Entertainment Music

Tuesday 17 October 2017

My, my .... angry ABBA sues Danish right wing party for use of hit song

ABBA were incensed 'Mamma Mia' was used by a political party
ABBA were incensed 'Mamma Mia' was used by a political party

Bruno Waterfield in Brussels

AS one of the best-selling pop groups in music history, the members of Abba are accustomed to hearing their songs played almost everywhere.

However, the founders of the Swedish group took exception when their hit 'Mamma Mia' was used as a rally song for the leader of a Danish far-right party.

Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus were so incensed that they launched a legal action and said the party could "bugger off".

To add insult to injury, the youth wing of the anti-immigrant Danish People's Party also changed the lyrics, without permission, to Mamma Pia when giving Pia Kjaersgaard, their female leader an adoring send-off at a party congress last weekend.

The young Dansk Folkeparti (DF) activists sang to the 'Mamma Mia' tune, a number-one hit in 1976, new lyrics celebrating their leader's success in making their hard-line anti-immigrant politics mainstream.

"Mamma Pia, you're on TV, DF will be promoted. Mamma Pia, you check it out, DF vision you have handled.

"All the hard arguments, as a miracle-maker," activists sang as the rally closed on Sunday.

Andersson said: "Firstly, you cannot just rewrite songs as you like and secondly we want them to understand that we have absolutely no interest in supporting their party.

"Abba never allows its music to be used in a political context. This is something that we have pointed out to the Danish People's Party."

Mrs Kjaersgaard's party is the third largest in the Folketinget Danish parliament and helps to support a minority conservative-liberal coalition government.



Racist

The 63 year old's views on immigration have been compared to those of Geert Wilders, the Dutch anti-Islamic politician and Jean-Marie Le Pen, the French National Front leader. In 2003, she lost a libel case in the Danish Supreme Court after suing a commentator who had characterised her politics as racist.

Mrs Kjaersgaard intervened in recent Swedish elections to lend support to the far-right Sweden Democrats, who went on to win seats in parliament for the first time.

Abba's founders discovered the unauthorised use of their song when a left-wing Danish activist wrote to them asking if they supported the far-Right party.

They have instructed their record company, Universal, to pursue legal action against the party.

Last year, Andersson donated more than €105,770 to Sweden's radical Feminist Initiative party.

Earlier this year, Dame Vera Lynn launched legal action after the British National Party used her 'The White Cliffs of Dover' on an anti-immigration album without permission. (©Daily Telegraph, London)

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