After more than 30 years since ABBA
s first live performance in Australia at the Sydney Showgrounds in Moore Park on that wet evening of 3 March 1977, ABBA returns to Sydney in the first official exhibition about the 1970s global pop sensation. The exhibition, ABBAWORLD, is showing exclusively in Sydney at the Powerhouse Museum
from 17 December 2010.
The exhibition captures the music, memories and magic that made the Swedish group a worldwide phenomenon and whose music almost four decades later continues to attract new generations of fans.
Band member Björn Ulvaeus said: It always seemed to me that people in the music press and also in the music industry sort of took it for granted that ABBA would be a one hit wonder. Why would we be different from any other Eurovision winner?
We really had an up-hill struggle after Waterloo and our follow-up singles didnt do well. Then the Australians came to our rescue. They released SOS and Mamma Mia and both songs made the charts in a big way down under. Suddenly everyone else around the world realized there was life in the band that was supposed to be dead. Im forever grateful to the Australians for that!
ABBAWORLD examines where the four members of the group came from, the formation and success of ABBA and the post ABBA years. It will feature ABBAs first major international live performance and Swedens first win at the Eurovision Song contest in 1974, their highly acclaimed concert tours including the Australian tour in 1977, and the impact of their music that has inspired several hit movies and a stage show - Muriels Wedding, Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Mamma Mia.
The exhibition features more than 20 original costumes, the epitome of 70s glam, live concert footage, promotional and behind the scenes photographs, album artworks and other ABBA memorabilia, as well as exclusive interviews with members Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Agnetha Fältskog.
Replicas of an ABBA concert dressing room where a team of costume makers and make-up artists worked; the writing studio on Viggsö an island in the Stockholm archipelago where many of ABBAs most popular songs were written; and ABBAs own state of the art recording studio Polar Studio in Stockholm where they recorded their last two albums, is featured in the exhibition.
Visitors are be able to relive ABBAs music and sing and dance their way through the exhibition using a series of interactives. These include performing on a stage with ABBA, dancing in an ABBA video, recording a sing-a-long with ABBA and photographing yourself on an ABBA album cover.
The exhibition comes from Sweden, following its successful debut in London last January and a season at Federation Square in Melbourne earlier this year. For the Sydney season, new content about the groups appearances in Australia and their impact on Australian pop culture is be added to the exhibition by the Powerhouse Museum.
According to Magnus Danielsson, President of Touring Exhibitions, the producers of ABBAWORLD: No group has ever had such cross over success, bringing together fans of all ages together, bridging generation gaps and cultural differences. This is a unique opportunity for the people of Sydney to see original ABBA material. Danielsson added: ABBAWORLD has a universal appeal and we work hard to make it available to fans around the globe.
For more than 35 years, ABBA has maintained international success with their songs that remain a fixture on radio playlists today. ABBA is one of the top three selling artists in the world, having sold 375 million records worldwide. They still sell over 3 million records a year.
ABBAs appeal was first and foremost because they were consummate pop artists producing some of the most well-crafted, memorable and enduring pop songs in pop history. They were pioneers in the pop form breaking new ground in recording, concert production and promotional music videos. For Australia this culminated in the extraordinary scenes of adoration for the group that traveled across the globe to perform in Australia in 1977. Their music spoke to the heart, through joy and pain, and left a musical legacy that is still vibrant today, said Jonathan Parsons, Sydney Curator, ABBAWORLD.