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Abba museum opens – as Bjorn shuts door on reunion hopes

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Bjorn Ulvaeus, former member of the Swedish pop group ABBA, is photographed during a press preview of 'ABBA The Museum' at the Swedish Music Hall of Fame in Stockholm, May 6, 2013. ABBA's collected works will be showcased at the new exhibit venue, opening on Tuesday.  REUTERS/Janerik Hanriksson/Scanpix Sweden (SWEDEN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT) ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. SWEDEN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SWEDEN. NO COMMERCIAL SALES. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. NO COMMERCIAL USE

Bjorn Ulvaeus, former member of the Swedish pop group ABBA, is photographed during a press preview of 'ABBA The Museum' at the Swedish Music Hall of Fame in Stockholm, May 6, 2013. ABBA's collected works will be showcased at the new exhibit venue, opening on Tuesday. REUTERS/Janerik Hanriksson/Scanpix Sweden (SWEDEN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT) ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. SWEDEN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SWEDEN. NO COMMERCIAL SALES. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. NO COMMERCIAL USE

Bjorn Ulvaeus, former member of the Swedish pop group ABBA, is photographed during a press preview of 'ABBA The Museum' at the Swedish Music Hall of Fame in Stockholm, May 6, 2013. ABBA's collected works will be showcased at the new exhibit venue, opening on Tuesday. REUTERS/Janerik Hanriksson/Scanpix Sweden (SWEDEN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT) ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. SWEDEN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SWEDEN. NO COMMERCIAL SALES. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. NO COMMERCIAL USE

THE catchy tunes and outlandish costumes feature in a new museum dedicated to the band, but rumours of an Abba reunion have been quashed.

The permanent exhibition within a hall of fame of Swedish pop music opens in Stockholm this week and organisers hope to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors annually.

Visitors will be able to sing along to Abba hits alongside life-size holograms of the group, and then download the images to their web account.

"I would be interested, even if I hated Abba, about how it actually happened and why," former Abbamember Bjorn Ulvaeus said yesterday at the museum.

Ulvaeus, now a 68-year-old grandfather, rejected suggestions the opening could coincide with the band reuniting.

A bookmaker was taking bets in April on an Abba comeback after singer Agnetha Faltskog hinted at a reunion.

"As you all know, we have never reunited," Ulvaeus said. "So I take this opportunity to say now we are not going to, either."

Abba – Ulvaeus, Faltskog, Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Benny Andersson – shot to fame when they won the 1974 Eurovision with Waterloo.

Discs

The museum has a 1970s disco dance floor to practise your moves and audition recordings for a 'fifth' member of the band.

The museum walls are plastered with newspaper cuttings, fan mail and videos.

Visitors can peer into a behind-the-scenes dressing room, admire Abba's gold and platinum discs and see a reconstruction of the Swedish cabin where they composed songs.

Based on the band's first major hit Ring Ring, the museum also includes a red telephone. Only the four band members have the number, and they promise occasionally to call it and speak to surprised visitors.

After Abba, Ulvaeus went on to become a businessman and helped to produce the hugely successful Mamma Mia! musical that was later turned into a film.

Abba became one of Sweden's biggest exports with hit songs like Dancing Queen and Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight).

The group sold around 370 million records.

"I walked with Frida yesterday around the museum and she had a tear in her eye," said museum director Ingmarie Halling, ABBA's former costumer and hair designer from 1977 to 1980.

"Here you follow the footpath of Abba. But you have to walk gently when you tell someone else's story."

hnews@herald.ie


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