U2‘s Bono and The Edge are out and proud fans of ABBA — but they once viewed their music as “the National Anthem for young mothers.”
Speaking to BBC’s The Radio 2 Piano Room, the rockers chatted about their love of the band and explained why they tried to hide it when they were younger.
Bono recalled feeling a certain pressure to appear macho, and to do that, it meant consuming punk music over pop songs.
Edge explained that, although they didn’t “want to own up to ABBA,” his perspective on their music has now shifted. “I’ll tell you what, they’re just better songs. You can’t be empirical about everything in art,” the guitarist said.
Bono added, “I didn’t have the courage to own up to this next band when I was 16 in the middle of punk rock.” He also recalled being confused about why ABBA was such a phenomenon when he was younger, saying, “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.”
They now understand why ABBA was and continues to be a phenomenon. “We’re big fans of this Scandinavian band, appreciators of their work in a way that grew over years,” said Edge.
He continued, “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 also reflected on the time U2 “murdered ‘Dancing Queen'” at a concert in 1992 alongside ABBA singers Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson.
The two then dove into a Johnny Cash-twist on the classic ABBA song “S.O.S.”
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