(Blogger note: Except for 2013-14 updates below, much of this website was written between 2009-11. Reader update: All 'abba4ever' forum hyperlinks (within the blog's text) are defunct. (Forum has closed.))

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

No words for this dance. OK, a few....

© 2009-2010 (original portions)

As with their song of the same name, the ABBA ladies were "super troupers". (That reference in the 1980 #1 ABBA song is actually about a stage spotlight but; whatever....)

Impossible not to enjoy the dance in the last part of the YouTube video, below. (Once again; some text follows but the linked YT videos are the 'stars' of this post.)
Ms. Anni-Frid (Lyngstad) always seemed a bit more energetic and athletic with her stage moves. But then Agnetha is freighted with that magnificent ass to swing around. Almost hold your breath when she's dancing around in tight quarters. She kinda bashes into Frida at the 2:47 mark here -- her dark-haired partner might have been launched from the stage....Still, despite the mistake I'll assert that Agnetha's "build" helped grace some of her moves. Update: Take a quick 'side trip' to enjoy Ms. Fältskog doing a very good job with her dance moves -- on ABBA's biggest hit (link via YouTube, new window).

(Continuing:) Appreciate her turnarounds in this number (below) to - consciously or not - "show it off" (?) for viewers. And why not? She's a natural performer on stage (or became one) and, in the mid-'70s, was about at her utmost. (Insert: More "turnarounds"? Check out parts of "The ABBA Movie". (Good live singing/playing in this linked clip, too.) Despite the denials, Ms. Fältskog HAD to know she was putting on a show at moments there. (Stage lights up; this lady often shone (shined) in general.) And it's all fairly innocent by today's (lowered) standards.)  
Update: Still, the artist was uncomfortable with all the attention to her appearance. Certainly understandable, as demonstrated via this tasteless interview from Japan in 1978 (from YouTube). Agnetha seems to try to be gracious, but the bonehead "interviewer" presses it further. (As noted in the YT comments for the video, a slap in the face for the "please turn around" comment was asked for....) BTW, Agnetha gets absolutely no help from her man Bjorn here, either: Check out her "what the hell (is this)?" look to him at about the 42 second mark of the clip. (Although it is possible she was reacting to his strange "..ask Frida" comment...)
2012 update: No question though - naturally beautiful, blonde Agnetha was "big in Japan"....just watch!. Though not  always pleased to be on camera -- an incomparable, light-up smile on this lady!  A perfect (and expressive) mouth.... 
(Link opens in a new window to YT video compilation/admiration.) 

Ms. Fältskog was in the public eye and was popular ABBA's popular "focal point" (for many). Her appearance sold records and tickets. (ABBA knew this.)  In the earlier years of ABBA, Agnetha and Frida often (were) displayed (in) short skirts or sexy, skin-tight costumes. Nevertheless -- though this blog isn't read much in Sweden -- I'm going to try to reduce attention to/details about appearance for this singer going forward....

(Continuing on:) It's all pretty corny yeah, but nicely so. A good, fun effort as usual, done to playback. This band always worked on their presentation. (Especially the ladies.)

Here's another excellent YT version of this pop/rock song: (link)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sexy Agnetha

 (Updated, 2010-12. Note: This post is part of an appreciative but unofficial Agnetha-focused website.   A brief 2012 update may be found near the end of this entry.)

A seductive-sounding video is below. What a talent. I don't think there's an antidote for this woman's at-times-sexy/at-times-even-soulful voice (in her own way); not for me. (And there's more to Agnetha Fältskog's singing voice than even that: One link.)

Although she's of course known, I still don't believe that ABBA's (former) 'focal-point' Agnetha has been given her due. Yet.

FWIW, the background 'panting' (or whatever the spoken parts are) in this (first) number could be a bit much, but still: Let's quote this person's rave (out of many) from YouTube :
"Wow! I am SPEECHLESS. This woman was out of this world. That voice etches itself permanently onto your soul. And she was still the sexiest woman on the face of the planet, hands down!!"

Your headphones.... an excellent choice for this one. Though the video portion is apparently from another song (possibly the one shown further below).

(Refresh the page if necessary to view the video. HQ link to YT for this video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFz5Z6QRCR0&fmt=18)

Ms.Fältskog has even stronger solo efforts; outlined here (with links): http://star4abba.blogspot.com/2009/03/best-post-abba-song-for-ms-faltskog.html

Another You Tube video (properly-synched) from the same 1983 TV special. Thanks to 'abbafanglosuk' for posting.  Special voice; special lady. (Even with the 'play' arrow planted there, and wearing that not-completely-flattering blue dress(?).)  Can never get enough of Agnetha's 'la-la's' and humming in the latter part of this song....  
(Immediately preceded by her out-of-this-world sexy 'Älska mig's)

"Sexy Agnetha": A performance attribute - happily - captured; with an abundance of enduring examples (career). Just a few:

Etc., etc.....

Counter-point*: Earlier in her career Ms.Fältskog had some harsh words (attributed) for "sweaty, obsessed crowds" (per her As I Am biography, page 72, about one massive ABBA tour), and also (about) her own body image (link):
"I am not beautiful and not sexy..."

Something perhaps to keep in mind when attempting to better understand the individual behind the (frequently) sexy voice and on-camera image....
Often; (seemingly) a person of contrasts

* A final updated comment, for some modern-day viewers:  Yes: Outfits, certain dance routines, perhaps some song lyrics employed by ABBA - and Agnetha - can be viewed as (being) sexist.
 (One (gorgeous) example? (Ref.: The women's skin-tight outfits...(duh)) Link, new window.)  
Much of what we're viewing (now) is through the 'prism' of 30+ years. Otherwise leaving this subject for (any) interested readers to debate....

2012 update  (link follows): Not sure I'm fathoming the scope of this "award" (e.g., time frame covered (a hint is included here), is it a Swedish-edition magazine (i.e., ELLE.se) award? Answer: Appears to be 'yes').... but congratulations for Ms.Fältskog seem to be in order.  As noted in this blog several times Agnetha is an icon, in a few ways....
The '70s still 'rule'...?? (link, new window): http://elle.se/3-favoritogonblick-med-agnetha-faltskog/

(Just sayin': All the photos and most videos on the ELLE site (above) were from that ('70s) era, as were many of the large photos (apparently) displayed at the event. It is a 'legend' award however. Agnetha (also) was apparently cited (by a presenter at the event) as being an "...inspiration over the years".)

(More here: Lovely lady, lovely pictures posted here (new window). I think everyone believes that....http://www.iphpbb.com/board/ftopic-30652567nx61610-11968-120.html .  
A bit of a personal observation (picking up from the previous paragraph): If you go back and look at some photos of Ms.Fältskog in each decade of life (even as a girl) ...she looks the part! I.e., a good-looking person at different ages. A fittingly attractive "model" at each stage of life.)

As a couple have wryly commented elsewhere (re the fashion award):  
"If only she could sing!" (I.e., would record maybe one more time...) FWIW, Agnetha's speaking voice near the end of this edited clip (from the award gala) still sounds pleasant and quite youthful: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_7iVx96VME

It's available elsewhere now too, but here is an edited, embedded clip from the event incl. Ms.Fältskog's brief appearance after the two-minute mark. (Thanks to YouTube's for the post. YT and a few other Internet sites are about the only way most fans learn of/can enjoy such (public) happenings. How about an "icethesite" (news/music site) for Agnetha...?? )

Ms.Fältskog's glowing appearance/warm reception at this event READILY evokes solo song lines: 
"The Queen of Hearts is back in town/....still wears the crown". 

Link to my full blog: http://star4abba.blogspot.com/

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Agnetha the Ace. Added appreciation.

 Note: This early post is part of an unofficial website examining the music and solo career of ex-ABBA star Agnetha Fältskog. Link to front page...

Please forgive the new-found fascination. Mr. D. Tails was WAY behind the curve on this one. Only by 30 years or so....

Perhaps better late than never.

Per recent posts here, I closed my mind (itsa link) and ignored the preeminent pop group from the 1970's. For some not-very-good "rock elitist" reasons, I suppose. Didn't take me long (did it?), but they finally have been "granted"a good listen during the past several days. (And still listening....)

BTW, this band seemed to have done "quite well".... without my support.

Unfortunately for my two readers, there is likely even more to come about this (much) belated fascination.... with ABBA. The entire band worked diligently at their art way back then. They mostly stayed grounded to earth, despite massive popularity. And the Agnetha Faltskog/Anni-Frid Lyngstad wonderful, meshing COMBINATION was real vocal magic. (Oxymoron.)

But I'll begin wending through this latest ramble, raving (yes) again -- like millions of others -- about "the package" presented to the world in the form of underrated Agnetha. From the '70s world stage: Can't recall a comparable, popular music talent AND female beauty "package". And yes, I'm a long-time Stevie Nicks admirer. (Christine McVie, too.) Olivia Newton-John definitely "qualifies" from the period, but to my ears the stronger voice is owned by Agnetha. (Pronounced [aŋˈneːta]. A short, funny video (link) has a pronunciation for us at the end.)

Not enough time or space (perhaps in the universe), so I'll try to focus upon this siren's pure, Connie Francis-styled soprano. (I think she'd be called a soprano. She had a lower range, too.) But....(here we go again...) check out some ABBA mid-to-late 70's vids on YouTube: The camera loved the young blonde lady. (ABBA knew this for sure.) And she could also love it BACK pretty good (as part of her band focal point/on-stage/actress role) . Among other talents she was an "ace" (pro) at locating/affixing the live camera with that great gaze and smile. (Music video/performance video was still emerging back then.) She'd sometimes "flirt" nicely with it, too...on purpose. E.g., The outfits/antics displayed are exaggerated and sexist -- sometimes miss that -- but examples of Agnetha's (apparently) famous lower-lip-bite, plus pre-planned but nicely-done camera flirting; here. (BOTH ladies: Camped it up good.)

Eye-shadow and lashes were made for "super-blonde". Good straight eyebrows (furrowed when necessary) in the earlier ABBA years, too. And many already know that this adept female "package" was awarded the purported "Best Bottom in Europe" award in 1977. (Also on display a bit in the previous link. Nice "ballast": Helped grace some of her maneuvers on stage....) Etc., etc. (Sorry....will stop soon.)

So although outwardly shy in person and also about her English (unnecessarily), the girlish-voiced one shone when the lights came on. If interested, check out some historic ABBA/Agnetha vids. on YouTube (like "Waterloo" ones, "S.O.S.", and some later, "Voulez-Vous" ones); for confirmation of this....This lady was a star. (Only took me five or so paragraphs to "get there"....) In public view, possibly the 'hottest', talented young woman on the planet for awhile.... for my 2 cents.

Fair and balanced: From the vids., my eyes say that her also-talented, good-looking friend Frida was even better looking as 1970's time went by. Her richer mezzo voice; absolutely essential to the band's harmonies and singing success. On higher fidelity ABBA song recordings, Anni-Frid often carries it. (Agnetha's voice more of a dramatic accentuation in/to some songs.) 

But it's still ace Agnetha's stirring voice that I really....love. Uhh.... from back then of course. (It's her voice, her voice.... keep... telling myself this.) Embedding the following from YouTube. Blonde Connie Francis: Front and down-right, please (after the 'roos).

Emotion. Clarity. Power. Range. It's all in that plaintive voice.

2011: Yep...the YT video above has been yanked, (apparently) per 'Tokyo Broadcasting System' jerks....As if viewing the low-res. "live" performance 35 years later is somehow harmful (to that gigantic entity, etc.).  
(Also; if I'm mainly an Agnetha fan, where is a 'Best of Agnetha' DVD that I can purchase??)

Anyway, here is another, current link to a lower-quality video of the same performance. (Still a nice job...): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DinorrElWM

BTW: An excellent article about ABBA's "Hasta Mañana" is linked here, from the official ABBA site.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Nice interview, nice ladies. (We should leave them be....)

Found the following 1/23/09 interview from the Swedish tabloid "Aftonbladet".

The ABBA ladies are gracious.

Link to full article: http://www.aftonbladet.se/nojesbladet/article4248848.ab

Also, a link to a YouTube clip of a subsequent phone interview with Agnetha: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APlLqXiRKB0&feature=related

7/09: I'm sorry, but it appears that the above interview link has now been removed. Try this one, which contains a written English translation in the comment section: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5SPyUsbcgQ

(See previous posts here, also.)
clipped from www.aftonbladet.se
Agnetha and Frida: We didn’t fight

Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Agnetha Fältskog say they are very happy that the world is once again saying “Thank You For The Music”.

They say they’ve enjoyed the renewed success and recognition Abba has had lately and are proud of the fact that Meryl Streep and other stars are singing their songs.

But they won’t be making any new records.

“I’ve rather lost touch with music,” says Agnetha.

The couple happily toasted each other with champagne after their tumultuous reception at a gala evening in Stockholm last night when they were reunited to receive the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet’s Rockbjörnen award for “Lifetime achievement”.

They obviously still get on very well with each other and clearly enjoyed the chance to reminisce about the old days.

They were asked how they felt about the success of the film version of “Mamma Mia!”

Agnetha: We feel incredibly proud that the music never seems to die. A new generation likes it and that gives you great hope.

blog it

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Best Pop Song of All Time?

© 2009-2010 (original portions)

I happen to think Pete Townshend is a modern music genius, so his opinion means something. Could debate this one forever, but ABBA's 'S.O.S.' is right up there on the list. (Some quote The Who's main man as saying it's "the best of all time". Also see page 504 of Carl Magnus Palm's 2001 ABBA biography for additional confirmation.) Mr. John Lennon also supposedly liked S.O.S. (More below.)
10 things you didn't know about... ABBA
Benny, Björn, Agnetha and Frida conquered the world with their sweet pop harmonies, irresistible sing-along choruses and splendidly co-ordinated outfits.

#2: Famous fans

There's no shame in admitting a love for Sweden's pre-eminent pop maestros. Noel Gallagher has admitted he's a fan, as have dance-rock outfit Primal Scream (in fact, they recorded part of new album Beautiful Future in the Stockholm studio where ABBA recorded S.O.S and Money, Money, Money). New wave icon Elvis Costello has admitted the piano melody in his hit Oliver's Army was based on Dancing Queen. And none other than The Who's Pete Townshend told Ulvaeus that S.O.S was one of the greatest pop songs he'd ever heard.

blog it

 2012 update: Read an informative background piece about S.O.S from the official ABBA website, linked here. (New window opens:) http://www.abbasite.com/sending-out-an-sos/

Powering on its "wall of sound" chorus, SOS is '60s "girl group" imitative singing perfection; inside tight confines. Its music accenting is amazing (in sung words and etc. And repeated over and over, an ABBA trademark). A prominent, complex rhythm track. Electronic enhancement of the singers' voice lines. Sweetly kicked off and dominated by Agnetha Faltskog's plaintive vocal. Give a good listen: With pure-voiced power, packed with emotion, the "sad-girl" singer leads beautifully throughout. She rivals her favorites. (E.g., Connie Francis.) Not the last, mesmerizing time either; soloing wonderfully in later ABBA songs, etc.  An underrated pop diva!

Linking this one YouTube clip of the song in part for the unbelievable outfits worn, and liked the flowers to the ladies. (Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f19GKcZU1vg)

Many other versions are available including this link to an impressive live one. And another link to a rare, 1976 performance on Don Kirshner's show (which I somehow missed).  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-C9g4JfL-U

And one more: A fascinating performance (link here) from American Bandstand in 1975. (Mimed.) Both ladies... great in those amazing, short "cat suits". Agnetha's stage presence etc. plus that outfit: The stuff of (pop) legend. Magnetic.


(screen cap)

Last but definitely not least: Agnetha's Swedish version of S.O.S. is the sweetest (standard definition) sounding one: (YT link) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxHIz-eg5UQ&fmt=18

2011 update: This post was originally written in 2009, when I was beginning to learn about ABBA/Agnetha Fältskog.  If interested in more accurate, professional analysis of this extraordinary pop song, please check out Christopher Patrick's excellent book, ABBA: Let the Music Speak. (Pages 142-43, pg. 196, and pg. 225, in particular.) Learn from a pro in a detailed but engaging way about a deceptively simple-sounding song.  
(E.g.; Find out more (from Chris) about the high harmony within this song's chorus...(and its singer).)

Also, though 'SOS' may not be a prime example of the phenomenon in ABBA, here's a link to an interesting forum discussion about the "third voice" that sometimes emerged when the two singers were in close harmony. (Trying to account for technical (recording) effects, I think I hear it at brief moments in the chorus(es) of 'SOS' (e.g., on "...the love you gave me...") As noted in the forum; (also) on the the word "darling"... Amazing!) Also as noted in the forum, perhaps an in-unison example (of this) is displayed in ABBA's "Eagle". (See page 142 in Mr. Patrick's book for a brief mention of ABBA's incredible in-unison singing, and individual timbre.) A current video link is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDI7x1nwTUw&fmt=22

Link to my full blog: http://star4abba.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Finally appreciating this 1970s SUPERGROUP

© 2009-2010 (original portions)
*"Supergroup"(link) : Employing the second meaning here (via the linked definition).

YouTube can be a superb time machine. Rightly or wrongly. (Licensing issues, etc.)

Like a lot of (white) American college kids during the early/mid-1970's, we were Prog rockers pretty much exclusively at that time. English progressives Yes, Pink Floyd, Genesis, and others. Toss in a few hard rockers like up-and-coming Aerosmith and "guitar stars" like Joe Walsh and Robin Trower. (Used to hold forth with a popular "Trower hour" in my dorm room.) And The Who. Always....The Who. Oh, and plus the occasional, local college-FM, one-hit wonders: E.g., Starstruck - "Black Betty"

(Wait...there's more: We were all big Motown fans too, mostly a residue from a few years before. (Will talk about mega-Midwestern radio station of the times CKLW, in another post.) And I was also familiar with earlier Fleetwood Mac, and witnessed one of their first concerts with "new guys" Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. (Didn't like 'em so much. Shows what I knew there....))

Being insular about other forms of music, especially anything that could be labeled as "pop" would have been an apt description for us at the time. (And "disco", of course.) Obviously, it's wonderfully ironic that most of the mentioned "non-mainstream" '70's bands.... became mainstream.

Listening exclusively to (a lot of) FM music at the time, it was still impossible not to be aware of an emerging Swedish group named ABBA. Although they were mostly getting airplay on vigorously disdained AM radio. (CKLW as a singular exception.)

Some of us probably secretly liked snippets of the nicely musical ABBA. But, strange as it sounds now, it would have been close to death to admit that. If you dared indicate that you knew of this "pop" group at all, you'd have to begin any conversation either by displaying your utter contempt, or perhaps engaging in a little fantasy dream-talk about the "blond one". (Gorgeous band focal-point Agnetha Faltskog. (Two dots are supposed to be over her last name's letter 'a'.)) I happen to think that this kind of attitude may have been prevalent, and may have delayed ABBA's complete acceptance in rock-oriented America. (They were much more popular in home Europe.) Music was a large part of our daily lives then, but I don't remember anyone really listening to ABBA.

Enough from "back in the day". See what a closed mind can do to you? As much as possible I pointedly ignored ABBA and their music for years, mainly because they were (usually) categorized as part of a genre that I didn't listen to or respect much. (Plus word-of-mouth back in the day was that some members really couldn't speak/understand English, so they didn't know exactly what they were singing -- in that language.)

Updated note: It was easier to "lock in" upon a music genre or two (way) back in the '60s and '70s, as many times there several quality bands (within different genres or types of music) to experience/keep up on. Much to choose from and explore. Just two quick samples... of many I could have selected (YT links): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jseTa7HUIDU&fmt=18  
and, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWjzIyDkEIM&feature=related 

Getting older often does alter you. ("More experienced".) As opposed to the enduring appeal and style (kitschy, yes) of ABBA's songs and performances, I find much of today's music to be ugly; even hateful. Some -- but only some -- of that might be attributed to my present, "old dude-ness". (Yes: "If it's too loud, you're too old.") But sometimes you're also broadened enough to open up to new experiences, or to seek out and re-visit older things. For music (popular music), I enjoy using YouTube for that.

Thirty or so years after the fact, through posted YouTube videos, I now appreciate ABBA. Amazing. I finally gave 'em a good listen; only three-or-so decades later. The two attractive ladies' siren voices, "nice-try"-but-still-delightful dancing, and the group's "wall of sound" approach all appeal, particularly in contrast to much of what's published today. Like many other popular groups of the '60s and '70's ('40s and '50s, too), ABBA possessed musical talent and cared about performing well for their audience. Versus, say; counting up the big money (link) they're receiving. Though manufactured, ABBA still nicely projected a kind of innocence.

So I guess I join the hundreds of millions who've made them one of the most successful groups of all time. Watching their many videos, the band's overt charm and appeal is irresistible. Writing all those "catchy" songs didn't hurt, either. Neither did the soprano's dramatic, "crying" voice, brilliantly meshed with the mezzo's.

It's especially pleasing to also see lots of positive comments (on YouTube) from clearly younger individuals in response to the vid's; appreciating good music no matter what the "era". I should have been as open-minded. (Though some of this also extends from the '70s decade being viewed nostalgically as some kind of universally "happy" period. ABBA and their music contributes in no small way to this.) The successful 'Mamma Mia' musical has, of course, re-kindled the band's popularity. In part because the original group's music often sounds better. Updated note: ABBA's music wasn't ever Beethoven. I know that. They know that. Others will disdain them probably forever, as being "contrived and corny", "ersatz" pop-meisters, etc.  Yet their music and also how (well) it was played and sung, endures on and on.....  *With ABBA, this blog mainly focuses upon the delivery; i.e., the excellent presentation and execution of their songs. (Primarily, of course by the two female fronting singers...)

There are many, many others who are more familiar with this legendary supergroup. I'll mercifully end the ramble by including just two of the numerous videos available on YouTube, the band's official site and elsewhere. Some of the more obscure ABBA videos on YouTube (link to several) are especially interesting so please look around. (User-submitted videos will come and go, and we know "some" aren't legal.)

In music, ABBA already has attained immortality. They define 1970s pop music, worldwide, and will be fondly remembered this way for years to come. Four local Swedish musicians who came together and became legends.

(I don't like to embed for a few reasons incl. it further slows down my page, but exceptions will be made. Pls. refresh the page if necessary:)

"Waterloo". Performing the 'Eurovision' 1974 contest winner; the band's big-time breakthrough:

The description included with this video (below) pretty much says it all....Lady is "white"-hot here, though it's claimed that Agnetha's constant back-side turnarounds were part of the show's planned choreography. Anyway, the growing adulation for the band and her in particular apparently got to be a bit too much. (Some, via this last sentence's link is your basic tabloid trash, however....)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Salient blog items: Agnetha and ABBA, Belatedly

© 2009-2014 (original portions only)

"...my path has not been determined.  I shall have more experiences and pass many more milestones." - Agnetha Fältskog, from the preface of As I Am. (Inclusion of brief, published quotations does not constitute an endorsement of this website by (their) originators.)

11/09: This popular music/entertainment blog effort, "Agnetha and ABBA, Belatedly" turned out to be more lengthy and detailed than anticipated. A more succinct summary is needed; which you can find a couple of paragraphs below. Though, of course, there is more available information that I haven't examined -- yet.  E.g. (11/09), I'm now belatedly reading Ms. Fältskog's 1996 biography, "As I Am".  

(A quick re-statement for this summary page: My site is primarily a belated, unofficial examination (and appreciation) of Agnetha Fältskog's public (English music) career, etc. ) 2013:  Please see the blog's front page for much updated information (link).

Blogger update/commentary: Reading now completed of As I Am. I'd like my money back. (OK, I borrowed the publication: I'd like my time spent back.) A decent picture book with a few, selected frank moments in the text. It's closer to a coffee-table (picture) book, vs. a real biography. FWIW, Agnetha states in the preface that it is only "glimpses" of her life.

If you would like, please continue reading my (book) commentary at the bottom of this post....

This file has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. This applies worldwide.

(Proceeding onward now with summary points for this blog:)

As a readers' aid, a listing follows of the most prominent findings/points identified from the blog. (By me.) Links to the associated posts are included. (In light-blue.) This brief summary may be read first, or not, depending upon your preference. Key items are listed from earliest to most recent, as per the blog. The later posts (listed further below) should show improved knowledge. Recall that most of this "blog" effort - especially  the earlier entries - came from the perspective of a U.S. music fan who knew next-to-nothing about ABBA just a year-plus ago....Please learn and discover along with me:
(Warning: Much of this first blog post is an early, uneducated ramble, which no one in the universe would be "expected" to fully read....)
 (screen cap/link)
(Note: I don't think it was live but still a dream performance of "My Love, My Life", linked via the picture (click above, new window opens). Superstar level....Spellbinding)
  • "Agnetha the Ace" (i.e., underrated star performer), gets "discovered" -- much overdue -- here, here, here.....several enthusiastic posts are available. ('Agnetha' is pronounced for us at the end of this short video(link). Again, some of these (posts) can be skipped if not totally fascinating to you (too).... Blog update: A few of these early posts (linked above) are now being 'retired'. (Read one of them and you've read 'em all...)
As noted elsewhere though, a creation like gifted Agnetha is proof that God must exist.   (What??? ....Please: Read the blog (and listen); see what you think. An aside perhaps for "theory of everything" physicists: Altogether, this entity's 'strings' oscillate (have oscillated) to yield a most pleasing order...??)
    Upon taking in some of her video performances, I'd (also) ask how any man (in particular) cannot become somewhat enamored -- at least superficially. (And nostalgically, of course. Most are (now) 30-or-so-year "echoes" from the past. A voice and videogenic presence to cherish....as many appreciate today. (There are millions of us perceptive people...) Not completely known in the United States, Agnetha remains highly popular elsewhere. 
    A pop music iconWho did not aim to be "worshiped" (link)..
     One sample: Superstar (& super-kitsch) performance of "SOS" (mimed) from "back in the day",
    linked via You Tube, here (Can't 'guarantee' off-site link availability.)
    Pop's ultimate sex symbol? Oh yeah..... Those inclined might also explore this breathy 1974 number (link). Yes, that is Agnetha's song, though she didn't do the words.))

      Note: Need a break from my musings? Hear the word from the star herself, via this link to part 1 of a four-part 2004 interview done for Swedish TV. (Thank you 'JaniceHope' for producing it on YouTube.) The interview starts with a snippet from Ms.Fältskog's 1970 song "Om tarer vore guld" ("If Tears Were Gold"), and that kind of sets a tone for an at-moments nervous and slightly melancholy interview. But Agnetha is very gracious and answers the interviewer's sometimes-probing questions -- as candidly as she dares to. Recorded a few years ago now, but it still may be a good glimpse at present-day Agnetha. (FWIW, some more recent appearances/short interviews sometimes show a bit more relaxed/content(?) Agnetha. Also, at the very end of part 4 here, note the sensitive lady perhaps holding back tears after she reads the poem that she selected.)
      Plus, please see this updated post (link) briefly discussing Ms.Fältskog's recent appearance in Sweden's 'M-Magasin'.

      (Added break: Another emotion-conveying, popular singer with a voice that's a "cure". In a completely different manner, though. Link to one song (new window): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfzmVUrZplw&fmt=18)
      But, you never know....
      • Ms. Fältskog from 1985. An interesting year for her....sometimes (was) at her public-appearance "best". It is also important to note that Ms.Fältskog began to step back from performing in 1985, at around the peak of her international solo career (1983-1985), to devote time to her children.
        • Belated mini-reviews, details about some underrated, post-ABBA solo efforts by Ms.Fältskog. Includes an Agnetha solo song "top ten", plus links to more lists from knowledgeable people.
        OR, please enjoy this You Tube-based playlist of selected solo songs, which pretty much demonstrates what is talked about in the surrounding, music-related posts. (Pls. click on the 'retro'-photo, or follow the link below.  2012 note: As with other YT playlists, a couple of its videos are now restricted by record companies. Unfortunately.))
        (Image from: http://www.iphpbb.com/board/ftopic-30652567nx61610-1512-510.html)

        Link to playlist: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=F1E367911859E577

        And there's more. E.g., See Agnetha play a little basketball....Or, might the captivating singer attempt another biography some day? Head back to the ABBA days and hear talented Agnetha knock off an impressive "Doris Day" version of "Thank You For The Music" (link). Read an informative background story about Agnetha's growing-up days at "Mikory's ABBA Blog" (link): http://abbamikory.blogs.com/abbamikory/2008/04/agnethas-best-f.html. Watch some excellent user-created tribute videos (all ABBA members) here. Etc.

        Please enjoy your reading.

        Continuing my commentary re 1996's "As I Am", from above. Note: What follows is a bit of a "rant"; largely to myself, I realize. It is venting about less-than-monumental and rarely encountered issues - for most of us. Please read accordingly - any who dare. (Important note: Please be sure to also take a look at another post here (link), which briefly examines As I Am (again), perhaps in a different way. Plus here (link, new window) is a second posting  that briefly discusses one important section (of the book), written by Agnetha.   
         And, if desired please compare and contrast Ms. Fältskog's As I Am biography with that of the same title (link) from a celebrity who has just passed away: American actress Patricia Neal.) :

        (Commentary cont.) But, unfortunately; As I Am (B.Ahman/A.Fältskog) is also a fair amount of peevish complaining/whining, especially from such a talented and successful artist.....Who was accomplished, determined and fortunate enough to wonderfully realize her childhood dream. (I.e., of being a broadcast singer and recording artist.) Ms. Fältskog chose that path deliberately at the start. She pursued a professional, popular music career, (with likely chances to be) in the public spotlight. Note: Please follow this link for additional perspective from (adult) Agnetha (in 1985) re her career and its beginnings: Link to an old, but revealing interview. Update: And also pls. enjoy this fine ABBA performance (video from '2Shaymcn'), which perhaps explains much (via the (included) lyrics). Link (new window):http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOTLyRki-VI&fmt=18

        (Continuing:) Nobody's existence in this world is perfect. In fairness, however, it's acknowledged that the Swedish singer has experienced some negative events in her adult life. The mid- and late-1990's in particular were not an easy time for the singing star. And it's a guarantee that none of us "regular (non-celebrity) people" would welcome (- as I've read -) having our home staked out, routine comings and goings followed (by photogs., etc.), and other aggravations. (Either.)

        The paparazzi and gossip press can be awful. (A most-terrible example, here.) No doubt about that.... (Though ABBA members regularly cooperated with some such publications during the band's heyday.) Over-zealous fans? (Or worse; see below.) A problem as well. (Insert: If a few might consider this blog writer to be one of those, I'd offer that my primary intent was to undertake some research (using publicly available sources) to create a music-and-performance-focused fan site. And further, that this across-the-ocean devotee fully understands that he'll never actually know the person -- Ms.Fältskog. Learning through research is one way to better understand the artist and to know a little (more) about the public person.)

        ...And forging a secure upbringing for celebrity children (especially as a single parent) is also a real challenge.

        Though difficult, some of these issues seem to be surmountable. It's unfortunate, but celebrities must employ appropriate, preventive measures, especially if they (also) desire a truly private life. It includes refraining from - in any way - being a controversial center of attention when not performing. That would include limiting public interaction/jousting with tabloid-style (or) gossip sources. Other means (of dealing with them) are available. It is lamentable that exceptionally accomplished individuals are subjected to such "garbage" from a few, but complaining publicly (about this) is effective maybe one/two times. (I.e., gains attention/sympathy from "the rest of us" (busy, everyday, makin'-a-living, non-celeb people).)

        Unfortunately, that's probably also the case even when the famous person's objections are frighteningly valid: I.e.,occasional threats from extreme "nuts". A sorry aspect of the world today. But one cannot be made a long-term "prisoner". That means the bad guys win. (And the celebrity - plus (incidentally) the vast majority of fans - lose. BTW, a good, quick article re celebrity privacy in general is linked here. Also, pls. see the top-right (of the) sidebar here for recent changes/updated information....)

        2010 update: Ms. Fältskog addresses the subject briefly in her December, '10 'M-Magazine' interview with Amelia Adamo. Agnetha provides a candid, forthright comment, excerpted here:

        "I don't relate to the picture of me as a scared human being, or a victim of paparazzi or others. Naturally it's unpleasant to be watched wherever you go. But that is not why I want to stay as anonymous as possible. It is a choice I have made, nothing I've been forced to do. I think I'm a very well grounded person and I see myself as a pretty normal person. I want to be left alone..."
        (Link to source)

         I think the (still-)well-known person pretty much said it all for herself via the quotation above. So I'm going to let what was previously written below stand, but note that remaining commentary should be read (by any and all still with me here) with Agnetha's position firmly in mind. As I also do:

        (Previously written text, focused upon the 'tone' (at times) of (parts of) As I Am:)  
        As she is: FWIW , I remain appreciative of the hard-working (career), super-talented performer; who was/is a reluctant star. (Not always, though.)  Ms. Fältskog may generally be a person who will never be comfortable with massive attention. (Quite a normal trait, many might say...) However -- as if any suggestion mattered at this point -- one should be sure to count (out loud, as necessary) their comparative blessings; first and foremost. (Update/clarification: E.g., prior to/instead of unleashing public complaining ( or "venting")  -- via the platform of a highly successful, fan-supported star.) 
        ...So many are less fortunate (link).

        (Fyi (per the last sentence), an interesting 2012 update (about all ABBA members) is linked here (new window opens; Swedish publication). A very nice gesture from ABBA (Björn perhaps taking the lead?), and I'll assume that the story is 'legit.' (A bit more is written here (link). The American arm of the chosen charity is listed/rated at this site (link).)) BTW, my wild guess is that various ABBA members (as they've grown older) likely contribute to causes of choice, with little or no 'fanfare'...2013 update: Agnetha performs with Gary Barlow for this season's 'Children in Need....' concert (link))

        (Continuing previous text:) I'd venture that Ms. Fältskog may have further grown and matured since this at-moments self-pitying book effort. (Surprising from a woman who (one could speculate) might not mind getting her 'hands dirty' at her horse farm/estate...) Very important to also note that the sensitive lady was terribly missing her kind and influential parents at the time of the "biography" (1996). (Another link to a very old (interesting) article re Agnetha's family...) Regrettably, there's very little of the real person's just-below-the-surface sense of humor in it. Perhaps, years on now, the bright-voiced singer is able to enjoy more positive and rewarding facets of life. 2013 update: "Equal time"...(I guess). An off-site link is provided here to the 'official bio' for the star singer on her new, official website (associated with the "A" album). A new window opens: http://www.agnetha.com/biography/

        (Continuing previously written text:) Finally, one of the most interesting parts of the book is it's next-to-last chapter entitled, "I Think a Lot About Life And What It All Means". (Pages 139-143.) Ms. Fältskog talks about reading about and practicing yoga, learning about astrology, etc. If I could somehow speak for her fans everywhere I'd offer this view, which the self-effacing star perhaps does not acknowledge, herself. For many fans at least, one meaning for Agnetha's life is quite clear:  Despite being  at times a shy and sensitive person, a "purpose" of her life may have been to "let it shine". I.e., show and share her considerable gifts with many - even the world. Though not an easy business for an occasionally anxious (page 140), largely private person; many around the world have been touched by Agnetha's voice and other things about her. In other words, thank God she "let it shine". (Her talent.) To positively affect so many - even briefly - must impart some degree of satisfaction. (Few of us know....) 

        (Additional point: Though generally modest about it, Ms. Fältskog knew that she had talent and was a star. (E.g., pages 103-104 (As I Am).  Also ref. page 112 in C.M. Palm's 'B.L.D.S.', briefly describing young Agnetha's emulating of her singing idols/dreams of  (one day) becoming a (singing) star.) But as noted via this post , in 1985 adult Agnetha nevertheless began to limit her performing. At around the height of her international solo career Ms. Fältskog intentionally stepped back from the spotlight, primarily for increased privacy and to devote more time to her family.) 

        While she may still "search for something to pursue" (page 139), many of the rest of us would honestly say: "Thank you for the music", Agnetha Fältskog

        Thank you for reading....

        Copyright 2009-2012..

        (Note: This post is backdated to appear prior to subsequent entries within the blog. It's actual creation date is 11/1/09.Updated, 2010, 2012.)

        Link to my full blog: http://star4abba.blogspot.com/