ABBA have released Just A Notion – the third track from their upcoming November 5 comeback album, Voyage.
The iconic Swedish pop group – comprising Agnetha Faltskog, 71, Bjorn Ulvaeus, 76, Benny Andersson, 74, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, 75 – have followed up their September dual release of I Still Have Faith In You and Don’t Shut Me Down, their first new music in almost 40 years with the new track.
The track was originally recorded in September 1978 but didn’t make the final cut of their 1979 album Voulez-Vous, with Bjorn admitting it’s still a ‘mystery’ as to why the upbeat tune wasn’t included in the final listing.
The songwriter explained: ‘Wikipedia says this track was recorded in September 1978, which sounds about right. That puts it in between ABBA the Album and Voulez-Vous, and it would have been included in the latter had we not decided against it. Why did we decide against it? In hindsight, I don’t have a clue…
‘It’s a good song with great vocals. I know that we played it to a publisher in France and a couple of other people we trusted and as far as I can remember they liked it very much. So it’s a mystery and will remain a mystery.’
The remastered track features original vocals the four members laid down in 1978, with new drums and guitars.
The Waterloo hitmaker continued: ‘Now Benny has recorded a new backing track to which we’ve added drums and guitars, but all vocals are from the original 1978 tracks.
‘In a way, it demonstrates what we plan to do with ABBA Voyage in 2022. There, we will have a live band playing, but all vocals will be from the old recordings. He added: ‘Just a Notion is a ridiculously happy song and hopefully it will cheer you up in these dark times!’
The Dancing Queen stars have also announced further tickets will be made available for their upcoming avatar tour.
The additional tickets for ABBA Voyage, which will take bookings to December 4 2022, will be on sale from 10am on November 3, two days before the album is released on November 5.
Tickets will be made from abbavoyage.com, with a pre-sale for Amazon UK customers that pre-order a physical format of the new ABBA album available from 10am Monday November 1 and a priority booking window for ABBA Voyage database subscribers from 10am November 2.
ABBA will be performing digitally as Abbatars with a live 10-piece band next year as part of the ABBA Voyage run, and Bjorn recently insisted this type of concert means the run could go on forever.
He said: ‘Abbatars never tire. They can do 10 shows a day. No private jets. No riders. No worries about voices.’
The band announced their first new songs for 40 YEARS in the form of a studio album and will play a ‘greatest hits’ tour as digital characters last month.
Björn and Benny were seen arriving in London ahead of making the ‘historic’ announcement, before appearing during a live interview.
ABBA will release their new album November 5, after the legendary Swedish pop group last put out an album in 1981 when they released The Visitors.
The hitmakers have teamed up with an 850-strong team from Industrial Light & Magic -founded by George Lucas – to create digital versions of themselves for the concert, using months of motion-capture and performance techniques.
ABBA’s concert experience will open on May 27 2022 at the ABBA Arena, which is a state-of-the-art 3,000 capacity arena located at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.
Discussing their plan for the tour, Bjorn said: We’re here in London to announce our new music, it will take place just behind us in the newly built arena.
Benny: ‘I haven’t been out there for 40 years! Explaining how the idea came to play, he said: ‘First it was two songs, then we said a few others. Then I said, well why don’t we just do a whole album.’
‘The first song I Still Have Faith In You, I just knew it had to be about us. It’s about ‘realising that it’s inconcievable to be where we are, no imagination could dream it up.
‘To release a new album after 40 years and still be the best of friends and enjoying each other’s company, total loyalty, who has experienced that? Nobody.’
The concert will feature ABBA’s two new tracks, ‘I Still Have Faith In You’ and ‘Don’t Shut Me Down’, as well as songs from their upcoming album.
The foursome previously said they would never reform despite their huge worldwide popularity, and reaching more than 400 million album sales over 50 years.
Benny and Bjorn later sat down with presenter Zoe Ball to discuss their new album and tour.
‘It was suggested to us that we could go tour as digital characters, and we found out that it was possible – it’s an old technology. But the version was there to have our digital selves.
Benny added: ‘We wanted to do it before we were dead! The only problem is we had to shave our beards – I’ve had a beard for 50 years – to get everything right.’
Bjorn replied: ‘We did motion capture in a studio in Stockholm, we got there each day for five weeks. We dressed in leotards and were covered in dots, all over us.’
‘We got so used to going each day, it felt like going to work. Even though we were wearing leotards.’
Benny revealed he was going to check out the new venue wearing his hard hat on Friday, where the band will play their London shows.
Explaining why the English capital was their first choice, Benny explained that its the ‘place to be’, and everyone travels there for shows and concerts.
The tour will be one and half hours long and they will play 22 songs.
Among their new tracks, the band revealed that one of the songs will be a Christmas tune – which will be released later this year around the festive period.
The band, who are as famous for their sparkly outfits as much as their catchy tunes, enjoyed phenomenal success with a string of chart hits in the 1970s and early 1980s after winning Eurovision in 1974 with song Waterloo.
The group split in 1982 and have steadfastly resisted all offers to work together as the original line-up again.
The singers of hits such as Dancing Queen, The Winner Takes It All and Take a Chance on Me, made the announcement at 5.45 pm UK time.
While details were kept underwraps, the group were expected to announce the release of their first new songs since the 1980s and the launch of a new theatrical show in which they will perform as ‘Abbatars’.
Last week, the band announced on Twitter: ‘Thank you for waiting, the journey is about to begin.’
A website promises an ‘historic livestream’ and Universal Music Group was to hold an event at the ArcelorMittal Orbit observation tower in east London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
The Sun reported last week that the Dancing Queen hitmakers are gearing up to launch a show called Abba Voyage which will see holograms of their younger selves beamed on stage to perform their songs.
A source said: ‘ABBA are finally making their comeback and plan to release their first new music in 39 years.’
The Abba Voyage will follow the group’s comeback and the creation of a purpose-built theatre in East London for their hologram show, reportedly set to open next month.
The insider added: ‘Bjorn, Benny, Agnetha and Anni-Frid will all be there on the opening night. And they will finally unveil their Abba-tars, which are like holograms of themselves.
‘The show will feature the Abba-tars performing and speaking to the audience. It will be like taking a step back in time for those watching.’
Plans for the comeback have been in place since 2019 but were delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
It comes after reports surfaced last month that the group were set to hold a press conference in Stockholm, leading to a flurry of speculation that a huge announcement could be on the cards.
The Swedish quartet announced in 2018 they were planning to record new tracks for the first time in 35 years, and it was confirmed last year that they have more songs than originally planned.
Despite the news, ABBA have had to delay the releases, which includes I Still Have Faith In You and Don’t Shut Me Down, as well as their ABBAtar hologram tour.
Band member Bjorn Ulvaeus – who is joined by Benny Andersson, Agnetha Faltskog and Frida Lyndstad in the chart-topping group – told journalist Geoff Lloyd as such.
Speaking on an episode of his podcast Reasons To Be Cheerful, the radio presenter explained: ‘I got to spend an hour with Bjorn Ulveaus from ABBA via Zoom. They’ve recorded five new songs.
‘They should have been out at the end of last year. They’re going to get these holograms out on tour.
‘Because of technical difficulties and the pandemic, it’s delayed things. But he promised me that the new ABBA music will be out in 2021.’
In a statement announcing the new songs, ABBA said at the time: ‘The decision to go ahead with the exciting ABBA avatar tour project had an unexpected consequence.
‘We all four felt that, after some 35 years, it could be fun to join forces again and go into the recording studio.’
Bjorn later explained the plans had been delayed until at least 2020 due to the complex technical nature of the show they are creating.
The Waterloo group went their separate ways in 1982 at the height of their career, and during their final years Bjorn divorced bandmate Agnetha whilst Benny and Frida split up, too.
They performed together for the first time in decades in 2016 at a private event, which marked the 50th anniversary of the first meeting between songwriters Bjorn and Benny.
The album will be released on November 5