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Bono was too “macho” to admit to being an ABBA fan.
The U2 frontman admitted he never wanted to “own up” to enjoying the Scandinavian quartet’s pop hits when he was a teenager “in the middle of punk rock” but he and bandmate The Edge professed to a love of various chart stars who are not “very hip” because they can appreciate their art for what it is.
Explaining why they chose to cover ABBA’s ‘SOS’ in BBC Radio 2’s ‘Piano Room’, which was broadcast on Thursday (16.03.23), The Edge told DJ Gary Davies: “We’re big fans of this Scandinavian band, appreciators of their work in a way that grew over years. We are fans of the Bee Gees which people wouldn’t have imagined. We’re fans of lots of great songwriters who aren’t necessarily seen as very hip, and I guess we’re just appreciators of their work.”
Bono added: “I was saying to one of the cellists today that I didn’t have the courage to own up to this next band when I was 16 in the middle of punk rock, but I did get to the Bee Gees and I was ready to own up to ‘Massachusetts’ and ‘Tragedy’, I mean these are just crazy good.
“John Lennon owned up to loving the Bee Gees. But there’s a bit of a macho, ‘I don’t want to own up to ABBA.’ But I’ll tell you what, they’re just better songs. You can’t be empirical about everything in art.”
The ‘One’ singer recalled the “phenomenon” of how ABBA were so beloved by “young mothers”.
He said: “There is something about ABBA. I can remember ABBA as like the national anthem for young mothers. Certainly at closing time at our local pub, often young women would sing ‘Thank You For The Music’, and I would sing it and I was very thankful for the music!
“But I was like, what is this phenomenon? This is before their musicals and all that. What is going on with ABBA?”
Listen back to Bono and The Edge in BBC Radio 2’s Piano Room on BBC Sounds and BBC iPlayer.