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Abba great hints at reunification gig

Rebecca Martin · 12 Dec 2011, 13:37

Published: 12 Dec 2011 13:37 GMT+01:00

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This weekend, former band member Benny Andersson revealed that he'd be willing to reunite the group to save a beloved - albeit urine soaked - Stockholm landmark.

”If I knew with 100 percent certainty that it would help, I would call the others and ask if we could do a gig. I'd try at least,” said a half-serious Benny to daily Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) on Saturday.

The comments come in reference to Andersson's concern about the future of Slussen, (literally translated as the Locks), a central area of Stockholm named after the locks between Lake Mälaren and the Baltic Sea that dates from 1935.

The area has had a lot of attention in recent years. Plans for a major redevelopment of the area made city leaders deem many of the original design features redundant or unserviceable due to physical deterioration.

In 2009, the city of Stockholm announced a new design featuring two linked pedestrian bridges and one for automobile traffic.

The new design would remove many of the existing roads and create several new blocks of buildings close to the waterfront.

However, from the very introduction of the new plans there has been massive resistance to the proposal, the winner of a 2009 competition to design a plan for the area.

The former Abba star got involved when the head of the Bevara Slussen organization (Save Slussen), Karin Schmidt, contacted him asking for help.

And after hearing experts at the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts explain exactly what the proposal entails, he was upset and decided to do something.

Andersson even penned an open letter to Stockholm mayor Sten Nordin, calling the proposal “stupid and anti-human”.

”I have had a lot of positive response even if someone thought I ought to stick to the accordion,” he told SvD.

In order to save the area from what Andersson believes to be a mistake, he would even reunite Abba if he thought it could be of help.

”Slussen is that important. But there is not much time, we'd need at least one day's rehearsing,” Benny Andersson told SvD on Saturday.

On Monday, the day of the fateful decision, Andersson was one of many Swedish celebrities on hand at City Hall to entreat deputy mayor for culture, Madeleine Sjöstedt, to rethink the proposal.

Story continues below…

However, Sjöstedt wasn't to be swayed by Andersson and the others. She said she will vote yes when the decision is taken later in the day.

“I think it will be good," said Sjöstedt, who added that it wouldn't be fair on all the people that have been working on the proposal for all these years to scrap it at the last minute.

But according to Andersson, many Stockholmers are unaware of exactly what the new proposal entails.

“Stockholmers should have their say in a referendum,” Andersson said to Dagens Nyheter (DN) on Monday.

Rebecca Martin (rebecca.martin@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:50 December 12, 2011 by philster61
Wow, now if only the rest of the others agree too....Although it should be for a grander reason than saving SLssen.How about the fact that millions of people would love to see them reunited before its too late.
14:54 December 12, 2011 by KungsholmenGuy
The fact that a lot of people have been working on it for years does not in the least guarantee that it has sufficient artistic, sociological, or architectural merit to justify the inconvenience that will be caused to everyone from the next 9 years of construction work.

In this day and age there should be virtual technology facility that would allow people to walk or drive around the new proposed Slussen, in a virtual way, to be able to judge how much they like it (or not).
15:50 December 12, 2011 by roaringchicken92
I wonder if Benny would get any support from his band mates; I think Slussen is more important and more nostalgic to him since he grew up in the area. But the upgrade is long overdue and will be worth the wait and inconvenience. Besides, they would have to write a new song, since nothing in their repertoire would be appropriate for a benefit concert.

You are the Slussen Queen, young and Swede, only seven-ty?
15:55 December 12, 2011 by vancer
Slussen is the ugliest part of Stockholm, its the one blight on an otherwise beautfiful city.

Needs to be changed and the sooner the better.
17:47 December 12, 2011 by Steggles
I'm with Benny.....he knows what he's talking about.

And Stockholmers should also be able to have their say.
17:51 December 12, 2011 by Greekfan
Yes, it needs changing, it is a bit of a horror now. But it needs to be done in a way that is on a human scale. Open and airy with good views of the water and boats. Not surrounded and dwarfed by enormous buildings. I agree with Kungsholmenguy, just because a lot of effort has gone in to the scheme is no reason to carry on with some monstrosity.

As for an Abba reunion that would be good. But we all have to realise it won't be the old Abba: they, like the rest of us, are a lot older than they were. I know the Rolling Stones are still going but they never stopped so their fans have grown old with them. So we know what to expect.
17:54 December 12, 2011 by Soft Boiled
I wonder if anyone can hear his SOS ;) The thing is Slussen is so important part of Stkhlm and it does need a make-over but ive seen the designs.. and they look dire.

So he is right but I dont expect anyone to take any notice of him because there are people who would rather make a big mistalke than let a few yrs work go down the drain.
19:59 December 12, 2011 by J Jack
No NO NO! Please? They were just another dance band that were lucky enough to get signed in the disco boom. Everything was promoted on the bass lines which they didn't even compose. Give us a break!
20:38 December 12, 2011 by swedekk
"a few yrs work"; they started to discuss this around 1990 - over twenty years!!

There is a time when a decision is better than none. Anything is better than the current solution.
20:46 December 12, 2011 by zircon
Chess/ One night in Bangkok (Murray Head), devilish good.
21:11 December 12, 2011 by dizzymoe33
@J Jack

ABBA was making records long before the disco boom and after the disco boom was done!!
22:44 December 12, 2011 by tnmccoy
Of course the left is going to want to rebuild the area completely different from before. That's the left's way. Change. Never mind history and tradition. Make it a monument of cold stone in their own images as is the hearts of the Socialists/Liberals. Sweden is a relatively small Country by most standards, and Socialism is the norm there. And that's why it's always going to be a small Country. Because of the Socialism. As Forrest Gump's mama used to say: "stupid is as stupid does.'
22:58 December 12, 2011 by Mo
Have not seen a sensible summary listing out what the challenges are for this site but they are many - the current proposal looks monstrous to me - an 8 lane motorway to Gamla Stan, can't see that making things any better, they´re putting the citybanan in a tunnel might be an idea for the roads too
23:33 December 12, 2011 by J Jack
Paddle faster! I hear Swedish Schlager Disco music
23:42 December 12, 2011 by Dr. Dillner
Hasn't it not been all along that it was the women of the old group that refused to reunite?
09:53 December 13, 2011 by Stonebridge
Abba won't reform. Benny was not being serious.

@J Jack

Were you around at the time?

People bought their singles after hearing them on small radios where you couldn't even hear the bass line. People bought singles in those days because they actually liked to sing along to the tunes. Something you cant do today.
13:20 December 13, 2011 by gabeltoon
Has there been a public discussion on the proposed plans and a viewing of a model of the changes so that members of the public can make an informed decision ?? As i don't live there i would have thought that would be the best way.
22:23 December 13, 2011 by Michael Whitfield
The talk of reunification of ABBA is a great idea. Need to do it soon before the group are all in walkers or wheel chairs. Even for a one time gig. Heja ABBA!
22:56 December 13, 2011 by swedekk
@gabeltoon, yes, there have been proposed plans and viewing models available for the public at least two times, that have been available for a couple of months each. Over 20000 people have visited the exhibition and they have changed the original plans according to people's opinions. (too bad that you can't make 100% happy)

They have removed 6 planned houses (to gain better view between the lake Mälaren and the sea) and reduced the proposed mall by 50%, added escalators and elevators.

I think this is good enough, since the current structure literally is falling apart and is sinking, due to bad concrete and bad foundation. Other features: smell of pee, 2nd most feared place in Södermalm, complicated crossings for cars, people, cyclists, buses, etc.

Slussen is currently a place that you want to leave as fast as possible.


The 8 lane "motorway" is 150m long, and there are totally 12 lanes today. There will be more space for pedestrians and cyclists with the new solution and at least 2 of the lanes will be reserved for buses, and it's possible that 2 of the lanes will be reserved for trams in the future.


Regarding left and socialism; there are the leftists that want to keep the current solution (conservative, eh? :)
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