ABBA inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
ABBA was inducted on March 15, 2010 into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They were the first act from a non-English speaking country to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. The choice of ABBA was controversial one in the press and among some rock fans. The Hall of Fame selection process is notoriously unpredictable, certain sub-genres of rock music are not well represented and obscure acts often get in before more well known artists. It seems to be feeling that ABBA got in finally after more than a decade of eligibility due to the success of the MAMMA Mia franchise.At the time, of their admission they were the largest selling eligible act of the rock era, not to have inducted into the hall of fame.
In any case, the induction was a proud moment for ABBA and ABBA fans, if a little bittersweet. Only two (Benny& Frida) of the four members showed up. Agnetha doesn't fly-so it was no surprise that she was not there. Bjorn's not showing up was a little bit stranger-since he has always been the group's chief spokesperson. It was claimed, that he was detained by a private family event, but it also known that it is now the policy of ABBA's former ABBA members that they will not appear together at public events three at a time, so as to avoid making it look like someone was purposely not showing up to avoid a reunion.
The group was inducted by the Barry and Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees, an appropriate choice. Their introduction was pleasant and lighthearted but not very helpful or informative in explaining why ABBA belonged in the Hall of Fame. Then Frida, and Benny gave their speeches. Frida's speech was all heart, it included references to Agnetha, Bjorn, her grandson, ABBA's fans and most touchingly, a mention of ABBA's late manager Stikkan Andersson. Her speech also included broken English reflecting the fact that she has never totally mastered the English language.
Benny's speech was a well thought out dissertation on the influences behind ABBA's music, which he said included Swedish folk music, French chansons,Italian arias, and John Phillip Sousa. Benny noted the group were also influenced by Elvis, Lieber & Stoller, The Beach Boys, Lennon & McCartney, and Ray Davies. His main conclusion was that ABBA did not have the typical blues underpinning of American based Rock& Roll, but instead was rooted in the melancholia of the North, the common depression of people who live near the Arctic Circle.
After the speeches ABBA's music was represented by a somewhat average rendition of "The Winner Takes It All" as performed by Faith Hill, accompanied by the CBS orchestra, the performance featured Benny playing piano. Frida did not perform.