Thursday 8 May 2014

The Arrival of Abba

So what can we learn from 70s pop? That Lowry painted “matchstalk man”, that Rasputin was “Russia’s greatest love machine” and that at Waterloo “Napoleon did surrender.”

Yes incredibly it was forty years ago that Abba burst onto the music scene at the Eurovision Song Contest with Waterloo. Here’s David Vine introducing us to the “the ABBA group”. 

As we now know the members of Abba didn’t just appear fully-formed for Eurovision but had been performing in various Swedish folk and pop groups since the 1960s. By the time they met Radio 1’s Tom Browne in December 1976 the group had notched up four UK number one hits. This was a rare outing on the network for Tom on a programme other than the Sunday chart show. Typical of interviews with the group at the time there’s an explanation of the band name, stumbling over the Swedish pronunciation and flirting with Agnetha.  

Abba was broadcast on Radio 1 medium wave only on Tuesday 28 December 1976. When I recorded the programme I edited out most of the music. I’ve tidied up the edits and added some links and the opening and closing announcements from another source. The programme was produced by Paul Williams.

Move forward to 1978 and this time on Radio 2 and the station presents Abba ‘A Swedish success story’.  It covers much the same territory as the Radio 1 programme but is more of a cut and paste job, there’s nothing to suggest that presenter Richard Vaughan had talked to the group, perhaps it was producer Derek Mills. This programme was broadcast on Friday 24 March.

If you want to wallow in all things Eurovision this weekend then Radio 2 have their pop-up station starting at 12 noon today.  

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