ABBA Leader Namechecks Major Inspirations
ABBA‘s Benny Andersson has always credited the group’s inspirations for playing a major role in their success. ABBA’s reunion album, 2021’s Voyage, has snagged the band three 2022 Grammy nominations — including Record Of The Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for “Don’t Shut Me Down” and Album Of The Year for Voyage.
Andersson, who wrote the band’s material with bandmate and collaborator Björn Ulvaeus (pronounced: B’yorn Yool-VAY-uss), spoke to Record Collector about the music that connected with the ABBA creators: “We were inspired by the Bee Gees, because suddenly they became another band. They were good, they did ‘Massachusetts’ and all those songs in the ’60s, then all of a sudden, they were back with a totally different approach. . . It’s nice when what we do is inspiring other people. Like Brian Wilson inspired us, or Paul McCartney. . . (Pete Townshend) I like his music, too.”
When pressed about director Peter Jackson‘s The Beatles: Get Back documentary, Andersson said, “Oh, yes, the best documentary ever made. It’s fantastic. Like a fly on the wall, y’know? Wonderful. I’ve seen it twice. . . . I recognized a part of myself in Paul: he never gave up, constantly wanting to move things forward. Sometimes, nothing happens, but he keeps on feeding the band with stuff. I like that. I’m not saying I’m the same, but I recognized the method.”
Benny Andersson spoke about how despite their massive worldwide success, ABBA’s members have managed to live full and happy lives under the radar: “Nobody knows anything about us! They know what we’ve been doing, they know the records, they know the pictures, they know what we say in interviews, but they don’t know anything about how (our personal) life is, which is quite conscious. They don’t know I walk the dog in the morning and late at night,
I go shopping for food, I cook every day, stuff like that. I live a normal life: I have always done. I think that goes for nearly all of us.”
Benny Andersson admits that 40 years after calling it quits, he’s still amazed at the hold ABBA has over its international fan-base: “I think the major thing is that if you’re a band and you have a record out and it becomes a hit and you have a next one — and you do that for nine consecutive years and you have one-or-two major hits around the world — it’s pretty unavoidable to stir up some dust, isn’t it? I think that’s one of the reasons — and why it is I don’t know. I don’t know why. (Laughs) But I’m very grateful that this is the case, y’know?”