lundi 18 juillet 2016

We Luv' ABBA!!!!

Picture by Karin Angeleyes

Any music specialist knows the obvious link between the music of ABBA and the Luv' sound (produced by Hans van Hemert and Piet Souer aka "Janschen & Janschens").

Voulez-Vous by ABBA (front cover, 1979)

In the 1970s the Swedish Fab Four were role models for any European disco-pop bands (Boney M., Teach In, Brotherhood of Man, Champagne....).

The two first singles of Luv' ("My Man" and "Dream, Dream"), released in 1977, were very ABBA-esque. 

My Man on "Musikladen" (Germany, 1977)

Dream, Dream (1977)

Luv' producers and songwriters used "ABBA" tricks on other songs that came out later ("Money, Honey", "The Show Must Go On", "Some Call It Happiness"...). In 2006, music critic Metal Mike Saunders of American music website "Bubblegum University" considered Holland's greatest girl group as an "Über ABBA" and their second album "Lots of Luv" as the "Holy Grail of ABBA-Sound". Click here to read his review. 

Luv' classic hit "Ooh, Yes I Do" (from November 1979) used a melody inspired by the flute theme of "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)".

Ooh, Yes I Do on "Disco" (ZDF, Germany, 1980)

"Ann-Maria" (released in February 1980) used a Latin American orchestration influenced by "Chiquitita" and "Fernando". A children's choir was integrated into this song (like "I Have a Dream").

Ann-Maria on "Musikladen" (Germany, 1980)

Moreover, when Luv' and their team (Van Hemert, Souer and their manager Pim ter Linde) created a limited company ("InterLUV") to control every aspect of their career in 1979, they followed Stig Anderson's example. Indeed, ABBA's manager had a huge success with his label Polar Music which licensed the group's records to different record companies all over the world. 

Luv' and ABBA performed on the same TV shows in Europe (including "AVRO's TopPop" in Holland, "Top Club" in France, "Aplauso" in Spain as well as "Musikladen" and "Disco" in Germany). During their heyday, the they graced the covers of German, Dutch and Belgian teen magazines (Bravo, Hitkrant, Joepie....). Their hit singles also appeared on the same compilations:

Front cover of German compilation  "High Life" released by Polystar in early 1979 (featuring Luv', ABBA, Olivia Newton-John & John Travolta, Village People and Baccara).

After Luv's (first) break-up in 1981, José Hoebee recorded uncredited background vocals for the debut album of Doris D. & The Pins at ABBA's Polar Studio in Stockholm, Sweden.

In 1984, she teamed up with songstress Bonnie St Claire to record cover versions of ABBA songs. Their duets "Cassandra" and "Zoals Vrienden Doen" (The Way Old Friends Do) were Dutch Top 40 hits

Cassandra by Bonnie & José (1984)

Zoals Vrienden Doen by Bonnie & José (1985)

The ladies even released a full-length album entitled "Herinnering". 

Front cover of "Herinnering" by Bonnie & José (1985)

To promote this LP, Dutch TV channel NCRV aired "Bonnie en José in Zweden", a special taped in Stockholm and the surrounding area. The highlights of this TV program were the "Herinnering" video (filmed in the Polar Studios) and the interview of Björn Ulvaeus who approved the recordings of the ladies. 

"Herinnering" by Bonnie & José (1986)

Björn Ulvaeus on "Bonnie & José in Zweden" (1986)

In March 1985, TROS channel broadcast the TV musical "ABBAcadabra" based on the songs of the legendary Swedish band. The show starred several Dutch celebrities including Bonnie & José as well as Marga Scheide of Luv'.

The cast of ABBAcadabra (including, Marga, José, Bonnie St. Claire, Ron Brandsteder and Benny Neyman)

ABBAcadabra (broadcast by TROS in 1985)

The early 1990s saw a revival of interest in the pop music from the 1970s. As a result, ABBA released their "Gold" compilation which sold more than 25 million copies worldwide. In 1993, Luv' put out their own "Gold" CD following their footsteps.

ABBA Gold (Polar/PolyGram (Universal Music), 1992)

Luv' Gold (Arcade, 1993)

Last year, José was interviewed by Flemish author Stany van Weersmesch for the ABBA Fan Club Magazine in which she discussed several subjects including the "Herinnering" album and "ABBAcadabra".  

Interview with José in "ABBA Fan Club Magazine" (2015)

Recently, Stany has published a book entitled "We all love ABBA" which contains interviews with José, Marga and her partner Michiel Gunning. On May 26th, Luv' took part in the release party of this publication at the Harbour Club in Amsterdam. 

Stany van Weersmesch & Luv' @ release party of "We All Love ABBA" 

Source: Luv' Blog archives, YouTube, Facebook

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