Boney M and ABBA were two of the biggest bands of the 1970s, bringing disco music and chart-topping hits to millions of fans throughout the party era – but while they were strong competitors in the charts, the bands were actually good friends away from the spotlight.
Now, Boney M singer Maizie Williams, 67, has revealed what the ‘Dancing Queen’ singers were really like off stage, as she opened up on their partying days together in an exclusive chat with Starts at 60.
“The memories are good memories. ABBA was before Boney M, and when we came out there was a rivalry there because we were competing and people were comparing us,” she explained.
“ABBA were an amazing group to be paired with though! We had a lot of respect for them, we felt privileged. ABBA had the most beautiful songs. They’d have a hit, then we would come out with one, and it would be a battle in the charts. It was an up and down battle, but we’d laugh about it when we came together. It was fun.”
Asked what they were like in ‘real life’, Maizie added: “They were just ABBA, very normal and very humble people. We would do things together, we’d all stay in the same hotel and we’d end up at the same bars and nightclubs together. They’re lovely people, really. Very down to earth.”
Finding such huge success in the ’70s made it a particularly special time for Maizie, who has nothing but happy memories of the time – putting her career and wild parties ahead of settling down with a family.
While she’s admitted she now regrets never having children, she wouldn’t change those days for the world.
“Thank God I had the fame in the 70s, I wouldn’t change it for anything,” she said. “That was one of the best times of my life! It was just a wonderful time, the ‘70s were amazing in so many ways. It was a lovely time to be around.
“There was a spirit that was floating around in the air, along with us coming to the end of the Vietnam War and then you had all these protest campaigners like Bob Dylan who came up with beautiful songs.
“Then you had the hippie times, it was a lovely time, before the very glamorous period. The fashion was amazing, that’s what it was about, fashion and music. The music was great, everywhere you turned there was good music.”
The singers prioritised their careers at the time, with Boney M shooting up the charts with hits like ‘Daddy Cool’ and ‘Rivers of Babylon’, however they always found time to enjoy their success too.
“The disco scene was amazing. There were so many good ones around, when you walked into a nightclub you were on the dance floor all night until you left,” she added. “It was all fun, good fun – not stressful – but at the same time we worked hard at what we were doing. Everyone was paying their dues.”
Indeed, she has continued her success in the limelight and is now preparing to return to Australia in October with her new group BONEY M (Feat. Maizie Williams), performing some of the original line-up’s biggest hits as well as new tunes.
The Euro-Caribbean vocal group was first created by German record producer Frank Farian and originally based in Germany, with members from Jamaica (Liz and Marcia), Montserrat (Maizie) and Aruba (Bobby).
They sold more than 80 million records with well known hits including ‘Daddy Cool’, ‘Ma Baker’, ‘Rasputin’, ‘Mary’s Boy Child – Oh My Lord’ and ‘Rivers of Babylon’.
While Maizie is loving her new line-up now, she admitted she will always miss the old days with her former bandmates.
“We achieved it together and grew together. We became a family on and off stage,” she explained. “You read each other and know what the other will do next when you’re performing. I do miss them. My line-up now are really nice guys, I’m really pleased to have them, but I do miss my original colleagues of course.”
To buy tickets for Maizie Williams’ upcoming tour, visit the official website here.