Hallandale Beach Blog - A common sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, govt., public policy, sports scene and pop culture of the U.S., South Florida and Europe, especially the UK and Sweden.
In particular, Broward & Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood & Aventura. Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln. Photo in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A, September 2008; March 2018 photo below of North Beach, looking left-to-right, looking north, HYDE Condominium, Etaru Japanese Robatayaki restaurant, and Hollywood Beach in the distance, with umbrellas. All photos by me, © Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

ABBA Geniuses At It Again: Story Of A Heart, featuring Helen Sjöholm, Words & Music by Benny Andersson & Björn Ulvaeus

They're back!
Story Of A Heart, The Benny Anderssons Band (Orkester)
featuring Helen Sjöholm,
Words & Music by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus

Well, as they used to say so often on
Monty Python, "And now for something
completely different..."

For those of you who know me pretty well,
esp. those of you back in the D.C. area,
as well as those scattered coast-to-coast
around Hoosier Nation, you know better
than most that among many other things,
I am and have always been one of the
biggest ABBA fans around, from the very

Given that, if you've already heard on
your own via a European newspaper
or magazine or the internet what
Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus
have been up to lately, you've probably
been wondering why it's taken me so
long to finally get around to posting
this catchy new song of theirs called
Story of a Heart, or in Swedish,

Sommaren Du Fick

I guess I should say especially since
the words and music are by Benny
Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, only
the creative musical geniuses behind
not only ABBA, but the international
hits Chess -with Tim Rice- and the
perpetual money-making machine
that is Mamma Mia!

Yes, especially considering I'm the
very same guy who not only knew
all the lyrics, backwards and forwards,
to every ABBA song ever officially
released in America or the U.K.
-and even some of the Swedish
ones- but who in high school,
even had in a corner of my bedroom
in North Miami Beach, the record
company's lifesize cardboard stand-up
POS promotion of the group for their
upbeat Voulez-Vous album.

That was thanks to my great job over
at Record Shack in North Miami Beach,
just east of the 163rd Street Shopping
Center on N.E. 15th Avenue, a block
south of the Zayre's, to go old-time
NMB geography on you.

The promotional item was literally too
large for the store to handle, so I asked
the promotional guy at Atlantic Records
if I could have it.

Since he knew my whole music story
and knew what was what from our prior
conversations, he gave me the okay.
I was so eager to get it out of the store,
lest some calamity befall it if I waited
a day, that when I got off that night
I pulled the standup cardboard peg
at the bottom which helped keep it up,
and walked the ten minutes to mi casa,
balancing it on my head, so that I didn't
have to fold it to get it into a car.

When my two younger sisters woke-up
the next morning and I showed them
what was standing there in the corner
of my bedroom, they were speechless.
I was so pleased with myself!

(You don't want to know what fate
befell the less-popular record promo
stuff we received there that the record
companies didn't want back, and that
nobody-but-nobody cared for.
It got abused in the worst and funniest

By way of explanation, I should also
mention that my music teacher in
high school was one of the top studio
musicians in the country, and regularly
performed at Criteria Studios in nearby
North Miami for all the top groups of the
time when they came into town to lay
down some tracks, or, record an entire
album, and that even included ABBA.

In fact, he was part of this song recorded
at Criteria the month of my 18th birthday.

(I'll talk about that and some other
Miami musical moments in future
posts, including Jon Marlowe of
the late Miami News.)

Now, getting back to this new song
by Benny and Björn, I first meant
to post on it a few weeks ago, when
I first heard it on the BBC, but I got
sidetracked and decided that I'd wait
'til I started seeing some better,
cleaner audio versions of it uploaded
to YouTube.

Over the past weekend, I listened to
the various versions there, noting
what was good and what was bad,
until I selected two that I think best
represent the 'sound' you're expecting
to hear when you know who's behind it.

The song is sung by the wonderfully
talented Helen Sjöholm, who was
the original Kristina in their hugely
successful musical version of
Kristina från Duvemåla, which was
the series of books written by Vihelm
Moberg chronicling the travails of
poor Swedish emigrants journeying
to pre-Civil War America, and their
attempts to fit-in with both their new
surroundings and their new country.

(The early '70's film versions of some
of the Moberg books, especially
The Emigrants,
and The New Land
starring two film heavyweights,
film/stage legend Liv Ullman, and
the pro's pro, Max von Sydow
-who's actually Swedish- both of
whom are terrific, and well worth
watching if you can ever rent them,
or check them out of your local

The show will be playing in New York
in September at Carnegie Hall under
the title, Kristina the Musical

Sjöholm also played the key role of
Gabriella in the hugely popular film,
Så som i himmelen"
(As It Is in Heaven), and sang the
now-beloved eponymous song that
every Swedish girl and woman knows
the lyrics to by heart, Gabriella's

Some of you might recall that until
I removed it 2-3 weeks ago, for most
of this year, I had among the handful
of videos of hers here on my blog,
Molly Sandén singing Gabriellas

What a tremendous voice and talent! From April 11, 2008 on Swedish TV's (SVT's) popular program,
"Så ska det låta," the Swedish sensation who marries Pop Music with a powerful Soprano voice,
Molly Sandén singing "Gabriellas Sång" (Gabriella's Song) from the 2004 motion picture,
"Så som i himmelen" (As It Is in Heaven)

Sadly, Molly didn't fare quite so well
at the Melodifestivalen finals, to get
into the Eurovision Song Contest
representing Sweden, as Malena
Ernman earned that right, but no
serious music lover who knows of
her, or who has ever heard her truly
amazing voice, has any doubt that
Molly is the Real Deal, a star in
the making.

Just as is equally clear with both
Jóhanna Guðrún Jónsdóttir,
a.k.a. Yohanna, from Iceland,

or Esmée Denters of The Netherlands,
who Oprah loved so much she invited her
to Chicago..

Esmée Denters

All three singers clearly have talent to
spare and unlimited futures.
Time to jump on the bandwagon
while you can!

Below I have the two versions of
Story Of A Heart for you, in both
Engelska and Svenka, though for
me, personally, the Swedish version
rocks just a little bit stronger, as the
production sounds slightly clearer
than the version in English.
But maybe that's just me -be your
own judge.

First, in English:
Here's the Swedish version:

And a reminder, the older videos, photos
and materials that I've used here in the
are now at my mirror storage blog site:

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#HollywoodFL based photographer/entrepreneur Esther Chuang

#HOLLYWOODFL based photographer and entrepreneur Esther Chuang with Hollywood Mayor-elect Josh Levy
Thumbs up! What a night! #HOLLYWOODFL based photographer and entrepreneur Esther Chuang with a very elated Hollywood Mayor-elect Josh Levy at his Victory Party, held at Leo Anato's Atelier3/AT3 on Harrison Street & S. 19th Avenue, Hollywood. AT3's great environment and the amazing variety of food prepared by chef Kevin Dreifuss, former owner/chef of now-closed ENDS MEAT restaurant, was SUPERB! November 8, 2016 Esther Chuang, Morro Dois Irmãos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2015
Above, perhaps my most-favorite photo ever of Esther, which is really saying something considering the THOUSANDS that I've actually seen of her, from all over the world. But despite the fact that you can't actually see it here, trust me, her amazing smile and inner and external beauty are there. This photo is an even more amazing achievement when you know the backstory of what it took for Esther to get to the top of the mountain, since it's NOT for the faint of heart. Next time you see her, ask her about that! Morro Dois Irmãos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on her birthday, July 10, 2015. That's the Christ The Redeemer statue atop Mount Corcovado way out in the horizon on the top of another mountain, to the left of her head. To the right is the world famous beach of Ipanema and to the left is the equally famous beach of Copacabana. In case you forgot what the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio looks like, up close, plus the Amazon area of Brazil that Esther grew up near in Manaus, here's another Brazilian beauty to connect-the-dots for you: Gisele Bündchen, aka @Gisele.

Abençoado por Deus e bonito por natureza!✨ ������

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A floresta Amazônica tem um papel fundamental no equilíbrio do clima na Terra e, portanto, na vida de cada um de nós. Nos últimos anos a proteção diminuiu e o desmatamento aumentou drasticamente. E o que já era ruim, pode ficar ainda pior. Se as medidas que o governo vem tomando não forem vetadas, nosso futuro estará ameaçado. Diga NÃO à diminuição da proteção da Floresta do Jamanxim! Diga NÃO à exploração de minério no coração da floresta! #TodosPelaAmazônia #342Amazonia #TodosPelaAmazonia Assine a petição: link na bio. ������✨���� The Amazon Rainforest plays a key role in balancing the climate on the Earth and therefore in each of our lives. In recent years, protection has decreased and deforestation has increased sharply. And what was already bad can get even worse. If the measures that the government has been taking are not vetoed, our future will be threatened. Say NO to the reduction of the Jamanxim Forest´s protection! Say NO to ore mining in the heart of the Forest! #togetherfortheAmazon

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