ABBA say they were the “enemies” of progressive music in Sweden in the 1970s

"It didn’t mean shit to me, even if they hated us," Björn Ulvaeus reflects

ABBA have discussed how they were treated as the “enemies” of progressive music in their home country of Sweden during their 1970s heyday.

The band, who announced their reunion this summer for a “revolutionary” residence of live shows in London and a new album called ‘Voyage’ (out November 5), gained worldwide success across the globe, but left many at home feeling less than satisfied.

“You know, in Sweden, there was this progressive movement in music, and we were the enemies,” Björn Ulvaeus reflected to The Guardian in a new interview about the band’s career.


“Personally I didn’t pay attention to all that – it didn’t mean shit to me, even if they hated us,” he added. “Because we got so much response from the whole world. Right from the start, we had contemporary colleagues, musicians, who liked what we were doing.”

ABBA in the studio
ABBA in the studio. Credit: Ludvig Andersson

Last week (October 22), ABBA shared another preview of ‘Voyage’ in the shape of the “ridiculously happy” ‘Just A Notion’.

The song – which follows on from comeback singles ‘I Still Have Faith in You’ and ‘Don’t Shut Me Down’ – was initially recorded in September 1978 but didn’t make the final cut of the Swedish hitmakers’ sixth studio album ‘Voulez-Vous’ the following year.

The ABBA Voyage tour will see a “digital” version of ABBA (not holograms) perform alongside a 10-piece live band. The run of shows will take place at the purpose-built, 3,000-capacity ABBA Arena at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, starting May 27, 2022.


Speaking to NME last month, the producers of the ‘ABBA Voyage’ live shows told fans to expect a “magical space circus,” adding: “We don’t want to give all the surprises away because we want everyone to come and enjoy it, but there will be lots of hidden surprises, hopefully a bit of stage banter and 100 minutes of pure ABBA euphoria to be part of in this arena that someone had the brilliant idea of them building in the middle of a pandemic and Brexit.”