ABBA IS BACK TODAY

Tom Blake and Greta Cohn at ABBA the museum on opening day
TOM AND GRETA AT ABBA THE MUSEUM ON MAY 7, 2013, OPENING DAY WITH TWO ABBA LOOKALIKE MODELS

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – November 5, 2021

by Columnist Tom Blake

ABBA IS BACK TODAY  

Most of our readers have fond memories of music from the 1970s. For many, including me, one singing group stole the show. I first heard of the group while having a glass of wine with Australian friends in September 1976 on a patio overlooking Sydney Harbor.

I remember my friends saying, “Have you heard the Swedish singing group ABBA?” They have exploded in popularity in Australia.” 

From that point on I started listening to ABBA and loved them. From 1973 to 1981, they recorded eight studio albums and became one of the most popular singing groups in history.

My favorite ABBA songs: Dancing Queen (1976), Take a Chance on Me (1977), and Chiquitita (1979) (see link below). In the spring of 1982, ABBA stunned fans worldwide when they split up. They had sold approximately 400 million records. 

Thirty-one years later (April 2013), my partner Greta and I were in Stockholm, Sweden on a cruise. We heard that ABBA THE MUSEUM was opening soon somewhere in a park in Stockholm. We had nothing scheduled on our last day in Stockholm, so we decided to try to find it. 

After an hour on a bus, we spotted a building in the park with a red carpet leading to the front door and people milling around, which we thought was possibly the museum.

We got off the bus at the next stop and walked back to the building. We were thrilled to learn it was ABBA THE MUSEUM. We went to the ticket window and were told that it was opening day and the museum was sold out for a week. We couldn’t go in. 

Greta explained that we were from Southern California traveling on a cruise ship that was departing at 4:30 that afternoon. They made an exception and sold us two tickets. There Greta and I were, on the museum’s opening day, enjoying the interactive exhibits (you could be on stage with them virtually, doing your own version of ABBA, being photographed with two ABBA lookalikes, and subsequently watching Natalie Morales from the Today Show interview Bjorn and Anni-Frid, two of the four members of ABBA.

We were standing four feet from them. Before they appeared, we could hear Natalie saying, “Yes Matt (Lauer), I hear you clearly,” when she was doing sound checks. Being at ABBA THE MUSEUM on opening day and seeing Bjorn and Anni-Frid up close were the highlights of our month-long cruise. 

Fast forward to October 27, 2021. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read in a New York Times article written by Elisabeth Vincentelli that ABBA had secretly recorded a new album titled, “Voyage,” which is being released today, November 5, 2021. The album includes the first two tunes written by the group since 1982. 

A specially-built, 3,000-seat, ABBA Arena will open in London on May 27, 2022, where a live holographic show will take place. Meaning: It won’t be Benny, Bjorn, Agnetha, and Anni-Frid in person, but avatars with their faces from four decades ago superimposed on the digital figures. The 10 album songs will be performed digitally. A 10-piece orchestra will be live at the show. 

Songs featured on the album include, “Just A Notion,” “Don’t Shut Me Down,” and, “I Still Have Faith In You.” I’m excited to acquire the new album. Humm, should Greta and I go to London for the opening of the ABBA Arena? It could be another first.

Below is a photo of Bjorn and Anna-Frid arriving on the set of The Today Show at ABBA THE MUSEUM to be interviewed by Natalie Morales. Greta and I were standing about four feet from them when they were being interviewed.

Link to ABBA singing Chiquitita
(173,000,000+ views)
Bjourn enters
Pictures from opening day May 7, 2013
T-shirt sold at ABBA THE MUSEUM GIFT SHOP ON OPENING DAY IN STOCKHOLM, MAY 7, 2013.NATALIE MORALES WAITING TO INTERVIEW BJORN AND ANNI-FRID ON THE TODAY SHOW IN STOCKHOLM.

Author: tpblake

Tom Blake is a newspaper columnist in south Orange County, California. He has published four books. His primary topic is finding love after 50 and beyond, sometimes far beyond, for people 80 and older as well. He also blogs about travel at TravelAfter55.com.

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