Living with…ABBA…for a week
ABBA are as 70’s as candlewick bedspreads and plastic Adidas shoulderbags and rather like those two they are continually coming back in to fashion after brief periods of scorn. After all. what would a world be like without candlewick?
And what a world be like without ABBA? This week is a celebration of ABBA-inspired moments.
Top 5 Non-ABBA ABBA moments
1. Mamma Mia the movie (of course)
Attracting both universal adulation and scorn, Mamma Mia tookABBA inspiration to a whole new level. I’ll confess to being a fan after seeing it on stage over ten years ago. I knew little about it beforehand but came out a convert. It started a whole army of similar musicals, where stories are constructed around an artist’s catalogue of songs. Mamma Mia does it very well, the majority of others not so.
Mamma Mia the movie and stage show capture the ultimate feel-good of ABBA while recognising that underneath the sweet sweet harmonies there were some excellent words about breakups and relationships in general. All captured in the film’s immortal tag line – A mother. A daughter. Three possible fathers.
Sadly, the Mamma Mia movie thought police on youtube are incredibly vigilent and no clips are available. If you haven’t seen it yet, the chances are you won’t like it. And if you have, well you got a DVD copy that Christmas when it came out, didn’t you?
Otherwise I’d have included Pierce Brosnan’s immortal rendition of SOS, so it’ll have to be the pic instead.
2. ABBA French and Saundered
I love the F&S spoof below because it is such a genuine feel of those original ABBA videos – the vaselined lens, the wistful gazes, the gentle walking in the autumn air. And the lyrics, oh the lyrics – one of Abba’s classic rhyming couplets for me were the immortal Super Trooper lines:
I was sick and tired of everything
When I called you last night from Glasgow
All I do is eat and sleep and sing
Wishing every show was the last show
Only ABBA would rhyme Glasgow and last show! Actually only they would combine super and trooper to be honest.
And of course this clip reminds me of the two ladies (French and Saunders that is) at their best, spoofing pop acts – perfecting the look, the make-up, the glance to camera. For the perfect F&S pop spoof though check out the Bjork one!
3. You’re terrible, Muriel
ABBA as karaoke. We all have to confess from the earlies of ages we have been miming to Dancing Queen (or something similar) prancing in front of a mirror or the window with toothpaste tube as microphone. This moment in Muriel’s Wedding captures the karaoke spirit in us all as Muriel and her mate Rhonda hammer out Waterloo, while a fight breaks out in the audience. The fight isn’t compulsory but this is an Australian hen weekend.
Muriel’s Wedding was an amazing film if only because it was feel-good but also desperately sad and challenging at the same time. The other great ABBA moment in the film is the I Do I Do I Do wedding scene both hilarious and horrifying at the same time.
For some reason Australia took to ABBA like ducks to water and it became their second homeland so other great Australian ABBA moments obviously include Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and Kylie Minogue’s quest to cover many of their songs, which does lead us nicely on to gay icons…
WARNING this karaoke contains the compulsory 90 degree ABBA shot – two women singing at 90 degrees to each other.
4. Andy loves ABBA
Dancing Queen is officially the favourite gay icon song of all time (although obviously run a close second by Gloria Gaynor and Dianna Ross) so it’s obviously no surprise that openly gay artists have gone out of their way to pay their tributes to the pop kings and queens of Sweden. I could have chosen, and nearly did, the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus but I haven’t.
Instead, you can’t beat our very own British camp, so here’s some Erasure and Andy Bell dressing up for the occasion. Hard as Vince is trying he really isn’t relaxing in to it all.
5. ABBA goes metal
And finally, proof that the songs of Anderson and Ulvaeus can make the crossover to any genre, I’ve had a great week exploring the metal side of ABBA with a multitude queuing up to show that Abba rocks! The Rasmus, U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers have all been at it. I may pull together a special compilation sometime.
But the parting shot goes to Death Metal group Therion who tend to specialise in Nordic mythology and the crossover between the classical, operatic and very heavy metal. So the ideal group to cover Summernight City.
So we say Thank You for the Music.