(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.))

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/

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