ABBA - The Backstage Stories - the details

Published October 05, 2013


Ingmarie Halling, ABBA's Make-up and Wardrobe Supervisor during their tours in 1977, 1979 and 1980 (i.e. all their tours outside the Nordic countries, except the 1974 tour of Germany and Austria) had an idea for a book: to share her memories of ABBA's tours in book form, and bring in the background stories of the group's legendary costumes as well. The idea came to her through her involvement as Curator of the touring ABBAWORLD exhibition (which later morphed into ABBA The Museum, opening in Stockholm in May 2013).

She brought her idea to Swedish publisher Bonnier Fakta, and after discussing the idea they reached the conclusion that the book would be even better if they could widen the perspective a little. Both Ingmarie and the publisher knew me and my previous work with various ABBA projects, so they asked me to be a part of this new book.

For my part, I had long harboured the idea of doing some kind of project about the visual side of ABBA: the costumes, the album sleeves, the videos - in other words, how they presented themselves to the world. I thought it could be a book, or perhaps a television programme - or both. Eventually it turned into the television programme ABBA - Absolute Image.

I now brought these ideas into Ingmarie's book project - they were a natural fit, since it all boiled down to the same theme: ABBA presenting themselves to the outside world, as opposed to the work they did in the enclosed environment of the cramped recording studio.

I already had plenty of research done on the subject, and I finally got the opportunity to use this in book form. There are quite a few comments and pieces of information here and there that even the most ardent ABBA fan won't have heard before. I also did additional interviews with people who had worked with the visual side of ABBA, some of whom hadn't been interviewed at length before, such as photographer Ola Lager, who did all the ABBA album sleeves between 1974 and 1979 (except ABBA - The Album, of course, which featured a drawing), and even Peter Wiking, who designed the Ring Ring sleeve. Some of their stories were definitely completely new to me, and I think you will enjoy them too.

Essentially, this is very much Ingmarie's book, however, and several chapters in it are devoted to the tours and the stories about what went on onstage and backstage, as told by her and other people involved, including the ABBA members. Commentaries and reflections from Agnetha, Björn, Benny and Frida are interspersed throughout the book, and each of the four have contributed a personal foreword. Also, there are a number of previously unpublished "private" pictures from the tours.


Last, but certainly not least, there are also a number of fascinating facsimiles from Ingmarie's personal archive. I'm not talking about ordinary memorabilia, but documents, letters, hand-written notes etc. that were actually written or used by members of the ABBA entourage. You can't get more "backstage" than that!


At the time of writing, publishing deals for ABBA - The Backstage Stories are in place in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Italy and the English-speaking countries. However, some of the editions published outside Sweden have titles and covers that are markedly different from how the book was conceived. Here follows an attempt to list the various editions and how they differ. Note: It's only the titles and cover pictures that differ (and, of course, the language), the inside contents are identical, with one exception only (as far as I'm aware at the time of writing): Carlton's and Sevenoaks' UK editions, as well as the Italian edition, come with a black & white poster featuring ABBA onstage in 1979.

Click on the book title (where applicable) to see a picture of the cover. Ordering links for some of the editions available in the "ORDER FROM" menu to the right.


ABBA - The Backstage Stories (Swedish-language edition)
Published March 18, 2014, by Bonnier Fakta. This is the original edition of this book, as conceived by the authors and the publisher.

ABBA - The Backstage Stories (English-language edition)
Published March 18, 2014, by Bonnier Fakta. This is an English-language edition of the book, which sports the same cover as the Swedish edition, only sold in Sweden. The translation is the same as used in the British editions (see below).


ABBA - The Treasures (English-language edition)
Published by Carlton, March 6, 2014. Title and cover differ from the editions published in Sweden, but contents are identical, except this edition also features a poster.

ABBA - The Backstage Story (English-language edition)

Published by Sevenoaks, a Carlton-owned imprint, circa May/June 2014 (?). This is only sold through UK retailer The Works, and this is why it has an alternate cover and title. However, the contents are identical to Carlton's regular edition, including the poster.


ABBA - The Treasures (English-language edition)
Published by Carlton, August 5, 2014. Identical to the edition as described under "GREAT BRITAIN" above.


ABBA - backstage-historierne (Danish-language edition)
Published by Nyt Nordisk Forlag, March 25, 2014. Previously announced as ABBA bag scenen ("ABBA Backstage"), the title of the book has been changed to ABBA - backstage-historierne, which is a straight translation of the original title.


ABBA Backstage (German-language edition).
Published by Heel Verlag, March 31, 2014 (this is the date listed on Amazon, but it seems it was actually published in mid-March).


ABBA backstage: historiene, bildene, minnene (Norwegian-language edition).
Published by Kagge Forlag, August 29, 2014.


ABBA (Italian-language edition), features a cover similar to Carlton's English-language edition.
Published by 24 ORE Cultura, October 2014.



ABBA -- The Backstage Stories. Published by Bonnier Fakta, March 2014. 80 pp. Hardback in box. ISBN: 9789174243246.


Swedish and English editions, published by Bonnier Fakta in Sweden:


Carlton's English-language edition, entitled ABBA - The Treasures:


Sevenoaks' English-language edition, entitled ABBA - The Backstage Story:


Danish edition:


German edition:


Norwegian edition:

Italian edition: