Governments come and go, sterling rises and falls and the human heart grows colder and more cynical. Thank goodness then for ABBA.
Since the first bouncing strains of Waterloo won Eurovision in 1974, through the heartrending emotional mini operas of The Winner Takes it All and Knowing Me, Knowing You through to the mesmerising, hypnotic refrain of The Day Before You Came, the Swedish quartet have been a constant presence in our lives — and always for the good. So what if Thank You For The Music is a little cheesy and Does Your Mother Know? is, er, rather disturbing, it would be a strange life that didn’t have a little space for Bjorn, Benny, Anni-Frid and Agnetha. No wonder then the Ulster Hall in Belfast was packed on Saturday night when one of Europe’s top ABBA tribute bands played.
As soon as the opening bars of Voulez Vous rang out — ‘People everywhere, a sense of expectation in the air” — people took to the aisles and boogied like, well, it was 1977 all over again. The sheer number of ABBA tribute bands shows the strength of public demand for their music and the nostalgia that goes with it. The band has famously turned down offers of up to $1bn (£0.66bn) to reform, remaining adamant that they want fans to remember them in their heyday. However, in an interview with the Times last week Bjorn and Benny dropped a tantalising hint the band may yet reform.