ABBA reunite for Voyage album as they release first new songs in 40 years ahead of London tour

ABBA last night released two new songs — their first in 40 years — and shed light on their remarkable comeback.

The band’s shock reunion will feature a high-tech concert with youthful avatars of the legendary foursome — Agnetha Fältskog, 71, Björn Ulvaeus, 76, Benny Andersson, 74, and Frida Lyngstad, 75.


ABBA – Benny Andersson, Agnetha Fältskog, Frida Lyngstad, Björn Ulvaeus, have released two new songsCredit: Getty
Motion capture . . . Abba in high-tech suits
Motion capture . . . Abba in high-tech suits

The Swedes, the biggest-selling pop group of all time, met up to work on the show and were then inspired to record new music at Benny’s studio in Stockholm.

The 90-minute concert, to be staged in a run in East London, has been 4½ years in the making. The group spent a total of five weeks wearing motion-capture suits performing 22 songs in front of 160 cameras.

Digital versions of the band members were then created, looking as they did in their 1979 tour. Benny told how things got particularly hairy for him and Björn, saying: “The only big problem was that we had to shave our beards. I’ve had my beard for 50 years.”

He added: “The funny thing was that we got so used to going there each day that it was like going to work. Even though we looked ridiculous in our leotards.”

Benny and Björn held an emotional press conference overlooking the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which will stage their concert residency, Abba Voyage, next May.

Benny said: “It’s sort of a greatest hits. We tried to play a couple of songs that haven’t been great hits but songs that we like. Dancing Queen is there. There are 22 songs and it’s an hour-and-a-half. The two new songs we released today are also in there.”

The band are releasing an album Voyage on November 5, which will feature ten new tracks including I Still Have Faith In You and Don’t Shut Me Down, which were put out yesterday.

They admitted to having uncertainties about each other’s musical abilities after so long apart — but need not have worried. Benny recalled: “It was so joyful to be in the studio again. Hearing Frida and Agnetha really going for it again.

“About five minutes before they came into the studio I thought, ‘I should ask if they can still sing’. It’s been 40 years and it was like no time had passed.

“It is a little mixture of everything, like it has been on our records throughout the years. We have a little Christmas tune, it’s called Little Things. There are a number of pop songs as well. I think it’s fairly good. We’ve done as good as we could at our age.”

Björn was married to Agnetha from 1971 until 1979, and Benny wed Frida in 1978 following a nine-year engagement, before divorcing three years later.

But Björn said: “To release a new album after 40 years and still be the best of friends and still be enjoying each other’s company and have total loyalty, who has experienced that? Nobody.

“We went into the studio knowing that if it was not up to scratch we would never release it so we are proud of it.”

He told how the emotional connection between the band is as strong as ever. Björn added: “I looked into Agnetha’s eyes and Frida’s eyes and there was the same kind of feeling, the warmth and the friendship and the bonds between us.

“I can’t think of any moment we seriously or one of us seriously wanted to do something and the others said no. All these 40 years, we’ve been quite unanimous in not wanting to do something.”

An 850-strong team from Industrial Light & Magic, the company founded by George Lucas, worked on the show. Frida said in a statement: “Such joy it was to work with the group again.

“I am so happy with what we have made and I dearly hope our fans feel the same.” Agnetha added: “I can hardly believe that, finally, the moment has come to share this with the world.” The concert will launch on May 27 next year, with tickets on general sale on Tuesday.

First review of new songs

Howell Davies

AFTER nearly four decades, we have another reason to thank Abba for the music.

New single I Still Have Faith in You is a tear-jerking ballad which is the perfect reintroduction to this incredible group.

In poignant lyrics, they sing: “We do have it in us, new spirit has arrived. The joy and the sorrow, we have a story, and it survived.”

But it is their second song Don’t Shut Me Down which will really get their fans excited.

It ticks every single Abba trademark — an upbeat pop melody over melancholy lyrics. Abba are back — and as wonderful as ever.

The legendary group are releasing their first album of new music in 40 years


The legendary group are releasing their first album of new music in 40 yearsCredit: PA:Press Association
ABBA are the biggest selling pop group of all time


ABBA are the biggest selling pop group of all timeCredit: AFP
Studio . . . Björn, Benny, Agnetha and Frida


Studio . . . Björn, Benny, Agnetha and Frida
Time warp . . . how avatars will look on stage


Time warp . . . how avatars will look on stage
Hit factory . . . special Olympic Park venue


Hit factory . . . special Olympic Park venue
ABBA discuss comeback ahead of Voyage album drop

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