(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.))

Monday, March 2, 2009

Addendum: The Rock Hall beckons, 2010

© 2009-2011 (original portions)

(February, 2010 update: It looks like Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad (Frida) of ABBA plan to attend the March RRHOF ceremony. Not too surprising, although they are divorced. (Long time ago.) I haven't seen any public comments at all from Agnetha Fältskog about the induction. Not too surprising either, I suppose. Sections of the following written in December, 2009 can be read for (or with) amusement.
Also, late 2010 update: For those interested, Ms.Fältskog briefly mentions a few "everyday living" details in her recent 'M-Magasin' article (Sweden); described in more detail via this post (link).)
Please also see the updated footnote at the bottom of this entry.

(Previous post follows:)

12/09: How might Ms. Agnetha Fältskog feel about induction (with ABBA) to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? (I.e., the ABBA member that this blog is focused upon....)

We don't know....yet. I haven't read any published comments from the singing star, though it is early.

Note: A portion of what follows is sheer speculation. Other than being a fan plus the research I've done into her public career here, I obviously have no "insider" connection at all with the artist and others associated. So think of what follows (further down) as part-fiction (or fantasy), for the amusement of occasional readers who stop by. (Some of what follows is knowledge-based to a degree; based upon the findings published here.) I am not "speaking" on behalf of any famous music artists, in any way. 

Also, there is so little current writing about talented Agnetha Fältskog -- especially in the USA -- that (appreciated or not), I feel I'm slightly filling a void. (In other words: It's my blog. So here goes....) This post is backdated to conform with the order of entries here. It's actual creation date is 12/17/09.

Oh...and I'm not going to join any arguments about whether ABBA "belongs" in the Rock Hall or not. If you care, pls. know that it hasn't been exclusively the "Rock and Roll" hall of fame for many years. It's about inclusion now.....(Take a look at this link which describes the induction process. It's subjective.) FWIW, ABBA's induction for 2010 was correctly predicted within this tiny blog

 (Old, 1993 image from Google/LIFE photo archives:Chuck Berry and Pete Townshend at the groundbreaking for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (Cleveland, Ohio, USA).)  

Not too difficult to guess: I'd speculate that Agnetha Fältskog "feels" about the same as bandmate Benny Andersson, per his comments from two days ago in Andy Greene's Rolling Stone magazine interview. Asked about the announced induction of ABBA, Benny said:
"I'm surprised. It's quite wonderful. I didn't think this would happen, because we were a pop band, not a rock band."
And also from Benny (same interview), about ABBA doing a reunion/performance. (E.g., for the 2010 induction): 

"...The people who are really fond of ABBA for what we did, I think we are doing them a favor by not going out. We all feel the same. It's been too long of a time. It's been almost 30 years. There is no reason...."
Note: He didn't completely rule out an induction ceremony performance of some sort, saying "you should never say never"....

People obviously have differing perceptions about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Some might consider it an international honor to be recognized, but for many -- especially outside of North America -- it may not be a "huge deal" at all. I've checked a couple of Swedish news publications online in the last day, and announcement reaction there is muted so far, to say the least. (E.g., 'Dagens Nyheter', the Swedish paper "of record".) Reading some comments at the international "abb4ever" forum, it seems that there is enthusiasm for the announcement (especially from U.S. members), but also some skepticism. Some feel that the honor is not necessarily universal (in nature or scope), that the clannish nomination/selection process is largely opinion-driven, and a few believe that the induction is overdue (for ABBA). Plus, as noted, the Rock Hall has been controversial for some time now; admitting artists from genres not closely related to "rock".

I need to also firmly keep in mind that ABBA is your father's/mother's pop band for many in the world today....And that the musical/movie 'Mamma Mia!' is as close as many get today to the songs of the band.

All that noted, I'd guess that the private, generally down-to-earth Ms.Fältskog is pleased in a private, down-to-earth way to learn of ABBA's induction. (Assume she's heard....) Focused upon family and close friends, and her horse farm/estate by the Stockholm archipelago, the Rock Hall likely isn't something to which she's been paying attention. The ABBA days are resolutely behind her, but at the same time they remain with her always. (Please see this 2009 interview (link).) It must be proud and satisfying for her (and other ABBA members) to have their work live on (even prosper), and to now receive acclaim and recognition. As (was) true with this writer (for many years), in their day ABBA had to endure criticism from "pundits" and members of the public for what they did. (Even in their home country.)  It has to feel satisfying now for all members, though Agnetha has said that she is not surprised that ABBA's music has endured and prevailed. (Ref.: Her 1996 "As I Am" biography, pages 133-137.) I'm sure the irony of lasting popularity and belated honors for ABBA is not lost upon her at all.

(Old (1988) image from Google/LIFE archives: "Pop music legends (L-R) George Harrison, Bruce Springsteen and Mick Jagger jamming on stage at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.")

Personally (for a moment), I wonder what it's like for the bright-voiced singer these days. While thinking about it, I wonder if she sings for pleasure at all. (And plays piano. Link to a beautiful 1971 Agnetha song featuring the star on piano as well...)) Perhaps for her grandchildren?* To keep the voice limbered up? It would be a shame if no one at all gets to hear her gorgeous voice. And, like many fans, I wonder what she does to fill the days. I read that already-late-Fall-dreary Stockholm experienced a "nearly-sunless" November just passed. (Only 17 hours of sunshine during the entire month.) Though used to dark winters, that degree of gloom has to affect most people at least a little. Anyway, I have no real idea, other than her farm/estate must take some effort (in winter?), plus her cherished children/grandchildren (some live there), and whoever her close friends/significant other may be. Agnetha's "As I Am" biography noted that she likes to read, and that she practices yoga, etc. She enjoys being outdoors, per her 2004 Swedish TV interview. Rumored not to be a computer/Internet user at all, in forums that I've read. And as noted elsewhere one thing she doesn't want: Being "worshiped by loads of people"...

(YouTube screen cap of Agnetha in winter, from 1985 TV special)

The noisy, glitzy world in which new Hall of Fame inductees briefly partake must seem a far cry from a snowy, island estate right now. (Or the south of France...who knows?) As noted here and elsewhere, Agnetha's celebrity has, at times, been a limitation and a burden for her. Trust of outsiders probably has become difficult via some of her experiences And though she's said in the past that she's concerned about events in the world, how disconnected must she feel these days, especially from the world of music celebrity (largely) represented by the Rock Hall. (And its staged induction ceremonies.)

Ms. Fältskog has often chosen her own way, post-ABBA. (Helped in no small part via the band's success and material rewards.)....

--Update and edit: I'm cutting the remainder of this rumination short (& cutting a paragraph or two), as the remaining (speculative) commentary is/was rendered pointless. I.e., Agnetha opted not to attend the 2010 RRHOF ceremony (for ABBA's induction) , which is her right.

(FWIW, leaving the post's closing lines intact, as follows:)

I'll end this hypothetical excursion by noting what Agnetha wrote (in part) in the preface to 1996's "As I Am": 

"...(M)y path has not been determined. I shall have more experiences and pass many more milestones."

* -- Updated note: The comprehensive 'abba4ever' forum has come through again. A fan's English translation of a charming, 2009 interview with Ms. Fältskog is available there. (Conducted with Swedish Radio's Lotta Bromé.) The family-focused singing star offers a few glimpses of everyday life, and notes that she "strums" on the piano (a little) and even teaches her grandchildren -- a bit. (At the piano, I assume.)  Here is a link to the forum member's posted translation (new window): http://www.iphpbb.com/board/ftopic-30652567nx61610-8202-30.html

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

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