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ABBA’s Björn Ulvaeus fears band may never appear in public together again

ABBA’s Björn Ulvaeus fears band may never appear in public together again - Pictured: ABBA's digital avatars from their ABBA Voyage concerts
ABBA’s Björn Ulvaeus fears band may never appear in public together again - Pictured: ABBA's digital avatars from their ABBA Voyage concerts Copyright ABBA Voyage - Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Copyright ABBA Voyage - Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
By David Mouriquand
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ABBA star Björn Ulvaeus admits it might all be over when it comes to the band being together publicly. However, emerging technology – much like their touring digital avatars in the ABBA Voyage show – may be the way forward for fans of the Swedish pop icons.

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For those of you who are still heartbroken that ABBA didn’t make a surprise appearance at this year’s Eurovision, there’s some more bad news coming your way.

Band member Björn Ulvaeus has stated that ABBA may never make another public appearance together ever again.

On the Rosebud With Gyles Brandreth podcast, Ulvaeus revealed that the pop icons’ latest appearance together for their Swedish knighthood may have been their last public get-together.

The band received the Royal Vasa Order from King Carl XVI Gustaf of the Swedish royal family for their contribution to music last month.

Ulvaeus revealed that he and his bandmates had realised it might have been “the last occasion” that all four members would be together in public.

“We stood there quietly, accepting it out of the king’s hand and him saying a few words, it was a very quiet and very elegant ceremony. All four of us of course we there.”

When asked by host Gyles Brandreth if the group often meet each other, Ulvaeus replied: “In public very rarely, and Frida (Lyngstad) said to me afterwards, ‘This might be the last occasion.’ Very sad, and I thought about that afterwards, but we’re not getting any younger.”

The band’s members are Björn Ulvaeus, 79, Agnetha Fältskog, 74, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, 78, and Benny Andersson, 77.

Björn Ulvaeus, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Agnetha Fältskog and Benny Andersson - receive the Royal Vasa Order from Sweden's King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia
Björn Ulvaeus, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Agnetha Fältskog and Benny Andersson - receive the Royal Vasa Order from Sweden's King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia Henrik Montgomery/TT News Agency via AP

They have embraced the technical possibilities of touring without appearing on stage themselves through their holographic concerts, following their 2021 album ‘Voyage’ – their first since 1981.

The album’s release kickstarted the holographic experience called ABBA Voyage, with fans able to watch digital avatars of their favourite band on stage.

Asked if there was any hope for more new music from the band, Ulvaeus said: “No, ‘Voyage’ the album was the last you’ll ever hear from us.”

However, he did leave the door open for more shows that further embrace emerging technologies.

“There will be new exciting formats in the future that we know very little about right now,” he said. “AI, the metaverse, there are lots of interesting and exciting things happening creatively that ABBA might be involved in as well.”

The show ABBA Voyage comes to an end in Stratford, east London, in 2026 and afterwards, the group hope to bring ABBA Voyage to other parts of the world. There have also been rumours that the band are set to sign a multi-million deal to take the show to Las Vegas.

ABBA in full gear for their digital avatars
ABBA in full gear for their digital avatarsGetty Images

Also in the Rosebud podcast,* Ulvaeus revealed that he’s never been too thrilled about the band’s name, saying that “we didn't have a choice in the matter.”

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“I thought it was such a stupid name. And it is. (...) I had thought we should have a cool name like the Rolling Stones, or something like that. The Northern Lights was one of our thoughts – and here we are with ABBA.”

Ulvaeus said they were given the name for convenience.

“As we were kind of famous, all famous in Sweden, we made our first records under Agnetha, Benny, Bjorn and Anni-Frid. The DJs on the radio got tired of saying that – 'Agnetha, Benny, Bjorn and Anni-Frid' – as you can imagine. And so they just abbreviated it – to the initials ABBA.”

Ulvaeus added: “It's also the name of a very famous herring factory in Sweden – marinated herring. We had to ask them for permission to use the name, and they told us, 'As long as you don't dabble in marinating herring'.”

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Maybe their digital avatars can do some virtual marinating at some point? Food for thought.

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