Björn Again is a parody of the Swedish pop group ABBA founded in 1988 in Australia, but now involving multiple touring troupes performing under the Björn Again name. The show takes its name from Björn Ulvaeus, a member of ABBA, and a pun on the phrase “born again”.
Björn Again is run as a light-hearted parody of ABBA,with the use of pidgin Swedish (or ‘Swenglish’and stage character names of Agnetha Falstart, Benny Anderwear, Frida Longstokin, and Björn Volvo-us reflecting the names of the original members of ABBA.Björn Again also has a bass guitarist Rutger Sonofagunn and the drummer Ola Drumkitt (from long-time ABBA session musicians Rutger Gunnarsson and Ola Brunkert).
Björn Again was created in 1988 in Melbourne, Australia by Rod Stephen and John Tyrrell. After the first Björn Again show at a pub in the inner Melbourne suburb of Collingwood called The Tote Hotel on 6 May 1989 the show’s popularity increased quickly, which first took the group Australia-wide and then overseas to international acclaim. Original members for the first six years of the band included Gavin Charles (Bjorn), Janette Stuart (Agnetha), Dorina Morelli (Frida) and Peter Ryan (Benny).Björn Again’s past and present members have been Vox Singing Academy students. John has been the manager since the band’s inception, and in 2003 Rod was appointed manager of the UK-European region.
Björn Again at GuilFest 2012
Björn Again has also occasionally covered songs by other artists. When Erasure produced an EP of ABBA covers called Abba-esque, Björn Again responded with an EP of covers of Erasure songs done in the style of ABBA, called Erasure-ish. The EP included the songs “Stop!” and “A Little Respect” that achieved Number 25 on the UK charts in September 1992. Also in 1992, the band did a cover of Santa Claus Is Coming to Town which reached #55 in the UK charts. In August 2009 the band covered Metallica’s ‘Enter Sandman’ during their set at the Sonisphere Festival in tribute to the headlining act.
Björn Again has performed at many types of event from large rock festivals worldwide including Reading and Glastonbury, to private performances for celebrities, including playing at parties for top UK golfer Colin Montgomerie, Microsoft’s Bill Gates,comedian Rowan Atkinson, actor Russell Crowe’s wedding, and for Russian president Vladimir Putin.
On 1 May 1998 Björn Again performed a show in the Royal Albert Hall. They performed 11 of ABBA’s famous songs. The concert was sold out very quickly.
In 2009, the band were controversially booked to play the United Kingdom’s leg of Sonisphere Festival at Knebworth, which consisted of a much ‘heavier’ fan base. As a result of this, the band played their set with a slightly more beefed up sound, more guitars and a tongue-in-cheek rock style adaptation of their costumes.
In 1999 the UK Bjorn Again took part in a documentary for Channel 5 entitled “ABBA: Bjorn Again!”, this included following the band as they toured the UK. The documentary explored the history of the band. Throughout the programme the band spoke in their “Swedish” accents.
Both Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson have lauded Björn Again a number of times over the years, and after ABBA’s former members made their intentions known that they were not going to perform together any longer, Andersson was quoted as saying in 1999, “BJÖRN AGAIN are the closest you can get to seeing ABBA. ABBA will never reform!”