2 music icons who rose to stardom in the disco age — Elton John and ABBA — face off (sort of) with modern takes on classic sounds
In the decade of disco, ABBA was at the top of the charts with hit after hit on the radio and the dancefloor. At the same time, Elton John was making his mark taking glam rock to new levels with his touch of gay flamboyance.
Both have endured — ABBA mostly in nostalgia, John with new albums on a regular basis. And they both hit North Texas this week — in a manner of speaking.
ABBA Mania recreates the live ABBA experience, while John’s tour stops in Fort Worth for his newest album, a collaboration with Leon Russell called The Union.
So which will you lean toward?
In The Union, John teams with Russell, the legendary R&B Okie, and producer-of-the-moment, Fort Worth’s T-Bone Burnett, combining John’s piano boogie and Russell’s bluesy roots — with mixed results. He’s been quoted as saying he’ll make real music now instead of pop fodder. The live show has won raves, with the first half devoted to the new CD and the last filled with John classics.
With John’s new “serious” outlook, will you have as much fun as you could at ABBA Mania? It was hard enough to sit still through Mamma Mia! without singing along while dancing out of your seat. The tribute show has toured the world with the absolute goal of giving the ABBA concert most people under 50 never got to see.
We broke down the best about John and the actual ABBA to see if it could help us make up our minds, but we may just flip a coin on this one. Tough call, for sure.
— Rich Lopez
…. wore outlandish bell bottoms, platform shoes and glittered glasses in the ’70s.
…. won an Oscar for the song “Circle of Life” for the Disney film The Lion King.
…. Does gigs with anti-gay personalities. At the Grammys with Eminem (forgivable) then performing at Rush Limbaugh’s wedding (his $1 mil fee went to his AIDS foundation — still deciding)
…. recorded “Hello, Hello,” a duet with Lady Gaga for the upcoming Disney movie
Gnomeo and Juliet about garden gnomes in love.
…. conquered Broadway with The Lion King and Billy Elliot; won a Tony for
…. being a gay man, had no ties to disco music during the rocking ’70s, with fellow community member Freddie Mercury of Queen.
…. lost a whole lotta street cred performing a Diet Coke commercial with Paula Abdul in 1990.
…. is a gay icon for being a diva, a legend and even kind of a bitch. He’s not much of an advocate for the community but stands by its side enough.
…. performs at the Fort Worth Convention Center Arena, 1201 Houston St. Nov. 13 at 8 p.m. $53–$173. Ticketmaster.com.
…. wore outlandish bell bottoms, platform shoes, but with the occasional ascot and lederhosen. Not cute.
…. had a hit movie with their old songs in Mamma Mia! which turned out to be the No. 1 movie of all time in Britain. Oscar their ass.
…. sidestepped most public drama. Even the marriages and divorces within the band weren’t all that controversial. Snore.
…. inspired the 1990s clones Ace of Base who subsequently inspired the beat behind Lady Gaga’s “Alejandro.” OK, that’s reaching, we know.
…. had a fling with Broadway when Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus received acclaim and award noms for Chess and Mamma Mia!.
…. were all straight and the epitome of disco alongside the Bee Gees and Donna Summer. So straights do better dance music while non-straights can rock your face off. Who knew?
…. maintained their dignity by rarely, if ever, doing anything outside of performing their music.
…. are gay icons for their work on the dancefloor. All they really had to do to secure a spot in the gay pantheon was release “Dancing Queen.” Yes, ABBA, thank you for the music.
… plays at the Eisemann Center, 2351 Performance Drive, Richardson. Nov. 16 at 8 p.m. $40–$65. EisemannCenter.com/Tickets
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 12, 2010.