Fan reviews

Published May 04, 2017

One of the main objectives in doing the revised and expanded edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions was to create a book for ABBA fans who are truly interested in the group's recording history. As few compromises as possible, was the motto, and let the text and the information be the "stars" of this volume. I also wanted it to be good-looking, and was more than fortunate to have my ace designer Maria Nicholas offering her services.

That said, you can never be entirely certain how your book's going to be received, so I'm pleased to report that reactions so far have been overwhelmingly positive. Here, for example, is a review by fan Edward Russell that was so detailed and insightful that I felt it deserved to be published in its entirety.

And, throwing modesty completely to the wind, below are extracts from comments made in social media or in email messages to me. To say that I'm moved and grateful is something of an understatement. Thanks, everyone, for your support during the making of the book and your lovely messages after it's been published!


"I read with great interest the excerpt from your book on icethesite a few days ago. I can honestly say that if this is anything to go by then the book should be a fantastic treat for us fans. I found it, of course, interesting but also very easy to read which I imagine was not easy to achieve as it must, by necessity, contain so much factual information as well as being accessible for the reader."

"I have just read the 1977 chapter. Love it. It's been great to learn more about One Man, One Woman and the lyrics for Hole In Your Soul. Your descriptions: wow. It's like I can hear them."

"I briefly had a look through the 1977 chapter as well but quickly decided to start at the very beginning. It's a great read so far."

"I'm totally engrossed! It really is a joy - I'm reading the essays first (just finished the one about recording the backing tracks), and they're just so informative."

"I had the first edition and it was a treasure trove. Have reached 1973 so far and the revised edition is even better than I had hoped for."

"This forensic, meticulously researched book is essential reading - not just for Abba fans but for anyone who loves pop."

"I'm loving the updated version of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions. It's like reading a brand new book about ABBA."

"I just wanted to say congratulations on the new book - I am completely engrossed as I never read the first edition - the detail is fantastic!"

"I feel like Moses taking hold of the Ten Commandments! My holy book has finally arrived - I need no other teachings or words of wisdom for at least the next 12 months!! It's all in this beautiful, beautiful volume of precious words."

"I received my copy yesterday and can't put it down."

"My oh my... I feel like when I first listened to the ARRIVAL Album (at the age of eight) when I read your book."

"I read a lot of 'rock' books. I loved the first edition, but this is quantum leap in quality."

"It is truly a joy both to look at and to read. I am completely engrossed as I write this! I am indeed in ABBA heaven!"

"Last night I felt like a kid in a candy store. I started out reading the foreword (felt like a very precious moment). Then I couldn't hold it together any longer. I threw myself into it. I wanted to read about 'Waterloo', about 'Dancing Queen', about... Suddenly I was reading about the Mellotron! Well, you get the picture. Then I ended up in one of the last entries of the book and made a shocking discovery... Reading this book will be such an amazing experience! You'll get it all, and then some more."

"It's really super. Nice layout (I love Maria's work) and great research."

"Enjoying the book so much!! Although it's tempting to skip ahead I'm reading from the beginning and am currently on the 1972 section. Only a short way into the book but this evening I've already had the answer revealed to something I've often wondered and never thought I would get the answer to. Can't wait for what is yet to come!!"

"I'm dipping into the book, starting with my favourite ABBA songs (which are If It Wasn't For the Nights, Move On, That's Me and I let the Music Speak). Then a particular stage which very much interests me - the difficulties they had creating songs they were happy with for Voulez Vous. I've also read two essays: 'Recording the vocals' and 'Overdubbing and mixing'. I'm thoroughly enjoying it, and once again deriving great pleasure from the author's considerable skill with the English language, which is up to the standard of the most skilled native speaker non-fiction writers."

"It is very likely the best ABBA book ever - and your biggest success as a writer."

"The overall look and feel of the book is superb. Great work by all involved and highly recommended."

"It looks great: lovely pictures, etc. And very detailed of course, the bible for every serious ABBA fan. I will be immersing myself in the next few days with this book and every ABBA lp and single on my turntable."

"I know I'm probably echoing what everyone else has already said and you've heard so many times, but I received my ABBA book: well worth the wait!  I've started reading it, much more detail than the original all those years ago which I remember buying and loving then too."

"An excellent layout job! (And the writing is good, too, and the research is impressively well done!)"

"Received the book on Monday. Been absorbing it since, great read. Thank you so much. Love the images from recording Waterloo in January 1974."

"I only want to let you know how HAPPY I am. Your long-awaited book arrived today and I already love it! It looks and feels like a masterpiece. And after having had a few glimpses into a few chapters, I already think that the contents are also a true masterpiece. Thank you for having created this wonderful jewel!  I already know that your book will be amongst the top 5 most loved and treasured books of my life."

"You have - again - done a wonderful job my friend!"

"I've been glued to the new book since I got home yesterday and found it on my doorstep. I think Carl Magnus Palm has always done more to rehabilitate the group's reputation than anyone else, ever. The deadly serious analysis, the indepth research and the intricate and intimate details make this a technical manual for detractors or anyone curious about ABBA's contribution to popular music. This new encyclopedia, gorgeously crafted by Carl Magnus and enriched by Maria Nicholas's vision has real gravitas, and I've never been more sure of the band's genius than I am at present."

"A work of art on every level. Thank you Carl Magnus Palm and Maria Nicholas."

"Thank you Carl Magnus Palm: at just a glance of this musical Abba tome, I can see how much thought and research has gone into it. It's appreciated so much by all of us."

"I'm just e-mailing you to let you know how much I'm enjoying reading ABBA – The Complete Recording Sessions. I find the detail fascinating. I'm trying to limit my reading time each day in order to prolong the enjoyment. It's also fun to Google and Spotify songs that the Abba members have added backing vocals to."

"Thank you for this book; reading it feels like diving into an ocean of music and emotion. If ABBA was a religion, this definitely is the bible."

"Like many others, I'm enjoying my copy of The Complete Recording Sessions! It really is marvelous! I love back-stories on anything (especially ABBA!) and so this book has been a joy to read thus far. Congratulations on a wonderful publication!!"

"A huge thank you!!! Although I only read a few things here and there, I fully understand why it took so much time to write because there is REALLY a lot of information and I can only imagine how much time and patience was necessary to make the book the way it is now! So, my sincere congratulations go directly to you and I will wait for your next project with the same impatience."

"Your book is fantastic, what incredible research! I can't stop reading."

"I read your book in just 24 hours - the level of detail is absolutely amazing, and every ABBA fan should own it!"

"As we say here in Australia: it's a great book, mate!"

"Thank you for your many hours of work, Maria. It’s a beautiful book as well as a fascinating read. Together, you and Carl Magnus Palm have created an important and in-depth reference work on the subject that will be read and re-read by me for years to come. You’re clearly a very gifted and talented designer and I wish you every success with you future projects."

"I received the book yesterday and I can't put it down. I'm learning so much about this band that has given me so much pleasure. I'm looking forward to many more hours of reading. Thank you for writing this wonderful book."

"I want to say thank you for your new book, Abba - The Complete Recording Sessions. You have done wonderful work, that will bring a lot of joy to Abba fans. I know I will enjoy immensely reading this book. As it says on the back cover of the book, this is no doubt a dream book for all Abba fans. Thank you to your designer Maria Nicholas, too."

"Halfway through the new edition and I am amazed at the details and charming anecdotes. Well done, Carl Magnus."

"The book is fantastic. You've really created something very special. 435 pages of details of recording sessions could easily have been rather dry, but your writing really prevents this from happening. It feels as if you are experiencing a journey reading the book, learning how the music develops. It's really interesting seeing the timeline of when the songs were started and finished and this adds, for me, so much to an appreciation and understanding of the finished albums. The essays are great. They really add to the technical, factual material filling in the gaps so that as a reader I am able to appreciate just how much work went into the the creation and recording of the songs and how those wonderful songs were made. I hope Björn is pleased too (finally have something honest, balanced and sensible written about the lyrics!)."

"I am so happy to hold this book in my hand now. It is a very grand piece of work and I thank you so much, Maria!"

"I am in awe with the depth of detail in the book."

"It really is a beautiful book, love the typography, very well done."

"Although I'm not finished reading it yet, I'm getting more and more impressed by the job you've done, Carl Magnus Palm! It's simply huge! The hours you must have spent! And, you've mailed and/or spoken to everyone involved, including the ABBAs themselves!"

"There is so much detail in there, and I love the essays on the writing, the vocals, Polar Music Studio, etc. CMP has a done a great job, and the thing is, you know his work is reliable and well informed. I'm really enjoying reading it - I would have paid double without a thought. Great book!"

"I hesitated to order the book, because I thought it would be too detailed about the recordings themselves, not the circumstances in which they were made. But my God, soooooo glad I ordered it. I just love it! I'm taking my time, I read about a song, listen to it (wherever I can find it, some are not available anywhere of course), reading the lyrics of the song. It is a real pleasure to understand the songs better now with all the explanations! Reached the year '75 at the moment: what a joy, even reading about songs that are completely new to me: it's a revalation!"

"It's a real page turner. I am once again discovering things I never knew about their recordings both issued and (currently) unissued."

"I'm up to the start of 1974 so far. Fascinating reading all the information. I had no idea Benny no longer contributed lyrically after 1974."

"Back in 1994 I bought the first edition, and then it was great to see that someone write SERIOUS things about ABBA. Over the years I thought that everything was then written seriously about them. Your new revised book has now corrected my thought. It is such a pleasure, that there are so many new details, and, as you said, snippets that form a new and complete story."

"I have just finished reading the new book, all I can say is OMG!! It is better than I could have ever hoped and every ABBA fan worldwide are mad if they do not get this book."

"It was a pleasure to receive and start reading your masterpiece. Can't stop doing so and also re-reading some facts really unknown for most of us all along these enjoyable pages."

"I have just finished reading the revised edition of The Complete Recording Sessions. A huge and heartfelt thank you. What a great read. Your contribution to the Abba legacy is unparalleled."

"It is simply amazing and engrossing, you should be deservedly and enormously proud."

"There is so much detail and information contained in the book that I know it will keep me entertained and enthralled for many years to come!"

"I can only join in the cheers for your new book - a huge work and a great result."

"I'm enjoying your book immensely! I will never know how you manage to unearth so many amazing facts that I have never heard before!"

"Well done on your book, the sections I've read so far are great!"

"The book is fantastic, I'm just knocked out by how much you have uncovered and shared. It's also gorgeous. I've always been a sucker for session sheets, industry trade ads, picture sleeves, and you have included gems that I've never seen before. Spectacular job my friend, thank you for all your dedication to this project. The results are truly dazzling."

"Congratulations on the new book, which I find super interesting and detailed. It has become the new Abba bible."


ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions (revised and expanded edition). Published March 31, 2017. English language. 448 pp. Hardback. CMP Text. ISBN: 978-91-639-2656-3 (or 9789163926563).