ABBAWorld, How Can We Resist You?

ABBAWorld puppets i i

Bjorn Ulvaeus (right) and Anni-Frid 'Frida' Synni Lyngstad, former members of the Swedish pop group ABBA, stand by caricature puppets used in a music video, at the ABBAWorld exhibition in Earls Court London on Jan 26. Joel Ryan/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Joel Ryan/AP
ABBAWorld puppets

Bjorn Ulvaeus (right) and Anni-Frid 'Frida' Synni Lyngstad, former members of the Swedish pop group ABBA, stand by caricature puppets used in a music video, at the ABBAWorld exhibition in Earls Court London on Jan 26.

Joel Ryan/AP

If there is one 1970s band that has managed to kick off its platform boots and transcend the era in which it was born, that band is ABBA.

The Swedish supergroup has sold some 400 million records worldwide. The movie and stage play Mamma Mia! have kept the ABBA flame alive for a new generation. And now there's a new exhibit, almost a theme park, focused on their lives and their music.

It's called ABBAWorld, and it officially opened last week in London.

Two of the band's members, Bjorn Ulvaeus, the one who wasn't bearded but now is, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, the dark one who's now blond, turned up to officially open ABBAWorld. "It's very true to what we were, you know, so it's quite moving," Ulvaeus said.

The exhibit is a smorgasbord of Swedishness. There are videos of the early days of the group, recordings of Swedish singing and lots of high-tech interactive elements.

Organizers say the exhibit will very likely come to New York next year and end up on permanent display in Stockholm.

On the day of the official opening, a group of middle-aged Swedish women wandered through the exhibit. "We were touched by what they have achieved," said Pia Lindqvist, one of the women. "For themselves but also for Sweden."

Visitors navigating between the gay anthems and the long-forgotten B-sides have a chance to relive the '70s, or — for many fans — experience them for the first time.

The Beechey family, visiting from nearby Essex, represents the cross-generational appeal of the group. Nine-year-old Hannah enjoyed the exhibits immensely — she said ABBA's hits are better than today's rap music. And her 40-something father, Paul, is also a fan.

"It is older music, but I think it's still quite relevant to a lot of today's music," Paul Beechey said. "it doesn't sound out of place."

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