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Arts & Culture

ABBA Forever – A Celebration

Left to right: ABBA members Björn Ulvaeus, Agnetha Fältskog, Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Benny Andersson (undated photo)
Courtesy of Stanza Media Ltd.
Left to right: ABBA members Björn Ulvaeus, Agnetha Fältskog, Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Benny Andersson (undated photo)

Stream now or tune in Saturday, July 24, 2021 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

Stream now with KPBS Passport!

A Tribute To The Supergroup Featuring Neil Sedaka, Donny Osmond, Tim Rice and the Band Members Themselves

In 2019 Swedish supergroup ABBA celebrated several anniversaries: 50 years since they first met, 40 years since their last concert, and 20 years since the musical "Mamma Mia!" gave them a second life. “Abba Forever – A Celebration” is exactly that: a celebration of the lifetime of joy the group has brought to American fans.

Featuring original interviews, rare archival footage and a lot of music, “Abba Forever” uses storytelling to set up the songs and lead viewers through what is surely the most surprising popular music story of our age.

And with a greatest hits soundtrack featuring lengthy performance clips, the focus is always on the music. Band members Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad provide surprising insights.

Other storytellers include original studio engineer/collaborator Michael Tretow, costume designer Owe Sandström, singer/songwriter Neil Sedaka, singer Donny Osmond, record producer Pete Waterman, pop authority Paul Gambaccini, tour manager Thomas Johansson, singer Barbara Dickson, and Emmy®/Grammy®/Oscar®/Tony® Award-winning lyricist Tim Rice. Together, they illuminate how the songs came about, how they evolved, and what makes them so damn good.

To tell the ABBA story, the filmmakers drew on their deep knowledge and relationships with the group, weaving the music and interviews together along with some unique surprises.

The journey takes us from the original Swedish version of “Waterloo,” to the Swedish island retreat where Benny and Björn wrote many key songs, into the recording studio watching those songs be finalized, onto the stage of ABBA concerts, back into audio mixing studios to deconstruct the recording secrets behind favorite songs, and, of course, out onto the stage once again for celebratory large scale performances of "Mamma Mia!"

ABBA is on Facebook

Left to right: ABBA members Björn Ulvaeus, Agnetha Fältskog, Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Benny Andersson (undated photo)
Courtesy of Stanza Media Ltd.
Left to right: ABBA members Björn Ulvaeus, Agnetha Fältskog, Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Benny Andersson (undated photo)

Songs featured in the program will be taken from this selection:

  • “Super Trouper”
  • “Waterloo”
  • “SOS”
  • “Fernando”
  • “Mamma Mia!”
  • “So Long”
  • “Dancing Queen”
  • “People Need Love”
  • “Ring Ring”
  • “Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight”)
  • “Does Your Mother Know”
  • “Knowing Me, Knowing You”
  • “The Winner Takes It All”
  • “Thank You For The Music”
  • “The Day Before You Came”
  • “I Know Him So Well” (from Chess)
  • “Name of the Game”
  • “Money Money Money”

Producer Stanza Media’s team have a relationship with ABBA going back 20 years, which has led to terrific access and a close understanding of the band and its story. Previous films of theirs have won or been nominated for over 50 international awards, winning four Emmys® out of seven nominations, including for PBS shows such as “Oklahoma!” starring Hugh Jackman, and “Jose Carreras – A Life Story.”

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