50 years ago, on June 5 1966, Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson met for the very first time. The beginning of a friendship and collaboration that has come to enrich and heavily influence Swedish music history over the course of the past five decades, as well as the reason for a private party at Berns Salonger in downtown Stockholm. Some of Swedens most well known artists and musicians, including fellow Abba Members Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstand, gathered at 6.15pm and kept the party going until well after midnight.
Among those performing throughout the night were Fältskog and Lyngstad who got on stage to perform the song You and I, dedicated to Ulvaeus and Andersson, with the male songwriting duo joining in on the performance towards the end of the song thus reuniting the whole group on stage.
They talked a little bit about their history, how everything started with Abba. And then they all sang together towards the end, Guitarist Janne Schaffer tells Expressen.
Anni-Frid Lyngstad describes the celebration of Ulvaeus and Andersson as an emotional night.
– It was absolutely amazing. A lot of emotions. Weve made this journey throughout our history. Benny and Björn in particular. Its been very nostalgic.
Also joining the former members of Abba on the guest list were fellow musicians, actors and celebrities including Peter Jöback, Lasse Berghagen, Björn Skifs, Pernilla Wahlgren, Lena Philipsson, Kristina Lugn, Jerry Williams, Niklas Strömstedt, Helen Sjöholm, Tommy Körberg and Thomas and Marie Ledin. Lill-Babs was also in attendance.
– I've cried a lot tonight, she says.
Claes af Geijerstam hosted the party and had personally put together a video retelling the careers of Björn and Benny, highlighting key moments such as winning the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest with the song Waterloo.
– It's been a great night, Benny Anderson says.
Actors Marie Göranzon and Jan Malmsjö couldn't have been happier as they left the festivities.
– A magical night. I never could have dreamed it would become such a party. I feel like I can die happy having experienced a night like this, Göranzon says with Malmsjö chiming in:
– We got to see a kaleidoscope of people that have been present in Björn and Bennys careers.
Newlyweds Alexandra Charles and Bengt von Hofsten described it as exceptional.
– Lena Philipsson and Pernilla Wahlgren singing together, Lill-Babs performing with Peter Jöback. Helen Sjöholm singing a song from Chess, and then Tommy Körberg performing her hit song Du Är Min Man. The way they traded songs with each other, Alexandra Charles says.
And then, as the night was coming to an end, the sweet albeit very short reuniting of all four members of Abba.
– We witnessed a piece of music history tonight, Janne Schaffer says.
Translation: Anders Sandqvist