"Mamma Mia," here we go again! Abba is set to release new music for the first time in 35 years. The ilegendary Swedish pop act announced on its Instagram account Friday that it has recorded two new songs for an upcoming tour, where avatars of its group members will perform live.
"The decision to go ahead with the exciting ABBA avatar tour project had an unexpected consequence," the announcement reads. "We all four felt that, after some 35 years, it could be fun to join forces again and go into the recording studio. So we did. And it was like time had stood still and that we had only been away on a short holiday. An extremely joyful experience!"
The widely successful four-piece, which formed in Stockholm in 1972, has sold an estimated 500 million albums worldwide, earning nine No. 1 hits from 1974 to 1980 in the UK alone. But the group split in late 1982, andBenny Andersson, Agnetha Faltskog, Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Bjorn Ulvaeus have not performed together on stage since 1986.
The group's Instagram statement continued, "It resulted in two new songs, and one of them, 'I Still Have Faith In You,' will be performed by our digital selves in a TV special produced by NBC and the BBC aimed for broadcasting in December."
"We may have come of age, but the song is new. And it feels good," the post concluded. It was signed: "Agnetha, Benny, Bjorn, Anni-Frid – Stockholm, Sweden, 27 April 2018."
In Brussels earlier this week, Ulvaeus, now 72, revealed that an Abba stage reunion of sorts would come in the form of computerized avatars as part of a televised tribute to the legendary group later this year.
"It's a kind of ABBA tribute show, but the centerpiece . . . will be something I call 'Abbatars,'" Ulvaeus told the international news agency Agence France-Presse. "It is digital versions of ABBA from 1979," when the group performed their final tour. (The digital "Abbatars" will embark on their own world tour.)
The group, consisting of two couples – Ulvaeus and Fältskog and Andersson and Lyngstad – had a breakthrough moment when it won the Eurovision song contest in 1974 for the song, "Waterloo." And, for the next decade, Abba dominated the disco-pop scene with iconic hits that included "Dancing Queen," "Mamma Mia" and "Super Trouper."
Abba is one of the best-selling and most commercially successful groups of all time. Even after the group split, its 1992 compilation album sold 30 million copies and spent 833 weeks on the UK album charts.
The jukebox musical "Mamma Mia!" made its debut in 1999, and it continues to run in London's West End. In 2008, the show was adapted into a feature-length film starring Meryl Streep. And, this summer, a sequel "Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again" is set to hit movie theaters in June.
In 2014, Ulvaeus told Billboard, "We took a break in '82, and it was meant to be a break. It's still a break and will remain so. You'll never see us onstage again."
Peter Robinson, editor of Popjustice, told the Guardian that Friday's announcement is "the biggest pop news of the 21st century. Most fans grudgingly admired Abba’s refusal to record new music, but I think we all sometimes daydreamed about the band possibly, maybe, one day having a re-think at the right time, on the right terms and for the right reasons, which seems to be what’s happened here."
He continued, "It’s a pop miracle."