“We’re a pop band from the
“There’s no such thing as a (continental European) band in the Rock
Hall, so it is flattering. It feels good, but it’s very unexpected.”
After all, ABBA — Andersson,
Queen” and “Knowing Me, Knowing You” and disco anthems such as “Lay All
Your Love on Me,” as well as the
gorgeously runs the gamut of classical-inspired instrumentals, American
Songbook-styled ballads and even a tinge of country. Big rock guitars
and heavy drumbeats? Not so much.
“Every year, there’s someone that attracts attention from people who aren’t happy about the choice,” says
the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s president and chief
executive. “One of the problems this year is you have the extremes of
ABBA getting inducted and KISS doesn’t. I’ve answered 5,000 to 10,000
e-mails and letters. This issue is a high point this year.”
Of course, what could be more rock ‘n’ roll than a little bit of controversy?
What gets lost in all the Internet hubbub about this
year’s incredibly diverse induction class — which includes punk
pioneers the Stooges, reggae ambassador
British Invasion stars the Hollies and British art rockers Genesis — is
that ABBA is exactly the kind of artist the Rock Hall needs.
“ABBA, for some people, skews the class in a
direction that’s really weird, but what it does is get into the
question of ‘What is rock and roll?”” Stewart says. “Everybody defines
it personally, and nobody’s wrong. But few people really look at it
with the same fully encompassing view that we do. ABBA doesn’t come out
of the Gershwin songbook, they come out of the Elvis Presley songbook,
the Little Richard songbook. But it’s translated through people who
don’t speak English as a first language, so it’s no surprise that it
has a little different feel. It’s all in there, it’s just a little
programming and talent for Fuse, which will broadcast this year’s
induction live Monday night, it shouldn’t even be a question. “I don’t
know why they wouldn’t be inducted,” Weier says. “These are artists
that have a significant body of work. … Rock is such a thin term
these days. We should be looking at music in general — great music.”
It’s an approach that Weier says fits with Fuse, as
well as the Rock Hall. Though none of the year’s inductees, aside from
maybe Genesis, would ever be considered a Fuse artist, Weier says
celebrating their accomplishments on Fuse is a good fit.
“We bring music to people in a broad fashion,” he
says. “They may not be known to our audience, but we are there to make
the connections. We bring the best of the old and new together.”
Actually, it’s those connections that should cement
ABBA’s place in the Rock Hall. Obviously, the band has a massive
following. It has sold more than 375 million albums worldwide, ranking
ABBA among the world’s biggest sellers, behind only the Beatles, Elvis
“We tried a little in the beginning (to be a rock
band) because we sort of enjoyed that side of music,” Andersson says.
“But it never worked really because we were just a genuine pop band.”
Sometimes, the rock influences shone through, such
as the bit of rock guitar in “Does Your Mother Know.” But ABBA’s
influence is more evident in today’s rock and pop stars. “ABBA
influenced Erasure, Pet Shop Boys and Culture Club,” Weier points out.
“And they influenced Lady Gaga and
Perhaps more important to today’s music is the way ABBA influenced other Swedes to enter pop music. These days,
“We may have inspired them by showing that it is possible to come from
and be known throughout the world,” Andersson says. “There’s a lot of
good recording producers here, making lots of good recordings.”
That includes Andersson, who continues to write in
his studio every day, working on new music for the Benny Andersson
Band, as well as bringing the musical “Kristina,” which was performed
at Carnegie Hall last year, to Royal Albert Hall in
Andersson is also looking forward to attending his
first Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, along with Lyngstad, and
meeting his fellow inductees, especially songwriting team
“I very rarely get to speak to other songwriters,” says Andersson, who will be inducted with ABBA by
And for the Rock Hall, it’s another chance to celebrate the unpredictable.
ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME 2010 CLASS
The 2010 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction class
may be the most diverse in the hall’s 24 years, stretching from pop to
punk with experimental art rock in between.
Here’s a look:
MEMBERS: Benny Andersson,
KNOWN FOR: Pretty, pristine pop that succeeded around the world, making them
DEBUT: “Ring Ring” (1973)
BIGGEST HIT: “Dancing Queen” (No. 1, 1977)
WORKING ON: Though they have reportedly been offered
to reunite, the members of ABBA work separately. Andersson released a
solo album, “Story of a Heart,” earlier this month, including
collaborations with Ulvaeus, whom he also works with for the staging of
“Mamma Mia!” Faltskog released a solo album in 2004. Lyngstad is
focusing on charity work.
HOMETOWN: St. Catherine,
KNOWN FOR: Turning reggae into a more rebellious,
serious art form and bringing it to a worldwide audience in the movie
“The Harder They Come.”
BIGGEST HIT: “I Can See Clearly Now” (No. 18, 1993)
WORKING ON: Finishing a new album — “Existence” — and readying a world tour
KNOWN FOR: Two distinct periods — the prog-rock era
with Gabriel and the poppier era led by Collins — where the band
dominated the British rock scene.
DEBUT: “From Genesis to Revelation” (1969)
BIGGEST HIT: “Invisible Touch” (No. 1, 1986)
WORKING ON: Though Genesis says its 2007 tour was its last, its members all have active solo careers.
KNOWN FOR: Bringing three-part harmonies and a mix of American R&B and folk rock to the British Invasion era
DEBUT: “Stay With the Hollies” (1964)
BIGGEST HIT: “Long Cool Woman (in a Black Dress)” (No. 2, 1972)
WORKING ON: The current version of the Hollies,
including Hicks and Elliott, has a new album “Then, Now, Always” and a
European tour. Nash will tour with Crosby, Stills and Nash this summer.
KNOWN FOR: Simple, grinding rock that formed the base for punk, grunge and indie rock.
DEBUT: “The Stooges” (1969)
BIGGEST HIT: No chart singles, but best known for “I Wanna Be Your Dog”
WORKING ON: A summer European tour
—ALSO SET FOR INDUCTION THIS YEAR Record label founder and manager
“The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2010 Inductions,”
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