An Agnetha Fältskog fansite  

This article was written before Agnetha co-hosted the TV program celebrating her hometown Jönköping's 700th anniversary, but it was published afterwards.  Agnetha's old music teacher and one of Agnetha's old friends from her youth were interviewed about a young Agnetha.

Her best friend Lena reveals before Agnetha's ordeal in Jönköping:

-Agnetha and I could sit and dream for hours about getting famous

By Iréne Gustafson

Not since Agnetha Fältskog became world famous has she performed in her hometown – not until now! Here some of her best friends talk about the Agnetha they remember.

Jönköping has never had a reputation of being Sweden’s most fun city. But maybe that’ll change now.

In connection with it’s 700th anniversary the otherwise peaceful and quiet city has been struck with a tremendous party atmosphere – and it’ll even be broadcast on TV. And as the icing on the cake they have enticed the city’s world famous daughter, Agnetha Fältskog, as a host of the TV-program.

It’s the first time since Agnetha became ABBA-Agnetha throughout the world that she’s performing in her hometown. So no wonder the citizens of Jönköping feel quite special right now. Agnetha probably agreed to this task with mixed feelings. She, who has become more reclusive and has more stage fright, must really have a hard time before the live broadcast in the city where she not only has her greatest supporters but also her worst critics.

The anniversary party was arranged as some sort of evening of memories for Agnetha. Many of the artists are best friends from the days before she was famous, and her mom Birgit, a cashier at Konsum (grocery store), and her dad Ingvar, who works at the power company, promised to keep their fingers crossed for her.

One of the guests was secret up until the last minute. It was Agnetha’s “old” music teacher, Eivor Stenäng and her girl choir.

There was a lot of secrecy surrounding Eivor’s participation but Saxons managed to talk to her briefly before the anniversary program.

-It will be nice to meet Agnetha again. It’s been a while since last time – almost 20 years! The first time we met Agnetha was 13 years old and I was 21 years old and a recently graduated music teacher, says Eivor who remembers Agnetha very well.

-I had so many students and I never had the time to get to know Agnetha personally. But I remember her as the student with the long light hair and who loved to perform.

-It was very unusual that someone dared to sing solo in front of the class. That’s probably why I remember Agnetha so well. I also remember that she had a nice voice, but I would never have guessed that this girl would become a world famous singer. I could never imagine that, says Eivor who of course have followed her former student’s career throughout the years.

One of the good local singers that Agnetha wanted to be a part of the TV-program was her best friend from her teenage years – Lena Lagerkvist.

-We were actually three girls who were inseparable. Agnetha, I and a girl whose name is Elisabeth Strub. We did everything together and had a lot of fun. Sometimes we went out dancing but most of the time we kept to ourselves and sang together. Singing and music was our big mutual interest, says Lena.

-When we didn’t sing, we dreamed. We could sit for hours dreaming about the big stars we would become and the fantastic careers we would have, Lena says and laughs.

The young trio of girls also made some appearances.

-We sang in among other places Folkets Park and at Rigoletto, which at the time was the hotspot for the youth in Jönköping. We were also lucky enough to appear twice in Vincent Bagge’s New Year’s variety show.

-Eventually the girl trio dissolved due to a lack of engagements.

Elisabeth and Lena got ordinary jobs. It was only Agnetha who gave music a try and had the career that the girls had been dreaming of.

-I’m not at all surprised that Agnetha was the one of the three of us who made it. She was very musical and the one of us who was the most goal oriented. For her nothing else but the singing and music existed. Her big idol was Connie Francis and she made an effort to sound like Connie Francis as much as she could, Lena remembers.

-I have followed Agnetha’s career and I’m so happy for her. It’s great that she made it. I’ll never forget the first time I saw her on TV. I was so happy for Agnetha that it sent shivers up my spine!

Fun to meet

-We kept in touch for a while after Agnetha’s breakthrough. She used to visit when she came home to Jönköping. But then both Elisabeth and I moved and then we lost touch. It will be so much fun to meet Agnetha again. To see what she’s like these days.

-In those days when I knew her she was a regular girl. Happy and lively and fun to be with. She was quite shy, absolutely not the kind of person who elbows her way forward.

-I don’t think she has changed very much. Of course being a world artist must have affected her some. But I think she’s still the same kind and regular girl that I knew, an expectant Lena said a few weeks before the program.

Agnetha also got to experience another dear reunion. She met the conductor Bernt Enghardt. It was his old band that was the first stop in Agnetha’s career.

-Agnetha and I worked together for three years. Then I joined another orchestra while Agnetha stayed as a vocalist for another year. I remember her as a nice girl, good and ambitious. A bit shy, just like the rest of us in the band, says Bernt.

Agnetha was only 16 years old when she became a vocalist in Bernt Enghardts orkester.

-We used to joke that Agnetha got the job because of her name. The name of the previous singer was also Agnetha and because of that we didn’t have to have new posters printed, Bernt says laughing.

Everyone in the orchestra had regular jobs during the day. At the time Agnetha was working at the switchboard at Atteviks bil (car dealer) barely awake and longing for the next gig.

-It was a tough but fun time. In the evenings and on weekends we performed. When the dancing was over we packed up everything and went home. It was rare that we were able to spend the night. We didn’t have a lot of money and usually we had to go to work the next day, Bernt says.

But there was also another reason why there weren’t that many overnight stays. Agnetha’s parents…

In an interview a few years ago her dad Ingvar admitted: “I was very nervous when Agnetha left in the tour bus. Sixteen years old is a dangerous age with boys and I was worried when she had to spend the night in a hotel with all those guys”.

-Yes, we felt like we were being watched by Agnetha’s dad, Bernt says laughing.

Agnetha still sang with Bernt Enghardts orkester when she had her breakthrough with “Jag var så kär”.

-I remember very well when Agnetha brought this song at a rehearsal. It was the first one she had written herself. When we had played it all the guys said that “you’ll get on the Svensktoppen-chart with that song”. Agnetha didn’t agree, but we were right.

As we all know…