Jarvis Cocker to narrate exhibition at Southbank on legacy of Abba

Voice of Pulp frontman, who says he has been fan of Swedish group since 1976, will guide visitors round show

He was the dancing queen of Britpop, whose music was once described as a cross between Abba and the Fall. So who better than Jarvis Cocker to narrate an exhibition on Sweden’s most famous pop act?

The Pulp frontman will be the voice of the new show opening at London’s Southbank Centre next month exploring the legacy of Abba, from their rise to stardom on Eurovision to their domination of the charts in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Cocker admitted to having been an Abba fan since 1976, when his sister bought Arrival and he “played it non-stop for the next six months”. Cocker’s narration will take viewers round the exhibition, titled Abba: Super Troupers, with the script written by the journalist and documentary maker Jude Rogers.

The exhibition will be the first in the UK to look at the Swedish hitmakers against the social and political backdrop of the time, exploring how Abba’s synth- and disco-infused tunes captured the imagination of the British public.

It will showcase items from the Abba museum in Stockholm, as well as private archives, costumes, instruments, sketches and scribbled lyrics, to chart the legacy of Björn Ulvaeus, Agnetha Fältskog, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad.

Also recreated will be the Brighton Grand hotel suite where Abba celebrated their life-changing Eurovision victory in 1974, when they beat Olivia Newton-John and were catapulted into the limelight. The show will also feature a recording studio and a 1970s disco.

While the catchy pop songs of Abba have sometimes attracted disdain in certain circles in music, Cocker was having none of it. “I love Abba. You love Abba,” he said.

  • Abba: Super Troupers opens at Southbank Centre on Thursday 14 December and runs until 29 April.


Hannah Ellis-Petersen

The GuardianTramp

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