Review Abba

Discussion in 'Music: Musicians & Musical Acts' started by Doctor Omega, Apr 28, 2018.

  1. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Moderator

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    ABBA (Swedish pronunciation: [²abːa]) are a Swedish pop group, formed in Stockholm in 1972 by Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad: the group name derives from the first letter in each of their names. They became one of the most commercially successful acts in the history of popular music, topping the charts worldwide from 1974 to 1982. ABBA won the Eurovision Song Contest 1974 at The Dome in Brighton, UK, giving Sweden its first triumph in the contest. They are the most successful group to have taken part in the competition.

    ABBA are estimated to have sold 140 to over 500 million records,[2][3] making them one of the best-selling music artists of all time.[4]They are also the best-selling band from continental Europe and from outside the English-speaking world.[4] ABBA is the first group from a non-English-speaking country to achieve consistent success in the charts of English-speaking countries, including the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States.[5] They have a joint record eight consecutive number-one albums in the UK.[6] The group also enjoyed significant success in Latin America, and recorded a collection of their hit songs in Spanish.

    During the band's active years, the band was composed of two married couples: Fältskog and Ulvaeus, and Lyngstad and Andersson were married. At the height of their popularity, the band suffered strain which resulted in the collapse of both marriages. These relationship changes were reflected in the group's music, with later compositions featuring more introspective and dark lyrics.[7]

    After ABBA disbanded in December 1982, Andersson and Ulvaeus achieved success writing music for the stage,[8][9] while Lyngstad and Fältskog pursued solo careers with mixed success.[10][11] ABBA's music declined in popularity until the purchase of ABBA's catalogue and record company Polar by Polygram in 1989 enabled the groundwork to be laid for an international re-issue of all their original material and a new Greatest Hits (ABBA Gold) collection in September 1992, which became a worldwide bestseller. Several films, notably Muriel's Wedding (1994) and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994), further revived interest in the group and spawned several tribute bands. In 1999, ABBA's music was adapted into the successful musical Mamma Mia! that toured worldwide. A film of the same name, released in 2008, became the highest-grossing film in the United Kingdom that year. A sequel is due to be released in 2018.

    ABBA were honoured at the 50th anniversary celebration of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2005, when their hit "Waterloo" was chosen as the best song in the competition's history.[12] The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.[13] In 2015, their song "Dancing Queen" was inducted into the Recording Academy's Grammy Hall of Fame.[14]

    It was announced in April 2018 that the band had recorded two new songs, the first of which (“I Still Have Faith in You”) would be released at the end of the year.



     
  2. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Moderator

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  3. Doctor Omega

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    ABBA: The Movie is a 1977 documentary film about the Swedish pop group ABBA's Australian tour. It was directed by Lasse Hallström, who directed most of the group's videos. The film has become a cult film among ABBA fans. Its release coincided with the release of ABBA: The Album, the group's fifth studio album, and features many songs from that album as well as many of their earlier hits, and one, "Get on the Carousel", unavailable anywhere else.


    Plot

    The film has a very thin plot which is no more than a vehicle to link together the concert footage. It concerns the adventures of Ashley Wallace (Robert Hughes), a naïve DJ on Radio 2TW, who normally presents a through-the-night country and western-themed show. In spite of this, he is sent by the station's boss (Bruce Barry) to get an in-depth interview ("Not an interview, a dialogue", demands his boss) with the group, which is to be aired on the day ABBA leave Australia. Needless to say, Ashley, who has never done an interview before, singularly fails, mainly because he has forgotten to pack his press card, although the fact that he is unable to buy a concert ticket doesn't help matters either. Armed with his trusty reel-to-reel tape recorder, Ashley is forced to follow the group all over Australia, beginning in Sydney, and then travelling, in order, to Perth, Adelaide, and Melbourne, experiencing repeated run-ins with the group's very protective bodyguard (Tom Oliver), as well as his increasingly exasperated boss. Throughout the movie, we see Ashley interviewing members of the public, asking them if and why they like ABBA. Almost all the comments are positive, but he interviews a man who is driven mad by his ABBA-obsessed twelve-year-old, and another girl who thinks ABBA are over the top.

    Eventually, Ashley has an unbelievably lucky chance encounter with Stig Anderson, the group's manager, in the foyer of ABBA's hotel, who agrees to arrange an interview, and gives him tickets to that evening's concert. But Ashley sleeps in and misses the appointed interview time. Just as Ashley has given up hope (by this time, he doesn't even care that his press card—which has been constantly forwarded by Australia Post—has finally arrived), a miracle occurs: he steps into an elevator and finds himself face-to-face with ABBA. They agree to give him an interview there and then, and he leaves Melbourne just in time to meet the deadline for the radio show to go out on-air. He puts together the final edit in the back of a taxi on the way back from the airport, as ABBA depart Australia for Europe. With only minutes to go, Ashley makes it back to the radio station where, having set the tape up on the studio's playback machine, he relaxes at his control desk to listen as the interview is broadcast.

    Cast
    Featured songs
    • "Tiger"
    • "S.O.S."
    • "Money, Money, Money"
    • "He Is Your Brother"
    • "Intermezzo No. 1"
    • "Waterloo"
    • "Mamma Mia"
    • "Rock Me"
    • "I've Been Waiting for You"
    • "The Name of the Game"
    • "Why Did It Have to Be Me?"
    • "When I Kissed the Teacher"
    • "Get on the Carousel"
    • "I'm a Marionette"
    • "Fernando"
    • "Dancing Queen"
    • "So Long"
    • "Eagle"
    • "Thank You for the Music"
    • The introductory bars of "Hole in Your Soul" are heard to accompany the opening credits, but the song itself does not feature anywhere in the film.
    • A brief snatch of "Knowing Me, Knowing You" as well as "Dum Dum Diddle" is also heard while Ashley is stuck in a traffic jam; they are presumably coming from the radio of another car.
    • "Ring Ring" is not performed by ABBA themselves in the film, but is sung by the members of a girls' ballet class Ashley speaks to for the interview while they are practicing their routines (ABBA's version can be heard in the background, which the children are singing along to).
    • Other tracks heard in the film are "Johan på Snippen" (Johan Snippen) and "Polkan går" (Polka goes), both Swedish traditional songs being played by Benny Andersson on piano accordion, and "Stoned" (instrumental).
    • The country and western track that is heard playing when we see Ashley in the radio studio at the start of the film is an early 1970s Björn & Benny song, "Please Change Your Mind", performed by Nashville Train. This song was also recorded by this Swedish country band (several of the musicians are from ABBAs own studio band) and released on their 'ABBA Our Way' in 1977.
    Production

    Hallström indicated that the film's script and plot concept was "conceived on the plane on the way to Australia". Initially, 16 mm film was to be used but producers upgraded the project to 35 mm Panavision technology.[1]

    Mostly filmed in Australia some additional scenes were filmed in ABBA's native Sweden (but still set in Australia)—noticeably different from Australia are the street signs and the traffic flowing on the right-hand side.[2]

    Reception

    Margaret Geddes of Australian newspaper The Age concluded that the film was "slick, competent and even for the non-convert entertaining."[3]

    Release

    ABBA: The Movie was first released in December 1977. The film was also presented in several Eastern Bloc nations, including the Soviet Union where it was screened at two movie houses in Moscow.[4]

    Home media

    To date four releases of the film have been made: a single-disc DVD, a two-disc, special-edition DVD, a single-disc Blu-ray, and a now-defunct single-disc HD DVD. All releases above feature a restored print with bonus material. The initial DVD, including digital restoration, was released by SBS in Australia on 2 October 2005.[5]

    2008 theatrical re-release

    A theatrical re-release of the film occurred across Europe during July and August 2008 in the UK, Ireland, The Netherlands, Norway, Germany, and Austria.



     

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