Björn, Elaine & Benny
Elaine flew to Stockholm to interview Benny and Björn at Mono Music studios. Want to know, why Mono Music is called Mono Music? Benny reveals to Elaine that it is because when Björn went to live in England in the mid-eighties after working as a duo (stereo, if you like) for so long, it seemed natural to call it Mono now that he was in Stockholm alone.
If you can’t access the broadcast and want to read a song-by-song summary as well as snippets of the main topics of conversation, please see below:
Sorry about any typos and nonsensical sentences – it was tough trying to listen, absorb and type!
Please read from the bottom up for a chronological summary – this is not the interview word for word, but a summary:
EP: A one-off I promise! Benny and I just decided to do that at the end of the interview. Me attempting to sing Thank You For The Music. Oh well it seemed a good way to conclude the interview!!!
Ice: Elaine Paige performs Thank You For The Music – frankly it has sounded better! 😉
EP: It’s been wonderful to join you here at Mono Music and I’d like to leave you with a song…
BA: I don’t watch MM! and think "This is mine" – so many people are involved, that it’s a case of "This is theirs"
Benny and Björn: It’s nice to look ahead and not always back to ABBA. BA: I don’t mind but it’s nice to look forward to new things.
EP: Playing Elaine by ABBA.
BA: Yes, it’s a good recording that one. It was a B-side. BU: We must have known we would meet you one day! EP: It must be about me cos……it has the lyrics "Like a goldfish in a bowl" and I’m a Pisces!
EP: Sorry to return to ABBA but in 1980, I think, you wrote a song called Elaine! (laughs)
BU: Is it? We have not seriously considered a sequel. They are just rumours!
EP: Will there be a sequel to Mamma Mia!? The internet is rife with rumours.
BA: We don’t have a story yet but I love being involved with a huge team, all those people coming together on a single project.
EP: Are you thinking about writing a new musical?
Ice: The English version of Vår sista dans by Benny Andersson’s Orchestra is blaring out across the BBC! How cool is that?!
Ice: If This Is Our Last Dance by BAO featuring Helen Sjöholm is now playing. Benny confirms large dance floor and lights for Hamstead Heath on July 4.
Ice: Benny stresses at the end of the recording that the lyrics (if I’m not mistaken, some are slightly different from Alice Ripley’s version) are not the final ones.
Ice: Benny introduces You Have To Be There (Du måste finnas) – "a kind of prayer" says Benny, by Helen Sjöholm (yes, in English!)
EP: One of my favourite pieces from Kristina is You Have To Be There – can you set this piece up for listeners?
BA: I don’t know. It would just be fun to do. People will know us because of Mamma Mia! now and ABBA and it’ll be great to say "we can also do this!"
BU: Broadway is full of light, short pieces at the moment.
EP: Despite a short run, there was still a cast recording. What would you like to hear from that?
BA: A bad review. I didn’t like the American version. I did like the scenery though. Robin Wagner’s work was good.
Ice: EP playing You And I by Tommy Körberg and Elaine.
Ice: Benny talks about the complexity of the book being an issue but that the songs are still so popular and how the show hasn’t hindered the music or its popularity. "Everywhere I go in the world people know the songs," he says.
EP: Someone told me that you were never happy with the London stage show. BA: No, that’s not true. But I didn’t know much about theatre.
BA: We’re still working on the book and Tim understands this. Maybe it will get done. Lots of people have had a go at it – USA, Australia, Sweden. The Swedish one tried to explain the characters more but even that good version, is not perfect.
Ice: Elaine Paige interviewing Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus of ABBA continues shortly…
BU: But it was so intriguing, being in Sweden with the Soviet Union so close.
EP: Playing I Wonder (Departure)
BU: I lived in London for 2 months whilst the production was being put together. I was very involved with the music (Benny as well) and script.
Ice: EP now mentioning the competition to be in London’s Mamma Mia! (The wedding scene).
Ice: Ok – we’re off – Elaine Paige has mentioned the 10 year MM!, 25 years CHESS anniversary and a world exclusive of a Kristina song in English