While his ex-wife and ABBA colleague Agnetha Fältskog has almost completely withdrawn into private life, Björn Ulvaeus is working on one project after the other. One of them has to do with Sweden’s biggest export besides Abba, Ikea and Greta.
Whether Abba Museum, “Mamma Mia!” Musical or a floating hotel in the Swedish province: Björn Ulvaeus has remained busy and creative as ever, even after the great Abba hysteria of the 1970s. While other Abba members like his ex-wife Agnetha Fältskog have become much calmer, Ulvaeus continues to hurry from one project to the next. Nothing will change when the Swede turns 75 this Saturday (April 25).
“I like trying new things,” Ulvaeus last told the German Press Agency at the end of 2019. At the time, he announced that there would be a circus musical about Pippi Longstocking in Stockholm in the summer of 2022: On the occasion of Astrid Lindgren’s strong girl’s 75th birthday, Ulvaeus and his colleagues want to retell the story in a musical circus event, like Pippi with her friends Tommy and Annika goes to the circus. Ulvaeus wants to offer the audience a mixture of musical and circus show – provided that the Corona crisis then allows larger events.
The piece about Pippi Longstocking – arguably Sweden’s largest export hit alongside Ikea, Greta Thunberg and of course Abba itself – is part of a long list of ulvaeus creative projects. He also played a major role in the implementation of the Abba Museum in Stockholm, which opened in 2013. Years ago, the production of the musical “Mamma Mia!” Had proven to be a stroke of luck. At a floating hotel platform in Västervik, the place of his childhood a good 200 kilometers south of Stockholm, he also gets involved.
Björn Kristian Ulvaeus has always been a jack of all trades, that was the case even before the Abba period. Music was always the center of interest for the Swede born in Gothenburg on April 25, 1945. In a recording in the Abba Museum, his sister Eva tells me that jingling came from Björn’s children’s room in Västervik after he received his first guitar.
As a lead singer and guitarist for the folk band The Hootenanny Singers, music lover Ulvaeus blossomed into a national teen idol in the 1960s. During this time, he also ran into Benny Andersson for the first time, with whom he would later compose several Abba songs. The two become friends who love the music and later make the recording studio their second home.
At the end of the 1960s Benny and Björn met their later wives Anni-Frid “Frida” Lyngstad and Agnetha Fältskog. On a trip to Cyprus together, the four Northern Lights noticed in a spontaneous concert in front of soldiers in 1970 how well their musical talents harmonized with each other. Four years later, they won the Eurovision Song Contest with “Waterloo” and subsequently became world stars.
There’s no stopping in Abbamania: “SOS”, “Mamma Mia”, “Fernando” and “Dancing Queen” hit the top of the international charts like many other hits. Abba with its creative control center Ulvaeus inspires millions of people all over the world, tours lead the band to Australia.
By this time Björn and Agnetha were more than just two band members in love: they had already got engaged in Cyprus, and in 1971 the wedding in southern Sweden followed – with Benny Andersson on the church organ. The year before the ESC success, her first child Linda was born.
While Abba landed one number one hit after the next, in 1977 Ulvaeus-Fältskog followed with Christian, the second child together. But the marriage to the beautiful Agnetha does not stand up to the intense break-up period: the two separate, divorce in 1980, but continue to make music together. But at the end of 1982 it was also over for Abba.
Just a few days after the divorce with Fältskog, Lena Källersjö is a new love in Ulvaeus’ life. “I was only single for a week after the divorce from Agnetha when I met Lena,” the musician told the newspaper “De Telegraaf” at the time. “When Agnetha and I split up, I knew right away that I would fall in love again. I realized that I was not made for the life of a bachelor. ”Ulvaeus married his Lena in 1981, later the two had two children. They live happily ever after in Stockholm.
And then there are the new Abba songs that were announced in April 2018. Abba fans are eagerly awaiting the release of “I Still Have Faith In You” and “Don’t Shut Me Down”, which has been postponed several times. Ulvaeus recently told dpa that they would “definitely” come in 2022.
Only a few days ago, positive signs were heard on Swedish radio: In the morning program “Morgonpasset i P3”, the Swedish host Mark Levengood said that he had heard “three of the new Abba songs”. “They are fantastic, I can say so much without saying too much,” said Levengood. At 75, Björn Ulvaeus’ life does not seem to be quiet. (Bjorn Ulvaeus)