Until today I was unaware that Tim Rice had asked Benny and Bjorn to help him write the Songs for the 1994 Disney Cartoon Film of 'The Lion King'. However, they were working on the 'Kristina' Musical, and had to turn him down.
So he worked with Elton John instead and the Film and the Songs were Globally huge.
I think that 'Kristina' is far stronger than 'Chess', but its story is too narrow to ever have caught the imagination of the World outside Scandinavia, (and Finland). Which is why it never ended up on the West End in London, or on Broadway in New York. (By 'too narrow', I mean that it is really a long 'Epic', about 19th Century Scandinavian Settlers in the USA. It is focused on those Settlers, without really having a great deal in the story to attract people from the rest of the World. 'The Lion King' has something in it for everyone).
Most people have never heard of 'Kristina' at all, and certainly not the Songs from it.
So, Benny & Bjorn gave up the chance to write Songs for a Global smash - 'The Lion King' - to work on a Musical that is no-where near as big or well known. I regard that as a pretty big mistake...
In the meantime, the 2019 Film of 'The Lion King' is huge all over the World and getting its Songs known all over again...
I think you're not getting something really important about Kristina från Duvemåla, and that is that these books by Moberg are an extremely significant cultural artefact to Swedes and to Sweden. Those four books which were the source for KfD are far more important and serious, culturally, than The Lion King could ever hope to be.
Through "Kristina", Benny and Bjorn earned enormous credibility in Sweden, both musically/artistically and intellectually, and received the highest official praise for producing something of lasting artistic and cultural value. "Kristina" (the music and the show) will continue to be produced in Sweden over the next few centuries, much like productions of Hamlet are still being produced many hundreds of years after it was first staged.
"Kristina" is a much, much more distinguished piece of art than Disney's "Lion King", and I'm so thankful B&B opted to make their masterpiece over a worldwide, commercially successful Disney cartoon.
A further bonus was that some of "Kristina"'s critical success managed to rub off on ABBA a bit, through Bjorn and Benny. A kind of "If B&B made "Kristina", then maybe ABBA shouldn't be so quickly dismissed" effect. Because of "Kristina", ABBA's music was re-appraised in a more serious light.
There's so much more to life than just selling records and chart-placings, Colin. Disney cartoons are very big business, but that's all they are.
JJ -- I love 'Kristina' and I am well aware of how huge it was/is in Sweden. My point is that it means next to nothing in most of the rest of the World. I was stating a fact.
Just as it is a fact that 'The Lion King' is huge Globally and Benny and Bjorn would currently be getting Global attention, for the Songs in it, had they done the Soundtrack with Tim Rice, in 1994. That too is a fact. It matters not if 'Kristina' is much higher 'Art', and 'The Lion King' is less 'worthy'. One if Globally huge and the other is not.
Instead, Bjorn thinks that opening 'Mamma Mia!' Themed 'Events' is hugely important, and the majority of ABBA Fans would far rather have a New ABBA Album. Instead, we are still waiting for the 2 New ABBA Songs, that were announced in April 2018 and recorded 2 Years ago. Like many other Fans, I feel that Benny & Bjorn no longer have their priorities in order, as regards their Songs. (Benny's recent Benny Andersson Orkestra 'Best Of' Album, was the smallest Hit, that the Act has ever had in the Swedish Album Top 60. It went in at No.24 and fell straight out. I'm sure that Benny is not at all happy with that, however much some Fans say that 'The Charts don't matter')...
So, I'm well aware of the importance and worth of 'Kristina'. But that first came out in the 1990's and Benny and Bjorn have only had Global success with ABBA Records since. (All old ABBA Songs). Plus the 2 awful 'Mamma Mia! Films. Which are also based on old ABBA Songs. They've not been huge with anything original or New. That too is a fact...
^^^^You have to agree, and we’ll argued.. Kristina for all it’s worth, will unfortunately only ever be big in Scandinavia, the subject is to “narrow” to be of worldwide appeal.
There are many merits to all ABBA related material, but as stated apart from basically Gold and 2films based around it, the boys rightly or wrongly have stuck to there little bit of the world musically and have produced little if nothing new for worldwide appeal for decades...
These museums, restaurants etc are just money making ventures based on Gold really, and there’s nothing wrong with that if it floats your boat, but it doesn’t for many... you could argue pure commercialism... and it is... but nobody is forcing anyone to participate..
Kristina, alas will fade into obscurity, as will all ABBA material in time....
I feel the same. And just because a piece of art - whether it be painting, theater, or music - is more 'serious', doesn't mean, necessarily, that it's somehow automatically 'better'. To be able to appeal to lots of people and touch them with a lighter approach - as pop music often can - is a wonderful gift.
I don't think anyone's saying because something is more serious it's better, more that just because something is globally mega-popular it doesn't mean that something which has less recognition has less merit. The obsession with chart placings and money is tiresome. So what? Success isn't simply based on that. There's such a thing as personal satisfaction and achievement. There are many examples of this whereby something, clearly of artistic merit and value, never achieves widespread recognition. This does not negate its value. THAT is 'fact'.
I don't think anyone's saying because something is more serious it's better, more that just because something is globally mega-popular it doesn't mean that something which has less recognition has less merit.
Thank you, Josef. You're the only person who replied who seems to have completely understood what I wrote. Other replies contend my post meant all sorts of other things.
Firstly, not once do I insinuate that something is better just because it's serious. If I did, I didn't mean to, and I apologize.
At no point, Colin, did I say that "Kristina" was well known anywhere else in the world outside Scandinavia, but you still gave me a little lecture pointing this out, as though I didn't already know. Well, the fact is, I did know. I know the facts. I know what the real cash-cow is for B&B, and that that starts and ends in "A".
The only thing I was saying is that I'm glad that Benny and Bjorn finished working on their Kristina project, because I truly believe this musical brought them huge respect in the eyes of their countrymen and of their nation. "Kristina", a classical story of Swedish emigrants to America, carries more cultural weight in B&B's native country than a Disney cartoon ever will, or ever could.
That was all I was saying.
And I actually think that all the ABBA stuff might eventually fade, once their fans pass away, but Moberg, i.e., the writer and his famous work, will last much, much longer, and, because of this, "Kristina" (the B&B musical), and, through it, B&B themselves, because it is enmeshed in the very fabric of what it is to be Swedish, part of its very culture.
B&B are, understandably, extremely proud of "Kristina". And so they should be. I'll go so far as to say that I'm 100% sure that they would never swap their Moberg musical for the soundtrack of even the most astronomically successful, world-acclaimed Disney cartoon.
Furthermore, I just cannot comprehend why any future commercial flop by ABBA, or by any of its members, should cause ABBA's fans any sense of shame and sorrow, or cause them any angst and worry, or any embarrassment at all, for that matter. Though reading many of Colin's posts, for example, (and I'm sorry to mention you in particular), you get the idea that some fans take ABBA's commercial success, or lack of success, quite personally.
This is completely illogical when you think about it. It's also quite unhealthy if someone's happiness is reliant on, and invested in, the success of someone else, or, in the case of ABBA, something that is not connected to you at all in any way.
Do the members of ABBA ever feel crestfallen or ashamed when you fail at something? They don't even know you exist.
Even if I do understand that The Lion King could have given Björn and Benny a few hits and more attention than Kristina ever did (globally), I'm glad they chose to turn down Tim Rice's offer and finish their musical instead. In my opinion it is the best thing they've ever done and indeed, I've experienced the situation when even the people who dislike ABBA and ridicule their music after hearing Kristina go like: Well, have the ABBA guys really written that? It's good…