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Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson met each other in 1966 at a party in Västervik in Sweden. In autumn 1966 they decided to try to work together. Their first common composition was "Isn't It Easy to Say". Their second song written together was "A Flower in My Garden" recorded by Hep Stars.
Occasionally Björn played with Hep Stars and Benny with Hootenanny Singers. They wrote "Ljuva sextital" for the singer Britta Borg which became hit in Sweden in 1969. The song was re-recorded by Agnetha Fältskog in 1980 for a radio special "The Stikkan Anderson Story" and officially released on CD "Polars roliga timme" in 1994.
Benny's group "Hep Stars" split up in August 1969 and in the autumn the same year Björn & Benny went on tour together with the former Hep Stars members Svenne and Lotta. Even a comedian Finn Alberth participated in the tour.
At the end of 1960s Benny met Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Björn met Agnetha Fältskog and ABBA would be born some years later. But the way to the fame was long...
In September 1969 Anni-Frid Lyngstad recorded the song "Peter Pan" written by Björn and Benny. It was the first collaboration between three future members of ABBA. The song would be released as Anni-Frid's seventh solo single as well as it would be one of the tracks on compilation album. See even Frida 1969.
"Peter Pan" did not become a big hit for Anni-Frid but the catchy melody was noticed on the pop market and soon the duo Svenne & Lotta (old friends to Benny from Hep Stars) recorded their own cover version of the song which was released as a single in Sweden in 1970. Svenne & Lotta's version of "Peter Pan" was much more successful on the Swedish chart than Frida's one. The single entered Svensktoppen in May 1970 where it peaked at #3.
But the story of "Peter Pan" was not over. The musical talent of Björn and Benny was discovered in Denmark. The Danish duo Grethe & Peter recorded their own version of the song with Danish lyrics. Grethe & Peter would record one more Björn and Benny composition in 1972.
Björn and Benny were more and more known composers in Sweden. They wrote for Svenne & Lotta, old collegues from Hep Stars, they wrote music for the movies "Language of love" and "Inga 2" and recorded the album "Lycka" . In 1970 they decided to start recording as artists on their own rights.
She Is My Kind of Girl
In March 1970 Björn and Benny released their very first single "She Is My Kind of Girl"/"Inga Theme". According to the four ABBA members no female vocals were used in this recording. The single was released even in France.
In the studio
One of the Polar Music artists was Arne Lamberth who had newly moved back to Sweden after 26 years in Denmark. Lamberth was well-known musician in Scandinavia playing trumpet. In March 1970 he released a new single featuring a Björn and Benny composition "Fröken Blåklint" which was better known as "A Flower in My Garden" originally recorded in English by Hep Stars in 1968. The Swedish lyrics were written by Stikkan and the song was even released on a compilation albums in Sweden and Denmark.
|release 1970||re-release 1976|
Benny & Frida and Björn & Agnetha enjoyed each other's company and that's why they decided to spend holidays on Cyprus in April 1970. Back in Sweden Björn and Benny went on tour together with Svenne and Lotta.
In June 1970 Björn and Benny started recording their first album. Agnetha and Anni-Frid were in the studio and sang backing vocals on several songs. The engineer was Michael B. Tretow. The recording sessions were completed at the end of September.
Hej gamle man!
The first single "Hej gamle man!"/"Lycka" from the forthcoming album was released in the autumn of 1970. Agnetha and Frida sang backing vocals. The single entered the Swedish chart (Svensktoppen) on November 29th, 1970 and stayed there for 15 weeks reaching no 1. Polar Music released this single with cover in four different colour versions: blue, red and yellow.
Lycka - the album
In the autumn of 1970 the first product of the cooperation between Björn and Benny was released. The album "Lycka" (Hapiness) contained 11 songs written by the future ABBA composers with some help of Stig Anderson, Agnetha Fältskog (!), Peter Himmelstrand and Anders Fugelstad. The album did not become a big hit on the Swedish chart but it was definitely an important part of the pre-ABBA period.
Trivia & the photo session
Language of Love
In February 1971 Björn and Benny had their first international success on the song festival in Malaga with "Livet går sin gång" (Language of love). The Polar singer Lena Andersson recorded the song for release on her debut album "Lena, 15". It was recorded later by French singer Francois Hardy.
Bengt Bernhag, an old friend and partner to Stikkan Anderson died the same day as Björn married Agnetha. Bengt and Stikkan owned the record company Polar Music together. It was a tragedy but Stikkan had to think creatively. The day after the wedding he asked Björn if he wanted to be his partner after Bengt. Björn answered "yes, if Benny can be with". Stikkan said that he could not pay two salaries, but it was ok for Björn to deal the salary with Benny.
Det kan ingen doktor hjälpa - the single
The new Björn & Benny single contained two B & B compositions: "Det kan ingen doktor hjälpa" (No physician can help with it) with lyrics by Stig Anderson and "På bröllop" (On wedding). The single was released in the summer 1971 and it the both songs entered the Swedish chart Svensktoppen where they stayed for 1 week each at the end of July respective beginning of August reaching #9.
Välkommen till världen
Björn and Benny composed a new song for big Swedish pop star Lill-Babs and the recording of the song entitled "Välkommen till världen" took place at the end of May 1971. Both the composers and Agnetha and Frida were in the studio together with Lill-Babs and recorded backing vocals. The song entered the Swedish chart "Svensktoppen" on August 1st, 1971 and stayed there for 7 weeks reaching #2.
The song "Välkommen till världen" was covered by Danish singer Dorthe later the same year and released as a single in Denmark by Magnet Music Production A/S Stig Anderson A/S.
Performance at Skansen in Stockholm in June 1971.
Våra vackraste visor
In the autumn 1971 Björn and Benny started working at Polar Music. The first albums they produced for the company were "Våra vackraste visor" (Vol. 1 & 2) (Our best songs) by Hootenanny Singers. The same autumn a young guy came to Polar with some songs. The guy's name was Ted Gärdestad. "There was no doubt. We wanted to make an album with him", said Björn.
Tänk om jorden vore ung - the single
In July 1971 Björn and Benny started recording sessions for a new album with Agnetha and Frida as background singers. The first recording session brought two new songs: "Tänk om jorden vore ung" and "Träskofolket". The new single was released at the beginning of autumn 71 and entered the Swedish chart on November 14th, where it stayed for 9 weeks peaking at #1.
In Denmark Grethe & Peter made a cover on "Tänk om jorden vore ung" in Danish (Jorden burde vaere ung). The single was released in Denmark at the beginning of 1972.
Björn and Benny were featured in "Expressen" on August 1st, 1971 as they entered the Swedish hit chart Svensktoppen with two songs - "Välkommen till världen" written by B&B and performed by Lill-Babs as well as "Det kan ingen doktor hjälpa" written and performed by B&B.
Ted and Lena
Björn and Benny worked as producers at Polar Music AB. In 1971 Polar contracted a young talented singer Ted Gärdestad. Björn and Benny produced his albums and Agnetha together with Frida and other Polar singers contributed with backing vocals.
The pictures below was taken on February 14th, 1972.
Another singer which Stikkan Anderson promoted in Sweden was Lena Andersson. In January 1972 B & B and Lena recorded "Säg det med en sång" and "Cecilia".
The year 1972 was a real breakthrough year for Björn and Benny in Japan. In February Epic Japan released their single "She's My Kind of Girl" b/w "Inga theme". The single became a real hit on the Japanese chart reaching #7 and selling almost 200 000 ex.
The Skansen photo session
The boys posed during a photo session at Skansen in Stockholm in front of Sweden's national symbol of Sweden "Dalahäst" (Dalecarlian horse or Dala horse).
They wrote a song for Lena Andersson "Säj det med en sång" (Say it with a song). Lena sang it on Swedish Melody Festival in 1972 but became only no 3. Family Four won. The song was re-written in English with a new title "Better to Have Loved" and presented by Lena on the Song Festival in Tokyo where it won the prize for the best music.
In 1972 Lena Andersson released a LP "12 nya visor" (12 new songs) produced by Björn, Benny and Stikkan. The album contained two Björn and Benny songs: "En visa om arton svanar" (A song about 18 swans) and "Barn" (Children). The album was recorded in London and arranged by Arthur Greenslade.
Säg det med en sång
A compilation of hits written by Björn and Benny together peformed by Sven-Olof Walldofs Orkester saw its release in 1972. Stikkan wrote his comments about all the melodies included on this album.
Recording sessions for Ted Gärdestad's new album started at the Metronome studio in October 1972 and continued until February 1973. Among backing singers there were Agnetha, Frida, Björn and Benny. Benny and Björn were playing several instruments on the album and they even produced it together with Ted.
En karusell - the single
The very last Björn & Benny single was released in May 1972. It contained two B & B compositions "En karusell" (Merry-Go-Round) and "Att finnas till" (To be). The first song would be later released even in English and German on the singles credited to Björn, Benny, Agnetha & Frida. In June 1972 "En karusell" became a minor hit on Svensktoppen where it stayed for 3 weeks reaching #5.
Tokyo - November 1972
Björn and Benny participated in "World Popular Song Festival" in Tokyo on 17 November 1972 where they sang "Santa Rosa" together with Agnetha and Frida.
People Need Love
Stikkan released the single in USA on Playboy Records. The group was called temporarily "Björn & Benny (with Svenska Flicka)" ie Björn & Benny (with Swedish Girl).
Rikky Rock'n Roller
In September 1974 ABBA made several attempts to record a new Björn and Benny song entitled "Ricky Rock'n Roller". The final recording of the song remained though unreleased as Björn and Benny were not happy about the result. A short part of the song performed by Agnetha and Frida would see its release in the Undeleted Medley on the 1994 box compilation "ABBA Thank You For The Music".
As the song had a good capacity anyway Björn and Benny decided to give it to Swedish Rock'n Roll King - Jerry Williams. Williams recorded a new album in 1975 together with all ABBA session musicians and he made his own version of "Rikky" which was released on his album "Kick Down" in 1976.
"Bang-A-Boomerang" was a song by ABBA, first released by Svenne & Lotta (both Swedish and English-language versions). The track was first recorded as a demo with English lyrics (but without any recorded vocals) in September 1974 by the ABBA musicians for their forthcoming album ABBA.
In late 1974 Andersson, Ulvaeus and Anderson were invited by Sveriges Television as composers to submit a song to the 1975 Melodifestivalen. Since ABBA themselves did not want to compete in the contest again, just one year after having won, they instead gave the opportunity and the song to Polar Music labelmates Svenne & Lotta. "Bang-A-Boomerang" was given new Swedish lyrics by Stig Anderson and retitled "Bang en Boomerang" and the duo subsequently made a vocal recording of the track in November 1974 - produced by Björn & Benny - with a different arrangement, most noticeably slightly shorter (2:50) than the original demo, to fit the Eurovision three-minute rule. The song finished 3rd in the Swedish preselections in February 1975, became one of Svenne & Lotta's biggest hits and spent 7 weeks on the Svensktoppen radio chart during the period 9 March-11 May 1975, with a 2nd place as best result. Svenne & Lotta also recorded the song with the original English lyrics, both versions were included on their 1975 album Svenne & Lotta 2/Bang-A-Boomerang (Polar POLS 259).
The English version was also released as a single in Denmark and became a big seller there, from a Scandinavian perspective the track is therefore still primarily seen as a hit single and Melodifestivalen classic by Svenne & Lotta. Under the name of "Sven & Charlotte", their original English version was also released in most European countries, and in Oceania, charting in several.
Lena sings ABBA in Germany
Lena was promoted in West Germany releasing several singles there. She recorded some ABBA songs in German. The singles with German versions of SOS, Fernando & Hasta Manana were released in 1975-76.
Björn and Benny started thinking about writing a musical already in 1977 when they did a little attempt writing the mini-musical "The Girl With The Golden Hair" which was included on the LP ABBA The Album. In the beginning of 1980 long before "Super Trouper" was recorded they talked with John Cleese about a possible collaboration. But these plans were abandoned quickly. In 1982 new discussions were going on. This time with "Mr. Musical" - Tim Rice.
In February 1983 Björn and Benny spent several days in Moscow. They wanted Alla Pugachova, the most popular pop singer in Russia to play Svetlana in Chess and they met the singer. Pugacheva wanted to participate in "Chess", but she was forced to say no because of the political reasons. As she said officially "It was her life's biggest tragedy not to be allowed to perform in Chess". Björn and Benny would meet her more times in the 1980s...
In the studio
The preparations for the recording sessions for the musical started in January 1983. Benny started create the music together with Björn in the studio. Tim Rice wrote the manuscript. The story line was about the chess championship in Merano (North Italy) and the conflict between East and West. The musical was based on the Chess Championship in Reykjavik in 1972.
In January 1984 Anders Eljas wrote down the last notes for the forthcoming musical. As Björn and Benny cannot write notes they needed help with them as well as arrangements. The first trial to hear the whole musical was done in April 1984 by playing it for the first time at Berwaldhallen in Stockholm without singers or audience. In June it was time for a short trip to London. Last studio recordings were to be completed and it was time for starting recording sessions with the singers: Elaine Paige, Tommy Körberg, Murray Head in the main roles.
Mixing Chess - Summer 1984
All vocals were recorded during the period between June and October 1984. These recording sessions were held at the Polar Music Studios in Stockholm.
One Night in Bangkok - the first single
"One Night in Bangkok" was selected for the first single promoting the double album with musical "Chess". The song was performed by two artists: Murray Head and Anders Glenmark. The single was released in Sweden at the end of October 1984 and it entered the Swedish chart on 9 November 1984 where it stayed for coming 18 weeks peaking at #3.
The single entered the UK hit chart on 10 November 1984 and stayed there for 14 weeks reaching #12.
In West Germany "One Night in Bangkok" entered the single chart on 17 December 1984 and stayed on the chart for 21 weeks reaching #1. The single was released in W. Germany as both 7" and 12", the latter with an extended version (5.38) of the song.
In France the single was released with two different covers. "One Night in Bangkok" entered the French single chart on February 2nd, 1985 where it stayed for 18 weeks peaking at #2.
TV promotion - Denmark
CHESS the album
On 26 October 1984 the double album "Chess" was released worldwide. "Chess" entered the Swedish chart on 9 November 1984 and stayed there for 24 weeks peaking at #1. The album re-entered the Swedish chart on 28 May 1986 after the premiere of the musical in London and stayed there for additional 6 weeks reaching #27.
The album entered the British chart on 10 November 1984 and stayed on it for 16 weeks reaching #10.
In West Germany the album saw its chart entrance on 3 December 1984. It stayed on the German album chart for 27 weeks peaking at #6.
The German club-edition-release of "Chess" featured partly different sleeve featured the synopsis in the German language.
The CD releases
The musical was released on CD by Polar and RCA. The first two releases of the CD were not quite the same. The first disc in the Polar release was white and the second black - the RCA release featured disc one black and disc two white. Both releases were issued in thick double jewel case.
The re-release of the CD "Chess" was re-packed in normal jewel case with holder for two discs with new Polar logo.
"Chess in concert" - the tour
The promotional tour entitled "Chess in Concert" started on 27 October 1984 in London. After London the tour visited Hamburg, Amsterdam, Paris and finally Stockholm.
Promotion in Holland
After party in London
The Stockholm performance of Chess in concert took place at the Berwaldhallen on 1 November 1984. Among the guests there were: Agnetha Fältskog with Linda and Christian and Stikkan Anderson with Gudrun.
The main parts were performed by: Murray Head, Elaine Paige, Tommy Körberg and Barbara Dickson. Björn sung in the choir together with a.o. Karin and Anders Glenmark. Benny played accordeon and synthesizers.
No sowas - German TV
Björn & Benny appeared in German TV show "No sowas" which was broadcasted on November 29th, 1984. They promoted "One Night in Bangkok" together with Murray Head and Frida who was one of the guests this evening.
I Know Him So Well - the single
The second single from the musical "Chess" featured "I Know Him So Well" with the title composition on the B-side. This single would become the biggest chart success of all single releases from the musical. The maxi single which was released both in the UK and West Germany featured bonus track on B-side: "Quartet (A Model of Docorum and Tranquillity)"
The single entered the British chart on January 5, 1985 and stayed there for 16 weeks topping the chart on February 9 (for 4 weeks). The single was available as 7" and 12".
In West Germany "I Know Him So Well" entered the chart in March and it stayed there for 8 weeks peaking at #22.
In France the single stayed on the chart for 8 weeks peaking at #17
In Switzerland the single entered the chart on March 17th, 1985 and stayed there for 9 weeks peaking at #7. In the Netherlands 10 weeks peaking at #9.
Platinum record for sales of the single
I Know Him So Well - the cover version
The first cover of "I Know Him So Well" was recorded by two Czech pop divas Hana Zagorova and Petra Janu in 1985 for a TV show. The song was even released as a single the same year.
Benny, Björn and Stikkan receiving Gold Records for "Chess".
Chess Moves - the video
The official "Chess" video was released in 1985 by RCA. The video featured 5 videos: One Night in Bangkok, Nobody's Side, The Arbiter, I Know Him So Well and Pity the Child. The videos had been directed by David G. Hiller. The authors of the musical put a note on the cover of the video:
"Authors' note. The five items on this cassette are songs from the Benny Andersson-Tim Rice-Björn Ulvaeus musical "Chess", as performed by the artists on the original "Chess" album, Elaine Paige, Murray Head, Barbara Dickson and Björn Skifs. The performances here were specially created for video and are not recordings of extracts of any stage or motion picture version of the work. Benny Andersson Tim Rice Björn Ulvaeus."
Canadian singer Louise Robey landed a record deal with CBS Sony USA as a solo artist and recorded the international breakout hit "One Night in Bangkok". The track reached #5 on the US Billboard Dance Charts and #77 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1985.
Anthem - the single
"Anthem" performed by Tommy Körberg was next single selection released in several countries among others in Sweden. On the B-side there was "The Russian and Molokov/Where I Want To Be" performed by Tommy Körberg and Denis Quilley.
Nobody's Side - the single
"Nobody's Side" performed by Elaine Paige was released as a single in West Germany in a rare remixed version. On the side B there was "Embassy Lament"
Heaven Help My Heart - the single
One more single featuring Elaine Paige was released in 1985 in Great Britain as 7" and 12". The single contained "Heaven Help My Heart" b/w "Argument" and the maxi version had a bonus tracks "The Russian and Molokov" / "Where I Want To Be".
The Arbiter - the single
The last single from "Chess" - "The Arbiter" featured Björn Skifs in lead vocals. Björn and Benny hoped that the single would be successful in Europe and USA as the song was an up-tempo composition performed by a very talented singer.
Pity the Child
Even "Pity the Child" was released as a single in West Germany with "One Night in Bangkok" as a B-side. The maxi single featured an extended version of "One Night In Bangkok" and "The Deal".
Andersson, Ulvaeus and Skifs made TV promotion for the single in the summer 1985. Two main appearances were on German TV and on the British talk show "Wogan" where even Tim Rice joined the gang.
During 1985 Björn and Benny recorded a new pop album with the brother-&-sister group "Gemini". The both singers had participated in the "Chess"-project and both were close friends to the ABBA family.
The album called simply "Gemini" included 6 songs written by Björn and Benny. Two of them were well-known compositions: "Just Like That" (recorded by ABBA in 1982 and never released) and "Slowly" (recorded in 1984 by Frida and released on her album "Shine"). The album was recorded at Polar Music Studios in Stockholm and released by Benny's new production company "Mono Music AB".
The album entered the Swedish LP chart on November 29th, 1985 and stayed there for 6 weeks peaking at #9.
Just Like That - the single
Previously recorded by ABBA but never released "Just Like That" became Gemini's first single instead. This version was a bit different to the ABBA version with partly changed lyrics and arrangement. The single was not particularly successful in Sweden and other countries in Europe despite of promotion made by Björn Ulvaeus. In Holland "Just Like That" stayed though on the chart for 5 weeks peaking at #24.
Just Like That - the video
The video for "Just Like That" was filmed at the same time for TV promotion in whole Europe. One of the shots from the video was featured on the alternative album cover in the UK and West Germany.
Gemini - the album in Europe
The European release of the album "Gemini" featured different cover but the same track listing.
After the release of the album and single "Just Like That" Gemini went on the promotional tour in Europe together with Björn.
The album and single were successful in Scandinavia but not in Europe where the sales were poor and Gemini did not achieve any big success.
Another You Another Me - the single
"Another You Another Me" was chosen for single release in Sweden, the UK and Holland. There was "Slowly" on the B-side of the Swedish version of the single and "Falling" on the European version.
Another You Another Me - the video
The single "Another You Another Me" was promoted on TV in Europe by a special video clip. Even Björn Ulvaeus could be seen in the video for some seconds.
Slow emotion - the single
The last single selection from the first Gemini album featured an extended remix of "Slow Emotion" b/w "Too much Love Is Wasted". This single was released as 12" in Sweden.
Alla Pugacheva in Sweden
The second meeting with Alla Pugacheva - the biggest pop star in Russia took place in Stockholm. The singer was not allowed to participate in "Chess" but she was allowed to shine in the company of the two ABBA-members Björn and Benny.
Alla Pugacheva recorded the album "Watch Out" in Stockholm and she was very strongly promoted on Swedish TV by one of the biggest Swedish TV journalists Jacob Dahlin. The album was partly written and co-produced by Anders Glenmark and all ABBA musicians were involved in the production. It contained totally 12 tracks.
The East European version of the album was entitled "Alla Pugacheva in Stockholm" and contained 10 songs.
The CD version of the album was released in Russia in 1997.
Lyrics by Tim Rice
Björn and Benny were interviewed on British TV in the show "Lyrics by Tim Rice". They talked about working with the musical "Chess"
In December Gemini and Benny promoted the debut album on Norwegian TV in the show "Kanal 1". They performed two songs in the show: "Have Mercy" and "Too much Love is Wasted".
No Sowas - German TV
At the beginning of the year 1986 Björn, Benny and Gemini were special guests in the popular German TV show "No Sowas" hosted by Thomas Gottschalk. Gemini performed "Just Like That" in the show.
Björn in London
Björn and Tim gave an interview on the British TV about two weeks before the premiere of "Chess" in London.
Chess in London
The premiere of the musical "Chess" took place in London on 14 May 1986. Frida was there shining with her blonde hair (go.to/Frida 1986). The first version of the musical was directed by Michael Bennett but due to a disease he had to quit. A new director, Trevor Nunn was chosen instead. Elaine Paige, Tommy Körberg and Murray Head were playing the main parts.
The musical became quite big commercial success and it was played in London for 3 years. The last performance took place on April 8, 1989.
Gemini - the second album
At the beginning of 1987 Björn and Benny worked again with Karin and Anders Glenmark recording a new album with Gemini. B & B contributed with 6 songs to the LP. The album was recorded at Polar Music Studios in Stockholm and released in April by Mono Music. It became quite big hit on the Swedish charts but not in Europe. Gemini and Benny Andersson went on a promotional trip through Europe. They paid a visit in Moskva where they appeared in a big show hosted by Alla Pugacheva. A Russian version of Gemini's album was released in Sovjet Union.
The European edition of the album featured different cover. The album in the UK was released by CBS.
The album was released on CD.
T.L.C. - the single
The opening track from the album - "T.L.C." written by Björn and Benny was chosen for the single release. The flipside featured another Benny and Björn composition "Nearly There". The single did not become hit on the chart either in Sweden or in Europe
Love Tracks 2
"TLC" was released on the compilation album in Sweden "Love tracks 2" later the same year.
In Mockba again
Jacob Dahlin - a TV personality, host for his own TV special on Swedish TV "Jacobs Stege" was absolutely fascinated by the Russian pop star Alla Pugacheva. In 1987 Dahlin decided to record a special edition of "Jacobs Stege" in Moskva. Among the artists participating in the show was Benny Andersson, Gemini, Europe and of course Alla Pugacheva. Benny, Alla and Jacob were chatting partly in Russian partly in Swedish partly in English. Benny was playing ABBA songs on piano, Pugacheva sang "Happy New Year" with Benny accompanying. Gemini performed some of their latest songs from the album "Geminism" (Mio My Mio, TLC) and Europe performed their hit "Final countdown".
Mio Min Mio - the single
The film "Mio in the Land of Faraway" (Swedish: "Mio min mio") was a cooproduction between Sweden and Sovjet Union and it had premiere in Sweden in October 1987. The soundtrack to it was written by Benny Andersson and Anders Eljas. Gemini performed the song "Mio my mio", originally released on their album "Geminism". The song was re-recorded in Swedish and released as a single in Sweden in October 1987. It entered the Swedish chart on November 11th, 1987 and stayed there for 12 weeks reaching #3. The album with the soundtrack from the movie would see its release in 1988.
"Mio my Mio" the movie was released on video and on DVD (2005).
Mio my Mio
The album with soundtrack to the movie "Mio my Mio" (Mio in the Land of Faraway) was released at the beginning of 1988. The music had been written by Anders Eljas and Benny Andersson. Gemini appeared on the title track "Mio my Mio" (written by Benny and Björn).
The album was promoted by the single "Mio my Mio" (the German release was entitled "Mio mein Mio").
Chess on Broadway
The first months of 1988 were filled with preparations for the "Chess" premiere on Broadway in New York. The premiere of the musical took place at the Imperial Theatre on the 45th Street on Broadway on April 28, 1988. New cast was chosen and several changes were made. Some new tracks were added (as for example the beautiful "Someone Else's Story") and some tracks from the first version of the musical disappeared (Merano and Embassy Lament). The main performers were: Judy Kuhn, Philip Casnoff & David Carroll. The Broadway version of "Chess" was a total flop and it was played only 8 weeks...
The premiere of the Chess on Broadway was attended by Björn and Benny with their wives, Stikkan & Gudrun Anderson, Tomas Ledin and Anni-Frid Lyngstad with her boyfriend Ruzzo Reuss.
Chess - the US album
The musical was recorded by the American cast in April and May and released on LP and CDThe Broadway version of the musical Chess was recorded on April 17 and May 15-17, 1988 at The Record Plant studio in New York. The recording was mixed later at Polar Studios in Stockholm by Bernard Löhr. Benny participated in the recording playing on synclavier.
The story line and lyrics
One of the new songs that appeared on the US version of "Chess" was "Someone Else's Story" performed by Judy Kuhn. This beautiful ballad became a classical track from the musical and it belongs to Benny and Björn's favorites.
One more "Chess" related album was released in 1988. The compilation "Chess Pieces" featured 12 songs including the remixed versions of "The Arbiter" and "Nobody's Side". The album was a kind of greatest hits compilation and the last "Chess" release in the 20th century. The album was available as LP/MC and CD.
Special airplay sampler
The promotional version of "Chess Pieces" released by Polar was entitled "Special airplay sampler" and it had partly different track listing.
Björn & Benny in Good Morning America
On May 20th, 1988 American TV team made a special interview with Björn & Benny in Stockholm for "Good Morning America". It was a couple of weeks after "Chess" premiere on Broadway. Björn and Benny were still absolutely convinced that it would be a big success. The American journalists interviewing Björn and Benny was not so sure. She asked about ABBA and a possible future for the group. Björn answered that ABBA did not split up officially. The journalist asked whether it is possible for the group ABBA to get together again and record a new album. Björn answered: "We haven't officially split up, that's true...", the journalist: "So the door is open?" Björn: "Absolutely, the door is open even if we haven't discussed it".
At the end of the programme Tommy Körberg performed "Anthem" from Chess. The interview was recorded on the island Skeppsholmen not far from Benny's studios.
Chess on CD
The musical "Chess" was rereleased on double CD in 1988 in Germany in slimline box.
In 1991 Björn and Benny started thinking about a new musical. This time it would be a musical in Swedish and based on Swedish history. The trilogy "Emigrants"/"Immigrants"/"The Last Letter to Sweden" written by Wilhelm Moberg was chosen as a basis to the musical. The trilogy is about Swedish emigration to USA in the 19th century.
Björn, Benny and Anders Glenmark were among judges in a song competition for young people arranged by the magazine "Kamratposten" in Sweden at the beginning of 1992.
During this period Björn and Benny were mainly composing and writing the musical with some minor breaks for other projects. The first one was a kind of Gemini comeback in 1993 on the solo album of Anders Glenmark. Benny played keyboards on the album and Gemini performed one song "Äntligen" (Finally).
The second pop project in 1993 was a whole album with one of the members of Ainbusk Singers - Josefin Nilsson. The album contained 10 brand new songs written by Björn and Benny. They were recorded in the Polar Music Studios in Stockholm and produced by B & B. The album was recorded in English the international release. But it did not become successful either in Sweden or somewhere else just like the Gemini-project. There were certain plans for one more album with Nilsson but they were abandoned because of Benny & Björn's involvment in other projects.
The song "Heaven and Hell" was chosen for the first single release. Two versions of the single were released - in Sweden "Heaven and Hell"/"Leave It To Love" and in Europe "Heaven and Hell" in two versions (4.25 edit and full-length 5.29).
Benny and Josefin promoted the album in Denmark's capital - Copenhagen in June 1993.
In November 1994 when most of the music for the forthcoming musical was written, Björn, Benny and the director Lars Rudolfsson started auditions in order to find the singer. All female singers sang "Someone Else's Story" because, as Benny states, the song is quite complicated and shows directly if you can sing. After some days of auditions with some more than 1 200 singers singing "Someone Else's Story" the choice was made.
Benny & Björn on the auditions for Kristina från Duvemåla in December 1994
Kristina's name was Helen Sjöholm, a young and unknown singer from Sundsvall got the role. Her beautiful voice and talent helped definitely. Other parts of the musical would be sung by Åsa Bergh and more known Anders Ekborg and Peter Jöback. The cast was presented on the press conference in Stockholm at the beginning of 1995.
The rehearsals for "Kristina" were going on during the year 1995 until the premiere in Malmö in October.
Kristina från Duvemåla - the premiere
Björn's and Agnetha's daughter Linda Ulvaeus played a minor role in the musical as well. The premiere of the musical took place in Malmö on October 7, 1995. The biggest sensation of the evening was attendance of Agnetha Fältskog (go.to/Agnetha 1995)
The press loved the musical though and it was called for Swedish national musical. It was played in Malmö, Göteborg (The Opera House in 1996) and finally in Stockholm in Circus (1998-99).
Kristina in Minnesota USA
In October 1996 Björn, Benny and the musical cast went to USA and gave two concerts in Minnesota where most of the Swedish immigrants arrived 100 years ago.
Du måste finnas - the single
The first single release from "Kristina från Duvemåla" featured two songs: "Du måste finnas" performed by Helen Sjöholm and "Min lust till dig" performed by Helen Sjöholm and Anders Ekborg. "Du måste finnas" entered the Swedish chart Svensktoppen on November 30th, 1996 and stayed there until December 28th, 1996
Guldet blev till sand - the single
The second single from the musical featured "Guldet blev till sand" and "Jag har förlikat mej till slut/Guldet blev till sand" - both performed by Peter Jöback. The single entered the Swedish chart Svensktoppen on January 25th, 1997 where it stayed for 110 weeks until February 27th, 1999 peaking at #1.
Peter Jöback promoted "Guldet blev till sand" by several performances on TV in Sweden and other Nordic countries. Even Björn was engaged in the promotion during the period of 1995-1997.
Hemma - the single
Next single promoting the musical featured "Hemma" performed by Helen Sjöholm b/w "A Sunday in Battery Park". The single entered the Swedish chart "Svensktoppen" on June 30th, 1997 where it stayed for 21 weeks peaking at #2.
Vildgräs - the single
Next single "Vildgräs" featured Anders Ekborg and the "b-side" "Missväxt" was performed by Anders and Helen. The single did not appear on the Swedish chart.
The B & B project
A big gala concert "B & B" featuring compositions of Björn and Benny had its premiere in Gothenburg on September 19th, 1998. All songs were performed by: Karin & Anders Glenmark, Tommy Körberg and Helen Sjöholm, who had became big star in Sweden by playing Kristina in "Kristina från Duvemåla".
Totally three concerts were held in Gothenburg and they had been recorded for a CD release at the end of October 1998. The show moved to Stockholm at the end of October where it was played three times as well. Björn and Benny participated in the project.
Among the songs performed during the show there were several compositions performed originally by ABBA as: Ring Ring, Fernando, Honey Honey, The Winner Takes It All, Arrival, Take a Chance on Me, Does Your Mother Know, On and On and On and finally Thank You For the Music.
The CD with 16 songs from the concerts recorded live in Gothenburg saw its release in October 1998.
B & B in China
In March 1999 the "B & B" show went to China and was performed both in Beijing and Shanghai.
The idea for a new musical based on ABBA music came already in 1996. An English author Catherine Johnson was chosen to write the manuscript. It would not be a musical about ABBA the group. The first title of the musical was "Summer Night City" but it was changed to "Mamma Mia" in the spring 1998. The premiere in London was held on April 6, 1999 (25 years after the victory in Brighton with "Waterloo").
The musical became the first real huge success for Björn and Benny as musical writers. But in fact they did not write this musical as a musical. Once again it was confirmed by the public that the ABBA music is the best music ever written by B & B.
The best of Kristina
A compilation including 16 greatest songs from the musical was released in Sweden in 1999.
In Svenska Dagbladet
Swedish newspaper "Svenska Dagbladet" published an interview with B&B on January 31st, 2001. They revealed their plans for setting up "Mamma Mia" on Broadway in New York.
ABBA in "60 minutes" - Australia 2001
Australian TV made an extended interview with Benny and Björn in 2001 which was shown on the Australian TV the same year. Björn and Benny were talking about the ABBA time as well as they visited the ABBA Exhibition at the Nordiska museum in Stockholm. Benny played "Thank You For The Music" on the piano. Björn answered the question about a possible ABBA comeback, that it would be only a big disappointment for all ABBA fans to see the foursome on stage after so many years...
Mamma Mia opens in Australia
On June 9th, 2001 MAMMA MIA! had its Australian premiere at the Princess Theatre in Melbourne, Victoria (previews from 31 May). It closed on June 23rd, 2002. Donna was played by Anne Wood, Tanya by Rhonda Burchmore and Rosie by Lara Mulcahy. Björn attended the premiere in Melbourne.
Mamma Mia on Broadway
On October 18th, 2001 "Mamma Mia" opened on Broadway in New York. Both Björn and Benny attended the premiere.
CHESS på svenska
The Swedish version of the musical was quite different to the English version. Some songs disappeared and some new songs came. Tommy Körberg played Anatolij and he was by the way the only singer who even performed in the first version of "Chess" in 1984-1986 both on album and on stage. Florence was played, not unexpectedly, by Helen Sjöholm, Svetlana by Josefin Nilsson and Freddy by Anders Ekborg.
Eighteen years after the world premiere the musical had its premiere in Stockholm in Swedish on February 23rd, 2002.
Chess på svenska - 2 CD
release: 28 October 2002 (Sweden)
Tommy Körberg was playing the Sovjet player - Anatolij Sergievskij. Helen Sjöholm played Florence Vaszi who fell in love with Anatolij. The other artists were well-known Swedish musical- and pop stars like Anders Ekborg, Per Myrberg, Rolf Skoglund and Josefin Nilsson (from Ainbusk).
The 24 track double CD contained mostly well known stuff from the 1984 version of "Chess" and some news as: "Ungern 56" (Hungary 56), "Han är en man, han är ett barn" (He is a man, he is a child) performed by Josefin Nilsson and "Glöm mig om du kan" (Forget me if you can). Some songs from the 1984 version of the musical disappeared - one of them was the single hit from the first edition of the musical "One Night In Bangkok".
This recording was made in March and April 2002 in the studio 2 of the Swedish Radio, Atlantis Studio and the Polar Studios in Stockholm. Some overdubs were made in Benny's Mono Music studio in the summer of 2002. Everything was mixed by Benny Andersson and Bernard Löhr in the autumn of 2002 in the Mono Music Studio, Skeppsholmen in Stockholm. Benny's son Ludvig sang in the choir.
CHESS in Denmark
An absolutely fabulous new Chess album was released in Denmark. This international album featured artists from several countries among them Gunilla Backman from Sweden who would play Donna in Swedish version of "Mamma Mia" in Stockholm 3 years later. Some of previously unreleased compositions had been included. (see the track listing below).
Chess on DVD
On November 12, 2003 "Chess på svenska" was released on DVD. The box contained even a bonus DVD with a documentary about the making of the musical made by Benny's wife Mona Nörklit. The performance presented on DVD was recorded in March 2003 at Cirkus in Stockholm.
Mamma Mia - 5 years in London, April 6th, 2004
Mamma Mia Stockholm
Mamma Mia Stockholm promotion
Benny and Björn gave an extended interview for Swedish TV4 at the beginning of the year before the Swedish premiere of "Mamma Mia" at Cirkus in Stockholm.
Lycka - the remaster
The Björn and Benny album "Lycka" (Happiness) was re-released on 22 May 2006 in the remastered version with 14 bonus tracks - one of them the demo "To live with You" never released before. The CD contains totally 25 songs with the length of more than 76 minutes. Among the bonus tracks there is stuff in three languages that Björn and Benny recorded at the beginning of 1970s. We can find: She's My Kind of Girl, Inga Theme, Merry-Go-Round (in three language versions), På bröllop and Rock'n'Roll Band. The sound has great quality and the booklet contains information about every track as well as the story of B & B at the beginning of their career. A real rarity is a previously unreleased track "To live with you" (English version of "Lycka"). It was recorded someday in 1975 according to the booklet and it sounds as if Björn had a flu and trembling voice that day...
Mamma Mia releases in Sweden 26.11.2008
"Mamma Mia - The Movie" on DVD, Blu-ray and soundtrack with bonus DVD Behind the Music. The three long-awaited items saw their release in Sweden on 24 & 26 November 2008. The DVD and Blu-ray editions contain The Movie and extra material featuring comments of the film director Phillida Lloyd, interview with Björn Ulvaeus, the making of the movie documentary, music video "Gimme Gimme Gimme" and much more.
The new edition of soundtrack to the movie features a bonus DVD with the documentary making of the music and looking back on the ABBA time with Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus. Even this edition contains the official video "Gimme Gimme Gimme". The booklet is extended with the essays about making the music and locations where film was shot.
Mamma Mia in Oslo
The premiere of the Norwegian version of the musical "Mamma Mia" took place at the Folketeateret in Oslo on 19 March 2009. Björn and Benny attended the premiere.
DONNA was played by Heidi Gjermundsen Broch, SOPHIE by Mari Lerberg Fossum, ROSIE by Kjersti Elvik, TANJA Arlene Wilkes, SAM by Nils Christian Fossdal, HARRY by Heine Totland, BILL by Paul Ottar Haga, SKY by Espen Grjotheim.
New B & B single
New single with a brand new B & B song "2nd Best to None" performed by the staff at the Benny owned Rival hotel in Stockholm saw its release in Sweden at the beginning of May 2009.
Chess in Concert
New double CD & DVD "Chess in Concert" was released in Sweden, Germany and other EU countries at the beginning of July (the UK release: September 2009). The recording of the concert had been done at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 12 & 13 May 2008. In main roles: Josh Groban, Idina Menzel, Adam Pascal and Marti Pellow. The booklet features foreword written by Tim Rice. Several bonus tracks not available on the original "Chess" album in 1984 have been added to this recording.
Tribute to ABBA
Björn and Benny participated in a tribute to ABBA concert in London on September 13th. Several singers both well-known and less known performed the songs of ABBA.
Kristina at Carnegie Hall
The musical "Kristina från Duvemåla" was performed during two evenings at the Carnegie Hall in New York in English. The shows were recorded and released as a double CD in 2010. Kristina was played by Helen Sjöholm from the original set-up of the musical in Sweden.
The 2009 "Kristina" concerts at the Carnegie Hall in New York resulted in releasing a double live CD on April 12, 2010.
Royal Albert Hall - London
The London performance of "Kristina in Concert" on April 14th, 2010 was the last appearance of Helena Sjöholm in this musical. The concert at Royal Albert Hall was attended by about 5000 people - mostly old ABBA fans. Björn Ulvaeus said in an interview for Swedish TV on Wednesday night that he hoped that the musical maybe could have a little chance to be played in London in the future.
Mamma Mia fever in Denmark
The Danish translation of the ABBA songs has been made by Anne Linnet who is proudly posing for the photos with Björn Ulvaeus. The team of Danish actors and singers are playing the main roles: Donna by Nicoline Siff Möller, Sofie by Kristine Yde Eriksen, Tanja by Nastja Arcel och Bibi by Pernille Schröder, Bill by Peter Oliver Hansen, Henrik by Lars Oluf Hansen and Stig by Morten Lützhöft. The manuscript was written by Ann Mariager and she said that there are several changes to the original version of the musical.
Björn and Agnetha attended the premiere of Mamma Mia in Copenhagen on October 15, 2010.
go.to/Mamma Mia all over the world
Kristina in Helsinki
The musical "Kristina från Duvemåla" had its premiere in Finland at the Swedish Theatre in Helsinki on February 28th, 2012.
Anne Wood who played Donna in the original Australian set up of the musical "Mamma Mia" in 2001 released an album featuring 11 ABBA covers and one previously unreleased composition of Benny and Björn "The Day the Wall Came Tumbling Down". The album entitled "Divine Discontent" saw its release in February 2012. Wood's interpretations of ABBA songs are quite dark and a bit jazzy.
Songs from the musical "Hjälp sökes" with Benny's music and Björn's lyrics were released on CD on September 4th, 2013 in Sweden. The album contains 10 compositions.
Chess - the 30th anniversary edition
The deluxe edition of the musical "Chess" saw its release on November 14th, 2014. The set contains two CDs with three bonus tracks and a DVD featuring the making of special made by Swedish TV and five promotion videos.
Chess in concert
"Chess in concert" toured in Sweden in April 2015. The most famous Swedish musical artists performed the main characters. Florence was played by Gunilla Backman - well-known as Donna in the Swedish set-up of "Mamma Mia" in Stockholm 2005-2007. The American Freddie was played by the very original member of the "Chess" cast from 1984 - Anders Glenmark who even sang "One Night in Bangkok" on the original 1984 studio album. Svetlana was played by the Swedish pop singer Sarah Dawn Finer and the Russian by one of the biggest musical stars in Sweden Philip Jelmelid. The fantastic Johan Shcinkler performed Molokov. The director was Anders Eljas.
Hjälp sökes - Denmark
The B&B musical "Hjälp sökes" is entitled HJÆLP SØGES when it had its Danish premiere on April 12th, 2015 at the Østre Gasværk Teater. Benny is in Copenhagen working with the preparations. The musical will be played in Copenhagen until June 7th. The main characters are played by well-known Danish actors Jesper Asholt and Jesper Lohmann.
Kristina från Duvemåla is back
The B&B musical "Kristina från Duvemåla" had its 20th anniversary premiere at Cirkus in Stockholm on September 12th, 2015. The musical was set up for the very first time at the Opera in Malmö in 1995.
Björn & Benny's album "Lycka" originally released in Sweden in 1970 was released as a limited edition blue and yellow LP on July 28th, 2017.
Chess at the Kristianstad Theatre
Musical "Chess" (in Swedish) had its new premiere in Sweden at the Kristianstad Theatre on September 23rd, 2017.
Chess in Denmark
Musical "Chess" in Danish language version is on tour in Denmark. The musical is being played in following cities:
Copenhagen - 19.01 - 17.02, Århus - 20.02 - 3.03, Odense - 6-10.03, Vejle - 13-17.03, Holstebro - 21-24.03.
Chess in London
Björn and Benny were in London at the end of April 2018 to promote a new premiere of the musical "Chess" at the Coliseum Theatre. They gave several interviews.
Chess in Danish
The Danish version of "Chess" was released in September 2018. The album contains 16 songs performed in Danish language.
Mamma Mia - Here we go again
The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray disc on November 16th, 2018
X-Factor - B&B in the UK
In November Björn and Benny were in London where they participated in the TV show "X-Factor". Björn was interviewed on BBC TV where he was talking about forthcoming projects.
Mamma Mia The Party
On September 19th, 2019 Björn and Benny attended at the opening of "Mamma Mia The Party" in London.