Agnetha Fältskog is dead!

Written June, 1999
Kindly translated from the Swedish by Katarina Hjärpe



"Disclaimer":
This is a joke and nothing else! This text was intended to be a parody of the classical "Paul McCartney is dead" conspiration theory of 1969. I wrote this as a humorous experiment to find out whether it was possible to do the same for ABBA.
That means the text should be taken for what it is: black irony. Nothing serious about it, and no offence meant.



November, 1979. Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus, Anni-Frid "Frida" Lyngstad and Agnetha Fältskog, together known all over the world as the extremely successful band ABBA, have recently returned to Sweden after a triumphant world tour. Right now they are more popular than ever, their album "Voulez-Vous" sells like hot cakes, and the latest single "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!" is frequently spinning at the discjockeys' turntables all around the planet.
ABBA are by now exhausted after all the touring and all the promotion visits to different countries. They have decided to rest for some time to come, and then deal with the recording of the next album. The one most relieved by this decision is Agnetha Fältskog, who hates touring. She now intends to spend some more time with her two children, Linda and Christian, and she retires to the calm of her home. She and Björn Ulvaeus have been divorced for a year, so Agnetha now has sole custody of the children.
At this time, the terrible event takes place, which has been covered up since 1979, but hinted in the ABBA songs and on the ABBA covers made later. Agnetha Fältskog is murdered in her home in December 1979! Her place in ABBA is instead positioned by a lookalike.
Not until this year, 1999, twenty years later, the truth has been brought to light. Many of ABBA's fans still don't know that the Agnetha performing on the albums "Super Trouper" and "The Visitors" isn't really Agnetha. But I personally am sure that Agnetha Fältskog's life really came to an end in 1979. In this essay I will thotoughly go through the arguments and clues suggesting that this is the case.

The first question might be how the idea came up, the idea that Agnetha was murdered and replaced by a lookalike. What were those suspicions based on? There are some explanations.
First of all, Agnetha's absence from the musical stage after ABBA's departure is no less than amazing. Agnetha produced three solo albums during the eighties, but without advertising them much or touring, and after 1988 we have had nothing but silence from the blonde ABBA member. Hardly any Swedish performer is as shy and afraid of attention as Agnetha Fältskog. Why is that? Is Agnetha paranoid? Does she hate people? No, the answer to why Agnetha no longer shows herself on the public stage is as simple as this: There is no Agnetha anymore. She is dead. Also, one is apt to raise an eyebrow to the change of hairstyle Agnetha went through by the turn of the year 1979-1980. Through ABBA's entire career, from "Ring Ring" to "Voulez Vous", Agnetha appears on record sleeves and other photos wearing her hair long and flowing. From 1980, on the cover of "Super Trouper", she has a perm instead, and looks a lot older. Is this really the same Agnetha? Obviously not. Appearing with a terrible, scruffy 'do like a magpie's nest when she releases the solo album "I Stand Alone" further proves that it is not Agnetha herself we see, but another woman who looks rather like her, and who tries to cover up the differences by changing her hairdo.
ABBA's lack of touring after "Voulez Vous" is hard to explain. Why did they give up live performances completely in the eighties? The answer is that Agnetha was no longer in the group, and it was too hard at a concert to hide that the woman performing as Agnetha wasn't Agnetha. The difference in voice above all could be noticed far too clearly. During the last years, ABBA were satisfied by performing in TV-shows and making music videos; in these cases you could put a lot of time and effort in make-up and all kinds of manipulations with sound and recording, electronic treatment of the voice of Agnetha's double et cetera, to mislead the audience.
The most obvious circumstance evoking suspicions that something nasty has happened in ABBA, that is, the death of a member, is the song "The Visitors." This title song to ABBA's last album is very untypical for the group, but it has still become a minor classic, with its unusually spooky lyrics about someone sitting in their lonely house waiting for unpleasant visitors. "The Visitors" is a song full of sinister gloom, threats and evil and most of all fear. How on earth could a cheerful-ish pop band like ABBA suddenly record a song like this one? Of course, it must be because they themselves have recently been shook up by precisely the kind of tragedy the song describes. One of them got a visit that ended with the victim being "taken" and "broken", crying "help me" and "cracking up". Maybe the person was even raped? The words "and now they've come to break me" are sung rather indistinctly and could very well be heard as "rape me".
It undoubtfully seems like Agnetha Fältskog, some time after the end of the "Voulez Vous" tour, had a visit from some maniac who broke into her home where she, with no suspicion of mischief, stayed with Linda and Christian. It is likely that the visitor was an insane ABBA-fan; perhaps he had interpreted the lyrics of ABBA's latest hit "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)", with solo parts by Agnetha, as an invitation from the singer for him to come and keep her company at night. Anyhow, Agnetha was killed in the scuffle that followed, but the event was hushed up and Agnetha's place in ABBA was taken by a blonde, if permed, colleague.

This did not stop the three remaining ABBAs from implying in their future songs what had indeed happened. The first hint came with the singel "The WInner Takes It All", which was released in June 1980 after more than six months of silence from the band. The lyrics contain lines like "Building me a home / thinking I'd be strong there / But I was a fool / playing by the rules". What is actually described is how Agnetha, trusting the security you feel between the four walls of home, behaved naïvely and didn't think that letting in a visitor would be dangerous. She "played by the rules" and had to pay for this with her life.
The one singing the solo part in "The Winner Takes It All" is not Agnetha, but Frida. Since Frida has always taken care of the alto part in ABBA's previous tunes, it's not so strange that it sounds a little differently when she for once touches the high notes. She lets the audience believe that it is Agnetha doing the exceööent performance, but hints in the future who the singer actually is by saying in interviews during later years that "I'd have liked to sing that song myself."
The video to "The Winner Takes It All" is the first in a line of ABBA-videos from the later years of the band where Agnetha appears aside from the other band members. While Björn, Benny and Frida appear together, Agnetha stands on the side watching, with a sad look in her eyes. The move is used again in the videos to "Lay All Your Love On Me", "One Of Us" and "The Day Before You Came". It's all a very clear hint that Agnetha Fältskog is no longer alive.
The B-side of the single, "Elaine", is one of ABBA's more unknown songs, and it surprises me a little since the lyrics to that one is extremely bizarre and portends "The Visitors". "Elaine" is a story about someone who is chased by a gang of unpleasant pursuers, and a few quotes from the song reads as follows: "You know they're gonna get you... It's a dead end street, they tie your hands, they tie your feet..." (Was Agnetha tied by the visiting madman before he killed her?) Even though this song musically is as cheerful as the music of the group has been before, you can't help but wonder what causes this sudden emotional change in the lyrics. Something is wrong in the group, that's clear.

In November 1980 the album "Super Trouper" comes, one of ABBA's most successful, with a cover that arises speculations anew. The picture shows the group dressed in white, in the spotlight and surrounded by a big crowd. We are obviously at a circus, pretty logical since that's the theme of the video to the title song of the album, which is released as a single at about the same time. Acrobats are balancing in chains on each other's shoulders further back in the picture, and the people have colourful clothes. But isn't there something mysterious about these pictures from the album over? Yes. First of all you can't see the members of the group very clearly, they are located far back and their faces are rather small. Is this a trick to hide the fact that Agnetha is not Agnetha?
Second, none of the persons on the cover looks happy. Shouldn't a circus performance like this be a joyful event? You can't find a single person in the crowd smiling. That the four ABBAs are dressed in white indicated that the picture actually shows a funeral procession. White is the colour of grief in many countries, China among others. And there are several torch carriers in the crowd. There are usually no torches at a circus, apart from when the fire-eaters perform, and they don't here. Instead, the torches makes one associate to lights, candles and fires lit in memory of someone who has died.
Another hint of Agnetha Fältskog's passing at the "Super Trouper" cover is that Agnetha has her eyes turned right, while Björn, Benny and Frida look left. Agnetha is also on both sides surrounded by two clowns with sad expressions in their painted faces. Agnetha's dress has two white ribbons crossing her chest, just like dead bodies in are placed in coffins with their arms crossed. On the back of the cover you see a torch shining in Agnetha's direction, to "point her out", and above her in the glimmer from the spotlight a character crouches that looks like an old man (death?).
The songs on the "Super Trouper" album give us more clues. "Happy New Year" is obviously a song that Björn and Benny wrote in a melancholic state by the turn of the year 1979-1980, when Agnetha had recently died and they wondered if it was at all possible to move on. Death is mentioned several times in the lyrics, for example in the lines: "the dreams we had before / are all dead, nothing more than confetti on the floor" and"if we don't we might as well lie down and die". The same hint of hopelessness and desperation can be found in "On And On And On" ("Evil times are soming, we are in for darker nights") while "Our Last Summer" desribes Björn's and Agnetha's last time together, with "a fear of slowly dying".
But the main reason of suspicion from "Super Trouper" is the song "The Piper", with lyrics that describe someone who like Hitler makes everyone dance to his pipe and who hypnotizes large masses of people with his charisma. Björn Ulvaeus has said that he got inspiration for the song from Stephen King's "The Stand". In any case, something more interesting than the lyrics to "The Piper" in itself are the strange words sung during the interlude between the verses, and that can't be heard properly. "Suu-blu-na-saan-taa-mu-su..." or something like that.
There is certainly a reason here to suspect backwards messages or something like that. Maybe the group isn't singing "saan-taa-mu" but "Satan ooh?" Personally I don't think that is the case, but that this message instead is a clue concerning Agnetha Fältskog. From the sound fragments that are initially incomprehensible you can among other words hear "so blue" and "santa"; clues that indicate that Agnetha has now made her journey up to the saints and herself become a "Saint Agnetha", and that the three group members left and Agnetha's children now are "so blue". In whole I think the cryptic message says: "So blue when saint Mom soooooh" (the last sound being an imitation of Agnetha's last sigh before death).

A year after the releasing of "Super Trouper", in December of 1981, ABBA's last album, "The Visitors", arrived. What you can find through an analysis of the title song I have already discussed, but there are also heaps of other hints at this last LP the group made.
This cover, too, is very interesting. The members of the groups are at the cover picture of "The Visitors" portrayed less clear than ever, they are photographed in a very mysterious way in an obscure room where none of them looks at anyone else, and their shadows are very apparent. Agnetha (or, more correctly, the person portraying Agnetha) is standing by a table and looking in a book, and I am certain that it is a symbol for the so called Book of Life, in which the singer is no longer written. Next to Agnetha at the table a sole candle is burning, a candle lit to honour the dead. Frida on the other hand has turned her back to Agnetha, a sign that their time as singing colleagues in ABBA is over. Björn stands leaning on an empty chair... is it Agnetha who has been seated there but who now has left it? And Benny sits with his hands clasped, as if he was deep in prayer at a funeral.
Some other noticeable details on this cover image are that the big wall painting in the background depicts angels (how this is to be interpreted I don't think I have to explain further) and that the pattern of shadows between Frida and Björn actually looks like a Roman 3. There are now only three members of ABBA! (The sign "S", shown at the same place, is probably a reference to the group's manager Stikkan Anderson, and the message is to be read "Stikkan & 3 people".)
Frida's boots, as well as the chair she is sitting in, has a bright red colour, which could be an allusion of the blood that flowed at Agnetha's murder.
If you listen to the album you have a share in three songs that comparatively are a lot sadder and heavier than ABBA's earlier pieces of work. "The Visitors" is the best example, but "Soldiers" isn't far behind. There are mentionings in that song of, among other things, "beasts waking" and "dreadful rumble", and the mood is very threatening and serious. Above all, "Soldiers" inform us of when the murder of Agnetha Fältskog actually took place. "In the grip of this cold December..." must mean that it was on a day in December, 1979 to be precise, that Agnetha's sheltered life was shattered by the person we can call "The Visitor".
The songs "I Let The Music Speak" and "Like An Angel Passing Through My Room" may primarily seem like descriptions of a mood, of situations when you let yourself be cradled into a sort of trance by the music, or of the silence by a fire late at night. I think there is a deeper still meaning in these lyrics: they describe Agnetha's condition when she has just lost consciousness and is headed to the "near death" experience that leads all the way to the end of life. "I let my feelings take over / carry my soul away into the world / where beauty meets the darkness of the day..." "Everything comes back to me tonight / in the gloom / like an angel passing through my room".
"Slipping Through My Fingers", with lyrics written by Björn Ulvaeus about his daughter Linda starting school, and the feeling of melancholy it gave him that she was that grown, isn't only that, but also a reflection of his feelings in front of the mission he got by Agnetha's passing: to raise Linda and Christian on his own. Even a song like "Two For The Price Of One", the lightest tune on the album, contributes to the speculations around Agnetha. It is in "Two For The Price Of One" that we find out the name of the look-alike that replaced Agnetha in ABBA! Her name is Alice Whiting!

But despite the entrance of this Alice Whiting it must have been clear eventually for Björn, Benny and Frida that they couldn't continue the bluff forever. They either had to declare Agnetha's death in public, or disband the group. They chose the latter alternative, and after the final singles "The Day Before You Came" and "Under Attack", ABBA definitely gave up all recordings and appearances as a group.
"The Day Before You Came" was the last song ABBA recorded, and it intevitably takes its place among the songs where Agnetha's destiny is implied. The lyrics are about a woman who looks back on the last day before "someone" entered her life, and since she seems to have had a very regular and impersonal life before this "someone" showed up, she can't remember exactly what that last day could have been like, but she supposes that "I must have... this and that...". A very good method if I may say so, a method that really works to underline how someone's entrance can change everything, change a person's life completely. But on further consideration you never find out who the mysterious person who turns up the next day actually is... well, it doesn't have to be a lover, it doesn't even have to be a person. It could be death, a sickness, a disaster... And I am certain that "The Day Before You Came", with its melancholy mood, refers to Angetha's last day alive before "The Visitor", death, came to her home.
When the song was released as a single, Agnetha had to take heaps of criticism because she wasn't "singing well", and that's an interesting fact. Benny Andersson has explained it all by saying that the group wanted Agnetha to sing the song as if it was a completely ordinary woman singing, to contribute to the mood in the piece and its concept with "a plain person". But it seems pretty clear that Agnetha's possibly bad singing is due to the fact that the person singing wasn't her, but Alice Whiting.
A last allusion to the murder of Agnetha are in the songs "Just Like That" and "I Am The City", which were recorded in the autumn of 1982, but not officially published until the 90s. "I Am The City" certainly gives associations to the Hinduism, and the doctrine of moksha, that you after the finished circle of reincarnation become one with the nature and its spirit. "The dirt on the cars and the people, the parks and the squares that you see / All the sounds that you hear and the air that you're breathing is me / Yes i am the city, you let me be". This is obviously an allusion of how Agnetha after her death was taken into the world spirit, the brahma.
"Just Like That", finally, includes the lines "He found a temporary home in my flat / telling innocent lies / throwing dust in my eyes". Obviously this means the Visitor from December of 1979, who lured Agnetha into letting him into her house by a seemingly innocent behaviour. That ABBA decided not to publish that song was probably because the hints in it could have been too obvious.

There seems to be no doubt that Agnetha Fältskog was murdered by an insane admirer in December of 1979, and that her place in the group until the disbanding in 1982 was taken by a certain Alice Whiting, who had some resemblance to Agnetha in looks. Even though Alice Whiting couldn't sing as well as Agnetha, the group solved that by a large amount of measures in the studio under the skillful lead of studio engineer Michael B. Tretow, where the difference in voices was masked and ABBA sounded just like they always had. They spent a large part of the coming years by implying, both on record covers and in songs, that Agnetha was dead, but they never bothered to officially declare it. When it eventually became clear that the fraud was impossible to keep up, the group was disbanded.
With this revealing essay I want to encourage the three remaining ABBAs, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, to as soon as possible confess and come up with the truth. You know there's nothing to gain in the long run by lying. Also, the information that one of the members of ABBA is dead would certainly give you the high position among rock historians you have been denied so far. You have to be dead to be renowned – just think of John Lennon, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain.
For the good of all of us - come forward and tell the truth!
Agnetha Fältskog is dead!


Actually, this is a joke. If you happen to be a real, serious fan of Agnetha Fältskog (and I'm not, I'm just an ABBA fan) you can take a look at another site.
www.agnethafaltskog.net





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