BBC Radio 2 programme celebrates the music of Benny and Björn

Broadcast last night and available on the BBC’s iPlayer for 6 days is veteran broadcaster Desmond Carrington’s alternative look at the output of Benny and Björn.

The show features an eclectic mix of originals and covers including Anne Sofie von Otter’s I Am Just A Girl, Michael Ball’s The Winner Take It All and a quirky instrumental of Money, Money, Money.

There’s also plenty of ABBA too, of course and mentions of CHESS and Kristina.

Listen here until 28 January.

The programme completely passed me by at the time of original broadcast, so thanks to Heather Shortman for bringing it to my attention.


  • Can anyone tell me if this is the first transmission of this programme or a re-broadcast of something that went out several years ago. If this was it’s first “outing” it was very badly researched indeed – Desmond Carrington should be ashamed of himself.

    For example, if he thinks “The Winner Takes It All” was ABBA’s last hit before they “rested” he should go back and study his chart positions. As someone who was around at the time if my memory serves me correctly “Super Trouper” came after TWTIA and not only was it a hit, but a number one hit at that. And there were more hit singles after that although not to the same extent as previously.

    As for his comment regarding Frida and her royal title and the fact that she married her Prince – he hopes they are living happily ever after – he wants to be told that Prince Russo died tragically and be made to apologise personally to Frida.

    As for him not having a copy of “Down to the Sea” from Kristina in English, do the BBC not know that the soundtrack from Carnegie Hall was released in English last year.

    Apart from a bizarre rendition of “Dancing Queen” by an Irish guy whose name I can’t remember and a rather nice cover of “I Have A Dream” by Nana Mouskouri this really was nothing more than a pile of ill-researched twaddle and to my mind was an insult to Bjorn & Benny.

    Shame on you BBC.


  • Like you Ice, this passed me by too, so thank you for the link.

    I’m typing while I listen, and so far 20 mins into the programme, all is well. The version of Dancing queen played is one of the few covers of this track worth listening too, and unusually sung very well by a male voice. It is also one I have never heard before. (sorry, didn’t catch his name. Luka (?) something)

    I do think that Anne Sophies version of ‘to the sea’ was played too early in the programme, it may have put people off. It certainly isn’t anywhere near as good as Peter Jobacks or Kevin Odekirks versions.

    Oh and there’s the ‘making more money than Volvo’ reference!

    Again having a male vocalist in the form of Michael Ball singing ‘The winner takes it all’ makes a nice difference. I do think however that Tommy Korbergs and John Barrowmans versions are superior. This is also an Abba song that apart from Agnetha can only be sung by men. All other females vocalists just cannot cope with it.

    ‘TWTIA’ being Abba’s last hit before they broke up? Hmm. Think you may need to check the facts on that one!

    When Anne Sophie released her album of Benny and Bjorn songs, I was very excited as her version of ‘like an angel passing through my room’ was very good, however she does struggle with most of the songs on it and a shame that Carrington chose ‘I am just a girl’ possibly one of B&B’s worst tracks.

    If he calls her Anni FriNd again I will scream! And as a listener you cringe when he says he hopes that Anni Frid and her real life Prince are living happily ever after!

    All in all. although it was not my first choice of artists or songs, Desmond Carrington and Radio 2 are to be commended on doing something slightly different to the usual stuff we get in so call Abba ‘specials’


  • With regards to Phil’s comment, It seems we have both commented on the same things, however you do seem a little more upset by it than I do.

    I think it was just not as researched as it should have been, although his comment about Frida’s husband was truly awful. If he has found out since about this, then I’m sure he himself would feel bad. I don’t think a personal apology to Frida is needed, in my eyes it was a simple, honest, badly researched mistake.

    I didn’t find the show an insult. I think any air time that shows the public as much of B&B’s work as possible is a good thing. Carrington did say he hadn’t got a copy of the English version of ‘Down to the sea’. Maybe the BBC don’t have it, only having promo copies of ‘gold can turn to sand’ and ‘you have to be there’, as they have both been previously played on Radio2.

    Compared to a lot of Abba specials, this was OK at best. I thought it better than ‘The nations favourite Abba song’ broadcast in December with full cooperation of Bjorn and Frida. That in my mind was dreadful. But as I said, if it keeps Abba’s music alive…


  • If this is a new programme then sack the researcher! And what pronounciation!
    I would have expected better from the Beeb. I dont really get the point of a programme based on some obscure versions of B&B penned songs??

    Gareth, Luka Bloom is an Irish singer and he is brother of another Irish singer Christy Moore.

  • Definitely shoddy and definitely embarrassing in places (especially for the BBC) but call me a fool, any UK national radio station that plays Ut mot ett hav by Anne Sofie is worth a commendation. And I don’t even like that version very much!


  • Very interesting programme – Ice, thanks for sharing!

  • Hmm! He also believes in the myth of ABBA making more money than Volvo! Otherwise than that, an OK programme…

  • Thanks Ice for drawing my attention to this.

    As others have said, the research was poor and I couldn’t believe my ears when the presenter made the remark about Frida.

    Surprisingly, there were a few cover versions which I haven’t heard before. It was worth listening in to catch those.

    On the whole, it’s good to hear some rare ABBA on the radio but I’d expect better research and presentation from the BBC.

  • Interesting listen. Shame about the mistakes though.
    I did love that version of ‘I am just a girl’. Think I might have to buy that later.

  • Just listened on playback. Interesting programme, some things I have not heard before. May look into Luka Bloom and Anne’s CD’s. As everyone else I cringed at the Frida comment and I just wish they would research how to pronounce the groups names. Not up to usual BBC standards, feels like put together with a pile of CDs and a basic reference book.

    PS BBC If you need the Kristina album in English in future I will let you borrow mine.

  • Clunk. Terrible pronunciation indeed.
    Clang. oops that was rather a mistake re Frida (or is it AnnifriNd!)
    Bong. I’ve never quite understood the attraction of von otter. In everything I’ve heard the voice seems quite weak, certainly a bit weak to tackle some of these greats!
    Stummmmm.And there was me thinking the Day Before you came was the last.
    Creak. Yes you’d have thought they’d have known about the Kristina CD.
    Still, passed an hour, but poor really.

  • Choice of songs on the programme interesting, but sack the DJ and the researchers, please.

    Commentry was so boring, or incorrect, and the comment about Frida just left you paralsyed in dismay for moments after. Would have expected better from the BBC.

  • Maybe sacking the DJ and reseachers was a bit harsh – sorry. Think the comment about Frida just wound me up. I could not believe he just said that.

  • I have just looked at the BBC Radio 2 website, Desmond Carrington researches and scripts his own show and it is broadcast from his Scottish home and not from a usual BBC studio. Maybe he uses his own collection as the play list for the show has catalogue numbers for the original Polydor release of Abba Gold and also Telstar CD of love songs for ‘I know him so well’ and not from the Chess CD itself.

    It maybe shows that it is him who does not have the English version ‘Kristina’ CD and not the BBC as I had first thought.

    Maybe though, he could have had searched the BBC archives when coming up with his song choices.


  • Missed this so thanks Ice, managed to listen on iPlayer (thanks BBC). Ok, so the narrative was generally cringeworthy, but, how wonderful to hear something different from the Benny and Bjorn besides Mamma Mia and Dancing Queen. Not many radio programs would play early Abba songs, Kristina (in Swedish) and Chess. Well done BBC. Looking forward to the Frida tribute shortly. Jason

  • Benny – please bring BAO back to London! you would play to a full house for sure! oh, and bring Helen Sjoholm too pls!

Please leave a comment...