All Four ABBA Members Reunite to Be Knighted at Royal Ceremony in Sweden

ABBA fans had not necessarily expected to see the group together again after previous statements that they had no further plans to reunite after recording a 2021 comeback album

Published Time: 02.06.2024 - 02:31:26 Modified Time: 02.06.2024 - 02:31:26

ABBA fans had not necessarily expected to see the group together again after previous statements that they had no further plans to reunite after recording a 2021 comeback album. But the prospect of being knighted brought all four members back together again Friday in their native Sweden, as they showed up at the royal palace in Stockholm to be honored by the king and queen.

Bjorn Ulvaeus, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Agnetha Faltskog and Benny Andersson (pictured above, left to right) were receiving the Royal Order of Vasa, establishing them as Commanders of the First Class, for “very outstanding efforts in Swedish and international music life.”

The knighthoods for the quartet followed by four days Andersson and Ulvaeus appearing at the ABBA Arena in London Thursday to celebrate the second anniversary of “ABBA Voyage,” the avatar show that has been successfully playing at the custom-built venue. Andersson and Ulvaeus did a Q&A for the audience of approximately 3,000 at the London event, at which Lyngstad and Faltskog did not appear.

The particular knighthood that the four members were being honored with in Stockholm had been dormant for a half-century, until the granting of knighthoods to ordinary Swedish citizens was revived in 2022. ABBA’s members were among a crop of 13 being celebrated on Friday, the first to receive it since the process was reopened two years ago. Candidates were nominated by both the general public and the Swedish government. The ultimate honorees were selected by King Carl XVI Gustaf, who handed out the knighthoods to ABBA on Friday alongside queen Silvia. Others being knighted along with the pop group included two physicists who were 2023 winners of the Nobel Prize.

At the London Q&A celebrating the two-year anniversary of the so-called ABBA-tar show, with Pete Paphides asking the questions, Andersson and Ulvaeus did not say much about future plans, although they did respond enthusiastically to the idea of their avatars taking a break from their permanent home there to perform at Glastonbury. “Oh yes, I think that’s a brilliant idea,” said Ulvaeus. Andersson added that he might tag along if that ever happened, saying, “If they go to Glastonbury, I think we’d need an extra piano player.”

In reality, there don’t appear to be any fresh prospects for IRL A -

BBA reunions, following their Grammy-nominated “Voyage” reunion album three years ago. In a 2022 interview with Variety, Andersson was firm about the last chapter of ABBA’s career together being closed. “It’s never say never, but it’s a no. Nothing is going to happen after this,” he said then. “Yes, the ‘Voyage’ album did well. But no.”

At this week’s London Q&A, the songwriting team seemed chipper and wistful, in a primarily reminiscing mode.

“It’s very, very hard to grasp emotionally that we wrote these little songs and it gave rise to this, and the millions of people we have touched,” Andersson said, in front of an audience that included celebrities like Rick Astley and Joanna Lumley. “We know it’s true, but it’s very hard to understand. Maybe impossible.”

“I’ve seen the show so many times and I think we look good up there,” added Ulvaeus. “But I have no idea what it really is that makes people have it in them to want to listen to music that was done 50 years ago, 40 years ago, 30 years ago.”

Although it did not arise as a topic of discussion at the London event, there has been talk back in the U.S. of a third “Mamma Mia!” film based on the group’s catalog, although it is not on the fast track. Producer Judy Craymer told Variety in October that it was inevitable. “I’m in the privileged position that I have Universal Studios wanting to do it, who I love working with, and I have a storyline,” she said, as part of talk about a talent competition show inspired by the original theatrical production. “It just always takes a certain amount of time with ‘Mamma Mia.’ Bjorn and Benny always take a certain amount of convincing. I don’t know how much more convincing they’re gonna have because everybody wants another film. But they had ABBA Voyage and then they wanted a rest from ABBA stuff. But it will happen.”

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