Görel steps into the fray! ABBA reunion is never going to happen

Görel Hanser

After The Times and then the rest of the world’s press got all caught up with Benny’s casual remark about an ABBA reunion, Görel Hanser ABBA’s super-woman behind the scenes steps in and publicly admits to telling Benny off and quashes the rumour.

UK Telegraph piece by Murray Wardrop: Fans of the Swedish pop quartet were offered a glimmer of hope when former band member Benny Andersson said they could reunite for a one-off show.

However, the group has now apologised for raising fans’ expectations and admitted that the comment had been nothing more than a “joke”.

Speculation over a comeback mounted after Andersson and former band mate Bjorn Ulvaeus were asked if they would consider a one-off ABBA performance that could be beamed around the world.

Despite having previously turned down a raft of lucrative offers to reunite, including a £600 million tour deal, Andersson replied: “Yeah, why not?”

During the interview with a newspaper, he continued: “I don’t know if the girls sing anything any more. I know Frida (Anni-Frid Lyngstad) was in the studio,” adding: “It’s not a bad idea, actually.”

Referring to the last song on the group’s Super Trouper album, The Way Old Friends Do, Ulvaeus quipped: “We could sing The Way Old Folks Do.”

But in a blow to millions of Mamma Mia! devotees, the band have swiftly backtracked on the idea.

Görel Hanser, the group’s manager, said: “It’s simply not true.

“It was a passing comment Benny made, almost as a joke – nothing more than that.

“I’ve spoken to Benny and given him a stern telling off. I have told him not to make such ridiculous suggestions anymore.

“There is no prospect of ABBA getting back together – it’s never going to happen. I think the fans know that deep down but we’re sorry if we got anyone’s hopes up.

“It was great in the good old days but we should remember them as they were.”

The band, who split in 1982, previously dismissed any suggestion of a reunion, insisting they would never take to the stage again.

In 2000 they rejected a $1 billion (£600 million) offer to play a 100-date world tour.

At the time Ulvaeus, 64, said: “This is the budget of a small country so we had to give it some thought.

“In the end we decided that, whatever offer was on the table, it would be stupid to re-form and utterly ludicrous to change the images people all over the world have of us.”

And two years ago Ulvaeus said: “We will never appear on stage again. There is simply no motivation to regroup. Money is not a factor and we would like people to remember us as we were — young, exuberant, full of energy and ambition.

“I remember Robert Plant saying Led Zeppelin were a cover band now because they cover all their own stuff. I think that hit the nail on the head.”

Andersson has also previously dismissed talk of a reunion, saying: “We’d need a good reason to re-form and I just don’t see one. We could never recreate the old days. I’d rather be remembered for the way we were 30 years ago.”

The group, whose hits include Dancing Queen, Take a Chance on Me and Money, Money, Money, has sold 370 million records.

Famed for the spandex costumes, they have enjoyed a renaissance in recent years, helped by the success of the film version of Mamma Mia!, the musical based on their songs.

However, it remains to be seen whether former female band mates Lyngstad and Agnetha Fältskog would support the idea of a reunion.

Lyngstad, 64, who married a German nobleman, said in an interview in 2005 that she had no interest in returning to a music career.

Fältskog, 59, has enjoyed a solo pop career since ABBA split but has not hinted at a reunion. Staffan Linde, her spokesman, said that Fältskog was not aware of Andersson recent reunion suggestion.

Andersson and Ulvaeus are promoting their new musical Kristina which opens at London’s Royal Albert Hall on April 14.

ABBA reunion is never going to happen

31 Replies to “Görel steps into the fray! ABBA reunion is never going to happen”

  1. Oh dear.

    I can see why this has happened. B & B really got so fed up with the continual questions about the possibility of a reformation that it has turned into a bit of a joke…..but the joke feeds the rumours and the speculation.

    I gather that poor Anita from the Fan Club has been deluged with requests for clarification today. In particular, I think speculation raises the hopes of the younger fans who can’t perhaps comprehend that the band has not recorded together for more than 27 years now.

    ABBA disbanded in December 1982 after a satellite TV performance from Sweden to the UK, broadcast on BBC1. That’s the fact.

    But they never admitted as much. That’s the problem.

    Perhaps the time is right now for an official announcement – ‘We won’t reform, ever, but we are happy to remember what once was, and to thank those who continue to support the music we once made’.

    That’s all that’s needed.

    Regards

    Gary

  2. The trouble is Abba are as big now as ever. Abbaworld, Hall of fame honour, Mamma Mia….it just never ends, a bit like Abba themselves. I remember the years that followed 1982, waiting for the announcement they were recording again, anything to tell me Abba were back…..it never came. Although I live in the real world, when I hear things like this I think…mmmmm….could it really happen?
    Maybe a one off performance would end the speculation. If done in the right settings, backed by an orchestra and backing choir, we could all go back in time and for one night remember Abba and remember ourselves. I don’t expect them to look like they did 30 years ago and guess what, I don’t look like I did 30 years ago. I want to remember the songs and the sound of the girls voices together, just one more time.
    Time to wind the Abba story up and this is the only way to do it.
    Never say never boys!!

  3. I agree in principle with what you’re saying, and I do feel genuinely sorry for the fans (like myself) who (albeit somewhat foolishly) get their hopes up (once again) but then what is life without hope?

    ABBA may not have been around for years now but they still live on (they have their own exhibition in London right now!) and the fact that they have never officially said never keeps that hope alive

    Call me a dreamer but I think I prefer to keep that little flicker of hope going…

  4. If Frida and Agnetha would do a song together or perform for one time together (maybe at victoria’s wedding…?), that only would be a dream come true. Nothing is impossible.
    Never stop dreaming!!!

  5. I must admit, rather foolishly, to feeling a glimmer of excitement yesterday. Alas, I got carried away. The harsh reality is that it will never happen. I think we all know that in our hearts. However, I don’t believe that we have seen the end of Agnetha and Frida. This is a rather bold prediction, but I think there could come a time when they do something small together. Not an album, but maybe a one off single. The clock is ticking though. I also firmly believe that Benny and Bjorn will cave one day and release Just Like That and some of the live recordings from 1977 and 1979. They are all clearly aware of how huge ABBA is and that there is a huge demand for all things ABBA. The popularity of the band only seems to increase. The induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame certainly cemented that. This is no longer the mid 1980s. ABBA is not something that can be avoided and confined to history. I think there will be several more goodies to look forward to in the near future.

  6. Cant help feeling that a lot of men would secretly be very happy to be told off by the very prim Gorel but agree with Gary that a statement that there will be no concerts, new recordings and no one off shows would help lower the reunion comments which now seemly take up half of any interview ABBA members do. It may then mean we can get back to celebrating what we have a stunning body of music and performances.

  7. All is said and done……I hope that this induction thing is the last thing as far as Abba is concerned. Nice to have VV with dvd, or other small things but it’s time Abba was laid to rest.

  8. I can see a TV special which is more mature than ABBA the move for example (much as I like ABBA the move)

    An orchestral and choral version of Arrival, songs from chess and Christina ,
    And Agnetha and Freda sing a few songs from ABBA probably solos, and some Swedish folk music from the Benny Anderson band.
    It wouldn?t be Billed as an ABBA concert as such, but would feature all four members of ABBA .in a mature light
    And be a one off.

    I think that would be very good.

  9. As I mentioned in my post from when I met Frida in New York, I asked her "please, please record again" and she said "maybe", and now Benny has said that she’s been in the studio, so at least there’s a glimmer of hope we will hear Frida’s beautiful voice again. I can only hope!!!

  10. "Time Abba were laid to rest"!!!! This will never happen. Mamma Mia (musical and film) have made them very big all over again and as Mamma Mia-the musical shows no sign of fading away, Abba’s music and the demand for them will continue. It appears that all 4 members are realising how big Abba is now. So maybe the time is closer for them to do something. Even a one off interview would be sensational.
    Never say never right……

    Bronx

  11. For goodness’ sake, in the words of a song I once heard somewhere, "Move On!"

    Abba – the group as we knew it – is history. The legacy will live on for many years more I’m sure but a reunion just is never going to happen, how many times do we have to be told from B&B themselves before we actually believe it?

    The publicity the guys should be receiving now should be for Kristina, not about Abba reunions that will never happen. The musical should be the focus of attention for everyone who wants it to become the success it surely deserves to be.

  12. Coming from the deepest Africa, maybe something along the line of a charity event? I have always believed that if one has an impact on society based on ones’ celebrity status, creating awareness for less fortunate people is a worthwhile cause. It would also remove any references to age, as the cause itself would justify the event, …..

  13. Oh poor Benny, what was obviously a lighthearted quip as an alternative answer to the age old question has really backfired.
    Whilst I think Gorel is a wonderful woman, absolutely gorgeous and for whom I have nothing but the utmost respect, a stern telling off from her is not something I would like to be on the receiving end of. I can picture him now sitting in his hotel room writing out 100 times, "I must not make ridiculous suggestions, I must not make ridiculous suggestions, I must not….!
    However, surely the extent of the ABBA/B&B articles in the Times and subsequent media attention must be amongst the biggest press coverage they’ve had in recent years. Those that are fool enough to believe there will ever be a full ABBA reunion, enjoy your dreams, but I am more than content with all those lovely photos to brighten a Friday morning and a Kristina concert/cd to look forward to.

  14. Let’s not forget that some members of the group (thinking, Agnetha) would most likely not want to do anything again as Abba and why should we put pressure on her?

    Any reunion would never be the same as they are remembered, though the idea of a one-off – and it would have to be for charity – is appealing in a way.

    And, had they not split we may never have had those wonderful songs for Josefin Nilsson and Gemini, Chess, Kristina, Benny’s wonderful solo and BAO albums, Story of a Heart etc.

    I agree that Kristina is were the focus should be now.

    Lee

  15. Sorry don’t think I can be silent on this topic any longer! I don’t think you can use the number of years away as a reason for the band not to perform again. The precedent has been set by other artists. Some of the examples I can think of are Simon & Garfunkel, Spandau Ballet and Crowded House. After nearly 40 years apart, Carole King and James Taylor have come back to the world stage as a duo. In a similar vein you’d have to say hell did freeze over for The Eagles and they’re back. America keep on going and Neil has just reprised Hot August Night from 1972 and also had a number #1 album. Remember the world lost Elvis, Jim, Janis and John far too early. And remember also, 70 is the new 50!! So what’s the problem – is it that the band remember too many negative things from their time in the limelight such as the ‘business’ aspect of the music business?
    Professor Benny Andersson, in his eloquent acceptance speech at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction party, alluded to the reason why ABBA (and beyond) music is now travelling across the generations as never before and will only get more popular, particularly if Benny & Bjorn do write another musical as has already been hinted at. It’s simply that their music encompasses so many musical styles. Just as The Beatles went from ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ to ‘Yesterday’ and on to ‘The Fool on the Hill’ so too have the composers B & B taken the world on a journey from the polka in ‘Chiquitita’ to the Gilbert & Sullivan inherent in ‘Chess’ and now to the symphonic sophistication of ‘Kristina’. So after one of the most difficult decades the world has ever seen, it doesn’t seem a great deal to hope that we might be able to see a celebration in music. Of course all the ABBA band members are going to have to feel genuinely comfortable about a reunion for perhaps some special (charity) concerts as no doubt they have responsibilities as parents, grandparents and business operators. And why can’t we come to them using this marvellous tool of the internet as U2 did not so long ago on YouTube? So if I’m allowed to borrow a couple of phrases "I wonder…what lies waiting down the line…"?
    Paul Wellington, New Zealand

  16. Very well said Paul. It certainly doesn’t have to be ‘live’. Something recorded would be out of this world. Here’s to hopes and dreams….

  17. I know they’ve put on some years, and yes, they almost surely can’t sing like they used to. But like I’ve said elsewhere, they could croak like frogs and it would sound like a choir of angels to us fans. Alas, it’s not going to happen.

  18. I think it’d be great if A8BA got together for a tv interview with all four sitting together just looking back on their careers. That way the image of "remember us as we were" still remains intact but the public will see how humble and modest and grateful our idols are…it’d be a lovely gesture by them. 😉

  19. I also think ABBA should not get on stage again.

    But a new song in the studio or a TV-interview together, looking back on those ten crazy years with each other would be wonderful.

  20. Hi Terry, we met at Abbaworld on Saturday and thanks to you, my husband is going to throw a sickie so we are now going to see Kristina. So excited!!!
    Back on topic…. I agree that a TV interview with all 4 sat together would be a lovely idea.

  21. You see whatever they do, they cant win. If they tour they will be scrutinised on how they look & perform. If they do a TV Special, their body language will be scrutinised to see if they really still like eachother or if they are "rehearsed". If they do a "Charity thing" then the fund will be scrutinised. On a sceptical note, joking about a reunion, leads to media speculation, which means publicity for Kristina or whatever needs publicity. I am not saying Benny was being deliberate, but all publicity is good in marketing terms. I am lucky enough to have seen them live and to have been a fan waiting in anticipation for the next album or Tv Special back in the day. Their break up happened to co-inside at a time when their fans were discovering the new music and that was reflected in their record sakes at the time. Thats fact. I still like to hear about thier solo projects and appearances. But the "ABBA" for me today is a marketing machine for the record company, trotting out sophisticated re issues & images of the band. There is no input from the former members apart from maybe certain veto rights. Sorry if gone off topic!

  22. I agree with what Dave said as far as whatever they do, they can’t win. I don’t want any new ABBA music. I don’t want them to even sing together again.

    Would we ask an artist to repaint one of his famous works? Do re-makes of hit films or TV shows ever really turn out well? The answer is NO.

    Let Agnetha and Frida be radiant grandmothers! Let Benny and Bjorn enjoy the challenge and triumph of Kristina!

    ABBA is something to be looked back upon with love. Nothing more.

  23. I agree with so many points ….hard to make my own …ha!
    Makes me think!!! I am starting though (only a little!) to get annoyed at the age excuse . Are they all feable and ill Is 60 something the end ? Are we asking them to be in spandex? I would still would love a new album of new music …cause in the end that’s what it was always about Yes it would be nice to see them reunite..in different kinda way…but alas i gueess not…including an album.. One point though I think maybe there voices have changed…or deepened or whatever …but on my coloring book by Agnetha you’d never know it! Also if it’s (maybe…hopefully !!) true that Frida will record again,she must have some idea if she can still belt "them out" …so to speak. I guess in the end I would rather here them say "not interested"…and not we’re too old …blah ..blah Hey my mother will be 70 this yr! Quite active if I may add!!!!!

  24. I agree with both Terry and Chris. Abba is something to look back on with love and not to be tarnished by trying to ‘re-create’ something that can never be re-created. I guess though that I (and many many others) would love to see an interview with all 4 members together looking back and discussing their collective experience of the Abba years. You get a sense from individual interviews (think of Agnetha’s piece to camera at ABBAWorld) that all 4 may be up for this now and I think this would give us hardcore fans a sense of proper closure after almost 28 years of being told that Abba were ‘taking a break’….

  25. I said it earlier and others are saying it also. A TV interview with all 4 would be a wonderful way to finally close the Abba chapter. Of course I still totally believe that Abba of 2010 could still make a sensational new album. The way they recorded, layers of vocals and instruments, the sound would still be as exciting as it ever was. But an interview would be magical. 28 years waiting for a goodbye is a long time and now I think even Abba are realising that they never said goodbye. Something special for all fans, old and new would be the best.

  26. I used to hope with all my heart there would be an Abba reunion.
    But now as I’m getting older, somewhat wise, I realise this is not going to happen.
    And I am ok with this, as Abba is more alive than perhaps they were in their heyday.
    I kind of feel that other bands have only reformed because they either need money or some other reason I can’t understand.
    However, we need to remember that Benny & Bjorn don’t lend the ABBA name or theme or spirit to projects that they think aren’t viable.
    So in this sense they are doing their duty to their fans and are in a sense keeping the Abba spirit very much alive, even if we aren’t seeing them perform together any time soon.
    There’s my two penny’s worth anyway. Keep on loving & playing Abba’s music!

  27. What chance someone with access to Gorel etc can ask about this line re Frida being back in the studio?

  28. I don’t understand what this big issue is about them performing again, they make it sound like it would be a horrible thing. I will avoid all points of interest and just speak in my own honesty. ABBA has touched my life from the age of five on, and still does so today at the age of 35. Was it because they were sexy? No, was it because I wanted to see a perfect product? No. It was the music, the sounds and words that touched my heart. They are all idols to me, and to see them perform again would be the most beautiful thing I could ever hope for. I don’t care how they aged, what they wear…I don’t even care if they don’t sound perfect. If I had the chance to experience them together as a band, be it something old or something new..I would be the happiest person on earth. It wouldn’t change the image they had in the past if they performed or recorded again, nothing can change something as unique and special as what their past brought to us, and as a true ABBA fan I think we all can agree with that. If they performed again it would be a celebration, a remembrance and a way to embrace something that was and always will truly be special. Not only to themselves but to us all who have followed their sounds and achievements over the years for the pure joy it brought to our lives. I don’t care about a product, to me ABBA is not just a *product*. They are real people with real talent, whether they are changed now or not and it was extremely special to witness. I don’t think it is right to lock it up in the closet and toss away the key as just a thing of the past. Be humble, be joyous, and be one once again, for us all. I think that covers what I feel 🙂

  29. maybe perhaps they say it so when they do make the announcment that it will be HUGE. just upping the hype maybe?

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