ABBA share what they learned from The Beatles: “They were always with their style in a way”

Bjorn Ulvaeus and Anni-Frid Lyngstad of ABBA (Gus Stewart via Redferns) + Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison of The Beatles (Ivan Keeman via Redferns)

ABBA have cited The Beatles as one of their all-time biggest inspirations, with Benny Andersson saying in a new interview that the band learned a “key lesson” from their fellow pop icons.

Speaking with Record Collector (in quotes published by American Songwriter), Andersson noted that ABBA were particularly inspired by The Beatles’ diverse musical palette, which in turn led the Swedish outfit to diversity their own sound.

“That’s something we learned from The Beatles,” he said. “They were always with their style in a way, much more than we were, but what they did was, you heard a song with them, then the next single was nothing close to the previous one, or the third, or the fourth, or the fifth. So, you have ‘Fernando,’ you want a song like ‘Dancing Queen’ or ‘My Mama Said,’ or whatever on that album, to give it some listening value.”

Andersson explained that such an ethos could be applied to ABBA’s artistry through their use of multiple lead singers. He continued: “Another great thing, I have to say, that goes for many of the bands that I like, is that you have more than one singer; it helps you. You have John [Lennon] and Paul [McCartney], or you have Fleetwood Mac, you have the Eagles: it’s great to have two singers because that makes a difference between the tracks as well.”

ABBA are currently in the midst of their virtual ABBA Voyage concert series, which is being held at the purpose-built ABBA Arena in London. Earlier this month, the show’s producer, Svana Gisla, revealed that ABBA chose London for the series to show their support for the UK post-Brexit. Gigs are currently booked to sprawl into November of 2023 – find tickets here.

In a five-star review of ABBA VoyageNME’s Andrew Trendell praised the concept, writing: “Ageing rockers and poppers are bound to imitate the idea, but it’ll be a struggle to come close to the experience of ABBA Voyage. We for one welcome our new ABBAtar overlords, if only for giving these songs back to us in a totally new and joyful way.”

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