Monday, March 9, 2009

ABBA’s Lost Atheist Anthem

If one allows religion to spread again, and I there are certain tendencies that point to this, both in the case of Christianity and also Islam of course. In Europe & the U.S. And we have, after all, gone through hundreds of years of struggle against this, to become secular as possible, and to escape the yoke of religion. If it comes back I see it as a danger” [Excerpts from Bjorn Ulvaeus, Swedish T.V Interview ]

Perchance I ran across this interesting interview Bjorn Ulvaeus, the bearded guy, from ABBA on Swedish Television( below) who talks openly about his atheist beliefs, and religions place in modern-society.

It’s hard anyone to place ABBA in any other category, other than pop (music for your grand mum & drunken sing-a-longs), but as the clip alludes to, this un-confrontational persona, appears founded on a mainstream musical press’s reporting & record company censoring, rather than the song-writers beliefs, which did at times, manifest themselves into popular song.

Indeed the original Swedish version of ‘Thank-You for the Music’ contained the lines:

“Who needs religions?”

“We can do without”.

The English language version was in-fact doctored, so the song-writers intended theme was literally ‘lost in translation’.

Bjorn explained these confrontational lyrics from the song, in an interview with the Swedish Humanist magazine(14/07/2006)

“I thought we could do like John Lennon did in ‘Imagine’ and sneak in a statement. He writes “Imagine there's no countries, it isn't hard to do, nothing to kill or die for, no religion too." It is sung in churches and nobody objects to the wish for a "world without religion". I wrote the Swedish version of "Thank You For The Music" with Niklas Strömstedt and we were both prepared for the fact that it would cause reactions. But not one single complaint has been made! Not one single letter of complaint!”

So it’s time for us to re-evaluate ABBA’s ‘Thank-You for the Music’ (the bands last major hit) as a humanist ‘wake-up call’ ballad, rather than simply, another cheesy love-song.

ABBA’s lost atheist anthem, in English speaking countries, at least.


Anonymous said...

That Swedish version of Thank You For The Music was written in 2005 for the Swedish production of the musical Mamma Mia! It was not the original. Also it wasn't ABBA's last major hit, it was an album track from 1977 that was released as a single in the UK, France and The Netherlands in 1983 to promote compilation albums released by local record licencees to fill the gap because there was no new ABBA LP.

Canterbury Atheists said...

Hey, thanks for explaining that,Cheers. Paul.