said, I don’t know. I really thought you didn’t know. Well, I was confused for a second because usually I’m the one confused, I was confused.

I was just being sarcastic. Anyway, um, really great podcast, uh, chill vibes, while speaking. I’m going to restart that. Cause the Wilson threw me off whilst whilst a really great podcast, chill vibes. While speaking about some fantastic bands, the audio quality is good as well. I’m a pan Tara fan and I found enjoyable and informative looking forward to future apps.

Thank you, sir. Thank you. Appreciate it. If you’re new to this show. Welcome. Yes, we don’t always talk about dreams, but we do. What’s the blue moon. We do quite often go off on weird tangents. We so welcome nothing like talking about rock music and then transitioning over to jelly beans, TIFF, jellybean empire.

What flavor jelly bean would Freddie mercury be? Probably something flashy and bright red. Like the candy apple flavor. I was thinking Janice would be the cinnamon flavor. What’s this face for mamas and Papas. John would be the black licorice black licorice go right in the trash. Isn’t it ironic that someone in our life likes black workers.

Jellyby used to give him all my black licorice jelly beans. Let’s see where that grabs me anyway. Um, so today we’re finally doing it or I’m finally doing it. What are you doing? Talking about Abba, big, big guy in the sky.

please leave that in. So Abba is not what you would consider a rock band. So why am I talking about them? I’ll allow it. First off every song is a fucking Bob. Sure. What you say? Very true. Every song. Oh, we’ll get there. Uh, there was one that I was thoroughly confused by. Also, if you were a child of the nineties, like me and Beth Anne, you were probably first introduced to this band.

When the eighteens cover of dancing queen played on TV every hour for no reason, the channel Disney channel, I don’t know why it had nothing to do with a rollerskating. Yeah. If there was a rollerskating video music video, they’re like, it looks like they’re outside, like a Sonic or something. Yeah. It had nothing to do.

Disney channel it wasn’t in a movie at the time. I don’t know why the hell they were on Disney channel. Wow. I just went deep into my memory to pull that out, but I was obsessed. Also one of my best friends today. Hey, Janae has been requesting this since literally day one birthday is in September. So this is my present to you.

You can’t see, but I’m doing like a little, little bow. It was very drastic also. Uh, I just needed an excuse to relive my mamma Mia movie soundtrack obsession from 2008. So thank you. And the final reason is. There’s a lot of your followers and listeners from Sweden recently. So true. Thank you. This is also a thank you to you.

So what, what else did I get into. Abba, which I’m going to say Abba, because I’m American and I’m from Virginia. And that’s just how we say it. It’s pronounced ABA, but you say it that way. So I have said it my entire life can’t undo 28 years of Abba in, in one night. So we start with Benny Anderson. He’s born in December, 1946 in Stockholm, Sweden, and he is a member of the Swedish pop rock.

The hip stars, which is very similar to a band. You just mentioned the mommy pop and I made a face and I was like, I’m not going to say it. I’m going to say it for this one. Weird the hip stars. It’s also weird. We’re both covering like female and male singing. There’s some similarities between the two, huh?

It’s very weird. The whole time. I felt very strange. Um, no trigger warnings and this one though. Yeah, ABA is a safe place.

Um, so the half stars were known as the Swedish Beatles. Interesting. And the music scene in Sweden, you had the hip stars and that was it. There was nobody else. They were the top of the game. Like you had your, your small, like pub bands, basically. But they were like the biggest name in Sweden. They, however did not ever make it big outside of Sweden, which as we will see is a problem.

When you’re from Sweden, Benny, he played the keyboard and he started writing songs for lots of bands, his band, other bands, um, and they became major hits. In Sweden, which will be a problem. Uh, so he meets this guy named Bjorn, all this he’s born in April, 1945 in Goldenberg, Sweden, and Bjorn begins his music career at the age of 18.

He’s a singer. He plays guitar and he’s the front man for the hootenanny. The what of what? The hootenanny singers. Oh, I love that. They’re a popular Swedish folk skiffle group. You all know I’m about my skiffle groups. I love the word skiffle so much real hootenanny going back though. Hootenanny’s. So the origins started writing English songs for his group.

Uh, and he even like branched into having a solo career, but it never took off. Um, and because the music scene in Sweden, as you can imagine is not the biggest thing in the world. Sweden’s like the size of one state here in the U S uh, the hootenanny singers and the hip stars would cross paths while touring, and they bumped into each other quite frequently.

And so then become friendly. And in 1966, Benny and Bjorn decide let’s, let’s try writing a song together. Like we’re in similar circles, this could work. So their first attempt a song together was called. Isn’t isn’t it easy to say, which is not an easy title. I’m sure it works better in Swedish. Uh, and that song was recorded by the hip stars and released, um, not to spoil anything, but the hip stars don’t go very far in this story.

Um, but through this process, and at the time they get friendly with STIG Anderson, who is the manager of the hootenanny singer. And founder of the polar music label, he is important because he saw this collab between Benny and Bjorn and was like, that’s pretty good. You guys should write more songs. And so Benny wrote a song and submitted it.

It’s called, I think it’s pronounced. Hey clown, or. I don’t know, I don’t speak Swedish, H E J um, for the melody festival in which is the melody festival in 1969. And this festival is important because you know what, starting in the sixties, Euro vision. Yeah. You know how you get to represent Sweden and Eurovision.

You win the melody festival. So this song, the clown song ends up tying for first place, but because there’s a tie, they ended up casting a rainbow between those ties and Benny gets second. So he said, but while he’s at the festival, he ends up meeting his soon to be wife singer on a freed lyngstad who for most of the rest of this outline.

And most of her life, she just went by Frida instead of on a freed, I don’t blame her. Um, so she was also participating in this contest. Also didn’t win. So a month later, Benny and Frida start dating and the hip stars and the hootenanny singers, they break up. That’s sad. We saw that coming. They weren’t going very far.

And this is during the summer of 1969. And so Ben EMDR. We got nothing else to do you want to write some more songs together? Might as well. So they wrote an album together bet under the name, Benny and Bjorn called Leica, which means happiness in Sweden. All the songs were original. Both men sing on both songs, um, and their partners on a freed and Bjorn’s girlfriend, which we’ll meet in a second.

We’re just, they were always there in the recording studio as girlfriends do. And so they. Put them on backing vocals. There is so many similarities, but yes, it’s very weird outlines. You know, you are, yours is the second. Uh, horoscope of mine is the moon. We have not a happy ending, but I I’m pretty happy path.

Yeah. Um, so let’s touch base on the ladies in their lives. We are talked about freedom a little bit, but freedom was actually born November, 1945 in Norway and moved to Sweden at a very, very young age. She started singing at the age of 13. And, uh, mainly specialized in dance bands and was highly trained in like jazz cabaret performance.

Makes sense. When you look at Alba, um, she met Benny when she kind of tried to start her own solo career and he. Produced her first, number one, single my own town, the English translation and all the other three members of Abba actually backed up her on her song, which was like her first number one hit single.

It’s pretty cool. That’s cool. So the fourth member that is in this band is on Yetta fault. Skog she’s born April 5th, 1958. Um, I can’t pronounce that. She’s born in Sweden that works. She sang with a local dance band. Um, and she was really popular in Sweden. Like Sweden loved her even before she joined up with the ABA group.

Um, she’s, I mean, they’re all incredible singers, but around the time that she meets the other three, she was playing Mary Magdalen and the Swedish production of Jesus Christ superstar. Nice. So they’re all. Talented decently successful musicians in Sweden. It’s almost like they’re a super group in a way.

Yes. Without being a super group. Cause they weren’t really famous before they find each other. They’re only famous in Sweden. Um, and so. She sang in a band. She sent a demo recording to a band that was headed up by a guy named Carl Lundqvist. And the song is called. I was so in love and Lundqvist, like fell in love with Anita’s his voice, like convinced that she was gonna be a star.

He like got this tape in the mail. Went through the pre-internet effort of finding her, locating her, paid for her to come to S to Stockholm, to record to over songs. And so at the age of 18, she had a number one record in Sweden with a song she wrote herself. Wow. And that went on to sell 80,000 copies, which was like on her for her man for a, a female singer.

But if he Mustang or in the sixties in Sweden. Yeah. Um, so we know that Benny and Bjorn came from successful bands on yantra was like one of the most popular solo acts between 1968 and 1972. She had eight number ones in Sweden. So together, I guess they are kind of a supergroup. Um, so they, she met Bjorn during.

May, 1969, when they were filming some kind of Swedish TV special, they meet in May, 1969. They get married in July, 1971. Wow. So, I mean, it’s not terribly fast, but still really fast. So everyone has met, they’ve all married. We’re gonna, we’re gonna start a band now kind of on Anya and born. Obviously we’re always up in each other’s recording sessions cause they’re married.

They’re both involved in music and so. Bette. And, uh, it’s really confusing that they’re both A’s and B’s, which is why they’re called Abbott. We’ll get there in a second, but it’s hard to keep them straight. So if I stutter it’s because they’re Benny of yarn on Yetta and unafraid, Benny and Ana fried added up backing vocals to on yet his third solo album.

And so like there’s doing all these products of the place. Yeah. So how do we get them? Well, we take a vacation. That’s how it’s made a couples vacation in April, 1970, the two couples go on holiday together to the island of Cyprus. Nice. Sounds magical. Yes. And they just start singing on the beach for fun one night, but they’re so good.

And such like natural performers that they end up having this like crowd of UN soldiers who are stationed on the island, just like. Watching them goof around on the beach. And so remember this time Benny and Bjorn are recording their first album like it together and free to on Yetta are doing backing vocals.

So then they got the idea of like, well, wait a minute, maybe this could be more than that. The girls I’m backing vocals. So they start an act called Festa Foca, which translates from Swedish, into English as party people, party people, but that’s the folk festival. Um, but also engaged couples. It’s like a triple meaning, which is pretty cool.

Oh, that’s kind of cool. Um, and it’s kind of like a cabaret show and it didn’t do. At first I got super negative reviews. Um, except when they performed their first song ever, all four together, it was called, uh, hello, old man is the English translation. Keep in mind up up until I say so they’re always performing in Swedish.

Yeah. So in 1970, like as released everything’s in Swedish, both couples are now married. And we run into an old friend, STIG Anderson from earlier. Okay. At this point he has founded and developed polar music, which is the Columbia records of Sweden. They’re huge in Sweden. He wants to break outside of Sweden and he’s like Benny and Bjorn.

You guys are my ticket to get out of here. And so he offers Bjorn, a job as a producer and a writer. And Bjorn was like, yes, can I bring Benny? And STIG was like, I only have money to pay one person. And he goes, we will split the salary and they did good for them. So he got two people for the price of one deal, genius businessman.

Um, from what I get from watching these interviews with sticks. The band does not do interviews. Let me just tell you that right now, they live under a rock. Now you can not contact them, but so the interviews are all people around them. Um, I think I would have liked to work understood because he was kind of a hard-ass, but he pushed them creatively and he knew what they were capable of.

So he never like pushed them too hard. Yeah. And he, obviously, they, they flourished under his leadership, so we like stick. So he starts thinking about how, um, he wanted Sweden to enter into your vision. And he said, Benny and Bjorn, that’s going to melt the melody festival again, write a song for it. And, um, they get rejected twice.

What? In 1971, they enter a song called, say it with a song. Which came in third place, but it got Benny and Bjorn, a lot of popularity within Sweden. Like don’t they realize that they are ABA Streep would one day sing their songs. They’re not on yet. We’re getting there. Um, and so they like work on recording some stuff.

They’re just kind of like, I don’t want to say founder around the kind of founder they’re trying to get their feet under them. Yeah. But in 1973, STIG says, fuck it. We’re going to melody festival again, you can do this, but one condition. You’re going to sing your song in English this time. Yeah. So they sing the song, ring, ring, all four of them in English and they came in third, but don’t worry.

They do get a redemption moment. Um, but this leads them to release their debut studio album also called ring ring. The album is entirely in English, which was kind of unheard of for a Swedish band at that point. Uh, they released the single ring ring, which did pretty well in Europe and South Africa. Um, but STIG is stick is a smart man.

He knows this band is not going anywhere out of Sweden until they get a hit in the UK or the U S which as we know, that is the ticket to success. Unfortunately it is. So up until now, they’ve been performing under the name Bjorn and Benny Yetta and honor freed. Well, there’s your problem, which is a lot and still gets really, really tired of writing this on paperwork.

So he starts to breathing and getting it as their initial. A B, B a that’s great. Unfortunately, Abba is also the name of a well-known fish canning company in Sweden. Well, no one gives a shit about them. So they had to literally come to negotiations with the fish cannery to convince them that a, the name would work at international markets because no one knows Abba as the fish company, outside of Sweden, but also.

They had to negotiate the rights to use the name that’s incredible. And the factory basically said, okay, as long as you don’t make us feel ashamed for what you’re doing.

Dude, imagine just negotiating with a fish company through your name. That was some lawyer’s job. Like usually he got paid a lot of money for that too. Like usually it’s like another artist has taken your name, fish, cannery. That’s incredible. Um, so by this time it’s like nine it’s, 1973 and they’re they’re on the rise 60.

But they’re not quite there yet because they’re stuck in Sweden. Why don’t they just take Sweden, a push somewhere else? They’ll still be in Sweden. And so stick has this dream. He wants to sell this Swedish music outside of Sweden and no one’s ever done that. So they have a name. They have several failed attempts at the melody festival.

So what do they do again? Try again, the 1974 validy festival because they know this is their ticket. Um, and so I think part of the issue was the world had to catch up. With Abba because they’re very disco S or they’re. This point is go carpenters ESC in 1974. Glam rock starts to become really big in England.

So we’re there, we’re there. They enter Waterloo into the melody festival. They not only when the melody Fest. They go on to win Eurovision 1974, unanimously that song capturing the hearts of thousands across Europe. Um, interesting points up until this point. Your, uh, vision was mostly ballots. Dude with a guitar singing a traditional folk song at this land.

And then here comes up with this pop song in their glittery spandex outfits. Uh, and they really, they stood out. They made an impression also the guitar that I don’t know if it’s been your Bjorn plays during, this is the coolest guitar I’ve ever seen in my life. I will find a photo. We will put. Um, and here, after they win the Fest, when a Eurovision STIG is a genius, because he signs them to multiple labels in multiple countries because he wants to work with the best that’s smart.

He said in this, in this interview, are his daughter said in the interview, she didn’t, they didn’t. Like to sign a Sony record because Sony may be good in Italy. They may suck in the UK. So he like put in the effort to make sure that each country got the best deal. So, uh, if anyone’s wondering, they went with Atlantic in the us, which is interesting because at the time they were an R and B label, um, to give you some idea of the contemporaries that Abba had on the label, Aretha Franklin and Ray, Charles were signed to.

This label, but the M a and D guy that they interviewed, he said that he just, he knew a hit when he had it. And he felt something special about ABA. And so he convinced the label to sign them. Uh, so Waterloo was Abba’s first major, hit in numerous countries like the whole world. And it became the number one single and nine.

Western and Northern European countries. It also hit the big markets of UK and west Germany, which we know is important to make it. You gotta hit UK. And it also made the top 10 in lots of other countries, including Spain, Australia, and France, and number seven in Canada and the U S it made it all in number six.

Good for them, which is crazy. Um, so. Uh, I lost my shot, but the album Waterloo was a hole only piqued number 1 45 in the U S and the top 200, um, because no one really knew what to do with it. The Los Angeles times called it a compelling and fascinating debut album that captures the spirit of mainstream pop quite effectively and immensely enjoyable and pleasant project.

But th they didn’t commercial sales just didn’t, didn’t do it for it, which as we will see. And as we see in most of European bands, the us does not know a good thing when we have it. Correct. So they just won the biggest con this biggest stuff. Thing in Europe and they’re just kind of playing it. Cool.

Like Bjorn and Benny, you’re back to working with the hootenanny singers. They’ve kind of reunited, um, Frieda and are working on their own solo albums and they just don’t know what is about to happen to them. But why do I want now ABA with the Hootenanny’s like, like that would be the title ABA with the hootenanny.

It’s like Paul McCartney with the Eagles or something like that, or the wings, sorry, in the wings. Okay. Um, so they follow up Waterloo with honey Hattie in the U S will be dot, dot, dot that’s my Mia, um, which that peaks at 27, but for some in the U S but for some reason, their UK label cause remember differently.

And different countries decides to release a remix of ring ring instead, which does not do well in the T in the UK at all. And so rumors start to spread in Europe. That ABA is just a one hit wonder, and they’re never going to make good album. Um, the U S label, meanwhile is like, Hey, you guys are still really new.

The only way to make it over here is to tour. Come to a tour, but it’s really hard for them to do a tour because they’re not a rock band. You can’t just slap a four piece outfit on a stage and call it a day. Like their sets are like these elaborate stage Schutz sets. Basically it’s like setting up a theater production.

Um, and they’re like, we don’t really want a tour, which don’t make more albums. And they, they said they already know what fame was from Euro vision and they didn’t want more of it. So, wow. They were, Ooh, that is some guts to say that they told the U S agent that, and they did the U S guy did not like it.

Oh, I’m sure he was perplexed. So in 1974 they released their self-titled third studio. Called Abba. The single off of this album is SOS, which skyrockets them back up into the charts in the UK and all across Europe. And they follow up that single with a mamma Mia, uh, which hits multiple number ones all over the world.

Um, So, like I said, they didn’t want a tour. Yeah. So they started this new thing called music videos as a way to get their faces out. They’re interested. They’re one of the pioneers along with the queen. Yes. But queen just kind of like the boat, the Bohemian Rhapsody video is cool, but it’s not like a cinematic masterpiece Abba made cinematic masterpiece of the time.

They’re very, very seventies cinematography. They’re kind of trippy. Um, they actually called the music movies and not music videos when they released. And all of the, all of ours are directed by Lars, uh, Lhasa, Lhasa Halstrom, uh, who is a genius. And he’s in this documentary I watched and he’s like the coolest dude ever.

Um, he’s so proud of his work. It’s the cutest thing. I mean, it’s like 75 and this interview and he, you could tell that like the highlight of his life, we was making these videos. I love when people are proud of what they do. So these videos are popular in Europe. The U S probably didn’t give a shit about them cause we’re boring.

Um, but these videos make them Xplode in Australia, like picture peak 20 11, 1 direction. Yeah. That’s ABA and Australia. They knew what they were doing. So we’ll, we’ll tell you us was just upset. They didn’t want to work to the bone. Yes. How dare they not tour? How dare they take a break, but we’ll talk about Australia again in a minute.

So in March, 1976, they released their compilation called greatest hits. After only three albums. I don’t really understand, but you know, whatever it became their first, you can’t never one album. So like someone knew what they were doing. Um, They also know what they were doing, because back then it was a trick ish of the record label too.

When you compile a greatest hits, you put the greatest hits on there, but you also throw a new single on there to can like to give people an incentive to buy your new album. Um, and the single that they put on this greatest hits album is Fernando, which Nando goes on to be number one in 13 countries, simultaneous.

Fun fact, the song was actually written for free to solo album in Swedish. Um, but something told them to not put it on her album, rewrite English lyrics, put it out as ABA. And it became one of their biggest hits ever. I love that in Australia because the Australians love ABA, Fernando occupied the top position.

At number one for 14 weeks. Wow. Holy shit. And then that’s what, four and a half months, uh, and then stayed in the chart for another 40 weeks. That’s crazy. It was the longest running chart topper in Australia for over 40 years until ed Sheeran installed the record with shape of you in 2017, it had not been broken.

No, that’s insane. They really love their all, but they really do. Like, you don’t understand what we’re going to get to in a minute. Uh, meanwhile, the United States is just vibing. We’re the John deacon of the story. No, we’re not even the John deacon. We’re just like looking the other way. Um, they didn’t come to her.

Hear us is really hard to break into if you’re not touring. Um, but they wouldn’t, they eventually changed their minds from, we don’t want to. Too we’ll tour. When we get a platinum album in the us, that’ll be the thing that gets us a tour, but in the U S you can’t get a platinum album without touring. So they just kinda like, forgot about us and said, nah, and just focused on the rest of the world.

No, there are other countries besides the United States. I mean, good for them for now. Putting all their eggs in one basket, they released their fourth album arrival in 1976. And this one has like hit this, this album alone could be a greatest hits album. The singles they release off of this, you start with money, money, love that song.

Then they released knowing me, knowing you. And then. Oh, sorry. No, those are the second, third. The first single to even drop off this album is dancing queen holy shit, which not only tops the markets in the UK, Germany, Sweden, and like other smaller European countries and Australia, but it hits number one in the UK.

Ooh, that’s good. What’s your know, as a big deal. Cause disco is hot in 1976 over here. Also Canada, the Soviet union, Japan, France, Spain, Italy there. I don’t like I can’t comprehend. That’s insane. Like to think that, well, I guess it makes sense because we’ve got a musical out of the deal. Alba is like this huge, huge band.

They were massively huge. Like, it just feels like in theater, because we both grew up with theater. Yeah. Mama Mia. But I didn’t know there were this big because they weren’t here. It was only in the us or in the UK. And like, and the rest of Europe here, they’re just like quaint. I don’t even know what we were assessing over at that point.

Probably Tom petty. Yeah. We’ll talk about him next time.

Often. So now they really have not toured the U S or otherwise it’s not 1977. They’ve been at this for like three years since, since you were a vision, um, they may be waited a little too long to tour because by this point they were superstars and could not go literally anywhere without being recognized, which adds some kinks into your tour.

So they start the tour. In Norway, which is neighboring Sweden. They go through Europe, they make this stop in the UK and, you know, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow. They do two sold out nights at the Royal Albert Hall, which. I know I bitch about Ticketmaster, but I cannot imagine buying tickets back in 1977.

Cause you know how you got tickets to Royal Albert Hall, that for those two shows you wait in line. No, you had to mail in an application, which I don’t understand. Well, you have to like what state your case, why you need tickets. You have to ma I just asked you to mail an advocate. The box office received a three and a half million requests for tickets.

Holy shit, which could fill the venue 580 times. So how do you, it has to be a random pick of that, I guess. I don’t know how the fuck they even go through 303 and a half million requests for tickets. I don’t understand. I know, I know Ticketmaster sucks, but that’s a better system than that. Yeah. At least percent Ticketmaster just crashed.

You imagine having to explain why you need tickets from Ticketmaster. They’d be like, nah, fuck you. And move on. Fuck off. Ticketmaster does not give a shit.

So after they wrap up in Europe, which I mean was pretty good tour in itself, they do a leg of a lag in Australia. And this Australia tour is important for several reasons. The first being that they filmed several of these shows to make a. It’s labeled as a documentary. I don’t want to go full on and call it mockumentary, but it’s not a documentary because it’s like a drama of this journalist.

I’ve only gotten to watch the first 10 minutes because it’s really hard to find online. And I only found one 10 minute clip, but it’s this journalist who is British and is sent to Australia to cover the, uh, I think he’s British. He sent her a show to cover the. Like Abba coming and touring. And it’s like, you know, dramatic shot of him trying to get into the venue, but it won’t security.

Won’t let him in and he needs to interview the band and like, but it’s also actual footage of them coming off the plane. I need to see the whole thing. It’s almost like this is spinal tap, but like a couple steps lower. It’s not as like insatiable mockumentary. I didn’t like it. I can see where it’s kind of hard to find some places cause they don’t think the band liked it either.

Um, all that to say it was a chaotic and endeavor because they’re trying to film the touring, Austria as obsessed with Abba. Like they were so big enough in Australia that they were bigger than the beetle. Wow. They had at the time, the biggest tour Australia had ever seen this was in 1975. They did 11 concerts in 10 days for over 140,000 people.

Fans were so crazy that in the documentary I watched and like, I hesitate to call fan girls crazy, go listen to our fan girls episode. This woman I’m about to say. It’s fucking crazy. She lays her newborn child in the middle of the street. So the tour bus is forced to stop so she can get their autograph.

Holy shit. Did you like people like that don’t deserve children? I hope someone calls CPS. Yeah. Or, you know, whatever the Australian equivalent to that is. Yeah. And like, that’s not just a story I read on the internet. That is a story. Uh, stick’s daughter tells in the documentary I watched, I don’t understand.

I don’t have children, but I would not lay them in the mobile road. No. Um, given fan girls a bad name. So they have a crazy successful tour. Australia is in love December, 1977. They released their followup to arrival with their fifth album creatively called Ahava the album. Which is super confusing because they have an album named ABA, but this is Abba the album.

Yeah. It’s a thing which coincides with the release of Abba, the movie it’s like maybe mamas and Papas, then change it to pop as a mom. I don’t understand. Whatever. Uh, so this album, ABA, the album includes the name of the game and take a chance on me. Take a chance on me. Boom, boom. All the break. Yes. I have a break, which the album does.

Okay. But not as well as arrival did. Um, they release a third single and kind of a weird way there. It’s called Eagle. It’s not my favorite Abba song. There’s a reason it’s not a musical. Boring. As far as oligos, which they release in Europe and Australia and the B side for Eagle was thank you for the music.

I love to guitar and yeah, it ends up, I don’t know what my name is trying to say here cause they make no sense, but basically that’s supposed to be the B-side like it was never intended to. A popular song that you need to fill some space on the back of the single. Now no one knows Eagle and everyone knows thank you for the music.

So yeah, it’s become one of the most beloved ABA songs to ever exist. And it was kind of, I want to call it a throwaway song, but a throwaway song. Yeah. So by 1970, ABA was one of the biggest bands in the world. So what do you do when you were in the biggest bands in the world? You make your own recording studio.

That’s what you do. Um, so they convert a vacant cinema, which sounds like the coolest place to record. Into the polar music studio headed by STIG. Nice state of the art studio. It was used by a lot of other bands to come. I bet the acoustics were incredible in it. I, yeah, it was used for, um, Genesis duke.

Okay. And then led Zeppelin recorded in through the outdoor. Oh, yeah. Okay. Definitely recorded as some crazy places. They really did vans, haunted mansion, abandoned cinemas, all the above. Um, and things start to fall apart in the band, not as bad as mamas and Papas, but like, uh, by January, 1979 yarn and I on Yetta announced that they’re getting divorced and this sends the media into a frenzy because immediately they’re like the bands breaking up.

Yeah. They can’t do this. They can’t. Separate. Um, but the band’s like, calm the hell down. We’re not going anywhere. It’s just the divorce. It’s not going to affect us. We can still work together. Um, but because the media is full of shit, they just attack the, about this in every interview that they’re in. So like, it’s so bad that Benny and Bjorn secretly.

Jetta off to The Bahamas to go write songs for the next album, which if the media was hounding me for my divorce, I’d probably do the same thing. So while they’re in The Bahamas, they end up writing what would become the sixth studio album Boulay who, uh, which ends up getting released in April of 1979.

The singles that you probably know off of this album are Tita. I have a dream. Does your mother know an angel? Also in 1979, because money, they released their second greatest hits volume, which once again, it’s always a sign has a new hip, single or new, a new single to get people to buy the album. Gimme, gimme, gimme a man after midnight.

And so things are winding down. They agree to play a north American tour. Wow. They did not want to do. They just felt like, you know, they just need some petty cash at that day. They weren’t falling in popularity. But I think tensions in the band were high enough that they they’re basically like, if we’re going to do this, we need to do this now.

Yeah. Cause we may not like each other in a year. So in September of 1979, they began the creatively named ABA. The tour I’ll put the tour in Edmonton, Canada. They played over 30, sold out dates, including six sold out nights in Wembley arena. This time. Wow. They had graduated from Royal Albert Hall, probably because there are three and a half million people in that country that wants to see them.

Yeah. They finished the tour in 1980 with a mini tour in Japan. And this is their last on the road chapter. They will never tour again, ever in 1980, they released the single, the winner takes it all off of their upcoming, which isn’t a great song, not a great song to release when people are speculating about your.

Yeah. And your band braking. True. True. Uh, it starts a lot of rumors that it’s written about Bjorn and non yet is marital tribulations. You are in wrote the lyrics. He says they’re not about his own divorce. Uh, on Yetta has repeatedly stated that she was not the loser in their divorce. So shots fired. And later that year they released the whole album super trooper, which is an interesting change in ABA style.

Because up until now, they’ve kind of, I don’t want to call them fluffy songs. Is that, that that kind of diminishes them. Cause they’re great songs. They’re light and airy. They’re light. Super-duper gets real personal. Yeah. And real synth heavy, but real personal, uh, this actually set the record for most pre-orders ever received for a UK album release.

Well, uh, 1 million copies were pre-ordered, which is a, that’s a pretty damn big pre-order. Yeah. Continuing the world falling off. In mid February, 1981, Benny and Frita announced that they are also filing for divorce. Oh no. And that same year, both Benny and Bjorn marry other women insert that emoji with the monocle here.

Hmm. That’s suspicious. That’s suspicious. That’s weird. I cannot there they’re really private people. So I literally can’t find any more information around that. I just think it’s very strange that both men got remarried the same time. Yeah. But whatever, they release their eighth and final studio album, the visitors that November and it, they didn’t really reveal it at the time of the release.

But the title track the visitors, according to Bjorn, refers to the secret meetings that were held against the approval of totalitarian governments in the Soviet dominated states in Europe. Cause I mean, cause that’s deep. Yeah. We went from. Dansie queen dancing queen to totalitarian regimes. Um, that’s one hell of a divorce.

Yeah. I don’t know what happened to him. Other topics, other tracks on this album address topics like failed relationships. The threat of war aging, the loss. Wow. So what needs to just have a shelter? Are you okay? We got real dark for this last album and this was a surprisingly not a commercial success.

Yeah, no shit. It’s just kind of a heavy album, a by ABA standards, but also just by like, Regular standards in 1982, they release another compilation called the singles the first 10 years, which kind of implies there’s going to be a second, 10 years, but there was not, they kind of mess around with recordings for new material, but no one ever was really happy with how it turns out.

Um, so the, the ninth album never really materialized. And the kiss of death. Everyone starts to work on solo stuff. That’s what it is. So they never officially announced the end of the group or an indefinite break. They just kind of stopped showing up places together. And, um, it’s looking back, people consider it dissolved.

After that 1982 singles compilation comes out. They do like one final performance together to promote that. And then. That’s it never again. Wow. The entire career as Abba last, less than a decade from your vision to this break, less than a decade, less than a decade, because it feels like a long time. Yeah.

Wow. That final public performance. Um, at the time, you’ll see, they do do a little bit of a reunion later was on a British TV program called the late, late breakfast show live from stock. In December, 1982, they’re talking about their song the day before you came. And Benny says we might’ve continued for a little while longer, if that had been a number one.

So what, uh, that’s a, that’s a very cryptic message. Basically all the energy, just kind of fizzled on the whole project. Like they never, their dream was never to be that big. It was always STIGs dream. Yeah. And they shouldn’t want to do it anymore. So. Uh, they, they kind of continue. I don’t want to say fighting cause they’re not like actively fighting the disagreement between members of the band STIG, or it might be a different manager at this point.

Um, and everyone sells their shares and polar music in 1983 and except for a TV appearance in 1986, the foursome did not come together again publicly until the premiere of the mama Mia movie. In 2008. Wow. Uh, in an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, following that premier Bjorn and Benny said that there was nothing that could entice them to be back on stage together.

Again, uh, the world do not like each other anymore. Something happened. Uh, Bjorn says we will never appear on stage again. There is simply no motivation to regroup. Money is not a factor. And we would like people to remember us as we were. Young exuberant and full of ambition. I remember Robert plant saying led Zepplin.

We’re a cover band now because they just cover all of their own stuff. And I think that hit the nail on the head. Wow. Isn’t a very cynical but interesting perspective. Um, so they did not, they kind of like, I want to say fade into obscurity, but like they fizzled into the late eighties. Um, but. In the early 1990s, a band pops up in the UK, they’re a synth pop duo called eraser who released a four track EAP called , which is four covers of ABA songs, which were, I guess, made to be like dance tracks.

And they charted really well. Back in 1992, also a 1992, ABA gold is released, which is arguably. The best, greatest hits album of all time. This, this reprompt dancing queen to be released a single, and it starts to chart in the UK in the middle of 1992, and actually goes as far as to be in the top 20 in August, that year peaking at 16, um, it’s has sold over 30 million copies, making it the best selling album of their entire career.

And one of the best selling albums worldwide. Um, in the UK alone, it has sold five and a half million copies. Only being beaten out by Queen’s greatest hits. Jeez. UK loves a greatest hits album. Um, this, like I said, this is their biggest album ever. They had this whole successful 10 year career. Yeah.

Bigger than the Beatles in Australia. And this greatest hit crave in Alba. This greatest hits blows it out of the water. Um, and at this point it’s been almost 20 years since the band dissolved. So this is like there’s a whole world out there waiting to get into the songs again, if they were younger in those days.

Um, and there’s also a whole new generation wane to discover them, which brings us to. Mama Mia, the musical. This is the first soap box musical really ever. Yes. Oh, it’s the brainchild of a producer named Judy Kramer and she. I had the brain. I said, brainchild. She has like the baby idea when she hears the song, the winner takes it all.

She’s like, there’s a story in there, somewhere. It all culminates at this moment and suggested that, well, let’s start a state show around like some of their, their songs. And she takes this idea to Benny and Bjorn and they’re like, ah, I, I guess like, it sounds kind of dumb. If you, if you want to do it, we’ll help you.

Um, and so they ended up opening the musical in the west end, the prince Edward theater on April 6th, 1999. It does really well. Yeah. So it moves to Broadway. It premiers at the winter garden theater on October 18th, 2001. Um, I remember when that came out to. I barely remember it. Um, the irony of all of this is that really early in their career before you’re a vision for everything, but of you.

Aren’t actually trying to write a musical theater show. It did not go anywhere. Um, but the show did. And if you are listening and you have not seen mama Mia, the mutant. What are you doing? As soon as you finish this, please go watch it. Meryl Streep delivers a performance of a lifetime. So, so the movie comes out in 2008, like I mentioned, and I went to the midnight premiere of this movie.

I did not intend to. I wasn’t like I need to see mama Mia. We were at the beach on our family vacation, and this is before. My family decided that 17 people couldn’t be in a house at one time cause wage many people. So my aunt Celia took me and my cousin because the house we were staying in, you could literally walk to the movie theater at the beach.

And we were like, it’s vacation that she was like, this movie looks good. So she took. 14 year old high school drama, obsessed musical obsessed me. I swear. I did not listen to another album for three or four months. I have that entire musical, the movie version, not the stage version memorized. I was not the only one listening to that.

I’m on repeat because that August the soundtrack went, number one, he was billboard charts, which was the first time ABA. I had a number one album in the us. Wow. That’s crazy. During their heyday, the highest they ever got for an album chart was number 14. Um, like I said, there was a small reunion at the mama Mia movie premiere 2008.

There’s this great photo of the entire cast and the band just kind of like sprinkled in there. They’re not like by each other. I think socially distancing from each other. Benny and Bjorn are so. But the two ladies are not next to them. Um, in 1998, we had ABA tribute band, the ABA teens, which was opera shortened to the eighteens, um, because their management was like, maybe abitino’s is a little too close.

Um, the eighteens are also from Sweden, very much a product of. Like S club seven era where they’re like, here’s some hot teenagers go sing. Yeah. Their entire, the first album that the eighteens put out was called the ABA generation. And it’s literally. Abba covers, but like nineties versions. Yeah. It’s great.

The glory days, I loved it. Um, it was a worldwide success. They released two more albums, which are also great in my like ten-year-old opinion. Uh, but in 2004, the group disbanded because officially yeah, or 8, 18, 18. Yeah. So that brings us to the modern age. In June of 2016, all four members appeared at a private party in Stockholm.

Wow. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Benny and Bjorn first meeting, which is adorable. That’s cute bro party, um, on Yetta and Frida performed live. Wow. They sang the opera song the way old friends do and Benny and Bjorn actually joined them on stage. Oh, that’s they didn’t all sing together, but they were all four in the same spot for the first time.

In eight years, since the premier, um, British manager, Simon fuller announced in a statement in October, 2016, that the group would be reunited to work on a digital entertainment experience. Spoiler, we still don’t really know what the hell is going to look like. Yeah. Um, this is going to. Experience is going to feature all four members in their lifelike avatar form, which they are calling avatars.

I don’t know how I feel about that. I like it. It’s cute. It’s dumb, but I like it. Yeah, that’s exactly. Um, and it’s based on their late 1970s, tourists. Reading into this. I’m imagining that they’re taking all this footage they had for Abba the movie and making some kind of 3d hologram thing around still working on it.

Yes. The original launch date was spring of 2019. Yeah. Um, but in, in April of last year, Bjorn gave an interview where she said that because of COVID-19, the pandemic were delaying the avatars by six months.

Jumping ahead. Uh, I asked her to bullet point where it’s 2018. They had another interview after the avatars were announced that they were getting together to record two new songs. One called I still have faith in you, which was supposed to be on a TV special way to that year. It didn’t, it didn’t happen.

Um, and the other is called don’t shut me down. Spoiler in that same interview where he said the avatars were delayed. He also said that they were writing eight original songs for this ABA wow. Avatar experience. Um, and. Only five had been recorded as of April 20, 20. You’d hurry up. Yeah. They’re not getting any younger, so I don’t know what’s going on there, but they’re, they’re like working on these songs.

It sounds like maybe because of the pandemic. Recording their parts separately, which I could see adding extra steps. Um, but they’re also working on a new music video with this technology. This video cost 15 million pounds shit. So it better fucking be good. And it’s also taking three years at this point.

Um, but then obviously the pandemic did not go away. Like everyone thought it was going to last April. And so when, uh, an interview later last year, um, Bjorn told. The interviewer that it had been delayed to 2021. It’s now August, 2021 have no updates in 2022, stay tuned for avatars and new album music.

That’s crazy. Well, apparently they worked out their shoes or they’re just using the pandemic as a reason to not talk to each other. I mean, it’s still do product fair reason not to talk to your friends. Yeah. But that’s ABA. It was not as dramatic as I was expecting. It’s a nice little story. It’s a nice little story.

No one died. Yeah. That’s a good thing. Good change of pace for our podcast today. When no one dies. Um, I’m drinking. What are you drinking? I’m drinking Sam Adams. Jack. Oh, pumpkin ale. I really like it. I feel like pumpkin beers are very hit and miss. Yeah, they can be. I don’t know, a better word, disrupt gummy tasting.

Like they, they’re not sick, but they feel sick and they can leave like a weird coat in your mouth. Um, this is very good. It’s very simple. It says Jacos cinnamon and nutmeg aromas recall memories of freshly baked pumpkin pie. It has the ideal balance of seasonal spices with a crisp, refreshing finish this pumpkin ale pairs perfectly with the transition of summer into cooler days and nights.

That’s super nice. Yes, it is August what’s 15th and I’m drinking a pumpkin beer. You know, it don’t come at me. I also bought pumpkin cupcakes while at Kroger. So I’m living my basic fall. Pumpkin spice life.

Thank you for listening, you can leave us a review on apple. Let us know how you feel. Are you from Australia? Do you like ABA? Well, tell me about it in the reviews, a special thanks to death of FOD. For interest, you can visit our website@sheeorocky.com. There you’ll find our social information, the show notes, where to contact us and our brand new spank and Merck.

Other than that, don’t do drugs. Don’t do drugs.

In a world that’s happy, fun and carefree. A new empire will take hold and it’s anything but a sweet surprise. Welcome to the jelly bean empire, a childhood dream gone, bad luck, black licorice, who has citizens off forced to make and eat jelly beans to appeal. They’re big bean over Lord, but a hero will rise from the jelly bean pile.

Save the caption princess and bring peace to the world. Once more. While our hero escaped it Tutti, Frutti city, divine, the princess, or they end up in the dreaded a grave find out on, she will rock you.

Special, thanks to our friend Thomas Carter, Rochester for helping us with that kick ass trailer, please make sure you check out his podcasts, lights under action. You can find them wherever you find your podcast and make sure you connect with them on all the social medias.

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