Happy 40th ABBA: Big plans to mark the Swedish supergroup’s epic 1974 Eurovision anniversary

(Image courtesy of official ABBA page Facebook)
(Image courtesy of official ABBA page Facebook)

 

You know that sinking feeling you get when you realise that time is screaming by at an unconscionable pace and there’s nothing you can do about it?

Of course you do.

It’s usually triggered by some major event or watching a TV program you watched as a youngster turn 50 (I’m looking at you Doctor Who) … or in this case by ABBA, a group who literally provided the soundtrack to my childhood, celebrating the 40th anniversary of their legendary win at Eurovision in 1974.

But rather than triggering melancholic nostalgia, this major musical milestone has me excited.

Very excited … and for a number of reasons.

First up, ABBA’s record label, Polar Music International, now part of the behemoth that is Universal, is marking the anniversary with a number of mostly unspecified special releases.

One we do know about is the April 7, 2014 release of the deluxe edition of Waterloo, the album released in the aftermath of the Swedish supergroup’s victory, and which as everyone knows was named after the song that won the contest for ABBA, “Waterloo”.

It comes, as have all the deluxe editions of ABBA’s albums with a host of extra goodies including eight bonus tracks (“Ring Ring (US Remix 1974)” and “Honey Honey (Swedish Version” to name just two) and a DVD chock full of rare, previously unreleased television specials including their performance at Eurovision itself.

It’s the last of ABBA’s eight studio albums to get the deluxe treatment and it’s fitting that Universal wait till this year to release it.

Who said record companies weren’t just a teensy weensy bit sentimental?

There are also a host of other unspecified reissues and activities planned, all of which Universal is keeping to itself for the moment.

 

 

If that’s not enough for you, ABBA has authorised the release of their first official photo book titled appropriately enough ABBA – THE OFFICIAL PHOTO BOOK.

It is absolutely jammed with all manner of rare and unreleased pictures, some 600 in all, 100 of which have never seen the light of published day before and comes complete with a foreword by the members of the group.

(While this sounds like a lot of photos, consider that the book’s much-awardded picture editor Bengt Wanselius and its two well known and highly regarded writers Petter Karlsson and Jan Gradvall had to sort through some 250,000 photos in all to make their final selection).

The aim is to tell the story of the lives and career of ABBA through the photos that defined them and give a hitherto unexplored look at little known aspects of the group.

5000 very lucky fans with deep pockets have also been able to pay in excess of $500 AUD to own a limited edition Super Trouper version of the book, which comes with a host of wonderful extras like 18 postcards of unreleased photos and a DVD chronicling the making of the book.

You can order the book at pledgemusic.com/projects/abba

 

(image via pledgemusic/projects/abba)
(image via pledgemusic/projects/abba)

 

And finally, a piece of news that regrettably falls into the camp of “Wouldn’t it be nice if …?” but which those optimists among us continue to believe may come to pass – a reunion of ABBA to mark the 40th anniversary of the Eurovison win.

While Björn Ulvaeus has made it abundantly, painfully clear that this reunion, if it occurs at all, will take the form of a concert of some kind:

“I promise you, Abba will never reform – I couldn’t bear the stress of disappointing everyone.

“And when you listen to our music, isn’t there something good in having the image of four young, energetic people? Better than four geriatrics, that is for sure.” (source: metro.co.uk)

However, one strong rumour doing the rounds and hinted at by Agnetha Fältskog in an interview last November is that of ABBA reforming just for the event itself, most likely just a walk on, wave, talk a bit, walk off kind of thing.

While Agnetha’s statements to that effect were oblique at best and frankly suggest nothing more than wishful thinking on her part, and Benny below has made it clear he is no hurry to reform in an interview with Alex Belfield at celebrityradio.cok.uk (see video below), fans, including yours truly, cling to the hope that a reformation of some kind, even just to accept an award from Eurovision may still happen.

However, I don’t suggest holding your breath waiting for it to happen, lest you hanker after skin the shade of Agnetha’s gorgeously blue bedazzled Eurovision jacket.

 

 

One thing is for sure is that whether ABBA reforms or not, this anniversary is going to marked in an epically appropriate manner and the group that went on to stellar worldwide success, partly on the back of their Eurovision victory, will be honoured, just as they should be, as one of the greatest pop groups of all time.

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