(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.))

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Agnetha: What happened? My summary post, to date

© 2009-2014 (original portions only). Please contact the writer for permissions (pls. ref. the bottom of the page).

Answers: We only have 'glimpses'. And also, perhaps: Mostly nothing unusual.

(7/09 blogger update: Unfortunately, my recent reading of C.M. Palm's ABBA biography ("Bright Lights, Dark Shadows") may have exposed part of that answer line (above) as being overly optimistic. If interested, please see pages 512-13 and 523-25 of that detailed book.)

Updated note: This post was written awhile ago (2009-10). It may be beneficial to also read this later entry (link, new window), for a more up-to-date summary. Plus: Agnetha is recording again! (link)

(Continuing previously written text:) I'm not going to be (more?) rude and endlessly speculate....beyond what I have already (link). At this late date, I can't (and won't) "cover" Ms. Fältskog and her extensive career as completely as several others have over the decades. Mr. Palm's ABBA biography and some good "Agnetha" web sites should be consulted for such in-depth work  (Two such web sites (links): "The Agnetha Fältskog Archives", and the official ABBA site, which has a number of excellent articles about the band and all of its members.)
As noted, mine is a belated, enthusiast's expression containing some newfound  "discoveries" and some newly-gained insights. It's completely unofficial, but may constitute an enjoyable experience for fans. 
BTW: Is this a "rogue blog"? Hah....hardly. It primarily focuses upon Ms. Fältskog's outstanding voice and her recorded work and appearances. There are a few details "discovered" in this tiny blog that haven't been explored thoroughly elsewhere. 

Please bear with me re this post. It is lengthy but there is much information presented (including linked info.).
New, 2009 update: I've finally obtained a copy of Ms. Fältskog's 1996 biography (with Brita Ahman), "As I Am". Though this effort was generally thought by critics to be not revealing enough (of Agnetha (pronounced [aŋˈneːta]), too selective in subject matter, etc.; it's only fair to give it a read. Though mine is just a personal "discovery" blog, I've written much here (about the singer) without it. I'm sure her book contains useful insights (for fans) and probably will challenge at least a couple of impressions I've obtained (through other research). Updated corrections, clarifications, etc. will follow my reading. 11/09 update: Here is a link to one of those; perhaps the best paragraph in that 1996 book. And, my reading of "As I Am" is now complete. A few corrections and updates have been added here, where appropriate. I believe that many of my independently-derived findings, etc. were confirmed/partly confirmed via the reading. As I Am generally did not offer prodigious detail, though it features frank and honest moments....Update: If interested, please take a quick look at this post (new window), which includes a couple of brief, revealing paragraphs from that biography.

Ultimately: There's only one person
who really knows and can tell us:



(Continuing on:) Also, a large part of any response to a "what happened" question is displayed via the photo, below. Agnetha's children: Eventually more important to her than career, awards, etc. The singer stepped back from the spotlight in the mid-1980's to raise them.

(Aside: The excellent "abba4ever" forum has a topic named "Pictures tell her feelings". A mother's love and pride are "written" all over Agnetha's face in this photo (below), n'est-ce pas?)
Image source (link). Daughter Linda is shown, from long ago.

(Another quick break for a "road map": Please be sure to enjoy my summary (i.e., what's been learned so far) near the end of this post. Supporting off-page links are in light-blue. (Note: You'll miss some enjoyable videos just below, but click here to jump directly to the summary section if you'd like...) And also don't miss the nice John Wetton story link (about Ms. Fältskog) near the end (below), along with a link to a charming, in-depth 1985 TV interview. (Almost a "this is your life" examination, as Agnetha says near the end of it.)

(Moving on:)
As noted many times here, a successful performer's on-stage persona can be much different than their private self.

That said: Please compare and contrast the following two video links. The first could be almost any music video/promotional performance from ABBA in the 1970s. I happened to choose this 1978 Dancing Queen, as both ladies are fantastic. (Yes, lip-syncing all the way here. Ms. Agnetha  [aŋˈneːta]: Was at her best with her dancing moves here. (Agnetha's got the moves down here, also (link); another 1976 Dancing Queen performance. Good job!)  (Continuing:) And perfect camera posing at around 2:15 in the video....a specialty of hers. (Even the (song's) lines Agnetha is singing at that point somehow seem fitting....Her moment might have been a pre-arranged close-up.)) They're acting, but both young ladies exude sexuality, charm, and confidence. As they both did in many of their video-ed performances from that time....On-stage: Excellent presenters and performers. (Must say: This (below) is just a great, mimed performance video of ABBA's pop mega-hit....Who wouldn't be captivated by it...?? Plus, I think the two ladies are competing (with each other) a bit...i.e., for the camera's/audience's attention.....A beautiful job. BTW: Christopher Patrick's ABBA: Let the Music Speak (pages 190-191, 226-227, etc.) has enlightening detail about the singing and structure of this great pop song (Dancing Queen). As Mr. Patrick notes: It is an "...epic vocal showcase..." (and more).)

Link to first (D.Q.) video (new window): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtsbxGzRZWc

'What the heck', while we're at it enjoy '2Shaymcn's' posted, live version of (ABBA's) 'D.Q.', from Sydney, 1977. For someone who indicated that she was occasionally uncomfortable on stage (live), Ms. "Dancing Queen" Fältskog seemed to have a very good time with this one. Particularly note excellent live singer/performer Frida though, leading the way with strong and confident singing. ('Mezzo' Frida finds those very low notes on (song words) "king", "dance", etc. Awesome.) Current link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaQpbL5arLA&fmt=18 
(If you don't get a smile or something via this joyful (and skillful) live performance (from long ago), check your pulse...(To ensure there is one.))

ABBA Pictures Agnetha Fältskog

Shared via AddThis

(Continuing:) The second video link (it's located further below) is part 3 of a four-part (on You Tube), 40-minute interview done with Agnetha Fältskog by Lasse Bengtsson in late 2004. (Thank you very much to "JaniceHope" for posting. All four parts are worth watching, especially if you're an Agnetha/ABBA fan.) Note: This interview seems to be the more melancholy of two that are available from 2004. From You Tube, I'll insert a link (with English) to the other (brighter) one from that time: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=Ljus85#p/u/25/rU6q9oim0h8Blogger update: Portions of this nice interview appear to have now been blocked on YouTube by record company WMG.  Thanks to YT user 'Ljus85' for the (currently) remaining (English) parts.
Another update: If not already seen, Agnetha fans will find it worthwhile to read this forum's translation (link, new window) of Agnetha's charming 2009 interview with Lotta Brome. Among other things it contains hints as to why Agnetha (and Frida) may be reluctant to record again. (I.e., they set (themselves) a 'high bar' with their work in the 1970s and '80s....)

((Continuing previous entry:) A good 'screen cap' from the brighter interview:)


My main point: It seems a long, LONG road from that dynamic on-stage young woman of the '70s to the one talking in 2004. (A smooth one? You can decide.) And that's about all that I can say. It HAS been a long period of time, of course. And Ms. Fältskog does graciously answer some questions in the interview (probing at times), about how she's been affected/how she's reacted to her experiences. (Some: Intense.) And recent years have featured at least occasional public appearances, and re-connecting with fans of her voice. (That video link for the Bengtsson interview is coming...further below in the text.)

(screen cap from YT (2004) Bengtsson interview video)


This will be it from me on this subject for awhile, as I've learned a lot in a short period, but will never know the real story only from videos and existing interviews. (And also believe I'm "wearing it out".) But I hope some will enjoy reading this unusual perspective -- though it's not exclusively so. ABBA makes/re-makes fans every day. Perhaps as you go on to the second link, I'll add a couple of impressions:
As usual, Agnetha is candid... to a point. I find it poignant that the interviewer needs to work hard to elicit a (mainly) lukewarm response from her about "what was fun" about the ABBA days. Also, look to the end of part 2 of the interview for an intriguing glimpse into the sensitive lady's inner make-up. (I.e., her "Ferdinand the Bull" comparison.)

Link to second You Tube video (interview): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHRCGJLIs0k&fmt=18

Learned thus far (updated) : A few months ago I knew little about ABBA. (Didn't even know all of their names, including Ms. Fältskog's.) Caught up to the world a bit here, and also belatedly found a star who excelled at her art; but sacrificed for the benefit of her hugely successful band. (Qualified use of "sacrificed": She's a wealthy lady by most accounts.)

 I'm not prepared to comment upon the late-1980's-1990's private portion of this reluctant star's life. Though inspired to write about her/her music, I respect
Ms. Fältskog's current, private life. (E.g., this singular blog effort is not promoted, or for monetary purpose, etc., etc.)  Agnetha has also been quoted as saying she did not aim "to be worshiped by loads of people". (I'd offer that it is too late (i.e., to squelch some of that); sometimes admiration (of a talented person in a public profession) can't be prevented....). 

Also: Please consider this qualifying post (link). Carl Magnus Palm has achieved a definitive account of ABBA and its members. Many of the insights offered below have subsequently been checked/validated via Mr. Palm's book....

Update: "A very nice read": Also before proceeding -- if you'd like, and are still staying with me here -- please enjoy a good, condensed perspective via an excellent 1983 article about Agnetha's life and career. From this link to "Mikory's ABBA Blog". (It's also available here.)  (From 'Allers Magazine'.)




Agnetha: (As an adult.) Summary of learning here, and likely a confirmation of what long-time fans know. (This summary is an overview, it is not comprehensive. (Please peruse Ms. Fältskog's As I Am biography and  interviews for a more complete "picture".) Publicly-available source info. is credited/linked.) :

Sensitive and talented; outright gifted in voice and appearance.
(At times) An expressive singer.
Ambivalent about success, stardom; comfortable working/being alone (or nearly...)  
(Update:) "...both shy and determined..."   
A strong need to "be herself" as an adult. 
Was temperamental at times.

A pure and sweet voice, but it may chiefly be remembered (as
skillfully) blended and harmonized within ABBA....A brilliant (definition) pop soprano (?) voice, nicely matured now.... Somewhat "anonymized" (outside of her country/region) by a lilting but unfamiliar name, plus her team member status.... Was usually seen from afar on stage (in matching dress) with ABBA, or not at all (working from the studio).... But for many who got, or have now had a good look: A smiling sensation. Notable for the raves (for her) on present-day You Tube. (Many well done "queen of pop", etc. tributes there.... Not that most of this blog isn't one too... Haven't really found a YT commenter who doesn't like her performances. Just about everyone likes her/her voice....) Emulated singing with her idols for many hours as a girl. .... Became a teen-aged star in Sweden, "bigger" than others who formed ABBA....Younger by a few years than her band-mates; possibly was less worldly.... (Found herself) (R)equired to balance 'mom'/successful career woman roles (slightly ahead of her time).... Part of Ms. Fältskog's personal dilemma at the time: A "big" star's voice, appearance and stage presence, (co-)fronting a music group that "took off", but desires and disposition not matching (the external aspect).(E.g., ref. lyrics to ABBA's 1980 'Super Trouper' for a possible glimpse at how Ms. Fältskog (and maybe all of ABBA) came to view touring, and even stardom in general...) I.e., A bright voice, bright smile, but was inconsonant (as a person, at the time)....Contradictory at times, also....Evidently shy (e.g.,see this linked quotation, 2nd-to-last paragraph), likely inner-directed, devoted to her family, self-critical about her English skills (and also certain recorded efforts, per page 123 of As I Am), admittedly anxious at times... Yet a dramatic and confident professional singer -- her (childhood) dream.... ABBA's "Thank You For The Music" (link is to a special "Doris Day" version) seemed written largely with her in mind: Proud, but grateful of her gift. This song's lyrics speak about (even for) an important aspect of the performer from the time. (But note that it was recorded in 1977).(7/09 blogger note: Per subsequent reading of C.M. Palm's ABBA biography this last statement may not be entirely accurate, other than the proud and (generally) grateful part.)......Another song perhaps fitting Agnetha's more intractable (or temperamental) side: ABBA's "That's Me". (A favorite of both ABBA ladies.).... Not often apparent, but perhaps a possessor of a (playful?) sense of humor. (Planned, public examples are shown here and here.).... (Updated info.:) Apparently a yoga devotee in more recent years.(Confirmed: Pages 140-143, "As I Am" biography)....Always an artist first; never about huge money for her, professionally. (As with most/all of ABBA's members. And sensitive about that aspect of her success, too). ....Warm and engaging as a stage performer, especially on camera, especially in close-up; but modest and seemingly embarrassed by unsurprising attention to her sexy stage appearance and persona. (Which was unabashed at moments...Again, seemingly a two-fold nature (a key aspect): The charismatic performer vs. the (more) private person.) Occasionally less-than-perfect though, as a live singer with ABBA. (Her discomfort in front of crowds possibly a reason....11/09 update: Confirmed, via page 137, "As I Am" biography.) 
And, apparently: Not the best of luck with men at times (depending upon what (often) second-hand "information" you want to believe). Ironically: Described by some (associates) as a person open to love ,who often wrote or sang about love, but seemingly let down by various men in her life.(No confirming link is provided here; but (often) speculative info. is widely available.) Despite this, the public image of a forlorn woman -- advanced in part by her songs and singing style -- may be exaggerated. 11/09 blogger update: Pages 120-21 of Ms. Fältskog's "As I Am" biography feature passionate inveighing against said "forlorn woman" image. Perhaps a key reason that As I Am was written...I.e., an attempt to "set the record straight". 

And then? She went her own way; moving away from this former, famous incarnation.


Last note: The following quotation has been attributed to Ms. Fältskog. If true, it tells much -- but (effectively) disowns (and contains) part of her appeal. The spotlight: Both her friend (she showed well in it) and her enemy (didn't enjoy the attention/consequences):

"The driving force wasn’t so much to be visible as a person as to show my talent." 

11/09 update:  Per page 137 of the "As I Am" biography, the quotation above is out of context. To me, Ms. Fältskog is talking (more) specifically about performing on stage with ABBA (i.e., in that page 137 paragraph). However, FWIW, here is a link (to a 1997 article) where Agnetha (reportedly) says these words - which are important for better understanding the artist - in a slightly different way (and context): My strength is not showing myself, but my talent.”

Speaking for many however, thank God she "let it shine". (Her talent.) We all benefited. Beyond financially; how much did she?

That said, though, another quotation from Ms. Fältskog to consider, in a 1986 interview with Året Runt (magazine?). I think that this strongly hints at what she ultimately evolved toward. (I.e., for the most part, an independent woman (and mother).) "Besides, I don't think it's really true that it makes you a complete person just because you have someone by your side. The loneliness can also be very stimulating. You can sense your freedom." 11/09 blogger update: Impression confirmed, re Ms Fältskog's own words on page 84 of her 1996 biography, "As I Am". Also ref., her "enormous need for freedom", part of an intriguing self-description on page 143 in that book.  If interested, pls. see a complete 1987 interview  conducted with Brita Ahman which also portended the future, linked here (Mikory's ABBA blog): http://abbamikory.blogs.com/abbamikory/2010/01/agnetha-the-children-must-come-first.html.

(Not qualified to go further with any of this. A more complete examination could not ignore the bizarre affair summarized in Mr. Palm's ABBA biography, pages 523-25. A reputation-damaging lapse in reason(?) would be one guess.... Notice: Some speculative and/or questionable content, via the linked YT video. Could her dalliance have been a very strange publicity stunt? A passing physical attraction? (E.g., A real life version of (the main message in) this 1983 song video (link)?)   A "cry for help"...?
None of the above seems to be in character (public perception) for the seemingly down-to-earth Swedish star. No one really knows except Ms. Fältskog....But that late 1990's, "head-scratcher" relationship with a Dutch fan seemed to defy conventional reason; rationality.)


(Continuing on:) Excellent "bonus" info./link: I'm also a big fan of John Wetton (King Crimson, U.K., Asia, etc.). Through the interesting "http://www.agnetha-forever.de/" site, I've just discovered this great little story that John Wetton offered about briefly working with Agnetha, back in his "Asia" days. Kind, insider impressions about working with the nice, talented lady. And as he notes, Agnetha Fältskog IS an inspiring woman, just by being herself. Written in 2006 here is his succinct summary of Ms. Fältskog (his experience knowing her); which may in fact substitute for a fair amount of my voluminous summary (above):

"Emotional vulnerability with powerful inner strength. That`s what it is."

Take a quick look at Mr. Wetton's brief article - including his nice closing comment (re working with Agnetha)- at the informative website (link): http://www.agnetha-forever.de/ChangeLog/move/move.html


Note: The paragraphs that follow are also available in a separate post: http://star4abba.blogspot.com/2009/05/ms-faltskog-1985.html

One more "must see" for fans of Ms. Fältskog: Get to know Agnetha from 1985 via this charming and quite in-depth six-part interview, recently posted on You Tube. Lovely woman, lovely voice. Consistent in her outlook and views. Honest. And endearingly nervous at the show's beginning (despite being a world-famous star). Although her apparent comment about "having nightmares for six months" prior to the appearance could be one clue as to why she proceeded to drastically reduce such activities: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6ycR3mzz_c&feature=related

Even more (this post may, in fact, never end): Another charming interview around the mid-'80s, I believe. The Belgian audience is in love with her, and her voice is mesmerizing. And very sharp English speaking (and listening) skills here too! Agnetha's more "up" for this little chat; less nervous. The somewhat awkward interviewer might have been less intimidating...she's actually kind of laughing at him at the end. (I've noticed that back then at times, she occasionally seemed to be "putting the interviewer on" a bit, at points. Interesting. One reason might have been that she got the same questions over and over.) At any rate, for whatever reason, she's at her charismatic best here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mv9JrEWDZGw&feature=related
2010 update: Bad news...the interview portion of this appearance is now gone from YouTube. A link one of the songs Agnetha performed on the show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UI5uO8VyNhU 
Update: Here is a different current YT link for the '85 Belgian TV interview/performances (new window opens): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1ypyMMfSzw 

Yet more from 1985? Here's a link to a pleasant album promo video where Agnetha talks about her current life, Sweden, etc.  And in about the most musical-sounding voice possible. Enjoyable (especially like the fall in the snow with the dog). And she again shows consistency in her views: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMK5C9Mx_RE&feature=related

As mentioned above, please see this separate blog entry for even more information about 1985 happenings for the artist. (And it's the preceding, or next one in the order of posts here, depending upon how you're navigating through the blog.) : http://star4abba.blogspot.com/2009/05/ms-faltskog-1985.html

Even more: A snapshot of Agnetha's state from around 1996? Here's a rough (quite) English translation (via Google) of an article by Per Svensson, from that year. Title: "When the tears ended."  I don't know how long the link will remain valid: http://translate.google.com/translate?prev=hp&hl=en&js=y&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.agnetha.net%2FSJAbook%2Fmirror.MJ%2F9608_svensson_agnetha.html&sl=sv&tl=en&history_state0=


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

For my summary post: (Pre-)Qualification, plus more info.

As I belatedly learn more about super Swedish pop group ABBA and its members, it is becoming apparent that I should read Carl Magnus Palm's 2001 biography, "Bright Lights, Dark Shadows: The Real Story of ABBA". Though unauthorized, it appears that the book is well written and researched. And Palm is described as "the world's foremost ABBA historian".

So I'll be doing that. Catching up with many of the rest of ABBA fans, via the 2008 updated paperback version..



In the meantime, to be considered along with my next ("summary") post entry (5/21/09); an interesting excerpt follows from a "TV Week" review of the book, published by a commenter on this web site. Note a couple of the insights from Palm about Agnetha Fältskog here. It seems like some of my initial impressions (laid out in my summary post) are in accord with the author's. I especially like this succinct observation: “Of the singers, Agnetha was a reluctant sex symbol for whom fame became a poisoned chalice..." (Succinctness....something I could definitely learn from Mr. Palm.)

Excerpt from "TV Week", Sept. 29, 2001, pages 12-13, "ABBA: The Way We Were – Super Troupers":
"The group members have always shied away from intrusive publicity, but a revealing new, unauthorized biography by Swedish writer Carl Magnus Palm called ‘Bright Lights, Dark Shadows’ (Omnibus Press, $55) presents a portrait of ABBA’s dramatic rise and fall.
It looks into the members’ childhoods, their musical backgrounds before forming ABBA and their personal battles once fame arrived.
“Of the two instrumentalists in ABBA, Benny was a self-taught musician with a streak of determination that carried him and the group all the way, and Björn, a gifted songwriter whose talent was inherited from his grandfather,” Carl explains.
“Of the singers, Agnetha was a reluctant sex symbol for whom fame became a poisoned chalice, and Anni-Frid was an orphan who carried on reinventing herself until she became, quite literally, a princess – after her divorce from Benny, Anni-Frid married a German prince called Ruzzo Reuss von Plauen who was an architect.”
Although Frida and Agnetha found love and security with Benny and Björn, the relationships were far from simple.
Frida and Benny both had children by previous marriages, and the guilt Frida felt at leaving her family behind to pursue her singing career in Stockholm weighed heavily. Agnetha was just 21 when she married Björn, and her new life in the spotlight (which eventually led to her current existence as a virtual recluse) was at odds with her desire to be a “normal” housewife and mother.
“They were held up as being two perfect, happy couples,” Carl says. “But in Swedish papers they were quite open and honest about their differences and their volatile relationships.”"
(Some additional excerpted info. from the book follows, here.)


Also: Additional good info./stories: The outstanding "ABBA Annual" website has the following two articles from "back in the day" which revealed much about ABBA members, particularly the two women. The astounding thing about the first revealing article (link) is that it's from mid-1975. Both ladies already sound more than a little tired and uncomfortable with their new roles, new fame. Imagine how much worse that must have gotten(!). Did they have any fun? Let's hope so. The second article (1981), you may take for what you want. It could be trash, but some of it seems (to have been) true, or close. (If so, poor Agnetha! Stop "punishing" yourself...Let's hope she finally did.) Also, makes me again wonder about that Björn dude. What exactly did he want in a wife? But, it usually takes two to "tangle"....This all apparently written about (quite well) by Björn in his fine ABBA song: "One Man, One Woman".

The ABBA members certainly were talkative that time in 1981...



Blog note: This addendum is backdated to better fit with the overall list of posts here. (And, it actually now precedes (and therefore is meant to qualify, or be considered along with) my 5/21/09 "Summary, to date..." entry. Its creation date is 7/7/09. -- Mr. D. Tails


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

Monday, May 18, 2009

ABBA ladies snuck off and did THIS in the '80s

...Uhhh....OK, perhaps not.
('Sneaked' vs. 'snuck'...?)

...Bet Frida wouldn't have minded one bit, though.

Another band that is delinquent for the "Rock Hall". Every member was outstanding. (Jackson Browne's already in there for cryin' out loud....Also, maybe the B-52s are not eligible, yet??)

World's tightest band here this time.
(Link to YT video...)




(YT video link.↑Note Kate Pierson's adroit performance (live) here: Keyboard, dancing, singing... and (apparently) cue-ing fellow singer Cindy Wilson - with head movement -  at times....! (The singers could be cue-ing each other at times, also.))

Bono speaks


I didn't know that Bono of premier band U2 is also a fan of ABBA.

In a few sentences (plus his concert tribute), the eloquent lead singer sums up much of what this blog is about. Please see the embedded You Tube video below.



Well said. But be aware: C.M. Palm in his definitive ABBA biography "Bright Lights, Dark Shadows" has a different take on Bono's recorded appearance here. (Page 521 in that book.)

Another YT link to more from that U2 1992 Stockholm concert: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kT2WpKZCSmE

As a commenter on You Tube summed it up: "beautifully bizarre".

(Blog note: This post entry is backdated to better fit within the order of posts as displayed here. It's actual creation date is 7/21/09. - Mr. D. Tails)Link to my full blog: http://star4abba.blogspot.com/

SOS: ABBA's stormy 1979 Boston concert flight (Windsor Locks tornado)

© 2009-13 (original sections) Please request permission to copy via the comments option at the end of this post. ....Thank you.

3/13 update: If interested,a prominent BBC article (by Mark Savage, 3/10/13,  re Ms. Fältskog's 2013 comeback) briefly referred to the 1979 ABBA "tornado" flight; weather details examined at some length below.  
(Off-site link to the BBC article, new window opens: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-21687897

As may be discerned below it is doubtful that the '79 flight actually "...flew straight into the middle of a tornado..." (The one that occurred in this case was 'rated' as 'F4' in intensity, producing "devastating damage", winds over 200mph*, etc. Different storm/example: What a devastating tornado might have looked like (link). *Note: The 1979 tornado was rated with the older Fujita scale; which likely overstates wind speeds. Please ref. the "Enhanced Fujita scale"(off-site link).
However, as concluded below, a series of severe thunderstorms moved through the New England region at various times/locations during that afternoon/early evening. It is fairly clear that the small plane carrying Ms. Fältskog (and others) encountered one or more of those storms. In short; a bad - if-not-outright-dangerous-weather afternoon/evening to be flying in that area.
 
(Original text:)
Many ABBA/Agnetha [aŋˈneːta] Fältskog fans are familiar with the basic story: In the final stages of ABBA's 1979 U.S. concert tour, Ms. Fältskog and other members of the band's entourage boarded a small private jet to fly from New York to Boston. (For a show there that evening.) Unfortunately their October 3, 1979 afternoon flight possibly came near what became one of the worst storms in modern Connecticut history. (Or just following it. Please see analysis further below.)

(http://ams.allenpress.com/perlserv/?request=get-abstract&doi=10.1175%2F1520-0493%281987%29115%3C1655%3ATWLCTO%3E2.0.CO%3B2&ct=1 This image is in the public domain because it contains materials that originally came from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, taken or made during the course of an employee's official duties.)

Carl Magnus Palm's "Bright Lights, Dark Shadows" ABBA biography has the best description of what the crew and passengers of the unlucky flight subsequently endured in the skies over New England, thirty years ago. (Pages 414-15.) Suffice to say it was a harrowing experience for all involved, as the small jet was buffeted by stormy conditions and had to change course more than once. According to the Mr. Palm's description, fuel was running low when the plane finally was able to make an emergency landing at Manchester, New Hampshire. Ms. Fältskog and others were understandably shaken, but managed to travel to Boston and proceed with the concert that night. (BTW: Other band members including ex-husband Björn Ulvaeus traveled separately to the show, as was ABBA's usual procedure for parents of children. Pls. see "Bio" section, via link.))

For many fans, etc., however, here's the brief description that's usually found for this event:

"The last scheduled ABBA concert on the US soil, in Washington, DC, was cancelled due to Fältskog's extreme emotional distress she suffered during the flight from New York to Boston when the private plane she was on was subjected to the extreme weather conditions (see Windsor Locks, Connecticut Tornado) and for a long time couldn't land."

Without flight time/flight path information, we may never know how close Ms. Fältskog's plane was to the unusually-moving thunderstorm that spawned a violent F4 tornado at around 3pm local time. The short-lived but devastating storm ripped through the Windsor Locks, CT area, causing three deaths, several hundred injuries and more than $400 million in property damage (adjusted).  (Note: The north-moving, strong tornado  traveled near Connecticut Route 75, just east of the airport. Though several outer buildings were damaged/destroyed, the operating airfield itself was not.) It was the most destructive single storm ever to occur in Connecticut, a distinction it still holds to date. It still ranks as the ninth most costly tornado in U.S. history(Update: 5/20/13 Moore, OK 'F5' tornado may likely move it down the (awful) list...6/1/13 El Reno, OK EF5 tornado, unfortunately as well...))
(Continuing:) A rare event for the region, especially in October. (And by the way, I'm told that snow was reported barely a week later that year at the same location...)

A couple of questions pertaining to the ABBA flight come to mind:

Question #1: Were there other strong storms in the area that afternoon, and around what times? Per page 1665 of the A.M.S. article (cited below), this answer appears to be a "yes"; with damaging winds, etc. in the Boston, MA area (from different storms vs. Windsor Locks) before 5pm (local time), and progressing through the area until at least 6pm.

Question #1a: Even if the ABBA jet wasn't involved with it as it became tornadic, did they possibly encounter the dangerous storm cluster beforehand, as it moved northward through the Connecticut River valley? (Pls.see below for a couple of "educated" guesses.)

Related info.: Here's a recent link to a 1985 TV interview where Ms. Fältskog briefly talks about her experience. (And adds interesting comments about flying in general, watching from the cockpit, etc.) Updated note (per below): In the more complete translation of her comments featured in a newer YouTube show upload (comments after about the 11:30 mark), it sounds as though Agnetha is referring to a planned landing at a Boston airport. Off-site link, new window opens: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibAJ88WD1jw 


At any rate, we may never know exact answers, especially to the second question. However, in 1987 a detailed, American Meteorological Society (AMS) journal article was published about the '79 Windsor Locks tornado.
As I have more than a passing interest in severe weather phenomenon, etc.,
I'll be studying this article for more information. Any interesting findings will be added below. Please note that the professional AMS article is much more comprehensive and detailed than my analysis, which follows.  
(Riley, G.T., and L.F. Bosart, 1987: The Windsor Locks, Connecticut Tornado of 3 October 1979: An Analysis of an Intermittent Severe Weather Event. Mon. Wea. Rev., 115, 1655–1677.)



The first such item is a significant illustration from the article (Fig. 22. pg. 1669, bottom left, PDF document), showing one set of unusually moving ("left-moving") thunderstorm cells from that day; (one of ) which eventually became tornadic at Windsor Locks.



This image is in the public domain because it contains materials that originally came from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, taken or made during the course of an employee's official duties


Though I lack key information (e.g., the ABBA jet's departure time from NYC), perhaps a bit of "mostly-informed" analysis can still be attempted.  If interested please read on. As will be seen, the ABBA plane may have come close to a very "nasty" storm:


In part based upon Mr. Palm's description of the flight (noted above), and also based upon my own reading of the AMS article (cited); we probably know the following: 1.) The 10/3/79 ABBA concert in Boston was apparently scheduled for 8pm, EDT. 2.) Per the AMS article, a "short squall line" (of storms) was developing in southwestern Connecticut (north of New York City (NYC)), about 1:30pm, EDT. (Pls. see figure 20, page 1668 in the AMS article, PDF document. Local (10/3/79) time assumed as Eastern Daylight Time.) Note: The AMS report employs UTC time including in published figures. Link to a UTC conversion chart (I'm using the EDST column). 3.) Again per the AMS article, another set of storm cells rapidly tracked northward from the ocean south of Long Island (east of NYC) and up through Connecticut (CT), between about 12 noon and 3pm, EDT. Pls. see figure 22, above. Per the article, these (unusually) northward-moving storms (with heightened cloud tops) merged with the other (northeastward moving) storm cells (from southwestern CT), "after"  2pm. (Pgs. 1664-5, 1674.) 4.) The Windsor Locks tornado began (on the ground) just around 3pm (EDT). (From a "prominent" mesocyclone showing cloud tops in excess of 42000 feet. (Pgs. 1655, 1665.)  Downburst winds were reported from at least one nearby community in association with the tornado. The dangerous storm cell(s) continued on into central Massachusetts - quickly becoming non-tornadic - and dissipated by around 5pm (pg.1665).). 5.) Yet other strong thunderstorms developed (eastward) in the Rhode Island/southeast Massachusetts, then Boston areas; starting after 4pm (EDT) and progressing until the 6pm hour (through Boston). (Pls. see Figure 20 and pg. 1665 in the AMS article. PDF document.))
6.) The ABBA plane apparently turned back toward New York once, then turned again back toward Boston. (From Mr. Palm's account.)

In sum: Clusters of strong storms were in progress/developing north and east of NYC (i.e., along or near the ABBA plane's likely flight path), around 1:30-2pm, EDT. (And after.)

(I am not a meteorologist, so please consult the cited, professional AMS article for greater detail. If interested, my cursory interpretation of some of this article's findings indicates that a key (atmospheric) factor (of several) in formation of the (eventually) tornadic storm at Windsor Locks was (later determined to be): The "intersection" of an advancing cool "pocket" of air aloft with "a tongue" of warm, moist, unstable air present in the Connecticut River valley (pg. 1675). )

Continuing: Assuming that the ABBA jet intended to fly a fairly direct route from New York to Boston (a reasonable assumption, though a central one), what time might it have left NYC to reach Boston? Since the flight took off at all, another assumption is that severe weather warnings were not out (yet) or available for its planned flight path. Though a few storms were already developing in areas around NYC after 1pm (see figure 20).

The ABBA plane reportedly carried other ABBA entourage personnel (i.e., besides Ms. Fältskog). So, if the Boston show was to start at about 8pm, a guess is that the ABBA personnel would perhaps want to be on the ground there at least three or so hours prior to the show, for various preparations. I don't know this, of course. It is a guess. And a significant assumption. Mr. Palm's account confirms that it was an afternoon flight, though.

Looking at commercial jet flight times (today), it takes about one hour and ten or so minutes to fly from New York's JFK airport to Boston's Logan. The ABBA plane was a small, private jet (per Mr. Palm's account). So it might have been able to fly the route faster, but perhaps not by a significant amount.

Under normal circumstances, if ABBA intended to reach Boston, say, between 4 and 5pm local time they would have needed to depart from New York sometime between about 2:45-55pm and 3:45-55pm. Given the approximate times of storms noted above, and Mr. Palm's account indicating that "the airfield... ["....of their designated airport..." (emphasis added)]...had been completely obliterated by the tornado...." (page 414); here are some of my interpretations:

1) It remains in question where ABBA's flight was originally intended to land. (I.e., Boston's Logan airport, or Connecticut's Bradley airport (in Windsor Locks, CT).) Other accounts I've viewed, including Ms.Fältskog's above also employ words like obliterated and "vanished" to describe what seems to be a destination airport. Knowing the originally intended landing airport is key, as we'll see. Update: Per the better-translated YT interview linked above it seems more likely that the destination airport was in Boston... 
2) If the original destination was Boston, given the approximate storm times and locations noted above, plus my suggested NYC departure time "window" (above), the ABBA flight missed the Windsor Locks storm cell at its most dangerous, but likely encountered other strong storms that were nearing Boston around 4pm (and afterward, until 6pm). 3) If the original landing destination was Windsor Locks, with a subsequent car trip of at least an hour or so to Boston, ABBA's plane would have possibly left NYC about one hour earlier than the above-suggested time window. (According to current commercial flight info. it still takes about an hour to fly from New York to Windsor Locks.) To get into Boston by 5pm, via Windsor Locks, ABBA's plane would need to be on the ground there by no later than 3:45pm.  (Leaving NYC by around 2:45-55pm.) This scenario again appears to have them missing the tornadic storm cell, but obviously (would have been) affected by its aftermath. If they wanted to be on the ground somewhat earlier (say, 3pm at W. Locks, which would mean about a 2pm or slightly later NYC departure), they would clearly have come much closer to encountering the dangerous storm(s).(I.e., storms were progressing in the Connecticut River valley after about 1:30-2pm. See more, below.) 4) Another scenario that I can think of (given what we know, and the 2:45-3:45 pm possible NYC departure) would be that Boston was ABBA's original landing destination, but they then attempted to choose Windsor Locks as an alternate, when learning of/encountering bad weather after they were in the air (from NYC). However, this scenario doesn't seem accurate, per Mr. Palm's account (pg. 414). He writes that: "...the plane was unable to land at their designated airport...The airfield had been completely obliterated by the tornado, and the pilot decided to turn back to New York." From Mr. Palm, we also know that they then turned around again, though we don't know how much time this took. With Bradley Airport "out", it would appear that the ABBA jet continued onward toward Boston, only to apparently be affected by another, separate "set" of strong storms nearing that city. Their plane circled (per page 415) and was eventually forced to land in Manchester, NH (north of Boston).

So the answer to my second question, above, depends upon a couple of pieces of information that I don't have. But, as it's reported that their pilot heard of the problem at Windsor Locks in advance and (initially) turned back, it seems that ABBA's jet perhaps did not directly encounter the storm cluster which produced a tornado at Windsor Locks. (Though it could have come close.)

Since we have incomplete information, however, I'll add another point (picking up on a scenario from above):  5) Interpreting figure 22, etc. from the AMS article, if the ABBA plane departed NYC somewhat earlier than the "window" surmised above; e.g., after approximately 1:15pm to about 2:15pm that afternoon, they would likely have come much closer to/encountered the unusually moving storm cells (which eventually produced the tornado). That is.... if they planned a mainly direct flight route. And such a "close encounter" seems likely (in this "earlier" departure scenario), whether Boston or Windsor Locks was their landing destination. I.e., either (direct) route would probably have flown a portion over the Connecticut River valley, where storms were  present/merging/moving northward (after about 1:30pm). Learning when the ABBA jet departed, and how long the plane was in the air prior to hearing(?) about the dangerous Windsor Locks situation is key to further analysis of this earlier-departure scenario.

That (mercifully?) completes my amateur analysis of the very unusual weather that the ABBA jet could have been near, during the afternoon of October 3, 1979. Though I'm not informed enough to draw firm conclusions, to me; all who were on that flight should feel relieved that they landed safely. And escaped greater disaster. Thirty years ago in New England, it clearly was an awful (weather) afternoon to be flying.

Legitimate comments/corrections are welcome. Thanks to all interested; and who read this far.....



Blog note: This post is backdated to better fit within the overall order of posts here. It's actual creation date is September, 2009.

P.S. A link to a recent local news story describing the tornado, from 30 years on: http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local-beat/Remembering-The-Windsor-and-Windsor-Locks-Tornado-30-Years-Later-62410147.html

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

Ms. Fältskog's "That's Me": A befitting album cover

1998's compilation album "That's Me" features a beautiful image of singing star Agnetha Fältskog.

For a tiny blog I'm sure it's not the "biggest deal" in the world, but I don't think I can reproduce the cover photo here as it is copyrighted. FYI: Here is one (purchasing) link that shows the cover.  And another: One member's entry includes (a picture of) a nice poster of this album's cover.

I think that image is a perfect representation of Ms.Fältskog, the artist. It's appropriate that the always-photogenic appears to be singing in it, perhaps in a studio/TV show environment. Possibly "one-on-one" with a camera. As pointed out several times in this blog, the artist showed well in that setting. She often put forth a conscious effort to connect with viewers via the camera. In videos, both ABBA singers made a point of looking directly at viewers. (To some extent this probably was planned/rehearsed.)

The present-day popularity of ABBA and its women singers on You Tube is due in no small part to their excellent presentation and delivery of the group's songs. (ABBA used song promo videos extensively, years before the medium became popular via MTV, etc. Ref. page 265.)

FWIW: I'm sure along with other aficionados, when I look up the word "alluring" I think that this cover photo -- and others of Ms.Fältskog -- should be part of the definition. (A representative video clip with her singing would be even better...)

Aside: Not sure if there's a direct connection (to the 1998 album from Agnetha), but ABBA's song "That's Me" was one of the singer's favorites with the group. Also: A few may quibble about this compilation album (apparently) using an image that may have been produced during the ABBA period.  I.e., to grace the cover of a (partial) collection of solo efforts from the artist. If true, it doesn't seem to bother this particular fan....
Furthermore: In occasional interviews, etc., Ms.Fältskog would state that she did not consider herself to be especially "beautiful"

Bonus: Agnetha's "That's Me" compilation included this previously unused song. It's one of her stronger solo efforts: (Please right-click on the screencap (below) for a well done YT video/link.)





(Yes: The Swedish version of this song (above) is even better: (link) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dpt5e19Ksgk&fmt=18 )


Note: This post is backdated to better fit within the order of entries in this blog.

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