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 


  • Oh!!Glad I looked up your site today!! Thanks for info! I’ll be tuned in!!

  • I guess it will be about the forthcoming Kristina concert at the RAH?

  • 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.

  • 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!


  • By the way Bjorn…..Dr Chicago, must keep an eye out for that one! lol.

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

  • 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.


  • 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….

  • 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.


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

  • 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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