DECEMBER 5, 2019
MY CONTRIBUTIONS TO ABBA: SUPER TROUPERS - THE EXHIBITION AT THE O2 IN LONDON
It was a great pleasure to have contributed to ABBA: SUPER TROUPERS - THE EXHIBITION. Many quotes from my two ABBA books are displayed on beautiful panels throughout the exhibition (see two examples pictured above: quotes from Maggie MacNeal and ABBA choreographer Graham Tainton). I also wrote new texts for the Legacy Room and for the label that tells the story of my discovery of the original Eurovision Song Contest drumkit, used by ABBA drummer Ola Brunkert in Brighton and shown here for the very first time in public since 1974. On the first photo from the opening night I am joined by two fantastic people from the team: author Syd Moore and producer Hélène Read. Also many thanks to Zoë, Paul, Rory, Jude and all the others for the fantastic collaboration.
NOVEMBER 24, 2018
FAMOUS ABBA FAN KIM WILDE RECEIVES HER COPY OF 'WE ALL LOVE ABBA' IN ANTWERP
Last year, Kim Wilde, who shot to fame with Kids In America in the early '80s, released a very successful concept album called 'Here Come The Aliens', and also the corresponding tour was a huge sell-out all over Europe. Kim is one of the famous ABBA fans that I interviewed more recently. Her heartfelt congratulations when she received 'We All Love ABBA' fill me with pride.
Last week, the new movie 'Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again was launched in most territories, with the world premiere taking place in London on July 16th. In connection with the movie I had meetings and interviews for several media outlets, notably for Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, Dutch Radio NPO5 and Belgian PRIMO Magazine. On the photos: (1) London press conference with Amanda Seyfried, Cher and Judy Craymer, (2) Andy Garcia (who plays Fernando in the movie) and (3) Alexa Davies (Young Rosie) and Jessica Keenan-Wynn (Young Tanya)
A very warm meeting (in cold weather!) with Conchita Wurst, winner of the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest, took place at the London Palladium earlier this year. Conchita was very pleased to receive her copy of 'We All Love ABBA', for which I had interviewed her. When I told Conchita, who would perform with the BBC Concert Orchestra that same evening, that I was looking forward to the concert she said, "It's going to be fabulous!" And fabulous it was. Besides performing her own songs, she captured the audience's attention with songs from Shirley Bassey, Judy Garland and even Queen and Prince.
I'm very proud that superstar Andy Bell from Erasure agreed to be interviewed for my book 'We all love ABBA', and I'm also more than happy that the appreciation seems to be mutual. "What a lovely idea. Thanx for including me", Andy said about the book. Erasure had a big part in the ABBA revival back in 1992, when they dominated the charts with their ABBA-esque EP. "It was very smart of ABBA to keep quiet after their split-up", Andy remarked when I met him backstage in London. Synthpop duo Erasure are still a major act and are currently touring to promote their terrific 'World Be Gone' album.
Since the late Sixties, George Baker has been the leading force behind the Dutch hit group George Baker Selection and is responsible for numerous hits and two irrefutable world classics, Little Green Bag and Paloma Blanca, with the latter selling more than seven million copies, making it one of the most successful Dutch singles ever. I interviewed George in the summer of 2017, You can now read the interview in the Official International ABBA Fan Club Magazine, that also provided a link to the extended version of the interview.
The latest issue of the Official International ABBA Fan Club Magazine features my exclusive interview with Frida, done right after a special celebration (on August 19th) of her career in Torshälla, the town of her youth and childhood.
I also interviewed her former band partner and pianist Gunnar Sandevärn.
And together with Helga, president of the fan club, I met Benny Andersson when his new solo album 'Piano' was presented to the international press in Stockholm on September 11th. Also a special report on this event in the ABBA magazine!
Photos (c) Stany Van Wymeersch/ABBA Fan Club
On ABBA day 2017 one of the most pleasant surprises surely came from the delightful on stage presentation of ABBA songs in bossa nova style by British singer Susie Webb. An accomplished singer, Susie has worked with some of the world's greatest rock/pop artists: Queen, The Who, Rod Stewart, The Faces and Lionel Ritchie. With her album 'Bossa Loves ABBA' Susie puts a cool and chilled spin on ABBA’s greatest hits. "I had to make a decision as to which music I was going to create into the bossa nova style and the ABBA songs seemed to work so well. They were different enough to make them work," Susie says; You can read the full interview I did with Susie in the latest issue of the Official International ABBA Fan Club Magazine;
One of the central guests of ABBAday 2017 was Hans Löfvenberg, a charming Swede with a warm heart, who was part of ABBA’s entourage during their heyday as an assistant tour manager and sound technician. For the benefit of all fans, Hans dug deep into his memory to entertain us with his first-hand ABBA related stories.
In the latest (June) issue of the Official International ABBA Fan Club Magazine there is a transcript of my interview with Hans, with some added anecdotes that he told me.
Twenty years after her album ‘The Winner Takes It All’, Hazell Dean, best known for hits such as ‘Searchin' (I Gotta Find a Man)’, ‘Whatever I Do (Wherever I Go)’ and ‘Who's Leaving Who’ and her collaboration with Stock/Aitken/Waterman, decided to “re-visit” her very personal and much appreciated tackling of the ABBA catalogue. When I interviewed Hazell for my book ‘We All Love ABBA’ about her passion for the band and her original cover album, ‘RE:VISITED’ was still in the works. My brand new interview with Hazell is now published in the latest issue of the Official International ABBA Fan Club Magazine. You can also read it here
On April 16, 2017 Dutch singer Maggie MacNeal received my books after a terrific concert in my hometown Ghent. In the book 'We All Love ABBA' Maggie talks candidly about the ABBA members in the chapter 'Waterloo Memories'. In 1974 Maggie came third at the Eurovision Song Contest as half of the duo Mouth & MacNeal with the song 'I See A Star'. Besides achieving international success in the '70s, even reaching the US Top10 with 'How Do You Do', Maggie is also responsible for one of the most beautiful songs in the Dutch language, 'Terug Naar De Kust' (Back To The Seaside).
One year ago my second book was launched at the Harbour Club in Amsterdam. Several 'We All Love ABBA' interviewees, press, fans and friends attended the event. The first copy of the book was presented to the legendary Dutch girl group LUV'. In the gallery below you get an impression of that lovely sunny afternoon. On the group photo above: Matt Pop (producer/remixer) Jose Hoebee (Luv') Embracing Franki (Belgian pop crooner), Michiel Gunning (pop journalist), Renée Gunning (Harbour Club), Marga Scheide (Luv') and Ria Thielsch (Luv'), Maarten Vande Wiele (graphic novelist), Aad Spanjaard (rock photographer) and myself. All photos by Bart Desomer
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