If you had to guess Ritchie Blackmore's favorite band, how many guesses would you have made before you landed on ABBA?

That's right, the Swedish pop four-piece whose music spawned the Mamma Mia musical and corresponding films is the favorite of the legendary Deep Purple and Rainbow guitarist. Blackmore revealed his pick during a live question and answer session with fans on Instagram that can be viewed below.

The favorite band question can often offer interesting insight into a musician's influences and tastes, but every once in a while you'll get some mentions that nobody would have guessed, and Blackmore likely surprised many fans in mentioning ABBA. In fact, per Blackmore's revelation, he's not the only one of his bandmates who shares an affinity for the group.

Ritchie Blackmore's ABBA Love Society

When asked his favorite band during the chat, the guitarist landed upon ABBA before sharing an anecdote about how his classic '70s lineup of Rainbow all confessed to their mutual love for the "Dancing Queen" hitmakers.

"It's a funny story with that," explained Blackmore. "We were in a chateau in France trying to do [Rainbow's] Long Live Rock 'N' Roll. We were all very bored. We were sitting around the fireplace — Cozy [Powell], myself and Ronnie [James Dio] — and we were getting a little bit kind of irritated because we were not coming up with any ideas. And Cozy said, 'Okay, I have to own up.' And we looked at him, because we'd been drinking, as usual, and we said, 'You have to own up about what?' He said, 'Are you ready?' I said, 'Yeah.' He said, 'I like ABBA.' To which I went, 'Oh my God. I love ABBA.' And then Ronnie goes, 'Yes. So do I.'"

"So now we've all embarrassed ourselves going, 'Ah, we love ABBA,' 'cause you're not supposed to say that," continued Blackmore. "And with that, Cozy runs off to get all the ABBA songs and to play them. And we played, for hours, all the ABBA songs around the fireside in this chateau. We should have been writing our own songs, but it was much better to listen to ABBA."

As for his true feelings about ABBA, Blackmore continued, "I think ABBA was the best band. I always listened to ABBA when I was a kid. It was so melodic, and it just worked. It was fantastic. And they are probably my favorite band of all time. And I know it's uncool to say that in certain areas. And they were wonderful."

Who Else Loves ABBA?

Surprisingly, love for ABBA in heavy music is not as rare as you might think. Corey Taylor expressed his love for the group back in 2021 telling the New York Times, "I remember hearing ABBA's music. It seemed like it was always on, and it was clearly different from everything else. It had this full-spectrum lush production that felt and sounded big. It was only four people, but those songs sounded like there were a thousand people being recorded. The math didn't add up to me."

He went on to state, 'Take a Chance on Me' was always my jam," Taylor explains. "I love the juxtaposition — the beginning sets the whole tone for the song, with this weird Gregorian monk-like chant going on, and all of a sudden the crazy European production kicks in. The modulation in those songs is beautiful. It hooks you in, the way it plays between the major and the minor. I just love the yearning feeling. When you put it on, I'm instantly in a good mood."

Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl is also a fan, telling NME back in 2011 that the group was an influence on their Wasting Light album.

"I like loads of crazy-ass, dissonant, distorted rock ‘n’ roll," he said, "but I also love the Bee Gees and ABBA, bands whose pop choruses get bigger and bigger. I love anthemic choruses, that overwhelming feeling of release that you can connect with. So whenever I thought I had a big enough chorus for a song, I would use that as the pre-chorus and then I would try and write something even bigger, like they did.”

In 2023, KISS' Gene Simmons credited ABBA as one his favorites to Goldmine, proclaiming, "If I’m riding in my car and ABBA music comes on, I turn it up and that’s the sign of greatness. Undeniable songwriting. You just can’t touch it. That’s why I have to pick ABBA because it’s just undeniable.

Avatar's Johannes Eckerstrom proclaimed online after ABBA reunited in 2021, "So, ABBA's reunion album is better than Black Sabbath's was. Just sayin'. Also, divorce disco and senior citizens musical theatre... And second marriage boogie. Some real shit right there," the Avatar frontman wrote on Twitter back in November, after ABBA's Voyage was released.

And back in 2016, Ville Valo joined MGT on a cover of ABBA's "Knowing Me Knowing You."

What Does Ritchie Blackmore Listen To Now?

While the ABBA discussion takes you back to what he loved in the '70s, the subject of what he listens to today was brought up, and Blackmore didn't have a favorable response in discussing today's music.

"I have a bad habit of not listening to the radio. I listen to the radio, but I have a bad habit of listening to talk radio because I don't like what they're playing on the radio," explained the guitar great.

"To me, music is very serious and I don't like what's on the radio and I find it disturbing. I find it irritating, but it's the fashion of the day. It's what's selling, and I can see that, but it's not for me," he admitted. "I stopped listening to the radio from a musical point of view about 40 years ago. I would often listen to classical music. I found that more refreshing because it wasn't pandering to the public. But I do not listen particularly to the radio."

READ MORE: Why Did Ritchie Blackmore Leave Deep Purple (Twice)?

In the latter part of his career, Blackmore has focused primarily on his Blackmore's Night band, though he did reform Rainbow with a new lineup for a period in 2015 but they last played together in 2019. The guitarist's most recent work came with Blackmore's Night on their 2021 album, Nature's Light.

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