Belfast Telegraph

Abba back as band records first music in 35 years

By David Reed

Mamma Mia! Here they go again - Abba are to release their first new songs for 35 years.

The Swedish pop group have returned to the studio for the first time since 1982.

The quartet called the new material an "unexpected consequence" of a recent decision to present a "virtual reality" tour.

The band have resisted pressure to reform since they stopped recording together in 1982 despite a reported $1bn (£689m) offer to tour in 2000.

But yesterday in a statement on the official Abba Instagram account the band revealed they were making a comeback.

No release date has been set for the new songs, but one of them - titled I Still Have Faith In You - will be performed in December on a TV special broadcast by the BBC and NBC.

The statement said: "The decision to go ahead with the exciting Abba avatar tour project had an unexpected consequence.

"We all four felt that, after some 35 years, it could be fun to join forces again and go into the recording studio. So we did.

"And it was like time had stood still and that we had only been away on a short holiday. An extremely joyful experience!"

The statement added: "It resulted in two new songs and one, I Still Have Faith in You, will be performed by our digital selves in a TV special produced by NBC and the BBC aimed for broadcasting in December. We may have come of age, but the song is new. And it feels good."

It signed off: "Agnetha, Benny, Bjorn, Anni-Frid - Stockholm, Sweden, 27 April 2018."

The group's manager Gorel Hanser confirmed the news.

In Brussels on Wednesday singer Bjorn Ulvaeus (72) revealed that virtual 'Abbatars' are being created to represent the pop group for the upcoming digital tour, expected for next year or 2020.

They will be pictured as they looked during the height of their fame, with Ulvaeus saying: "We thought we looked good that year."

Abba have sold more than 400 million albums in their careers and had nine No.1 hits in the UK between 1974 and 1980. Yet they have not performed since 1986, other than a brief appearance at a private party in 2016.

Speaking to the BBC, Rod Stephen, founder of Abba tribute act Bjorn Again, described the new material as "a whole new beginning".

"I heard about Abba releasing new songs and I was instantly, like everyone else in the Abba community, really excited to know what the songs were and how they're going to sound. Will it have that 1970s sound, or will it be up to date?

"It's brilliant, really, because we love Abba's music to death. I just hope they're great songs, I hope they're equivalent to Dancing Queen or Mamma Mia."

He added: "I know Benny and Bjorn wouldn't release something in this way unless they were good songs."

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