Ahh....imagine that headline......well, if only....
I was musing on this fantasy during the past few days in a week that marked both the 44th anniversary of Abba winning the Eurovision Song Contest (yes it is that long ago) and group member Agnetha's 68th birthday.
Time surely flies and the passing years bring with them a nostalgia that only grows stronger and ever more poignant as we grow older. Memory, especially when it is musical memory, seems to carry a great weight of yearning that sits somewhere between the soul and the heart, connecting both in a longing for what was and what might have been. And, to an extent, what still might be, even if that probably doesn't include a reunion of the pop group that brightened up our 1970's and informed the youthful musical taste of a generation.
I remember the thrill of seeing Abba live in concert in 1979, something which now seems so very far away from the place I find myself in 2018. Although the actual feeling of being at that concert has been lost somewhere in time, the nostalgia for it has grown ever stronger. Now I feel an urge to re-live the musical awakening from that time in my life. And thanks to the absolute miracle of recorded sound combined with the wonders of the internet, I can press a couple of buttons and hear the same music right now in the same way that I did then - even if it doesn't have the immediacy of a live performance.
Whether or not Abba will ever sing together again, many of the other artists I recall fondly from my youth are still touring and performing today. Older versions of themselves of course, perhaps unable always to reach the high notes – but with the same stage presence and an extra wave of poignant nostalgia thrown in and sweeping over the whole audience, imparting something really very magical, if occasionally bittersweet, as we share with them the intervening years and our changing lives.
Nostalgia might be big business but it is much more than that. The music that we grew up with carries with it a whole load of baggage, some good, some not so good, and it all pours out when we hear it again, especially when it is performed today by the people that brought it to us the first time around. Then it becomes something overwhelming, it is a shared emotion and a realisation that, although time takes its toll on each and every one of us, we're still here, alive and singing, often tearfully, now at a place in our lives that once lay somewhere beyond a distant horizon.
It seems alas that an Abba reunion is not going to happen. Agnetha, Frida, Benny and Bjorn have said they won't perform together again. That's the Name Of The Game. But we can still wonder at what it would be like if they did. The first few notes of Dancing Queen or the wistful introduction to Fernando might prove too much for many of us. Can you hear the drums? Carried away into a nostalgic whirlwind of memory, our feet would never again touch the ground, we would meet our Waterloo and, like Napoleon, we would surrender.
But what sweet surrender it would be.....
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