Doco remembers ABBA’s Aussie visit
JOHN Paul Young (JPY) once sang about hating the music. At the same time he admits to having a professional dislike for the pop group ABBA. The reasons behind JPY’s frustration with the Swedish sensations seeps through in the ABC retro-doco ABBA: Bang A Boomerang.
Back in 1976, ABBA kept his single I Hate The Music in a holding pattern at No. 2 with their blockbuster Fernando, which held the top spot on the charts for 14 weeks.
Fernando’s success and Australia’s insatiable appetite for everything ABBA and the nation’s influence in helping Mamma Mia reach international success, is retraced in the documentary.
‘‘It (frustration) was only privately and quietly,’’ says JPY. ‘‘It was all light-hearted and insular. ‘‘There’s no bad news in any of this.’’ The documentary includes interviews with JPY, music guru Molly Meldrum, promoter Michael Chugg, Swedish film director Lasse Hallstrom, who was in charge of ABBA’s early video music clips, and the band’s official biographer Carl Magnus Palm.
Meldrum’s weekly show Countdown was desperate for videos when they received five quality-produced ABBA music clips from RCA records.
His first pick – I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do – topped the charts and sparked ABBA-mania. The next was Mamma Mia, selected by an ABC staffer.
‘‘That ( Mamma Mia) we are definitely going to use,’’ says Meldrum.
With a smile Meldrum says: ‘‘I never admitted I liked ABBA because I thought, ‘they’ll think I’m gay’.’’
Hallstrom says he worked with a budget of $2000 when he directed the ABBA clips and explains the basic techniques when filming the group.
‘‘There wasn’t much of a concept,’’ Hallstrom says during the documentary.
The hour-long program is narrated by Alan Brough, formerly of the ABC’s Spicks and Specks music quiz show. ABBA fans will revel in the archival footage and the memories of the era.
Queensland fans of the super group may not have the same sweet memories as ABBA bypassed the Sunshine State on its 1976 tour.
The state’s then-premier Joh BjelkePetersen tried to influence the group to change their mind – at the same time letters of scorn about ABBA flooded Brisbane’s newspaper The Courier Mail.
JPY attributes ABBA’s early success to not only their music but to the quality of the videos produced.
ABBA’s songs rocketed up the charts once their music videos started featuring on Countdown.
Wednesday, 8.30pm, ABC1.
ABBA’s Benny Andersson, Agnetha Faltskog, Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Bjorn Ulvaeus.