ABBA have responded to rumours that they are planning to reunite for next year’s edition of the Eurovision Song Contest in their native Sweden.
After previous victor Loreen won the competition with her song ‘Tattoo’ earlier this month, rumour spread online that it was all part of a plan to have ABBA reform to mark 50 years of their own Eurovision win as the contest returns to their home country as the 2024 host nation. Now, they have shot down the chances of it happening – even just for one evening.
“I don’t want to,” Benny Andersson told the BBC, “and if I don’t want to, the others won’t. It’s the same for all four of us – someone says, ‘no’ – it’s a no.”
Bandmate Björn added: “We can celebrate 50 years of ABBA without us being on stage.”
This comes as the first anniversary approaches of ABBA’s ambitious ‘Voyage’ virtual concert experience in London – having recently welcomed their millionth visitor, all without the band having to physically perform in front of a live audience.
The show sees CGI reincarnations (or ‘ABBA-tars’) based on the movements and performance of the living Swedish pop legends. These are then painstakingly presented to appear to be playing live with the appearance of the band in their ’70s prime, backed by a full live band present in the room.
The last new music from band came on the 2021 accompanying ‘Voyage’ album containing the two singles ‘I Still Have Faith In You’ and ‘Don’t Shut Me Down’. Asked if there was a hope for more new music from the band to come, Ulvaeus told NME last month: “No, ‘Voyage’ the album was the last you’ll ever hear from us” – but he did remain open to the idea of the band returning for more projects like the live show, making the most of new emerging technologies.
“There will be new exciting formats in the future that we know very little about right now,” he added. “AI, the metaverse, there are lots of interesting and exciting things happening creatively that ABBA might be involved in as well.”
He also shot down the chances of the ABBA-tars appearing at Glastonbury too, telling NME: “I don’t think that’s possible, yet. It might be in the future. As it is, it’s too complicated because the lighting, the sound, the visuals, everything is integrated and it’s so complicated.”
The ABBA Voyage virtual concert series is currently set to run in London into 2024, with plans reported for the experience to be taken on a world tour.
Asked about what the future of the show involves, Ulvaeus replied: “We hope to stay in this venue for as long as we can. We hope they’ll have us for many years, and we might build other replicas of this in other places: Asia, Australia, North America. There are lots and promoters and cities that we’re talking to at the moment about that.
“Each one would take at least two years to build, but there will be announcements towards the end of this year or the beginning of next about where we actually are going. That’s if we’re going somewhere, which we will.”