Another celebrity ABBA fan surfaces

"In the 70s, no one would admit that they liked Abba. Now it’s fine. It’s so kitsch. Kitsch is an excuse to defend the fact that they feel a common emotion. If it is kitsch. you put a sort of frame around something – to suggest you are being ironic. Actually, you aren’t. You are really enjoying it. I like Abba. I did then and I didn’t admit it. The snobbery of the time wouldn’t allow it.

I did admit it when I heard ‘Fernando’; I could not bear to keep the secret to myself anymore and also because I think there is a difference between Swedish sentimentality and LA sentimentality because the Swedish are so restrained emotionally. When they get sentimental it’s rather sweet and charming. What we really got me with "Fernando" was what the lower singer was doing, I don’t know her name. I spent months trying to learn that. It’s so obscure what she’s doing and very hard to sing. And then from being a sceptic I went over the top in the other direction. I really fell for them."

On gospel, ABBA and the death of the record: an audience with Brian Eno

20 Replies to “Another celebrity ABBA fan surfaces”

  1. This atricle has been doing the rounds for a while.

    "What we really got me with "Fernando" was what the lower singer was doing, I don’t know her name. I spent months trying to learn that. It’s so obscure what she’s doing and very hard to sing"

    I’m still trying to work out what exactly he’s referring to. Anyone know what Frida (I assume) is doing that is so "obscure"?

  2. Frida sings only the first four lines solo (this is enough to deem the song a ‘Frida’ song!). However, from "They were closer now Fernando" Agnetha sings the tune Frida just sang while Frida sings a harmony quite different. Try singing the same as Frida then play the song again and sing the Agnetha bit. Simple but clever. I’m sure Chris Patrick could put into better explanations – more technical, but that’s the gist of it. I wouldn’t have thought it as THAT obscure but that’s the beauty of ABBA – that something so simple can sound so wonderful when sung by those two ladies.

    Sara

    PS. I love ABBA!

  3. The amazing thing about Fernando is that the usual voice roles of the girls is REVERSED. Agnetha is the one whose voice we hear in a lower register, harmonizing with Frida’s higher part.

    That’s one of the things which makes Fernando quite extraordinary for me.

    Agnetha’s low voice is so effective here. Wish she’d done it more. And how complicated are the notes she sings to harmonize with Frida’s?! Amazing…

  4. John,the "lower singer", I belive, was the famous ABBA sound when Frida and Agnetha sang together. Even though Agnetha was a soprano, together they had a unique voice like no other. Many ABBA songs demonstrate this effect; but to me, nothing like "Gimme Gimme Gimme".

  5. John,the "lower singer", I belive, was the famous ABBA sound when Frida and Agnetha sang together. Even though Agnetha was a soprano, together they had a unique voice like no other. Many ABBA songs demonstrate this effect; but to me, nothing like "Gimme Gimme Gimme".

  6. John,the "lower singer", I belive, was the famous ABBA sound when Frida and Agnetha sang together. Even though Agnetha was a soprano, together they had a unique voice like no other. Many ABBA songs demonstrate this effect; but to me, nothing like "Gimme Gimme Gimme".

  7. Over the years I’ve come to fathom that most people who work in the same industry usually tend to admire each other’s work, even if/when they don’t publicly admit it. And this seems to be the case with musicians too. I think this tends to also be the case no matter what genre the artist works in (Eg: Sid Vicious, through meeting Frida and Agnetha [at Heathrow Airport in 1977?).

    I also tend to think that it’s usually the public that tend to be more snobby about music/musicians than the musicians themselves.

    I always love hearing about other admirers of ABBA (especially the ones we assume wouldn’t be admirers ;o)

    Cheers, Tony.

  8. It is truly amazing that I have been listening to this song for 30 years since becoming an ABBA fan at the age of 10, and I had NEVER noticed this before!!! Thank you all for sharing this little "secret!" I am now listening to "Fernando" over and over again!!!

  9. The multiple-layer singing is in almost every ABBA-song. Just recently I listened several times to When I Kissed the Teacher. With a very good audio system and if your ears are working well, you can hear Agnetha singing really high notes that you don’t notice when you listen casually. It’s the ABBA trademark that each song is in fact 2, 3 or more songs that blend together perfectly well. An example where this technique becomes obvious is I Know Him so Well on Chess. The two singers sing totally different songs and they sang them separately (they actually never worked together in the studio when recording the original Chess studio album) but they blend so nicely together. Double that and mix about 30 tracks of instruments on top of the vocals and you may come close to an original ABBA recording. No imitator or copycat ever came close. It’s what the Australian music expert says in ABBA The Movie: an ABBA song is like a Swiss watch, you can take it apart in pieces but there is only one way to put it back together in a way that it works, and that’s the original.

  10. It’s hard to believe that music that has played a major part in your life for over 30 years can still reveal surprises decades on. A while back I was listening to Hole in Your Hole. There’s the line Aggy sings – "There’s one thing for the better" – and there is a remarkable harmony sitting there. She sings a much higher tune from ‘thing’ and once you notice it you always here it.

    It’s like the quietly whispered "Now I here them moving" etc by Bjorn in The Visitors which became audible to me when I was fiddling with my headphone jack and socket (that removes layers of a song to expose whole new bits you never knew were there). Now, I ALWAYS here Bjorn’s creepy lines just there, underneath the surface.

    Going to ‘relisten’ to Fernando right now….!

  11. That’s one of the many things I love about ABBA… the fact that there are harmonies as well as multiple layers of voices to focus on… these are what add to make ABBA songs shimmer like jewels. When I was younger (much), and my voice was higher (much), I loved the fact that not only could I sing along with the main vocal-track of Frida or Agnetha, but I could also sing along with the harmony-track, or even with the vocals from the boys. I haven’t been able to sing along on Frida or Agnetha’s level for a very long time now because I now have a bass voice, but it doesn’t stop me from singing along with them, as I’ve always found it to be such a treat and a thrill to have such a great choice of harmonies/layers to sing along with, as the voices sweep in and out of each other and entwine around each other. Magic. :o)

  12. And yet, amidst all that ‘complexity’ there are those wonderfully simple lines or segments of songs, just very short phrases that are so utterly beautiful. Jaw-dropping moments.

    I don’t know how they did it or even continue to do it. I’m not sure until recently that they even realised how much people has such a sense of wonder in their creations.

    Beautiful, wonderful, magical.

    Nothing else compares. Doubt anything ever will. Kristina.

    Can you hear the drums …. Fernando?

    Lee

  13. I guess I was mislead by the wording. The concept of "doing" something "obsure" suggested something other than harmony singing to me. I thought someone was going to tell me there was some Sammi yodelling or Innuit throat singing in there that was only just audible. 😀

  14. I guess I was mislead by the wording. The concept of "doing" something "obsure" suggested something other than harmony singing to me. I thought someone was going to tell me there was some Sammi yodelling or Innuit throat singing in there that was only just audible. 😀

  15. I think we will all individually find new bits that we haven’t noticed before, throughout the rest of our lives.

    After being a fan since 1976, it was only last year when I played ‘Sitting In The Palmtree’ with my headphones on that I noticed extra lilting notes that I hadn’t noticed before, from Frida’s backing when Björn sings (@2mins55): "…eve’nin’, when the sun goes down, I’ll be the bluest…" Since then, I still love to replay this bit a few times when I’m playing the Waterloo album ;o)

    Similarly, it wasn’t until I heard the beautiful acoustic version of ‘Thank You For The Music’ from the Nöjesmaskinen show in 1982 that I was able to hear all of Frida’s harmonising of the chorus.

    ABBA’s harmonies and layers all compliment and decorate each other, and I’m looking forward to discovering more detailed lusciousness in the future :o)

    Sigh! We are lucky indeed to have ABBA in our lives. So enriching and soothing… their music is a real antidote for the world’s emotional woes.

    Cheers, Tony.

  16. Hi Sapphie,

    I guess it can be said that ABBA as a whole was a craft, not just a group, as they all spent so much of their time honing their masterpieces, and that is why that ABBA survived the 70s fads and revival fads… because the music is ageless… it’s evergreen… like all true classics over the centuries, their music will last because it of the true craftship and quality.

    And while it would have been great if ABBA did tour more, I think we’re definitely more lucky, in the long term, that they were more interested instead in being a studio group. Personally, while there are obviously various degrees of enjoyment for me per ABBA song, I think it is because all of their songs are so detailed that I enjoy all of them… there is not one ABBA song I avoid playing when I play their albums. I don’t think I’m necessarily being obsessional ;o), but I really do find that all of their songs have something for me to enjoy.

    Cheers again, Tony :o)

  17. I know exactly what you’re all talking about. A dear friend and I often split the sound on his stereo system and listen to all the choral arrangements and backing tracks instead of the lead vocals. There’s a hidden harmony line in the chorus where Frida is just magical. Same with the opening of Super Trouper. I love hearing "new" levels of Frida’s and Agnetha’s voices all over the place when doing this sort of thing. Those girls, as we all know, were everywhere on these recordings. Omnipresent.

    Graeme

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