Photo: Merry Alpern/Getty Images
ABBA Reunite, Record First New Music In 35 Years
It's always exciting when a famous band or pop group reunites after calling it quits for a few years. A reunion tour gets planned, tons of fans get a chance to see a group they never thought they'd have a chance to see live, maybe some new music even gets recorded and the group decides to stay together for the long term. In the case of hitmaking Swedish pop quartet ABBA, we may just have a new top score for longest musical hiatus before returning to the stage. That's right: after more than 35 years out of the spotlight, ABBA has officially reunited and is recording new music.
One of the most successfully pop groups of the late '70s disco era, ABBA – comprised of Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad – officially retired from touring and making music in 1982. For decades to follow, the group would continue to insist that no reunion would ever occur. Indeed, the band stated vehemently that they honestly felt there was no reason to reunite, given their previous success, which made them, as Stereogum aptly puts it, "more money than God."
During the group's hiatus, their 1976 No. 1 hit "Dancing Queen" was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame in 2015. Then, in 2016, the group made a notable, but brief, appearance at a Mamma Mia!-themed restaurant in Stockholm, Sweden – a strangely meta moment of modern pop culture, given that the restaurant was not actually based on the group's 1975 chart-topping hit "Mamma Mia," but instead based on the award-winning 1999 musical theater production (and subsequent 2008 cinematic adaptation) of the same name…which was itself based (loosely) on the music of ABBA. Makes perfect sense, right?
Despite continuously turning down ever-larger cash incentives to reunite – with offers rumored to be at or above $1 billion as early as 2000 – ABBA's only major performance in recent decades came in 2016, when they joined together for a single night in Stockholm to recognize their 50th anniversary.
Ulvaeus has vehemently stated in interviews as recently as 2015 that, "it’s kind of good to be the only group that never came back," echoing the foursome's longstanding shared sentiment that no great comeback would ever crest the musical horizon.
But in spite of decades of insistence to the contrary, it seems the time has finally come for the Swedish pop stars to return to the stage – and not just for one final curtain call. Amid rumors that promoters might instead turn to modern technology to satiate worldwide fans' need to see ABBA live (more on that in a moment), the group has officially announced their return to making music.
"We all four felt that, after some 35 years, it could be fun to join forces again and go into the recording studio. So we did. And it was like time had stood still and that we only had been away on a short holiday. An extremely joyful experience!" the group stated in a press release announcing their return.
Two new songs have been recorded at this time, with one – "I Still Have Faith In You" – teed up to premiere in December, where it will be performed by digital hologram versions of the four band members during a TV special to be broadcast on NBC and BBC.
Further details regarding the second of the band's two new songs, or the possibilities of a new album or live tour, are still forthcoming.