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Russia's Putin pays thousands for secret 'Abba' show
www.thelocal.se ^ | 02/06/2009 | David Landes

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 didn’t 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 band’s set, which also included such hits as Waterloo, Money, Money, Money, Dancing Queen and Mamma Mia, apparently met Putin’s 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 Putin’s love for Abba, he’s 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.


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: abba; entertainment; mamamia; music; pop; popmusic; putin; russia

1 posted on 02/06/2009 11:10:54 AM PST by WesternCulture
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To: WesternCulture

Putin is a weird little communist freak.


2 posted on 02/06/2009 11:12:27 AM PST by youngidiot
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To: WesternCulture

I thought he seemed a little light in the Valenkis.


3 posted on 02/06/2009 11:13:32 AM PST by JZelle
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He is a dancing queen.


4 posted on 02/06/2009 11:14:46 AM PST by freeplancer (McCain Voters Catch the Lobsters-Obama Voters Eat Them)
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To: WesternCulture

Now we know ‘Pootie-tootie’ is a closet homo.


5 posted on 02/06/2009 11:14:50 AM PST by RushIsMyTeddyBear (Obama dozed.....people froze.)
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To: WesternCulture

At least 7 people will be laughing at the next G8 summit.


6 posted on 02/06/2009 11:14:53 AM PST by edpc
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To: WesternCulture

Abba?

Putin, a dancing “queen”

Explains a lot, really.


7 posted on 02/06/2009 11:15:34 AM PST by MeanWestTexan (Beware Obama's Reichstag fire.)
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To: WesternCulture

‘John McCain also recently admitted he was a fan’

Why am I not surprised....(eyes rolling)


8 posted on 02/06/2009 11:16:50 AM PST by Badeye (There are no 'great moments' in Moderate Political History. Only losses.)
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To: freeplancer

I wondered if he was most interested in hearing (in private): Dancing Queen, or Take a Chance on Me...


9 posted on 02/06/2009 11:18:23 AM PST by Migraine (Diversity is great... ...until it happens to YOU.)
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To: dighton; martin_fierro; Tijeras_Slim; Travis T. OJustice
But the surreal atmosphere didn’t 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.

He's really putting the pink back into pinko.

10 posted on 02/06/2009 11:19:16 AM PST by Constitution Day (Big Brotha Is Watching You)
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To: WesternCulture

I looked the man in the eye. I was able to get a sense of his soul see he was a Dancing Queen.

11 posted on 02/06/2009 11:19:42 AM PST by edpc
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To: WesternCulture
I absolutely hate ABBA.

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?

12 posted on 02/06/2009 11:20:27 AM PST by Rum Tum Tugger
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To: WesternCulture
Was it Putin or Jeff Spicoli who was rewarded with a large amount of money for saving Brooke Shields from drowning and and then blew it all by hiring Van Halen to play at his birthday?

Perhaps someone out there who went to Ridgemont High can tell me?

13 posted on 02/06/2009 11:20:33 AM PST by WesternCulture
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To: youngidiot

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!


14 posted on 02/06/2009 11:29:05 AM PST by 3catsanadog (I plan to give the new President the same respect and dignity the other side gave Bush.)
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To: Rum Tum Tugger

“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):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvKvk6tkjUk


15 posted on 02/06/2009 11:33:13 AM PST by WesternCulture
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To: Constitution Day
What is an "abba"? :) I know Alba!


16 posted on 02/06/2009 11:34:43 AM PST by Travis T. OJustice (Change is not a destination, just as hope is not a strategy.)
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To: Rum Tum Tugger
Forgive my ignorance in this matter,BUT what the heck is a cover band? Is it a imitation band? I thought Abba said they would never ever perform live again.
17 posted on 02/06/2009 11:37:28 AM PST by RoseofTexas
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To: MeanWestTexan

Wonder if Putin and his "buddies" were wearing these outfits and hats?

18 posted on 02/06/2009 11:42:13 AM PST by anymouse (God didn't write this sitcom we call life, he's just the critic.)
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To: youngidiot

Agreed. What’s next? Chavez reveals he’s an Oingo Boingo fanatic?


19 posted on 02/06/2009 11:48:22 AM PST by Ahithophel (Padron@Anniversario)
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To: Travis T. OJustice

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:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHeMZL6jfq4&feature=related


20 posted on 02/06/2009 11:53:18 AM PST by WesternCulture
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To: WesternCulture
http://www.americablog.com/2006/12/vladimir-putin-might-be-gay.html

ZAHN: ... including reports, Nikolas, that would suggest that people wouldn't be surprised if Vladimir Putin wouldn't want him dead, after he went public with allegations that Mr. Putin was having sex with men.


21 posted on 02/06/2009 11:55:43 AM PST by TSgt (Extreme vitriol and rancorous replies served daily. - Mike W USAF)
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To: RoseofTexas

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.[citation needed]

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[citation needed] for weddings and corporate events, as well as in bars and clubs because they play many songs guests are familiar with.”


22 posted on 02/06/2009 11:59:07 AM PST by Ben Reyes (Palin 2012)
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To: WesternCulture

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.

They declined.


23 posted on 02/06/2009 12:00:25 PM PST by djf
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To: WesternCulture

$29,000? Mamma mia! Money, money, money.

Being a Russian leader, Putin probably demanded encores of “Waterloo.”


24 posted on 02/06/2009 12:06:04 PM PST by pogo101
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To: MikeWUSAF

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.


25 posted on 02/06/2009 12:10:11 PM PST by WesternCulture
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To: djf
I surmised at the time that the reason ABBA declined was that after having to pay the extremely high Swedish taxes, they have another 90% tax on top of that on rich people. After all taxes they wouldn't have made much.

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.

26 posted on 02/06/2009 12:20:04 PM PST by Hillarys Gate Cult (The man who said "there's no such thing as a stupid question" has never talked to Helen Thomas.)
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To: WesternCulture
Isn't G Gordon Liddy also an ABBA fan?
27 posted on 02/06/2009 12:23:40 PM PST by sticker
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To: djf

“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.


28 posted on 02/06/2009 12:27:51 PM PST by WesternCulture
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To: Ahithophel

Hey! Oingo Boingo is too good for that commie bastard.


29 posted on 02/06/2009 12:29:41 PM PST by ExpatGator (Extending logic since 1961.)
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To: Hillarys Gate Cult
“I surmised at the time that the reason ABBA declined was that after having to pay the extremely high Swedish taxes, they have another 90% tax on top of that on rich people. After all taxes they wouldn't have made much.”

- 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):

http://www.skeppsholmen.se/english/displayObjectList.php?list=flats&section=hemTillSalu

http://www.skeppsholmen.se/english/displayObjectList.php?list=houses&section=hemTillSalu

http://www.skeppsholmen.se/english/displayObjectList.php?list=newProductionsForSale&section=nyproduktion

30 posted on 02/06/2009 12:37:51 PM PST by WesternCulture
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To: ExpatGator

Good point! He’s more deserving of the Dixie Chicks or one ply Sheryl Crow.


31 posted on 02/06/2009 2:25:03 PM PST by Ahithophel (Padron@Anniversario)
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To: WesternCulture

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his controversial kissing of a boy on the stomach was just a spontaneous gesture of affection.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/5155448.stm


32 posted on 02/06/2009 3:38:14 PM PST by Whitebread
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To: Whitebread

“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.


33 posted on 02/06/2009 4:31:03 PM PST by WesternCulture
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To: Rum Tum Tugger

ABBA wrote many songs that were hits songs all over the world.


34 posted on 07/23/2013 1:27:22 PM PDT by Borges
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