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Abba joins Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame

AFP/The Local · 16 Mar 2010, 07:56

Published: 16 Mar 2010 07:56 GMT+01:00

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Seventies disco act Abba were joined by punk pioneers The Stooges, Jamaican reggae legend Jimmy Cliff and Britain's Genesis and The Hollies in entering the rock star firmament after voting by more by more than 500 rock experts.

The inclusion of Abba raised the eyebrows of fans questioning whether the light pop group - for all its mammoth and enduring popularity - qualifies as a rock band.

But Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation CEO Joel Peresman said the collection "represents a great cross-section of artists."

The hall of fame is in Cleveland, Ohio. However the ceremony took place at New York's Waldorf Astoria hotel in front of music industry bigs and celebrities including the actress Meryl Streep.

The Stooges' Iggy Pop was on hand to pick up his award as were five of The Hollies, Genesis frontman Phil Collins, and Abba's Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad.

Jimmy Cliff raised the roof with "The Harder They Come," while the Stooges gave a thunderous performance that ended with guests jamming on stage alongside a shirtless Iggy Pop.

Benny Andersson played piano while Grammy winner Faith Hill made a guest appearance to sing Abba's hit "The Winner Takes it All."

But the Swedish super-group stopped short of a reunion, as did Genesis, whose original lead singer Peter Gabriel was away rehearsing for a solo tour.

Trey Anastasio, lead singer of Phish, introduced the "quiet rebels" of Genesis, saying they had entered rock 'n roll legend and had been instrumental in forming his own career.

"When you're a musician and you break new ground it resonates into the common consciousness," Anastasio said.

The event was an Oscars-style black tie and tuxedo event, except this being the rock world many guests came without the tie or without the jacket, or either.

Iggy Pop joked to Rolling Stone magazine about the un-punk-like sartorial code, saying he owned a dinner jacket, but was hardly itching to put it on.

"I've got these things. I'm at the time of life where people sort of pick me up by the collar and exhibit me on various occasions," he said.

True to his bad boy image he immediately made an obscene gesture - with both hands - at the audience from the podium, then removed his shirt to go on stage for a raucous rendition of "Search and Destroy."

Musicians already in the hall of fame include Eric Clapton, Madonna, the Beatles, The Byrds and Simon and Garfunkel.

The only official requirement for candidacy is having released an album or record at least 25 years ago. Record sales are not considered important.

"It's all very subjective. And all of the members of the nominating committee are very passionate about their suggestions," the hall of fame's website says.

Among those inducted Monday for behind the scenes contributions were manager David Geffen and songwriters Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry and Otis Blackwell.

Story continues below…

Not everyone thought Abba - famous for many of the world's most catchy tunes, including "Mama Mia" and "Dancing Queen" - deserved a slot ahead of more hardcore mega groups, such as Kiss, that are still waiting.

"Nominating Abba to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is sort of like saying the best dessert you've ever tasted was a hostess cupcake," Time magazine complained.

But rock guests attending the evening were effusive in praising the Swedes.

Abba's Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad said they were happy that their 1970s act had had such longevity - and influence.

"Some of the records are still alive and people don't remember what we looked like and that's probably good," Lyngstad laughed.

Phil Collins also welcomed the range of artists, saying "there seems to be more of a variety this year, from Abba, us, Jimmy Cliff: It seems to be a general cross section of music."

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

08:35 March 16, 2010 by byke

how many times can you beat a dead horse.
09:32 March 16, 2010 by salalah
Wow they look so old now...
09:50 March 16, 2010 by Pont-y-garreg
"a slew of eclectic artists"

Who writes this stuff?

It's not the artists who are eclectic; it's the selection.
10:51 March 16, 2010 by johnnyrebel
Genesis rocks.
11:22 March 16, 2010 by Byggare Bob

I think you'll find that "eclectic" can be applied to refer to both individuals and groups.


eclectic - someone who selects according to the eclectic method
11:55 March 16, 2010 by karex
I think it's well-deserved. Bravo!
12:37 March 16, 2010 by byke
ABBA clearly has no respect for sweden, as many of their songs are written in English, yet the swedish language law states that Swedish should be promoted in every way possible. So forget ABBA there old and havent released anything worth talking about for the past 30 odd years .....
14:24 March 16, 2010 by ironman294
Jimmy Cliff played?

I didn't know that dead people could?

What can't the writer tell the difference between black people?

Wycleff Jean played. Duh!
14:32 March 16, 2010 by sissygirl
Not everyone thought Abba - famous for many of the world's most catchy tunes, including "Mama Mia" and "Dancing Queen" - deserved a slot ahead of more hardcore mega groups, such as Kiss, that are still waiting.

How absurd.
15:50 March 16, 2010 by rightsaidfred
To Byggare Bob, it is indeed a selection or an individual which can be eclectic but that is not what Pont-y-garreg was saying- he was noting that the group of artists inducted as a whole was eclectic, not any one particular artist (surely no one would say Iggy Pop or Abba or Jimmy Cliff were eclectic!). He did not try to make a statement as how eclectic may be grammatically used correctly. He was rightly saying the adjective "eclectic" should have prefaced "slew", not "artists" i.e. "an electic slew of artists".

Apart from irrelevant comments, I think all these inductees were well deserving. And to try to segregate pop music from rock music would disqualify many megastars. Honestly, are Madonna, Michael Jackson, Elton John, etc rock musicians? And the Hollys were hardly rock and roll. Simon and Garfunkel? Same. Great musicians all.
15:55 March 16, 2010 by kaze
Abba are rock now?
17:41 March 16, 2010 by tollermann
Hmmm....a 1/2 German 1/2 Norwegian woman - the legacy of a WWII forbidden relationship. I would rather read what nordic countries are doing to make up for their shameful bigotry!

As for ABBA = rock?
19:06 March 16, 2010 by Chuy
14:24 March 16, 2010 by ironman294

Jimmy Cliff played?

I didn't know that dead people could?

What can't the writer tell the difference between black people?

Wycleff Jean played. Duh!


What are you talking about? Jimmy Cliff isn't dead. He's getting ready to tour and release a new album.
19:31 March 16, 2010 by Volvo D
johhnyrebel, you are correct. Genesis does rock.

They FINALLY are getting the credit they've deserved for decades.
20:18 March 16, 2010 by Americanswede
Congratulations, ABBA on tonight's induction into the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame!! (JOIN MY FAN PAGE -- http://www.facebook.com/pages/ABBA-reunite-for-2011-Super-Bowl-halftime-show-please/10150139460935161?ref=mf)
21:09 March 16, 2010 by gerrysr
It seems to me that most of those who thinks ABBA can't 'rock' simply have never heard much of their music. I would suggest that you go to youtube and search for such songs as (preferably concert footage) :

'Does your mother know', 'hole in your soul', 'summer night city', 'rock me', 'why did it have to be me', 'voulez vous', gimme gimme gimme', tiger', 'under attack', ' the visitors (crackin' up)' etc.. just off the top of my head. Please listen then tell me they can't 'rock'.
21:56 March 16, 2010 by Isabel Carneiro
Hi I am Brazilian, andI love Abba since my adolescence. Congratulations Benny and Anni-Frid. It is a pity that Agnetha can not attend the event, but here goes my respect for her and in my opinion she has the best voice in the world.

Congratz Agnetha appear in the media.

Congratulations Abba.
22:54 March 16, 2010 by dizzymoe33
Congratulations to ABBA for their induction into the Hall of Fame they deserve it. Not only have they influenced many,many artist's but they have changed the way recordings are done nowadays. Both Frida and Benny's speaches were excellent and I bet Stikkan was rolling over in his grave saying finally ABBA has broken into the American market. LOL It was good to see them both I was disappointed that Frida did not sing and Agnetha did not attend the event. Most don't realize there are only a handfull of women in the Hall of Fame so this was another success for Agnetha and Frida. :o) ♥
02:31 March 17, 2010 by JoeSwede
Congratulatoins to ABBA!!! It's fun to see my kid's reaction to Mamma Mia.
02:41 March 17, 2010 by The Reader
...and to add to Chuy's response to Ironman; Wyclef Jean AND an alive and kicking Jimmy performed together at the event.
02:22 March 18, 2010 by Greg in Canada
ABBA is the Sweden I knew as a young dude in the 1970's. The ABBA members are only a few years older than me, so I listened to them in the early days. Technically they are not "rock and roll" but more "70's pop", but they still deserve the Hall of Fame recognition. I'm surprised they weren't inducted earlier.
04:37 March 18, 2010 by befree
Even more congratulations for ABBA. Well deserved. The "Rock Hall" has been about inclusion for years now. ABBA is one of pop music's greatest successes, but Frida and Benny were humble and gracious in accepting. (No surprise there.)

Both ABBA singers were excellent, especially together. Like Isabel (above), for me Agnetha's voice has got something special at times. Miss it.
21:19 March 18, 2010 by Lemon1987
For Godsake..this is just ridiculous ..ABBA got so many things common with rock n roll as Elvis Presley the king of that one with Perry Mason
23:20 March 18, 2010 by dizzymoe33

Jimmy Clift was not rock and roll either and neither are The Stooges, Iggy and The Stooges are an early version of Alternative to Heavy Metal.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is mis-named it should be called the Music Hall of Fame or something like that. :o)
08:06 March 19, 2010 by Lemon1987

but those bands use guitars for making music at least.
06:03 March 22, 2010 by bosiboots
congratulations to ABBA: loved them when i was a child, love them as an adult and so over the moon my kids love them too
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