Abba reunite, almost, for anniversary

LONDON: The famously fractious members of Swedish pop supergroup Abba almost managed a rare reunion in London on Tuesday to mark a pair of anniversaries for the group. Three of the four members of the group, who have sold an estimated 350 million records worldwide, gathered in central London for the fifth anniversary of the launch of a stage musical celebrating their music. The event also marked 30 years since Abba began their career by winning the Eurovision Song Contest with “Waterloo”. However, while Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad attended a gala event at the theatre where the musical — named ‘Mamma Mia!’ after another Abba hit — is being staged, Agnetha Faltskog opted not to attend.

The blonde singer has lived as a recluse in Sweden since Abba split up in 1983, and has remained virtually invisible despite recording her first solo album for almost two decades this year. Relations within the group are also famously strained by the fact that its members began as a pair of married couples, with Faltskog and Ulvaeus divorcing in 1979, Lyngstad and Andersson doing the same two years later. The break-ups saw Abba’s sugary pop music be increasingly coupled with world-weary and sometimes bitter lyrics. — Agence France Presse