Friday, July 10, 2009

The Swedish Thing

That March 1977 issue of Creem ("America's Only Rock 'n' Roll Magazine") I mentioned the other day had the expected features on Boston, Jefferson Starship and Patti Smith, but also a big blowout on Abba. I wonder how well this went over with the metalheads in Detroit who thought Ted Nugent had gone soft with Free-for-All. I suspect it looked a bit silly back then, but it's aged pretty well, better than the rave review of the new Rory Gallagher album.

"Like all pop masters," the piece reads, "Abba express and sell themselves entirely according to the grooves; they've rarely performed live [Ed. note: Note even when they appeared on Saturday Night Live] and have no personality - few people know their names and nobody knows which girl is which." As it happens, I do know which girl is which: Agnetha is the blonde and Annifrid, better known as Frida, is the brunette.

On the other hand, I probably didn't know this until Frida's 1982 solo hit "I Know There's Something Going On," produced and drummed into submission by Phil Collins. I certainly believe that no one knew the difference in 1977, because Creem didn't know. "Benny and Bjorn started recording together as Bjorn and Benny in 1966," one part of the article goes, "and Anna and Frida started their successful solo careers soon after." But Anna and Frida are the same person!


Kinky Paprika said...

That's kinda chintzy.

I'm pretty sure I still have the Musician magazine from circa '92 with a Nirvana feature in which Kurt Cobain and Dave Grohl are mislabeled as each other in several photo captions.

Alex said...

"Like all pop masters, Abba express and sell themselves entirely according to the grooves..."

What does this even mean? Does the writer of this really believe that nothing mattered in music except what was on the records?

jb said...

Somewhere in my vast library of vastness, I have a compilation album (from Warner Brothers Records, fercryinoutloud) that refers to ABBA as "Bjorn, Benny, Anna, and Frida." So that bit of misinformation proliferated for a while.

rob said...

wasn't Frida blonde by the time she did "I Know There's Something Going On"? Just trying to keep us all confused!

the article's here btw:
I love how it singles out "Dum Dum Diddle" as their best song--a very prescient pick.

Innocent Bystander said...

From the article:

"All pop ... is plastic, commercial, manipulative, meaningless and eventually irritating."

What the hey???