Until January, its long-playing recordings were produced under license in vast
numbers. For several years, the group’s songs were at or near the top of the
hits listed by Moskovsky Komsomolets, the
Shortly before the official denunciation, another pinnacle was reached by ABBA, whose name is an acronym for the four Swedes who make up the group – Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, also known as Frida.
A feature-length ABBA movie was shown in Soviet cinemas, and the 22 movie houses
But now ABBA’s music has been denounced in the Soviet press, its ventures into
business have been cited as proof of venality and its film has been withdrawn
from the theatres, ABBA’s records continue to trade in the central
The reason seems clear. In January, when President Reagan and his advisers decided to mount a television special, “Let Poland Be Poland,” to attract worldwide attention to the military crackdown there, ABBA was invited to tape a contribution. The Swedes did, and although the segment was not used, their action appeared to earn them deletion from the list of Western entertainers who are looked on benignly by the Soviet authorities.
The authorities have never given explicit grounds for the group’s fall from favor, but the pattern of events tells its own story.
On the day that the American production was shown in the
The show came in for a ferocious critique in the Soviet press, which called it a “television burlesque” and denounced many of its participants, including Frank Sinatra. The Communist Party newspaper Pravda called it “a hurriedly cooked-up spectacle” and quoted gleefully from Western press reviews that called it pointless and vulgar.
Meanwhile, Trud had noticed that ABBA had not been included in the program after
all. After three days, its
The reporter, far from redeeming the singers, cited the episode as an instance of what he called the hypocrisy of American pretensions to free speech.
Then last month, after the ABBA film disappeared from the cinemas, the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda had a long review of the film, describing ABBA as utterly without talent and a corrupting influence on Soviet youth.
The reviewer described the group’s songs as “sweat cheap candy,” and said they were “garnished” on stage by the “anatomical writhings” of the singers.
All of this, she said, was the result of Western commercialism, and ABBA’s “friendly smiles” and gestures to their fans were only a mask for their frantic urge for “money, money and more money.” Transcribed for ABBA World
This site uses frames. If you came directly to this page from an external link, welcome to ABBA Omnibus. Please click here to go to the home page.