The band once offered $1bn to reform were photographed in the same room for the first time since 2008 – to open an Abba-themed restaurant
Mamma mia! The four members of Swedish pop phenomenon Abba were reunited in Stockholm on Wednesday – but, sadly for fans, only for the opening of a new entertainment venture: Mamma Mia! The Party.
Questioned by reporters, Benny Andersson insisted that he didn’t think the four of them would be getting back together on stage.
“We are here to party,” added his fellow composer Björn Ulvaeus.
The band, fronted by the pair’s then wives Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, once reportedly turned down $1bn to re-form, though in a Guardian interview in 2014 they did not rule out recording together again.
Since splitting up in 1982 after both sets of spouses divorced – giving rise to melancholic pop classics like The Winner Takes it All – Abba have had a lucrative afterlife.
Their compilation Abba Gold, released in 1992, is the second-highest-selling album of all time in the UK and has sold 29m copies worldwide, while the jukebox musical Mamma Mia!, which employs many of their hits, has grossed some $2bn since its debut in 1999, and only recently completed its Broadway run.
It was also made into a hit film, whose attractions included a memorable, if not downright searing, version of SOS performed by Pierce Brosnan.
The famous quartet hadn’t been seen out together since 2008. On Friday, they arrived and left separately and declined to be photographed together on the red carpet, though they stood beside one another on the stage.
Housed in Stockholm’s Tyrol restaurant, Mamma Mia! The Party is based on the Greek taverna in the musical. As well as Mediterranean food, it offers entertainment including – so the website says – “daredevil stunts, Greek Gods, flirty waiters, and perhaps a zorba and an ouzo or two”.
Fans are sure to take a chance on the new venture – though it seems the night could get mezze.
If you’re looking for Abba vinyl, CDs, memorabilia, merchandise and more, be sure to visit eil.com’s Abba Collector’s Store