In what must go down as one of the most unsurprising of honours bestowed on ABBA, despite active resistance towards their music in their homeland in the 1970s, Sweden has accepted the group into its Music Hall of Fame.
Set to open on 20 March 2014, the Swedish Music Hall of Fame is situated on Djurgården next to the recently opened ABBA museum. For an artist to be elected to the Hall of Fame, 20 years must have passed since their debut album in order to ‘guarantee an enduring historical value’.
Benny Andersson was on hand to acknowledge the honour and said it was “really fun” to have been included but that it was “probably impossible to overlook ABBA” when looking at contenders for places on the roll call.
In all, twelve acts were accepted, including Roxette, Eva Dahlgren and Monica Zetterlund.
The jury that chose the acts said of ABBA: “Male dominance and a macho culture exist within the history of music, as well as in the history of society at large. In the midst of all this came ABBA – two women, two men who made songs that were open to all, regardless of gender, sexuality and age.”
Benny was asked if he ever had the realisation that ABBA were going to be massive: “Björn Ulvaeus and I understood very quickly that we wrote decent songs. We did People Need Love in 1972 and thought it was great. It became a hit in Germany and Holland, but we figured that if anyone else was to come to know who we are, we must probably enter the Eurovision Song Contest. But yes, we understood that ABBA was a great success. Back then, we received telexes about how we were doing, on the Billboard charts or in Spain, for example,” he said.
When asked by Swedish media outlet Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) about the constant rumours of an ABBA reunion, Benny said: “It does seem that there is a desire for it out there. Everyone asks and so Agnetha Fältskog or I occasionally answer with a ‘You never know’. But there isn’t going to be a reunion. Not as far as I know, anyway.”
SvD asked Benny if there is, in his opinion, any one track that totally encapsulates the essence of ABBA: “No, you’ll probably find it in about 15 of them if you put them together, they are that different,” replied Benny.
“It is also a legacy of Lennon/McCartney, where they never had the same sound. For example, Penny Lane, Day Tripper or Yesterday…such a wide variety of styles,” he explained.
SvD: Have you ever thought, ‘Damn, I’m Benny from ABBA’?
“No, never. When we stopped in 1982, I worked very hard on establishing myself as not just ‘one of ABBA’. I get the hump when I’m referred to as ‘Abba-Benny’.
“It was going well during the period of making CHESS and Kristina från Duvemåla but when Mamma Mia! began to take off, it became so much about ABBA again that I just had to throw in the towel,” he laughed.
“You’re headed towards age 70…” said the newspaper. “Come on! I am only 67!” replied Benny.
SvD: “Is the creativity still flowing?”
“It’s good to take up fresh challenges and to feel your way towards meeting them. I started a film company with my son Ludvig Andersson. We’re producing the film of the fantasy book Cirkeln (The Circle). It is really fun and exciting and there are many different facets that you need to have your eye on,” he concluded.