You have to be there…

I know a lot of people love ABBA…and they love their hits, many of which are fun songs and karaoke favourites. I wouldn’t say that I’m a die-hard fan of the band even though I do have some of their songs in my repertoire and I did go and watch the movie that was released sometime in the late 70’s or early 80’s. Other than that, I really enjoyed the musical and the film adaptation that was subsequently released and this song from the soundtrack…

…certainly did manage to move me a lot and bring a tear or two to my eyes.

Other than the aforementioned song, I do not think there are any ABBA songs that I really really like though I would say Thank you for the music and The winner takes it all aren’t too bad…and what I did not know at the time was that one of the members of the band, Benny Andersson, actually had a hand in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s not-so-successful musical, Chess, and co-wrote one of my all-time favourites, I know him so well…and another hit from the same musical – One night in Bangkok.

What happened was not too long ago, I was listening to Susan Boyle (and yes, I can watch her audition on Britain’s Got Talent and it will still move me as much today was when I first watched it way back then) singing You have to be there

…and I fell in love with it instantly. But while I was searching for the video clip on youtube, I discovered that the song was actually taken from a Swedish musical, Kristina Fran Duvemåla

Promo

…with songs by Benny and lyrics by co-ABBA, Bjorn Ulvaeu…

Benny, Bjorn & Co

Here, you can listen to the complete song by Helen Sjöholm…

…at the English-language premiere of the musical, in a concert version under the name “Kristina: A Concert Event” at Carnegie Hall. One of the reviews read, “Andersson’s work is so big, so thoroughly conceived, and so varied in style, tempo, and color that it often feels more like a symphony than a musical…” and yes, I would agree wholeheartedly that it is indeed that good.

This song was sung when the main character, Kristina, had a miscarriage and was told by the doctor that she must never get pregnant again, or she would certainly die and for the first time in her life, Kristina was doubting. She had always tried to do the right thing and follow the way of the Lord, accepting her destiny, and still He kept turning her world upside down. Now the terrifying little word “if” had started spinning in her head. What if there was no God? What would she do then? All her prayers would have been in vain. Everything she had ever believed in would be gone.

What is it Lord that you want
That I am not seeing?
What in my ignorant prayers
Am I failing to say?
Never before have I questioned the truth of your being
Never once have I dared
Never until today

All of a tremble
I stand on the edge of confusion
Who is to save me
If into the darkness I fall?
Now that I need more than ever my God to be near me
Do you hear when I call?
Are you there after all?

You have to be there, you have to
My life I have placed in thy keep
And without you I am drifting on a dark and stormy sea
You have to be there, you have to
Without you I’d drown in the deep
Too far, too far from land
The waters drag me down
I reach for your hand

This intense emotion somehow seems lacking in Susan Boyle’s rendition of the song but still, that does not make me like the song any less…and I would say it is a lot nicer than any of ABBA’s own hit songs starting from the time when they took the world by storm after winning the Eurovision Song Contest 1974 with “Waterloo”.

What do you all think?

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21 thoughts on “You have to be there…

  1. Although I’m not from that generation, I love to listen to ABBA songs too. I always accompanied my aunt before and she would spin their songs. That’s how I know ABBA. :-)

    You’re very young. The present generation? Not many really great singers and nice songs these days.

  2. ABBA’s songs like Mama mia, Dancing Queen, Money, Money were a great hit during my time. Though not a fan of English songs but I would turn on the radio if I heard their songs. Would prefer sentimental oldies, both English & Chinese

    Your time? You’re so young kah? ;) Me too, I prefer sentimental songs, sad sad ones…that’s why I’m not really crazy about ABBA songs – like some but not really really like.

  3. I love Abba and their songs. I have a full collection of thier hit songs in Kuching. So you can say I am a loyal fan of the band.

    Wow!!!! I know there are many like you. ;)

  4. Those are all great songs. I watched the newer musical movie with my mother while it was in the theatres

    I’m a fan of abba as well as a musical/theatre fan.

    As for Susan Boyle she has an amazing voice on the few songs I have heard her do especially the one from les mis

    Great post

    I love musicals but I don’t get to watch any here – we don’t have those thing sin these parts. So thankful that I managed to catch a few in the UK and in Singapore. I feel Susan Boyle’s much better live – somehow, there seems to be something missing in her recordings.

  5. I’m a big fan of ABBA, but not to the point of collecting memorabilia. “The Winner Takes It All” used to remind me of someone, but my favorite would have to be “Angeleyes” and “One of Us”…

    I’ve heard of the musical, but never watched it…

    I like “One of us” and “On and on and on” from one of their later albums. Just ok with “Angel eyes”. Very typical Abba-ish. The musical’s very entertaining, light…quite unlike some of those real heavy ones.

  6. interesting post filled with lots of music and trivia. i have always liked abba too, especially the undercurrent of melancholy that flows through pretty much all their songs. abba’s music will outlive us, i think, and people will probably still be listening to them fifty years from now, heh :D

    I guess so…unlike some or most of the songs these days – they’re all so forgettable.

  7. There is an ABBA concert DVD lying somewhere in my place (not mine hehe) and I still perform some of their songs quite a bit.

    You do? I wonder which songs. I do sing some of theirs too to liven up the party and everyone can sing along, not that I particularly like those.

  8. I remember ABBA’s songs well! My mom used to play their greatest hits album.

    There’s Money, money, money which was popular in the 80’s. Also Dancing Queen which I remembered the most coz a lot of other people covered that song, and it was playing during my high school ball in 96! :D

    She did??? I’m amazed! :D I thought she’d be into Chinese and church songs. Dunno of any cover of Dancing Queen other than Tracy Huang, that pretty Singapore singer who sang all of everybody else’s songs. Wow!!! 1996? That’s quite recent. I guess that song goes on and on and on. They say it’s the No. 1 gay song…or maybe, No. 2 after YMCA. LOL!!!

    • YMCA is gay song? I am surprised to hear that. No wonder when I stayed in YMCA at Manhattan where this song was inspired, that place looked like one haven for them.

      Have you checked out the one in KL, Brickfields? :D

  9. Talking about ABBA, my friend recorded a 38 sec clip on our Dancing Queen during our Karaoke night last week…. Yes, we love their songs anytime… I think I will burn one CD and put in my car for listening pleasure and singing!! I hope my son will do that for me soon!! hahaha…

    You’re not sharing the video clip in your blog or on Facebook?

  10. I’ve heard of this group before but not too sure about their songs, my parents do know their songs well but not me hehe

    Yes, yes…you’re way too young.

  11. Wah these are really oldies! I don’t know many of the songs… But I know ABBA la! ;)

    Not really. Susan Boyle’s pretty new…or I would not classify her songs as an oldie. Guess you are just not into songs – dunno all these things. Did you go to Stockholm? There’s an ABBA the Museum there…or probably you would not be interested in going there.

  12. Love ABBA. They were one of the few that I love till today…with Daddy’s influence of course.

    Oh? Your daddy’s time? Hmmm…he must be quite young then. ;)

  13. I used to love ABBA’s songs as they are so melodic. Also love the more uptempo ones. Will take time this weekend to listen to the above songs :) Would bring back memories!

    I’m a sucker for sad, touching, meaningful songs… Sobssss!!!!!! :D

  14. I have just one CD that contains almost all songs from Bee Gees, Air Supply and Abba to blast in my car everyday! I never get sick of them. You wanna cry, better hear Alan Tam’s songs! Hu hu hu…

    Eyewwwww!!!! No, thanks…and I wouldn’t understand a word he says. :(

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