My oldest son was born in 1970, and ABBA, the Swedish pop group hit the market in 1972. Both Benny and Bjorn are my age, as is Anni-Frid, while Agnetha, the blond is only 72. I never heard any of their music until after I’d left the Army in 1976. In 1982 the group broke up, not before each of the girls had been married to each of the men. And vice versa.
They had been the greatest-selling music group in history even as “Rolling Stone” had dubbed them little more than the Bubble-Gum Music that followed Rock N’ Roll in the early 60s.
My son went off to college in 1988, and being eclectic in his musical-likes, he became obsessed with ABBA’s songs, even though they had broken up up team when he was 12. He would rummage through old music store stacks all over southern Ohio and even found singles by both of the girls.
Even I admitted they had a sound…a vocal sound, not guitars…that was as prefect a blend of female voices as I’d ever heard. G Gordon Liddy, whose AM talk radio show I listened before 9-11, was equally taken by their voices and the music.
And, traveling back and forth to the Eastern Bloc in days leading up to the Kosovo War, I often thought about how horrible pop music was in those days, compared to the better-blends of musics and voices actually going back to the 30s.
Than along comes ABBA and announces they’re getting back together again (not the ages, above, all in their 70s, and I thought “How nice” for I was able to upload some of their news songs.
Kinda paunchy around the edges, but those voices are still crystal clear. And these lyrics are some of the hottest of any era, neither one ever released as a single, probably because of it….although I doubt it would even turn the ear of Loudon County school official, or maybe even parent, nowadays.
Manhattan Transfer, on the other hand, was a jazz ensemble who did blues as well, and mostly show engagements. Very saucy and fine blending of voices, plus one more tract, like this one, that you probably couldn’t play on television even today.
And “Anadante, Andante” means make it slow and it was written by Bennie and Bjorn, and Anni-Frid took the lead.
Don’t Let Go, 1976, Manhattan Transfer
Andante, Andante, 1980, ABBA