ABBA's Billion-Dollar Rejection

Chart-topping '70s popsters turn down a huge reunion offer

By Julie Keller Feb 03, 2000 1:35 AMTags
"Mamma Mia" is right.

In perhaps the largest rejection in history, '70s Swedish pop group ABBA has turned down a $1 billion offer to reunite after 17 years.

"It's a hell of a lot of money to say no to, but we decided it wasn't for us," Benny Andersson, ex-leader of the four-member group, told Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet today.

The staggering offer came from an American-British consortium that reportedly wanted the group to reunite for 100 concerts and cash in on a recent revival of several of their hits. (Currently, the teen band A-Teens has covered "Mamma Mia" and "Gimme Gimme," and a musical based on several songs is a hit in London's West End.)

Anderson and bandmate Bjorn Ulvaeus both say the recent reincarnation of their music has been successful because the group never reunited.

"We have never made a comeback," Ulvaeus told the paper. "Almost everyone else has. I think there's a message in that."

The group--Andersson, Ulvaeus, Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Agnetha Faltskog--was founded in 1966 by Andersson. They shot to fame after winning a Eurovision song contest in 1974, endured years of internal conflict and officially disbanded in 1982 following the release of their final album, The Visitors.

Thanks to the smash success of hits like "Dancing Queen," "Knowing Me, Knowing You" and "Money Money Money," ABBA was he most commercially successful pop group of the 1970s. Regardless, $1 billion is a lot of freaking money.

Even the Beatles, the biggest band ever, was only offered a paltry $30 million in the mid '70s to reunite (though they never did).

And successful as they inevitably are, the fleeting reunion tours of Rock and Roll Hall of Famers never break the billion-dollar mark.

The Eagles' 1995 Hell Freezes Over reunion tour raked in relatively measly $61 million, and the just-launched Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young reunion--the group's first tour as a quartet since 1974--would have to sell lots of tickets (from $39 to $200 a pop) to be in ABBA's league .