Mamma Mia it’s ABBA! : Bandstand’s special is world of pop coup A-B-B-A

The Daily Telegraph 19 March 1976

It’s the biggest little name in the world of pop music.

And the Swedish two girls - two guys group has recorded an hour long television show in Sydney which will rocket them to even greater heights of international popularity.

The show goes out on channel 9’s Bandstand tomorrow and will be shown around the world.

It will ensure that ABBA join the pop music immortals, putting them alongside The Beatles and The Rolling Stones when show business historians come to write about the 1970s.

Channel 9 paid $100,000 to get ABBA to Sydney for a week and record this special show. The station outbid promoters in America, Britain and Germany for ABBA.

“It will be worth every cent”, says channel 9 program manager Lynton Taylor.

“We will now bring other top groups to Sydney to make similar shows.”

ABBA brought $30,000 worth of clothes with them for the show – and later gave most away to fans.

ABBA were first heard of outside Sweden when they won the Eurovision Song Contest three years ago.

They get their group title from the first letters of their names – the girls, dark-haired Anni-Frid Lyngstad and blonde Agnetha Fältskog and the guys Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus.

The girls are two of the sexiest looking ladies in show-business.

Usually they appear in long dresses or trouser suits… but for the Sydney spectacular they designed a knock-out outfit they wear while singing their first big hit Waterloo.

In mid song they rip off the bottom of their long gowns to reveal two of the shapeliest pairs of legs in the business.

This ABBA special was not made without drama.

Midway through the filming, Brian Kirby the drummer with their three-man Australian backing group, the Executives, collapsed with food poisoning.

ABBA refused to continue until Kirby recovered.

Other days the show was held up by hordes of kids and grown-ups who invaded the studio to see their idols in action.

But the trespassers gave an urgent atmosphere to the show which lifted ABBA’s performance to new heights.

When the time came for ABBA to leave Sydney they flew away weeping.

“They made so many friends,” say the show’s producer-director Tony Culliton.

“They are the warmest people I’ve ever worked with.”

            And the good news for ABBA fans: “They’ll be back for sure.”

© 1976 The Daily Telegraph. Thanks to Samuel Inglles