He was part of ABBA, who among many accolades and honours, won the Eurovision Song Contest in Brighton in 1974.
Now Björn Ulvaeus has given his take on how the United Kingdom can turn its fortunes around at the contest after achieving another poor result in Tel Aviv.
Speaking to England’s Smooth Radio, the genius behind “The Winner Takes it All” said that, among other things, the UK is not “attracting the right songwriters.”
The music star started off by stating one very true truism: “I do believe that Eurovision is a bigger thing in Sweden than in the UK.”
No surprise, as Eurovision and its national selection, Melodifestivalen, usually rank at or near the top of the most-watched programs in Sweden each year, with an average viewing figure of around two million.
But Björn made clear that there are more reasons why the Swedes are more headstrong with the contest — in his mind, anyway.
“Because in Sweden, at that time, in 1974, you have to realise that nobody outside of Sweden listened to anything coming from Sweden. It was totally dead. We sent out tapes to various people around the world, and I swear to you, they threw it in the garbage bin directly without listening to it. That’s how bad it was.”
Therefore, they set their sights on the one surefire way for their material to reach an international platform. “And so for us, Benny and me, the only way to reach outside of Sweden was through Eurovision.”
Björn went on to explain how the show is now a different competition than what it was when ABBA won it all, but highlighted that it is still a huge platform to be seen around the world.
“Now it’s different. Now there’s Max Martin and everyone else, you know? But we opened the doors, I think. Overall, we took it really seriously. And I wonder, well, of course, some songwriters in the UK have taken it seriously as well, I suppose.”
While he claimed he could not give any concrete tips to get the Brits a victory in the contest, the Swedish musician did give out a detail he noticed. “I don’t think you’re attracting the right songwriters.”
As he gave out details on future works with ABBA at the moment, he revealed an interesting fact of the process behind their groundbreaking victory: It wasn’t always going to be “Waterloo”.
“We had two songs to choose from back then in 1974. We had one song called “Hasta Mañana” which would have been much more in the typical Eurovision-style at that time, and then “Waterloo” which was definitely not a Eurovision song in our minds.”
In the end, personal style won over Eurovision perceptions. “And we chose that one (Waterloo) – only because it was more fun to perform.”
What do you think the UK should do to succeed at Eurovision and turn their fortunes around? Let us know in the comments below!