The more eagle-eyed among you will have noticed that a number of the last posts have been written by someone called “Anne”.
I am absolutely thrilled to say that after running icethesite single-handedly for 11 years and after contributing well over 1500 stories, Anne Yeatman is joining me to help share the load.
Some of you will already know Anne and will have met her at various Benny, Björn and ABBA related events over the years but for those that haven’t, here is a brief rundown of Anne’s ‘Benny & Björn credentials’ (so to speak!):
Anne’s passion for the music of Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus was ignited on 6 April 1974 when as a young girl she sat mesmerised in front of the television watching ABBA win the Eurovision Song Contest in Brighton. From that moment on, like many of us, she was hooked.
Anne takes up her story…
“I then joined the British ABBA Fan Club and spent every penny of pocket money on ABBA records. Year after year, Christmas stockings were filled with ABBA annuals, jigsaws and dolls.
“The highlights of my childhood memories were seeing ABBA live in concert at Wembley Arena in November 1979 and skiving off school to meet them for the first time when they attended the CBS sales conference in Bournemouth in September 1981.
“However, even then, my passion didn’t stop with ABBA. I was already delving into the musical background of each of the individual members. By the time I reached my teens I had all their pre-ABBA solo albums, and was fluent in Swedish lyrics!
“In the early 80s ABBA decided to “take a break” but my devotion didn’t wane. I met Frida for the second time at Abbacadabra in 1983 and followed both her and Agnetha’s solo career. As much as I enjoyed the solo works of both, they never quite filled the gap that ABBA had left. It was therefore with eager anticipation that I awaited the première of CHESS in 1986.
“The music was instantly recognisable as Benny and Björn’s and I loved it. I have subsequently seen both the 1990 and 1996 UK touring productions, Chess på Svenska in Stockholm in 2002, the Royal Albert Hall concerts of 2008 as well as Craig Revel Horwood’s recent staging.
Then one day it clicked, I understood it, and once I did there was no going back!
“Whilst I instantly loved CHESS, the intensity and emotion of Kristinafrån Duvemåla completely overwhelmed me…I don’t think it is possible to love a piece of music more.
“I have seen the Malmö, Stockholm and Helsinki productions several times, as well as the concert versions in Carnegie Hall, New York, and Royal Albert Hall, London. My CDs are ‘worn thin’, my Moberg novels loose in their spines.
“I have to admit that it took me longer to fully appreciate the folk music of Benny’s post-ABBA collaboration with the fiddlers from Orsa. However, as I listened, slowly but surely I began to hear more, feel more. Then one day it clicked, I understood it, and once I did there was no going back.
Almost forty years on, my passion remains as strong as ever. It is quite simply part of who I am!
“It was of course this collaboration with Orsa Spelmän that led on to the formation of Benny Anderssons Orkester. I have lost count how often I have seen BAO play, but it is always a pure joy. The eclectic mix of musical genres, the wonderful voices of Helen Sjöholm and Tommy Körberg combined with the band’s seemingly inexhaustible energy and enthusiasm is, for me, the ultimate live experience. Summer just isn’t Summer without a BAO concert!
“One of the highlights of my time following the music of Benny and Björn came just a couple of months ago when I was fortunate enough to be in Piteå in the north of Sweden, for a wonderful concert at the Acusticum. Benny’s En skrift i snön was absolutely perfect for the occasion (the inauguration of a new super organ) and I haven’t stopped humming it since! It was an evening I will never forget.
“I fell in love with ABBA as a child, (and of course, still can’t resist the magical allure of Dancing Queen or Mamma Mia) and while I have grown and matured, so has Benny and Björn’s music. Almost forty years on, my passion for their music remains as strong as ever. It is quite simply part of who I am!
“I am delighted to become a contributor to icethesite – it’s a fantastic resource and I’m thrilled that Ice thinks that I am up to the job of continuing the legacy. I hope to do the site and its visitors proud!”
Please join me in giving Anne a very warm welcome. Her help will, I’m quite sure, become invaluable and will enable the site to continue on into the future – bringing you all the best bits of news from the fabulous musical world of Benny and Björn.
What with one thing and another, it has been hard recently to find time to update the site quite as frequently as people have been used to. Thank goodness it has been relatively quiet in Benny and Björn’s world! BAO’s Swedish summer tour and Kristina från Duvemåla opening in Finland in February 2012 notwithstanding.
The last few years in particular on icethesite have been pretty manic in terms of keeping up with everything and so I have been taking it a bit easy in terms of updating the main site over the last few months. It wasn’t planned…it just sort of happened…
However, there have been pretty regular updates on icethesite‘s Facebook and Twitter pages with most of the news that has come in over the last few months. I know that not everyone is a fan of these social media sites but rest assured that membership of either is not necessary in order to view icethesite‘s pages on them.
These are the links that will take you directly there:
Firstly, I know that some of you were getting irritated with the re-captcha spam test that asked you to type the words shown to you into a box before your comment would be submitted.
I had to introduce something because the level of spam the site was attracting was making it impossible to moderate. However, I heard your cries!
I have now introduced another system which means there is nothing else to do, after you have made your comment, other than to press the ‘Submit comment’ button.
Modification number two means that on the ‘Comments’ (see image right), you can now see far more of previous comments which gives more of an indication as to what someone has said previously on a topic.
Modification number three means that you can now have your picture (ideally!) on icethesite! All you need to do is submit your chosen image to Gravatar (Global avatar) and provided the email address you use to sign up (it’s free!) and the one you use to comment on icethesite is one and the same, your image will show when you make a comment.
Posts on the site have had over 5,700 comments since commenting was first introduced – I hope these changes will mean we’ll be at 6,000 in no time!
icethesite has a presence not only as a standalone website but also on the two big social network phenomenons Twitter and Facebook. Some news appears exclusively on those and not on the main site if it doesn’t warrant a full article, or isn’t directly involving news about Benny and Björn and their musical projects.
For example, right now you’ll find a link from icethesite’s Facebook page to a translation of the recent Agnetha interview with M Magazine in Sweden. The latest ‘tweets’ from the Twitter account are pulled into the main site in the right-hand menu.
Do pay them a visit – you don’t need to be a member of either to just read the posts. And rest assured that all the main Benny and Björn news will always appear on this website.
Thanks again to everyone for their continued support and all the very best for 2011.
I would like to say a huge, huge thank you to everyone who responded. I know many of you really dug deep and gave it some serious consideration.
There were over 125 different songs suggested!
One wasn’t even written by Benny! i.e. Gammal fäbodpsalm (1936, Oskar Lindberg) although that song was of course arranged and performed by Benny as an introduction to the 1979/1980 ABBA live concert appearances (so, you’re forgiven Rob!).
As I was totting up the votes, the song in the lead kept changing and some songs were popular later on that weren’t even in the running to start with…it was like the voting in the Eurovision Song Contest!
So, without further ado – drumroll please – here are the top 35 suggestions (the songs that secured 4 votes or more with the number of votes alongside), as voted for by you. Where songs recorded an equal amount of votes, they are listed alphabetically:
The Top 10 (35 into 10 does go!):
1. The Day Before You Came
2. I Let The Music Speak
3= Just Like That
3= The Winner Takes It All
4= When The Waves Roll Out To Sea
5. When All Is Said And Done
6= Efter regnet
6= If It Wasn’t For The Nights
6= Like An Angel Passing Through My Room
7= Guldet blev till sand
7= I Know Him So Well
7= Move On
8= Thank You For The Music
8= Where The Whales Have Ceased To Sing
9= Dancing Queen
9= Intermezzo #1
9= My Love, My Life
9= Saknadens rum
9= Stockholm By Night
9= Story Of A Heart
10= Andante Andante
10= Du måste finnas
10= Klinga mina klockor
10= Min astrakan
10= One Man, One Woman
10= Should I Laugh Or Cry
10= Slipping Through My Fingers
10= Someone Else’s Story
10= The Name Of The Game
10= The Way Old Friends Do
It’s great that we had a clear winner and that there were 35 songs with four votes or more and that they fitted conveniently into ten positions! You all are so good to me!!!
I find the results fascinating! What are your thoughts?
There is quite a feeling among ABBA fans that a Benny Andersson solo project, featuring the great man himself on piano revisiting past recordings, would be an absolutely wonderful album to own.
I know that this has been suggested to Benny a few times in person as well.
Now, I’ve no idea if the recording of such an album is a realistic prospect or not – however, wouldn’t it be great if we, the fans, could influence in some way the choice of songs that Benny chose to play?
If that were the case and you could choose ten tracks from any of the songs on which Benny has a songwriting credit, which ones would you choose?
So, that would encompass Gemini, Josefin Nilsson, the musicals and of course ABBA, The Hep Stars and BAO plus Benny’s solo recordings that could be revisited and re-interpreted.
Ah – the thought if it! I’m sure I speak for us all if we say that we don’t mind if it’s a download only album…
So, to start the ball rolling, I’ll stick my neck out and give you my choices (in no particular order) right from the get-go!
I Wonder (Departure)
The Winner Takes It All
Du frälste mig i sista stund
Guldet blev till sand
Another You, Another Me
Gonna Sing You My Lovesong
I Know Him So Well
I gott bevar
Where The Whales Have Ceased To Sing
Please only submit ten songs – if you submit eleven or nine etc. then your suggestions will not be included. Of course, it’s a hard choice…I could have picked at least forty songs and suggested a triple album…but please let’s just keep it to ten and see what gems turn up!
The good news is icethesite is back on the interwebs with a new look! The not so good news is that there is still a bit of work to do. So don’t worry about missing content, imagery and videos – it’s all coming! Plus, there will be a new email address for the site.
I’d say that about 95% of the content plus over 5,000 comments have been moved over to the new design, so not too bad. The rest I hope to move and/or update over the weeks up to the end of the year. So there’s still plenty to do but I really hope you like the new look.
Thanks to those that provided feedback as to what they would like to see on the site and the main one was access to the most recent comments. This is now available in the tabs on the right of the page. If you hover over the comment, the story that it relates to will appear – click the comment and you’ll go straight to it.
News from the icethesiteTwitter feed is now brought into the main site. Do check it out (right), it will have more general ABBA news, including much more current news about Agnetha and Frida and will feature links to sites and stories that may not make it onto the main site.
Searching for stories is now improved, you can either use the search box or search by tags.
Like a particular story? Let your friends know by either sharing it on Facebook, using the Facebook ‘Like’ button, or by ‘tweeting’ it. The icethesiteFacebook page will continue to feature the main stories from the site as well as exclusives.
Want to see the most recent posts? They will appear in the ‘Latest’ tab – top right of the site. If you want to see a slightly older story, then take a look at the brand new Archive page. This page lists the last 30 stories – plus you get to choose by year and/or month for stories older than that. The link to the archive appears at the bottom of every post and page.