Most difficult of all is love

A quick translation of the VG Helg article. More to follow…………


Phobias and loud public noise has always bothered Agnetha Fältskog (63). But love is her most troublesome life project.

Pop’s “Greta Garbo” has crept out of the winter and taken the first steps into the world,  most thought she had left behind. The reunion with the public involves doing almost everything that bothers her, and the Abba years gave her an overdose of that.


Stage fright. The fear of flying. The fear of moving out in public and to be devoured alive by the fans and the media-shy person.


Phobias and the loud public not with standing, Agnetha Fältskog see’s herself as strong and earthy. Things she needs to lean on now that she release the first album of new material in 25 years.


She is the long legged, blonde sex bomb who owned the 70s.


The heartbreaking vulnerability in her voice, raised it to one of pop’s greatest band.


She created the soundtrack for millions of people’s lives but their own world stardom, she has an almost indifferent relationship.


The fame was miserable. Now the voice of Jönköping is back.


There is a long and unbroken line of people that shyness  has been in Agnetha Fältskog life.


- I hid always when people bent over the stroller to peek at me. My mum thought it was so funny.


A hermit was born.


No other’s eyes and ears one her, and my will to be with her ,  we meet  Agnetha for one of the rare interviews at a Stockholm hotel where  the legendary film diva Greta Garbo used to live incognito.


- You’ve described yourself as a lone wolf?


- Yes.


- A bit like Ferdinand the Bull, who would rather sit under a tree and smell the flowers instead of showing off the bullring?


- Yes, absolutely.

- Is loneliness a good friend?


- Yes. I’m not afraid of being lonely, I derive a great power in it. Many people are very afraid of being alone, but I do not feel it. I think it is because I have a high degree of harmony and basic security in myself.


- It has been obvious that you are a person with low self-esteem, you are shy and not very social and at times you struggle with anxiety and restlessness. How is your life really in hop?


- It’s a bit strange, because it all depends on the situation. Some things in this industry, I am completely unmoved by. Give me a film camera, and I know of no concern, says Agnetha.


- But there can be little things I see as harsh and problematic in everyday life. Much of it is that I usually always recognized.


- How do you work to create the best possible balance in your life?


- I have a very big need for sleep that I meet. I go for long walks in the woods and try to live healthy, healthy in general. If I can I just sleep at nights and be healthy, then that’s good.


Winter has been cold and bitter also on the  Swedish island secluded on Ekerö


It has made the bell clear voice, often ill.But Agnetha has forced herself to perform anyway. One and a half years it has taken her to work on the love album “A”.


- Since I am sensitive human , I give all the songs. It is very much emotion in this album.


One of the world’s greatest pop stars started on a Christmas party in the fishing club in Jönköping in 1955.


The five year old on stage was a rare musical talent was completely overshadowed by the elastic of her pants broke so that it slid under her dress just as she stood and sang “Billy Boy.”


People writhing in laughter.


Agnetha does not remember, but it may have been the start of stage fright. The fear of being seen.


- Now I’m not so often on stage anymore. But when I was on Skavlan recently, I was terribly nervous. I can’t handle it to have pressure on me, and I shall be a kind of problem solver and say wise things about politics and religion, it’s not my department, although I follow well with what is happening around me.


Agneta Åse Fältskog – baptised Agneta without h – was the daughter of the local king cabaret and musical his wife. Piano tones as a day sounded from the apartment above, came as a revelation into her life.


In light blue dress trooped the five year old girl up with piano teacher Segvard Andersson and remained there.


She composed her first song at age six, was given her own piano that year. Before teens she played Bach solo in church, at age 13 she formed girl band and two years later she was the front singer in the established dance band Bernt Enghardts orchestra.


She dropped out of school, got a job as a switchboard lady and toured with the band late into the night.


Then she fainted at work of too little sleep, too little food and too many cigarettes did not give an appetite for life she was leading.


- There was no orchestra got a record deal with legendary Little Gerhard in 1967, but you. When the day of recording in Stockholm came, you were so nervous that you had to resort to pills?


- I do not know if I took the pills so much, but I get very easily stressed in these situations. Anyway, I reached the top in life. But there are certain things that I have found very difficult.


- Stage fright?


- At the beginning with Abba it was very, very troublesome. It’s not my thing to be on a stage. But we four Abba pepped each other up. I think solo artists have it much worse, say’s Agnetha.


- We were royalty, but to this day I have very hard to see myself as a world star. Are we talking about the real world stars, as everyone knows who is, as Whitney Houston and Barbra Streisand, so I think it’s awful tough for them to stand on stage alone.


The newspapers wrote that Agnetha drank champagne to tackle nervousness ahead of premieres and major concerts.


Shyness in her eyes. Was the soul. Already captivating beautiful. She was 17, with a charming grin between the ? and the blonde trademark flowing down over her shoulders.


- It’s just that picture of you, the young Agnetha. Look at it and tell me who you were.


- She is not sure.


Agnetha Fältskog recapitulates itself in a fraction of a second.


- She is very uncertain, but has an incredible talent. I did not know who I was. They would launch me in Germany and flew me between Stockholm and Berlin. And this hair, they said all along …


- The mature version of Agnetha say some words of comfort to the 45-year younger version of yourself. What is important to say?

- Stretch. Be proud of what you can and remember that you are good as always who you really are. We women often have very high degree of self-criticism, and it is not so easy for us. We should look a certain way and we should behave in a certain way, and we shall achieve and accomplish things. It is expected that you should be running all the time.


The sun breakes through the window at the singer’s suite at the Grand Hotel.


The light features of her face more clearly, revealing a dense network of living days.


- I think it is important that you take the advice that you need to unwind at times and get back to herself, she says.


His happiest musical moments she had probably the November morning in 1967 when she danced around on the floor with the radio in his arms.


Her self-composed song “Jag vär sa kar” reached for the first time her own ears by Swedish Radio. The song was at full speed towards the Swedish top chart, it was a tearful, slow ballad about love, loneliness and longing.


Love and Grief had a name; Bjorn Lilja. Her first boyfriend.


- It was perhaps a lifetime best a musical best time?


- Talking of the child, it was the times when I was little and could write songs when I sat at the piano, and when I got to record my first album and found success before Abba, say’s Agnetha.


After the Abba hysteria died down the notes in her life stopped completely.


- I did not hear any kind of music, and least of Abba. It took more than five years before I heard the music again, I read that Frida felt the same way.


Agnetha was the Abba member who struggled most to cope with the hysteria around herself, and that was so much more famous than she had ever wanted to be.


She recalls the hysterical “Abba Mania” in Australia in 1977 as something nightmarish.


“I felt like they would get hold of me and never let me go. As if I was going to be crushed. I think no one will be the same again after a meeting like that, “she said in the biography” As jag är “.


The dreams were big and she was  only a teenager when she became engaged to the German songwriter and producer Dieter Zimmerman, while she tries to find her way in Stockholm artist career.


In interviews Agnetha intrepid pages, sputtered and splashed his temper. She swore like a longshoreman and stomped on her own innocence radiance.


Men began to notice the pop star. But  read in the newspaper about the engagement with the German and regarded the battle as lost.


Four years later, Björn Ulvaeus won everything, marriage, children, and the Battle of Waterloo.


- LOVE, say’s Agnetha, it can be a total abyss when it does not work. It is one of the hardest things to achieve in life.


She speaks from experience.


1 Christmas Day 1978 she packed suitcases, took the children Linda (5) and Christian (1) and moved out of the apartment in stockholm that the world’s most acclaimed pop-couple shared their lives in.


Björn and Agnetha could not longer keep quarrels and disagreements within the four walls. They started taking them with him in the studio, they were talking past each other and realized that love was dead.


Finally, there was not even sparks again in arguments.


Agnetha had felt unfree, locked and mortared in marriage.


Although the family therapist regularly consulted, gave up to patch together the miserable married life. One of the world’s most famous lovers decided to divorce, half a year before they moved apart. Meanwhile went Abba its machinery started touring in Japan and a TV appearance in England.


In mid-January, the couple themselves told the press in a controlled interiew about the divorce news.


They knew that it would create headlines around the world.


- It is important to point out that this is a happy divorce, if something exists, Björn said to Expressen’s reporter Mats Olsson.


Just a week after that Agnetha moved out, he found the woman he still sharing his life with, at a New Year party at Benny and Frida. Lena Källersjö worked in the advertising industry and known all four of Abba.


- How is your relationship with Björn today?


- It’s good. It’s so long ago. Abba’s so long ago. And our divorce rate is so long ago. And it’s …


Agnetha Fältskog think about this for a while.


… it is not difficult anymore. There is nothing between us that hurts. We have adult children and grandchildren. And they have, he does live in a relationship that started many years ago, including children and grandchildren together. So it is that we’ll see you at Christmas and birthdays.


- Björn and I met at the weekend that was, our daughter Linda’s 40th birthday. There was a big party with lots of friends at a local place we had rented.


Love created Abba. The broken love got the world’s best-selling group to crumble.

Agnetha is the one who has struggled to come to rest in love.


After her divorce from Björn, she dated hockey star Lars-Erik Ericsson, then fashion creator Dick Håkansson.


After a crazy Abba fan had been on her door, she fell head over heels for the local policeman Torbjörn Brander on Lidingö, whom she became engaged in 1983.


Three years later she began a relationship with the American songwriter Bruce Gaitsch, but the romance ended after eighteen months because none of them would abandon their homeland.


In 1990, the surgeon Tomas Sonnenfeld  and her second husband married in a ceremony at the church on Ekerö. He was extraordinary, humorous and spiritual, but two years later the couple divorced.


- When it comes to love, one must think. We all have a need to find love and the strength it provides, say’s Agnetha today.


- I see love as a roller coaster. It goes up and down, and love comes and goes.


In 1997 Agnetha’s reportedr elationship to a whole world looked in retrospect and was watched as inconceivable and just unimaginably sad.


THE MADMAN, the Dutch industrial worker who had been in love with her 17 years old idol since he was eight. So obsessed was he that he bought a house pnear AgnethaFältskogs neighboring property.


On one of his many trips to Sweden, he drives off the road. He was on his way to Agnetha after a death in her circle of friends, and writes about the incident in a letter to the pop star. One of their more than 300 letters.


Three days later she bangs on n Gerts cabin doors. Shortly after the idol and admire become romantically. Gert has never been with a girl before.


Some days Agnetha Fältskog age of 50, it was announced that she had prosecuted a man who had stalked her. The man was THE MADMAN.


He was several times arrested for harassment and persecution and was eventually denied entry to Sweden.


Agnetha  never commenting on the case. She addss no wood for the fire.

- Is love the same now as it was before?


- It is difficult because one can not determine that something will last forever. But you have to live in what is, and try to be content with what one has. Whether you live in a relationship or not, one must make the best of it.


- Do you have a boyfriend now?


- I can not say anything about that, ha-ha!


- Nothing?


- NO, I can not do, she adds with a far stricter tone.


- Are you an impulsive woman who fall in love easily?


- I tend to like people, yes. I try not to have preconceived notions about people. I think everyone should get a chance.


- What do you expect from a relationship today?


- Mmmm …


- There must be faithful, trustworthy and honest.


She thinks about it and whispers loudly to herself, ‘What shall I say?


- Should a relationship be good, so both must work with it, no matter how we live together and how much they trust each other. But what often happens and turns out, that one can not trust each other, she says.


- It feels sad that it is like that, because there are so many ? for us people in your life.


Agnetha is a love refugee. Always the one who leaves her men.


Behind high walls, with the sea as its closest neighbor, lives Agnetha Fältskog, her secluded life an hour’s drive south-west of Stockholm.


- I think it’s nice to have people around me sometimes, but pretty soon, I know how wonderful it is to retire.


The two children, three grandchildren and her two dogs, is what gives her the greatest pleasure in life.


- They are my treasures.

- Do you know of a confidence of being older?


- Mmm. In one way it gets better. But I can not say it’s cool to be older. You might learn to handle everyday situations better, and you can be in support of their children and grandchildren on what you have learned about life, say’s Agnetha.


- But more often it is that I ask my daughter for advice now.


When you really loved someone CD single release

Agnetha’s single When You Really Loved Someone is to be released as a one-track CD single  on April 15th.

You can pre- order it now by clicking on the picture below

Abba's Agnetha Faltskog: Could the girl with the golden hair get lucky at last?

Life’s been hard for Agnetha Faltskog since Abba, but the super trouper is taking a chance with a comeback album

By William Langley


The details of Agnetha Fältskog’s return to pop remain sketchy, although it is safe to assume that the rarely-spotted ex-Abba singer has given more thought to her comeback than she did to joining the business in the first place.

Back in the good old glam-rock days when Agnetha was pumping her knees in hotpants and platform boots, it wasn’t immediately obvious that she had been a musical prodigy. At the age of three, she had learned the harpsicord, and by seven was composing complex piano pieces. Then, one night at a small town concert in Sweden, she met a hairy guitarist called Björn Ulvaeus, joined his band, married him, and became a world famous wreck.

Agnetha’s long, troubled stint as a pop recluse has, over the years, become as much a subject of fascination as her work with Abba. Rumours of a comeback have circulated for years, but last week brought confirmation that a new album will be released in May. Called simply 'A’, it will feature ten tracks, including a duet with Take That’s Gary Barlow, and arrives at a time when her old outfit – the band the pop purists of the 1970s most liked to snigger at – is bigger than ever.

“I have been so lucky, I am the girl with golden hair,” Agnetha, 63, sang in 'Thank You for the Music’. Even if the audiences believed it, she knew it wasn’t true. Agnetha had always felt herself to be the odd one out in Abba. She lacked the confidence and the vigour of the others, her English was less fluent, her poise less assured, and when the band became a global phenomenon in the mid-Seventies she felt unable to establish a distinct personality.

While the other members, Björn, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad revelled in the fan worship and the perks of fame, Agnetha yearned only to be home. “I’m a country bumpkin,” she told her (ex) friend and biographer, Brita Ahman. “I’m not a showgirl. The others like to party. I like to be by myself.” Performing in public filled her with dread, and although she understood the commercial drawing power of her leggy figure and blonde-bombshell looks, she was never comfortable as a sex symbol.

Her stage fright reached the point that she was unable to perform without whisky. What the average rock star accepted as adulation, she saw as something close to intimidation. “No one who has experienced facing a screaming, boiling, hysterical audience,” she told Ahman, “can avoid feeling shivers in the spine. It’s a thin line between celebration and menace.”

Then there was the sheer bad luck. In 1979, during a tour of the US, the group’s private jet flew into a violent thunderstorm while approaching Boston. Although the plane landed safely Agnetha developed a morbid fear of flying, and afterwards travelled whenever possible by road. This provided only temporary relief, for in 1983 she was on a coach which crashed outside Stockholm, hurling her through a window and into a frozen ditch. She has rarely travelled anywhere since. When Mamma Mia!, the blockbuster Abba musical, premiered in London in 1999, she was the only member of the group not to be present.

For the last 25 years, her home has been a secluded lakeside farmstead on Ekerö, eight miles from Stockholm, one of the loveliest of the thousands of islands around the Swedish capital. Not that it has provided much solace to Agnetha. Fans regularly turned up her gates. Sometimes she would come out, sign a few autographs and ask them to leave. Then came the strange case of the man who wouldn’t go away.

Agnetha’s love life has never been simple. Her marriage to Björn, with whom she has two children, ended in 1979, by which time both of them were seeing psychiatrists. Ulvaeus later slipped into the arms of Lena Källersjö, an advertising executive to whom he remains happily married. Agnetha had no such luck. She fell first for a Swedish ice hockey star, then for a fashion designer, and later for her marriage guidance counsellor. In 1990, she married Tomas Sonnenfeld, a Stockholm doctor, but the union lasted barely two years.

Into the void stumbled the bizarre figure of Gert van der Graaf, a bespectacled Dutch factory worker. Abba fans first became aware of his existence in 2003 when Agnetha complained to the police that she was being stalked by a maniac, and was in “fear of my life”.

Officers raided a rickety wooden cabin on the shores of Ekerö, in which they found 37-year-old van der Graaf, a decomposing turtle and thousands of mementoes of Agnetha’s career. The Dutchman was charged with threatening behaviour, but in a spirited court defence produced a letter from the singer suggesting their relationship was rather more than that of stalker and victim. It quickly emerged that the pair had enjoyed a full-blown romance and had been on holiday together only weeks before Agnetha called in the police.

Sweden was outraged. Brita Ahman says it was the end of their friendship. “When she told me about it, I was extremely shocked,” recalls Ms Ahman. “I warned her and said it could be dangerous. Instead she continued to encourage him. I think it was the point at which many people simply gave up on her.”

Those who remain close to Agnetha say she never had the aptitude for stardom. That it might have been better if she had stayed in Jönköping, the small town in southern Sweden where she was brought up, the daughter of a department store manager, and become the classical musician she seemed destined to be.

Yet Abba would never have reached the same heights without her. Björn and Benny created those beautifully polished pop tunes, Anni-Frid provided the funk, but it was Agnetha’s pure voice and arresting beauty that made the group both eye-catching and irresistible to the ear. No one knows how her comeback will unfold, but when we see her again we can at least say a proper thank you for the music.

Agnetha Fältskog's new album, 'A', is released on May 13

Agnetha Faltskog: I couldn't say 'No' to comeback

ABBA's Agnetha Faltskog releases When You Really Love Someone, the first single from the upcoming album "A"

Agnetha Faltskog, former singer of legendary Swedish pop group Abba, will release her first album in nine years in May, her record company said today.

"I never thought I would sing again, but when I heard the first three songs I couldn't say no," said the Swedish songstress, sometimes described in the media as being a recluse.

When You Really Love Someone, the first single from the upcoming full-length release "A", was made available on digital music platforms iTunes and Spotify on Monday, along with a music video on YouTube.

"A" will be released on May 13 and includes the first track co-written by the star in decades, as well as a duet with British singer Gary Barlow of Take That.

"I hadn't written music in a very long time but when I sat down at the piano it came to me very naturally," the 62-year-old singer said in a statement.


On all the new tracks, Faltskog collaborated with Swedish songwriter and producer Joergen Elofsson, who has penned hits for artists including Britney Spears, Kelly Clarkson and Celine Dion.

"She's a musician, a songwriter and singer who hasn't done that for a while. We saw her open up, become much happier, with music again in her life," he said.

Abba, one of the most popular and enduring bands of all time, formed in 1970 and shot to fame after winning the Eurovision contest in 1974.

The band, which has sold more than 378 million records to date, split up in 1982 and has never reunited.

A museum dedicated to the group will open in Stockholm this spring. The museum, a permanent exhibition within a hall of fame of Swedish pop music, will feature memorabilia like stage costumes worn by the singers. Visitors will also be able to sing along to ABBA songs alongside life size holograms of the group.




Agnetha on 











Agnetha in Swedish papers









Abba's Agnetha Fältskög returns – and unravels the mystery of her silence


Abba's Agnetha Fältskög returns – and unravels the mystery of her silence

Like David Bowie and Kate Bush, Fältskög has attained almost mystical status through her extended absence, but the Swedish singer is now exploding the myths that have formed around her

Super trooper … Agnetha Fältskög will continue to stick to the clean-cut pop sound that made her name. Photograph: Scanpix Sweden/Reuters

Agnetha Fältskög has one of the all-time great pop voices: crystal clear, delicate and equally at home channelling the euphoric disco and sublime heartbreak that became Abba's stock-in trade throughout their extraordinary heyday. Hardly suprising, then, that news of her first new album release in nine years – and her first of original material since 1987 – has caused something of a media frenzy.

Like her fellow recently reactivated pop icon David Bowie, the fascination that Fältskög still commands is as much to do with narrative as nostalgia. The shy Swedish beauty with the knockout voice, married to one of her bandmates and forced to sing a series of gut-wrenchingly personal songs about their subsequent divorce in front of an audience of millions ... before being driven to paranoia and seclusion when the group finally imploded. As the ultimate expression of pop as soap opera, only Fleetwood Mac comes close.


The problem with this image of Fältskög as one of the music industry's archetypally tragic victims is that it isn't really accurate. True, she has kept a low profile since the Abba days, but in a recent interview she expressed frustration at the perception that she is some kind of isolated Greta Garbo figure.

"I have been described as very mysterious, but I'm not," she said, "I think I'm just very grounded. My life contains so many other things; I have my children, my grandchildren, my two dogs, and a big place in the country. I have my own life."

Even her move away from regular recording happened much more gradually than many assume. She released three English-language solo albums in the 80s to moderate success, but never quite found the material to match the incredible songs written for her by Benny and Björn. In the UK, her sole top 40 hit of that decade was a ghastly reggae-tinged number called The Heat Is On. She fared better on the mainland with the bouncy synth-pop hit I Won't Let You Go and seductive ballad Wrap Your Arms Around Me – widely considered by hardcore fans to be one of her most underrated recordings.

However, like many pop stars approaching middle age, she found her record sales rapidly diminishing, and her own interest in the promotional carousel waning. Footage of her being forced to dance alongside a 6ft kangaroo on a German children's TV show in 1985 suggests her decision to retreat from the limelight was eminently sensible rather than perverse.

Another reason for her near-silence over the last 25 years is her terror of flying (owing to a traumatic experience while touring the US with Abba in 1979, which saw her plane make an emergency landing after flying into the middle of a tornado). She travelled almost exclusively overground during the 80s, and did no international promotion for her 2004 comeback album, My Colouring Book – a collection of standards that still managed to yield her biggest solo hit to date in the UK, a tender reworking of Cilla Black's If I Thought You'd Ever Change Your Mind.

Her long absence from public view may be down to more mundane reasons than commonly reported, but as with Bowie and Kate Bush, it has still proven to be a far more effective promotional tool than a lifetime spent touring the international chatshow circuit. The compelling domestic drama that spawned Abba's biggest hits, combined with their steadfast refusal to get back together, has resulted in the singer attaining an almost mystical quality, her few public appearances the subject of breathless rumour and anticipation.

Suggestions that she was finally ready to launch a comeback first circulated late last year, with reports that she was in the studio with producer Jörgen Elofsson – who has written hits for Britney Spears, Kelly Clarkson and Leona Lewis. The first fruits of this collaboration were released this week, as the lead single When You Really Loved Someone was premiered. It's a classic pop ballad that could easily pass for a hit by an artist such as Lewis, but is given extra gravitas by Fältskög's more mature yet still remarkably pure voice. It's not likely to join The Winner Takes It All and SOS in the annals of the all-time greats, but it's a creditable, dignified return.

By all accounts, her forthcoming album, A, due for release on 13 May, will continue to stick close to the clean-cut pop sound that made her name. The prospect of a duet with Gary Barlow may send a chill down the spine, but there's also the promise of the "rousing disco number" Dance Your Pain Away, and a rare self-penned closer, the quirkily titled I Keep Them on the Floor Beside My Bed. One presumes the latter will be some sort of metaphor for distant memories, rather than discarded knickers. But from the woman whose former band mined pop gold from the subject of – among other things – the fall of Napoleon, the revitalising power of stage lighting in Glasgow and political agitation in the Soviet Union, you can never really take anything for granted.




Agnetha on Skavlan this week

Weekly TV show Skavlan will be attended by Agnetha Fältskog and after several years of silence she is back with new album. Tennis star Mats Wilander, Norwegian author Dag Solstad and Danish actress Sidse Bebett Knudsen, known from the television series Castle, will also be interviewed in Friday’s program.

After nine year break from the music Agnetha Fältskog could not say no when the producer Jorgen Elofsson got in touch with the three songs he had written for her. The album “A” comes out in May and the first single “When you really loved someone” was released earlier this week. In Friday’s episode of Skavlan  the former ABBA star will give her first Swedish TV appearance in a long time.


The show is recorded on Thursday and show on Friday on STV






Abba Agnetha: "I've taken singing lessons"


Abba star Agnetha Fältskog is to release a new album in May, and has already released the first single. This is the first newly written material by Agnetha in 25 years, and will also include a song she wrote herself.

The rest of the song has been written by Jörgen Elofsson, the man behind huge hits for Britney Spears and Backstreet Boys for example.

In an exclusive interview with Swedish Radio's P4 Extra programme, Agnetha explained how the project came about.


"It was a process, you could say. Firstly I was contacted by Jörgen Elofsson and Peter Nordahl and they wanted to play some songs for me. And I thought that that sounded really nice, I've never closed any doors and I wanted to listen to the songs, I thought it'd be fun. And then I thought that, wow, the songs are really good, how will I be able to say no to this?

So then I said ok, they sound fantastic, but how will I be able to interpret these songs in a good way? What if my voice sounds old? 'No, we don't think so at all', they said. But I wasn't at all sure. When you haven't sung for a while your voice gets almost rusty, you feel that you haven't kept that muscle working. "

Agnetha told presenter Lotta Bromé she even took singing lessons to freshen up her vocal chords


"Two, actually. Then I didn't need any more. It might sound a bit cocky, but once I learnt how to breathe properly again I felt, no, this might work. And then it started sounding better and better."

One of the tracks on the album was written by Agnetha herself. She wrote a lot of songs before the Abba years, but since then had left songwriting behind her. But she decided to sit back at the piano just this once.

"Yes, exactly", she told Lotta Bromé. "I felt that this was an album with Jörgen's songs, at least nine of them, and he writes together with others too, but I thought it'd be fun to have one song on there. And then I started to write songs as well and that started to work well, I managed to squeeze a song out, and it will actually be the last song on the album. It's called "I keep them on the floor beside my bed". A long title."

The media image of Agnetha is of some kind of recluse, almost the Greta Garbo of pop, but that is an image she resents.

"I'm very down to earth, I think I'm the same person now as I was when I first went into a studio to record my first song when I was just 17 years old. I'm the same, but I have a load of life experience now. A lot of experience, and you get quite hardened in this industry, but you never get free from.... you want to do a good job the whole time, the best. So I have high expectations on myself. But to go from that to say that I'm mysterious, that's been created by the media. 

I actually get quite hurt by it actually, it's something that has sprung up along the way, because of certain things. Maybe because I withdrew for a little while, but there are periods in your life when you have to take care of yourself, and things happen and you have to be alone and have things quiet around you for a while."

Agnetha has also suffered from a fear of flying for years, following a traumatic experience during one of the ABBA tours, but now she says that she has learnt to deal with it, somewhat.

"Well, I'm not out flying all the time, but I've had some therapy and learnt to think in a different way. That helps a bit, but I never think I'll be free of it. I've spoken to the therapist to find out what my hang-up is. I'll never sit there and be thinking there is nothing to worry about, I do have worries and fears. But I have learnt how to deal with it to some extent now, so I can deal with a flight of about 3 1/2 hours. But I don't fly several times a year, or once a month, I make some trips every now and then when I feel that I can cope with it."

But those hoping to see Agnetha appear at the new Abba Museum may be disappointed, she is booked for promotional appearances in London at the same time as the museum opens. And she also says that she has left the days of live performances behind her, so there will be no performing at the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö either, but she will watch it, she adds. She says she saw the Swedish contest at the weekend, and thought that the right song won.

"I thought it was fantastic", she told Lotta Bromé, "I'm so impressed by these young artists today who can deal with all the pressure, and that they can dance so well as well. I thought the winning song was fantastic, a really talented guy. I thought there were a lot of good songs there. It's a fantastic competition."

And the obligatory question. Will ABBA ever reform?

"I don't think it's going to happen. It doesn't feel like any of us are particularly tempted to do it, because we all have our own lives now and it was such a long time ago. We have to deal with that question all the time, but we'll take it easy and see what the future holds. You never know what might happen. But I think there is a only a very very small chance that we'll do anything together again."

Reporter: Lotta Bromé, P4 Extra.

Transcription: Kris Boswell, Radio Sweden











1. The One Who Loves You Now

2. When You Really Loved Someone

3. Perfume In The Breeze

4. I Was A Flower

5. I Should’ve Followed You Home

6. Past Forever

7. Dance Your Pain Away

8. Bubble

9. Back On Your Radio

10. I Keep Them On The Floor Beside My bed






Agnetha comes out of retirement


By Mark SavageArts and entertainment reporter, BBC News

One of pop’s most enigmatic voices has emerged with her first album in nine years. Agnetha Faltskog’s new album sees her duet with Gary Barlow and collaborate with Britney Spears’ Swedish songwriting team. Just don’t call her “mysterious”.


Forty-five years ago, before Abba were even a twinkle in Eurovision’s eye, Agnetha Faltskog made her very first TV appearance.


Aged just 17, she performed Jag Var Sa Kar (I Was So In Love), a syrupy self-penned waltz, on Swedish TV show Studio 8.


The melancholy lyrics, inspired by her idol Connie Francis, were a stark contrast to the exuberant blonde singer, who “took the radio in my arms and danced around” when she first heard her single on the air.


Little did she know, misery would become her musical forte, especially when she teamed up with Benny, Bjorn and Anni-Frida to form Abba.


The songs on which Faltskog took lead vocals – Hasta Manana, The Name Of The Game, Chiquitita – were the band’s biggest tear-jerkers.

On The Winner Takes It All, recorded as her marriage to Bjorn Ulvaeus fell apart, the emotion is almost too much to bear.


Faltskog is by turns defiant and broken. “I was in your arms, thinking I belonged there,” she cries, as her husband merely shakes her hand and turns away.


Oddly, the singer calls it “her biggest favourite” from the band’s back catalogue. “It’s a shame we never got to play it live,” she adds.


Since the band went their separate ways in 1982, the girl with golden hair has been the band’s most elusive member. She largely shuns the limelight, living quietly on the secluded island of Ekero, west of Stockholm.


Perhaps because of those world-weary lyrics, she was portrayed as a frail recluse – the Greta Garbo of pop.


The revelation in 2000 that she had entered a relationship with an obsessed Dutch fan, 16 years her junior, who turned dangerous when she broke off the affair, only added to the perception that she was lonely and unhappy.


Nervous return


Today, she cannot talk about the relationship for legal reasons, but Faltskog says the media have the wrong impression of her private life.


“I have been described as a very mysterious human being and that hurts a little bit, because it’s not like that at all,” she says.


On the phone from Stockholm, she is neither awkward nor reticent, although she chooses her words carefully, sometimes with the aid of an interpreter.


Laughter peppers the conversation, and she denies any suggestion she’s a hermit.


“I’m very earth-grounded and very normal,” she says. “I just like to stay at home.”


Fate came to her house 18 months ago, when Swedish producer Jorgen Elofsson rang the doorbell, hoping to to play Faltskog three songs he had written for her.


An internationally successful composer, his credits include Britney Spears’ Crazy and Kelly Clarkson’s Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You). His dream was to coax Faltskog out of a nine-year hiatus and back into the studio.


“It was flattering,” says the singer. “It really was.”


“I just couldn’t say ‘no’. I really loved the songs from the beginning.”


But before Faltskog would enter the studio, she had some conditions.


“I told him, ‘we have to talk about a lot of things first,’” she recalls. “It was nine or 10 years since I’d sung, so I didn’t know if [my voice] worked.”


“I said from the beginning, ‘if it sounds old I don’t want to do this, because… Why should I?’”



Tasteful and sumptuous


Listening to the album, simply titled ‘A’, it is clear that Faltskog’s vocal cords are in fine shape.


Elofsson, for his part, has ditched the upfront production of his teen pop hits for a sound Faltskog calls “very mature and worthy”.


“When you love someone, and you’ve lost that one, then nothing really matters,” sighs Faltskog on the first single, When You Really Loved Someone.


On the closing track, the singer scatters photos of an old lover across her bedroom floor and wonders what happened to their relationship.


Ripe with bittersweet emotion, the song is her sole contribution as a composer. You wonder why she didn’t write more.


Faltskog says she simply fell out of practice.


“During the Abba years the boys were writing nearly all the material and I didn’t have any time. They asked me a lot – but when we were at home, I just wanted to be with my children.


“For this album, we had an idea that maybe I should try to write one song. I didn’t want to do more. I’m not that composer that composes every day. But it was very exciting to see if it still worked – and it did!”


The album doesn’t reinvent the pop wheel, but is tasteful and sumptuous, rarely raising its tempo above “mid”.


One exception is Dance Your Pain Away, where disco strings stab at a gymnastic bassline, apparently summoned from the dusty off-cuts of Abba’s Voulez Vous.


Another stand-out is I Should Have Followed You Home, where Faltskog trades lines with Gary Barlow.


“We haven’t even met,” Faltskog reveals. “I spoke to him once on the phone – but I was on holiday when he did his singing.”


She hopes to meet Barlow on a forthcoming promotional trip to the UK, but says there are currently “no plans” for them to perform the song together live.


Tornado trauma


Faltskog’s trip to the UK may come as a surprise to some seasoned Abba-watchers. During the band’s heyday, she had a rule that she would never leave home for more than two weeks at a time, so she wouldn’t be separated from her children (both born in the midst of Abbamania).


A nervous flyer, she arranged to travel separately from Ulvaeus for the sake of the children, in case anything should happen to either of them in mid-air.


Then, towards the end of Abba’s 1979 US tour, the band had a quick turnaround between gigs in New York and Boston.


Faltskog boarded a chartered jet, which previously belonged to millionaire aviator Howard Hughes, and flew straight into the middle of a tornado which forced Boston’s airfield to close.


Running out of fuel, in a pitch black sky, the pilot performed an emergency landing in Manchester, New Hampshire. The first attempt was aborted at the last minute, pulling up just before the wheels hit the runway. Fortunately, the plane touched down on the second try.


Since then, she has largely avoided flying – even coming to the UK “by bus once” for a promotional trip.


“But nowadays I have started to fly again,” she says. “I have gone to a man – a therapist – who taught me to think in another way, a very positive way. It works. It helps, at least.”


The 62-year-old says she’s looking forward to coming back to the UK, and speaks fondly of Abba’s seven-day residency in London’s Wembley Arena in 1979.


“People’s reaction was fantastic on Dancing Queen,” she says. “And otherwise, it was very nice with Thank You For The Music.”


She enjoys the memories of Abba, and has donated costumes and memorabilia to the Abba Museum which will open in Sweden in May (“it is very strange to have a museum in your honour!”), but cannot see the band reforming.


“It was such a long time ago, and we are getting older, and we have our different lives,” she says.


For now, she is concentrating on the new record – one she thought she might never make, and one which could be her last.


“I think to look in the future, to plan another one, it’s not realistic right now. But I don’t close any doors. I’m very open for what comes up. At the moment, we are so happy with this one. I really hope people will like it as much as we do.”


Agnetha’s single When You Really Loved Someone is out now. Her album, A, follows later this year.