Benny and Björn on the BBC (Updated with iPlayer link)

UPDATE: Listen now via BBC iPlayer

The programme starts at 19.15. The pre-broadcast information: ABBA’s Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, the songwriters of the musicals CHESS and Mamma Mia!, discuss preparations for a one-night-only UK concert performance of their musical Kristina.

Many thanks to Kaarin Goodburn for this brief summary of the interview: 

* most great songwriting partnerships known by their surnames, but not Benny and Björn

* reinvented pop music

* a quick burst of Kevin Odekirk’s Gold Can Turn to Sand (i.e. in English)

* B&B were both in London earlier today to oversee rehearsals for Kristina at RAH

* Benny got a feel for what the music was between the lines (by reading Kristina)

* Bjorn was gathering ideas for lyrics at the same time 

* went for Kristina as it felt right to them, rather than because it was Swedish – it could have been anything

* Bjorn read a lot of books e.g. "Doctor Chicago" (lots of laughs from B&B and the interviewer at that gaffe!!!)

* they didn’t worry that the story may not play well commercially given the themes of sorrow, despair, child death, emigration

* Benny said if you focus on Kristina then it’s more of a tragedy, but that’s not the overall theme

* Russell Watson singing In the Dead of Darkness from Kristina at Carnegie Hall (excerpt)

* interviewer says ABBA songs are rhythm with a sense of melancholy all the way through

* the way of writing (both doing music) changed in 75/76 with Bjorn getting more interested in the lyrical side

* B&B never talked about marital problems with each other – Benny joked about Two For The Price Of One

* TWTIA and WAISAD are purely fiction – if it wasn’t it was unintentional

* Bjorn has never said he doesn’t like something Benny’s written (in relation to BAO/BAB)

* with ABBA they wrote a song at a time then recorded in say batches of 3

* they worked for almost 5 years on Kristina

* You Have to Be There (in English) (Excerpt from Kristina at Carnegie Hall)

* Benny (on hearing ABBA on the radio): it’s good fun and something to be proud of 

* with Kristina it was a matter of being true to Moberg, his characters and the story

* ever share a stage with the girls again, will ABBA reform? Bjorn: No. Benny: Why do we have to say no to a question all the time? Bjorn: If we say yes but don’t mean it then there will be headlines tomorrow

* it’s a No then!

* quick mention of the Carnegie Hall CD coming out 

Front Row 

11 Replies to “Benny and Björn on the BBC (Updated with iPlayer link)”

  1. Nothing particularly new in the either the questions or answers, but great to hear some tracks from the forthcoming Kristina at Carnegie Hall CD being played on BBC radio.

  2. Just listened to the interview – at last some discussion about Kristina and not just ABBA. A couple of good excerpts from Gold Can Turn To Sand and You Have To Be There – good publicity for the show.
    See you at the RAH on April 14th!


  3. Finally an almost honest answer to the reunion question, instead of the usual "never say never" fob off lines. Bravo!

  4. Fantastic … and oh so teasing with those Kristina clips.

    It’s going to be HUGE! Well done, lads and thanks for the heads up, Ice.


  5. Great, honest discussion with B and B. Sort of touched on the fact that their unison has lasted nearly 45 years, unrivalled in music collaboration terms I am sure….

  6. The reforming of Abba has become a very tired and well worn theme in recent (covering at least 10 years) interviews. My guess is that there is not one member of "ABBA" thats into the idea – so let’s stop asking.

    Anyway all the best with the muscial.


  7. Doctor Chicago… maybe that’s Björn hinting to make a musical sequel of Doctor Zhivago, starring Renée Zellweger ;o)

  8. I will never leave anything, even your interview, to prevent my mind to turn to the most dreamlike moments I spent listening to your fantastic songs.

    A Greek of the same age as you.

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