Part 1 (of 12): Passionate about music

Published March 30, 2010

This essay on the making of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions was written in 2004, a decade after the book was first published. Since then I've made minor updates to the essay here and there, but essentially it remains unchanged.

The road between first landing on the idea that I should write a book about ABBA's recordings, and then having the book published in October 1994, is not an especially straight one. Indeed, as I'm writing this, a decade after publication, it is hard to decide exactly where the story should begin.

I was given my very first music-related book in 1972: the Swedish translation of the biography The Beatles by Hunter Davies.Perhaps the right place to start is with my falling in love with The Beatles back in the late 1960s. I was born in 1965, so at the time I was just a toddler. When I was seven years old, in 1972, my dad bought Hunter Davies' authorised Beatles biography for me. I guess this must have started my interest in not just listening to music, but to read about it and learn more about the stories surrounding everything to do with music and artists.

As the 1970s progressed, this side of my personality became more important to me. In 1973 I began a subscription to a short-lived music paper entitled Ny Musik ("New Music"), and around the same time a friend and I started our own little home-made music magazine - it had about two readers, and it too turned out to be quite short-lived! Towards the late 1970s I had a little more money to spend as I saw fit, so I began buying more and more music books - primarily about The Beatles - and reading foreign music magazines.

Fortunately, I was fairly proficient in English even at this time, and no doubt listening to and reading about music from England and America helped sharpen this skill. Somewhere at the back of my mind there must have been a dream of writing about music in some form. On my first visit to London, in 1979 when I was 14 years old, I even visited the Smash Hits offices (I started buying this magazine from the very first issue and eventually became a subscriber).