It was the year 1966 when the adventure of the legendary Swedish pop group ABBA began. When Björn Ulvaeus met Benny Andersson for the first time in June 1966, they were still members of separate folk and pop groups in Sweden.
The pair began to write songs together, and by the end of the decade, they established a regular partnership as composers. This would be the first step in an unforgettable partnership in their musical careers. However, the real legend was founded in the spring of 1969 when Björn and Benny met the other half of ABBA. Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, known as Frida, were to become the singers of the band. The group had its first breakthrough when they took part in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 with “Waterloo,” calling their group ABBA. And since then, the group's songs can still be heard on millions of headphones, on radios, TVs and everywhere all over the world. During these three decades, almost every single of the band has become a classic: “Dancing Queen,” “The Winner Takes It All,” “Knowing You, Knowing Me,” “Money, Money, Money,” “Take A Chance on Me,” “Voulez Vous,” “Chiquitita,” “Mamma Mia” and many others. Now, the nostalgia will be revived in İstanbul.
Not the original members themselves, but one of the best-known tribute bands, ABBA ***** will appear on stage on Thursday night at the True Blue Club in Fenerbahçe. Instead of creating a brand new band, the group chose to perform songs that they used to listen to for many years. “The idea came from Karen Graham [Agnetha], who thought to do this after listening to her parents' ABBA albums,” stated the band members in an interview with Today's Zaman. The band is composed of Karen Graham as Agnetha, Mark Stratton as Björn, Emma Jones as Frida, Andrew Bowen as Benny and Paul Evans as Thor.
Alive since childhood
“The group had an important place in all of our childhoods,” said the band members, who have been performing more than 13 years. The members of the UK-based group, who have grown up listening to ABBA songs, make the 30 years of ABBA's songs come alive in the 21st century. Flared trousers, colorful clothes and bulky collars first make us think of ABBA; however, ABBA is not only composed of costumes. The band reflects a spirit of another period: the 1970s. “ABBA's vocal harmony and music are fantastic and the costumes are brilliant,” say the group's members. Surely, ABBA Gold continues the legacy of ABBA, but what about the music preferences of the present day? The music ABBA created in the 1970s and '80s is definitely not the same as today's pop music, so to what degree can ABBA Gold help the original band's music transcend the time gap? “We try to give the audience the best possible performance to reflect the era,” stated the band members. “The music of ABBA means just as much now as it did then because the songs are timeless.”
‘Everybody loves ABBA’
The tribute band has played in many countries so far, including Germany, France, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, Austria, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Russia, Latvia, Estonia and even Bahrain and South Africa. Realizing the love many people have for ABBA and the nostalgia their music creates, the popularity of the tribute band does not seem so surprising. “The audience reaction is always fantastic,” notes the band. “Wherever we are, in whatever country we are, the audience reaction all over the world is always the same: fantastic.”
Are the younger generations aware of the music of ABBA, or is it only the older generations who come to the concerts in order to fulfill their longing to relive the old “golden days”? “The audience members range from 3 to 90,” say the band members. “Everyone loves ABBA.”
It is not only ABBA lovers who are happy to see the “image of ABBA” on stage once again. “Karen has met Benny and Björn and told them about what we are doing,” says the band. “They were very pleased to hear about it.” It seems that this nostalgia for ABBA and the stage performance of ABBA Gold has inspired the band to stick with this project for some time. “At the moment, we have no other projects because we are so busy doing this,” they said. The band has come to a point where they have nearly decided to abandon making their own music after seeing the passionate reaction from audiences. “Although we love performing other music, we find ABBA's music the most satisfying and rewarding to play,” say the band members.
The band calls on Turkish ABBA fans to take a trip to the past, saying, “They have to come to the concert and see what surprises we have prepared.”