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Science & Medicine

Mamma Mia! ABBA Is Back After Nearly 40 Years

ABBA members Björn Ulvaeus, Agnetha Fältskog, Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Benny Andersson.
ABBA members Björn Ulvaeus, Agnetha Fältskog, Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Benny Andersson.

Nearly 40 years since they last made music together, the members of ABBA are back. The Swedish pop group has announced an upcoming "hologram" concert in London and its first studio album in four decades.

"We took a break in the spring of 1982, and now we've decided it's time to end it," the band announced in a news release. "They say it's foolhardy to wait more than 40 years between albums, so we've recorded a follow-up to The Visitors."

ABBA is the acronym from the first name of singers Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid "Frida" Lyngstad and instrumentalists-songwriters Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus. They began in 1970 as a cabaret act. Four years later, they won the Eurovision competition with "Waterloo." They became stars with songs like "Dancing Queen" and "Fernando." Another hit, "Mamma Mia," inspired a Broadway musical and a movie (and its sequel) starring Meryl Streep (and Cher).

ABBA's last album, The Visitors, released in 1981, featured a more sophisticated sound than the group's previous light pop music. By then, one of the band's two married couples had divorced, and the other was about to.

The members are now all in their 70s and have released numerous solo projects. For several years now, ABBA has been teasing about a reunion.

Its new album, Voyage, will be released on Nov. 5. It includes singles "I Still Have Faith in You" and "Don't Shut Me Down," recorded at Andersson's Riksmixningsverket studio in Stockholm.

In the announcement, ABBA says its inspiration to record again comes from having created "the strangest and most spectacular concert you could ever dream of." Next May, the group will perform digitally with a live band in a specially built arena at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, employing likenesses created by a team from George Lucas' Industrial Light & Magic.

"We're going to be able to sit back in an audience and watch our digital selves perform our songs on a stage in a custom-built arena in London next spring," reads the announcement. Tickets for the event go on sale Sept. 5.

"We're truly sailing in uncharted waters," the statement continues. "With the help of our younger selves, we travel into the future. It's not easy to explain, but then it hasn't been done before."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.