Points of view

ABBA: The musical polaroid of an infinite time

19.12.2018 | By PAOLO BOCCHI

“They have sold 400 million records. Less than the Beatles. More than Michael Jackson. They were a band, from 1970 to 1982; and their legend is stronger today than ever. What was, or what is, the secret of the ABBA, four Swedes that made history?”

400 million records sold; one step away from the 600 Beatles, and ahead of the 350 by Michael Jackson. Their Greatest Hits, Abba Gold, dated 1992, is still among the best-selling albums in Peru, Lebanon, Hungary, Sri Lanka and more and more and more.
A movie, the first one, Mamma Mia, released in 2008, which grossed up to 760 million dollars. The prequel-sequel, which came out in July this year, Mamma Mia! Here we go again (although perhaps we didn’t feel an urgent need for it) brought in more cash.
The theatrical show, titled, go figure, Mamma Mia, lasted 14 years, on Broadway, in New York City; at Novello Theater in London, on the other hand, the show has gone on, without showing the signs of the time, every evening, since 1999. In the theaters of the entire planet, the show has been seen by 54 million spectators, in over 400 cities, with translations in at least 15 languages, for a global turnover of about 2 million dollars.
These are the numbers.
These are the letters: ABBA.
Four Swedes who, in twelve years, from 1970 to 1982, broke the “Casino of Pop!”
Starting from Santa Lucia, to finally get to Santa Claus, when we say December we think of Scandinavia. Yet, no one ever listens to ABBA when one wants to feel “Christmas vibes”;
much better to listen to Frank Sinatra, or Michael Buble, or the “Christmas Compilation” of the moment.
So how did they become a real industry, these 4 pale Swedish voices?
Simple: the 4 letters, the male Bs the female As, had a great and tenacious desire for success!

Benny Andersson, keyboardist and composer; Bjorn Ulvaeus, guitarist and author; Anni-Frid Lyngstad, red head half-soprano; Agnetha Faltskog, blonde and with a rear-end of such beauty to be called “the fifth ABBA”: these are the members of the group, the protagonists of a real musical fairytale.


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A fairytale that has lasted almost fifty years!
A fairytale in which the game of “who’s with whom?” out of the four ABBA provides photographs and news to newspapers everywhere and to gossip experts.
A fairytale made of a song like Gimme Gimme Gimme! (A Man After Midnight), sampled and revived by a Madonna more in shape than ever in her super-danced super-played Hung Up.
A fairytale made up of marvelous and visionary costumes, designed by Owe Sandstrom, which today as well as yesterday are very much appreciated by the LGBTQ community, which for ABBA has declared a sort of absolute veneration.
ABBA: you always see them like that; never aged, never gone out of fashion, never changed.
They are an indelible Polaroid of their time, a colorful and fun photograph, a “still shot”, which has remained over the years, probably, by doing so, contributing to their great fortune.

Ending in music, and given the period, we recommend, at the stroke of midnight, listening to their Happy New Year.
Lighters or smartphones lit to illuminate the snow.
Happy New Year!!!
Tack sa mycket!