Skip to comments.Russia's Putin pays thousands for secret 'Abba' show
Posted on 02/06/2009 11:10:53 AM PST by WesternCulture
Former Russian president and apparent avid Abba-fan Vladimir Putin paid £20,000 ($29,000) to fly an Abba cover band from the UK to Russia to perform a private concert for him at a remote resort.
"It was the most bizarre gig I have ever done," said Jennifer Robb of the Björn Again Abba-cover band to the Daily Telegraph newspaper.
Plans for the concert, which took place on January 22nd at Lake Valdai resort, nine hours outside Moscow began taking shape sometime before Christmas when Björn Again founder Rod Stephens received a mysterious phone call.
"The voice on the end of the phone said, 'Kremlin... Russia... Moscow... we want your band'," he told the Telegraph.
But the call was no joke, and about a month later the band found itself on a plane bound for Moscow.
Security at the resort was extremely tight, recalled Robb.
"We arrived at a building which looked like a big stronghold with metal security gates. We had to put all our belongings through an X-ray machine, she said.
"At one point I went outside to get some fresh air and there was a man with a machine gun who said something in Russian and made it very clear that I wasn't allowed to wander anywhere on my own."
And instead of taking the stage in front of a concert hall full of fans, the band members found themselves playing to a room featuring three couches.
"The prime minister was wearing a tuxedo and bow tie. The others were all men and wearing tuxedos too," said Robb, adding that she suspected the audience members were likely security guards.
But the surreal atmosphere didnt stop Björn Again from putting on a show dazzling enough to move the usually stone-faced Prime Minister Putin to burst into song during the band's rendition of Honey Honey, according to Robb.
The bands set, which also included such hits as Waterloo, Money, Money, Money, Dancing Queen and Mamma Mia, apparently met Putins expectations.
"At the end, the prime minister shouted 'bravo, bravo' and gave us great applause," said Robb.
Band founder Stephens initially thought £20,000 was a fair sum to earn for the private, hour-long show, but upon realizing the depth of Putins love for Abba, hes having second thoughts.
"I wish I'd asked for twice as much now," he told the newspaper.
It's not the first time Abba has emerged as a favourite among international leaders and politicians - John McCain also recently admitted he was a fan and Queen Elizabeth has even been reported as owning a number of Abba records.
Putin is a weird little communist freak.
I thought he seemed a little light in the Valenkis.
He is a dancing queen.
Now we know ‘Pootie-tootie’ is a closet homo.
At least 7 people will be laughing at the next G8 summit.
Putin, a dancing “queen”
Explains a lot, really.
‘John McCain also recently admitted he was a fan’
Why am I not surprised....(eyes rolling)
I wondered if he was most interested in hearing (in private): Dancing Queen, or Take a Chance on Me...
He's really putting the pink back into pinko.
I looked the man in the eye. I was able to
get a sense of his soul see he was a Dancing Queen.
Several years ago, I had to sit through 30 minutes of an ABBA cover band at Busch Gardens.
Thought my head was going to explode.
How did a group with basically one bad song become so popular?
Perhaps someone out there who went to Ridgemont High can tell me?
Hah! I bet when he’s at home alone, he cranks up Dancing Queen, dons his boas and heels and pretends he’s in Mamma Mia!
“How did a group with basically one bad song become so popular?”
- Although ABBA only had one #1 hit on the Billboard list, they were actually rather popular in some parts of Europe and also in Australia at that time.
Speaking of bands doing covers, at least ABBA didn’t reach the top of the Billboard by recycling the works of other composers like a certain other Swedish group, namely Blue Swede, did (Hooked on a feeling was written by Mark James in 1969):
Wonder if Putin and his "buddies" were wearing these outfits and hats?
Agreed. What’s next? Chavez reveals he’s an Oingo Boingo fanatic?
What is an “abba”? :) I know Alba!
- My (bottom to top) top 5 in this department:
5. Swedish-Norwegian ABBA Seafood (the products of this comparatively large company suck compared to those of their small, family-owned competitors on the Swedish west coast)
4. ABBA lyrics
3. The music of ABBA
2. The beauty of Jessica Alba
1. The beauty of Swedish women:
From Wikipedia: “A cover band (or covers band) is a band that plays mostly or exclusively cover songs. Other common terms are wedding band, party band and function band.
Cover bands play songs written and recorded by other artists, usually well-known songs (as compared to “original” bands which play music they themselves have written). There are a wide variety of cover bands - some cover bands play material from particular decades, for example a 1980s cover band. Others focus exclusively on the music of a particular group, usually iconic groups, and are called tribute bands: it is not uncommon to find Led Zeppelin tribute bands, Pink Floyd tribute bands, Aerosmith tribute bands, or U2 tribute bands. Some cover bands will play a variety of song styles, of widely different artists, genres and decades. Another type of cover band is one that covers songs in a different genre or style than that of the original composition (e.g., jazz versions of what were originally hard rock songs).
Cover bands are very popular for weddings and corporate events, as well as in bars and clubs because they play many songs guests are familiar with.”
I think I read something a few years back that some promoter was trying to get them to do a reunion tour.
He was pretty serious about it, and offered them a couple bucks.
Rumor was he offered them a guaranteed BILLION DOLLARS.
$29,000? Mamma mia! Money, money, money.
Being a Russian leader, Putin probably demanded encores of “Waterloo.”
In my eyes, Putin has now “come out”.
Being a guy admitting that Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus (the male members of ABBA wrote all of the music and earned 90% of the money or something like that) were gifted composers is one thing.
Hiring an ABBA cover band to perform “in secret” for you, on the other hand, is something completely different.
Lived next to the town of Abha Saudi Arabia. Around town we would occasionally see signs mistranslated into English as ABBA. I wonder how many were done on purpose by the translator as a joke.
“Rumor was he offered them a guaranteed BILLION DOLLARS.”
- Yes, according to Aftonbladet (Scandinavia’s largest daily newspaper), they were offered this sum to re-unite back in 1999. However, Aftonbladet wrote it was an American-British consortium that made the offer, not a single promoter.
Hey! Oingo Boingo is too good for that commie bastard.
- This is true, to some extent. However, it has always been possible to build great fortunes in Sweden as long as you keep them in a company (that you own) and don't use them for private consumption.
In theory, this might stimulate investments, but in reality it's rather easy to move money around the world and use it for whatever purposes you like. By today, Swedish politicians have begun to rethink and even rich people live quite well, even on Swedish soil (while most rich Swedes still own much more luxurious apartments/condos/houses abroad):
Good point! He’s more deserving of the Dixie Chicks or one ply Sheryl Crow.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his controversial kissing of a boy on the stomach was just a spontaneous gesture of affection.
“Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his controversial kissing of a boy on the stomach was just a spontaneous gesture of affection.”
- As a Swede of some education and a little experience of foreign countries, I’m well aware members of other cultures display affection in ways that differ a lot from ours.
But a head of state kissing a little boy on his stomach (in public or not) and explaining that it was all about wishing to “cuddle him like a kitten” constitutes an abnormal behavior and attitude by any standards.
ABBA wrote many songs that were hits songs all over the world.