Swedish musical icons ABBA have announced they have recorded new music and will perform as ‘avatars’ of their younger selves almost 35 years after disbanding.
The Nordic pop band said the reunion came about after a meeting earlier this year, with the two new tracks slated for release in December this year.
While the release date is a way off, the band revealed one of its new songs is titled ‘I Still Have Faith in You’, in a post on Instagram on Friday.
“We may have come of age, but the song is new. And it feels good,” ABBA said in the post.
“It was like no time had passed at all,” ABBA’s spokesperson Gorel Hanser told the BBC, describing the atmosphere in the studio as “magic”.
“It was like the olden days. They were happy, it was easy and warm-hearted, and it was actually quite moving. I wasn’t the only one with tears in my eyes.”
But there’s a catch for fans hoping to see them reunite in the flesh – the four-piece group announced an ABBA “avatar tour project” and will instead tour as a virtual group or “holograms” of their 1970s selves through a technology-aided live performance.
The group, comprised of two former couples, has long rejected lucrative deals to reunite, reportedly offered nearly a billion dollars for a reunion tour in 2000.
ABBA’s Official Instagram page said the four members felt it “could be fun to join forces again and go into the recording studio”, but the reunion might also suggest one or a number of the band members need money or crave popular exposure.
The former option seems unlikely, with each member of ABBA believed to be worth between $200 million and $300 million, or as a group between $800 million and $1.2 billion, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
Bjorn Ulvaeus told Billboard in an interview in 2014 the band had never officially broken up, but would not tour again.
“We took a break in ’82 and it was meant to be a break. It’s still a break and will remain so,” Ulvaeus said. “You’ll never see us onstage again.”
“We don’t need the money, for one thing,” he said. “Usually the reason bands have reunions is that one of them is destitute and the others want to help.”
Ulvaeus, now 73, is married to his second wife and has four children and three grandchildren. His ex-wife, Agnetha Faltskog is 68, twice divorced and has two children with Ulvaeus, Peter and Linda.
Benny Andersson is 71 and also onto his second wife, with whom he has one son. He also has two children with his first girlfriend.
Anni-Frid Lyngstad, who was previously married to Andersson, is 72 and single after three marriages. She has two children, a son and a daughter, with first husband Ragnar Fredriksson.
ABBA formed in Stockholm in 1972, comprised of two couples – Ulvaeus and Faltskog and Andersson and Lyngstad.
When both couples filed for divorce, the band split in 1982, while Ulvaeus and Andersson continued to work together, writing two musicals, including Chess.
The group’s hits include, ‘Take a Chance on Me’, ‘Mamma Mia!’, ‘Dancing Queen’, ‘Voules-Vous’, ‘Fernando’, ‘Money Money Money’, ‘The Winner Take It All’ and ‘Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!.
Their hits were showcased in a Broadway musical titled Mamma Mia!, which was made into a movie starring Amanda Seyfried, Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan in 2008.
The movie’s sequel, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! will be released in theatres in July this year.
ABBA’s avatar performance will premiere on US networks NBC and ABC before the end of the year with a full tour to follow in 2019.