ABBA Deluxe Edition - The Details

Published September 10, 2012


THE HISTORY OF THE ABBA ALBUM

The ABBA album was first released in Sweden in April 1975. Sessions for the album began in August 1974 and concluded in March 1975. This was the album that featured 'SOS' and 'Mamma Mia', the songs that would truly establish ABBA as a force to be reckoned with in the international pop landscape. Something of a bridge between the "finding out who we are" atmosphere of the group's first two albums and the virtually flawless Arrival album, ABBA is a hugely enjoyable album where we can hear the group's sound really come to life.


PUTTING TOGETHER THE DELUXE EDITION

The Deluxe Edition of the ABBA album is the sixth release in the series of ABBA Deluxe Editions (the seventh if you count the 30th Anniversary Edition of Waterloo). The format is the same as for previous Deluxe Editions: one disc a CD of the original album plus bonus tracks, one disc a DVD of previously unreleased television material relevant to the period when the album and its hit singles climbed the charts all over the world.

All tracks on the CD have been remastered especially for this release. On the 1-hour DVD, all items are previously unreleased. All musical performances have been synchronised with stereo sound, except 'SOS' from Seaside Special and 'Mamma Mia' from Top Of The Pops. Both of these items featured unique re-recordings of the songs, so they appear on the DVD as originally broadcast.

I guess the contrast between this and the most recent Deluxe Edition, The Visitors, couldn't have been greater. Instead of the bleak, serious and monochrome feeling of ABBA's final years, we get the bright, colourful, tongue-in-cheek and sometimes delightfully silly version of the group. I was almost shocked when I watched the first test-pressing of the DVD, just because ABBA looked so happy in everything they did. I'm sure you will feel the same.

For my liner notes, I interviewed Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus in August 2012. They both offered new perspectives on the 1974-1975 era and the songs created during that period. I also interviewed Bruno Glenmark, the owner of GlenStudio, where the bulk of the album was recorded. He contributed a few stories from the recording sessions that you may not have heard before.

ABBA Deluxe Edition was co-ordinated by Mia Segolsson. The CD was mastered by Masters of Audio, the DVD was put together by Filmtech, Fredrik Hurtig designed the package, and Wouter Timmers helped us with the single and album sleeves. Ian Cole helped out with additional comments and suggestions, and, along with Paul Carter, was an invaluable sounding-board and proof-reader when I wrote my liner notes.


THE MEDLEY MYSTERY FINALLY, FINALLY RESOLVED?

ABBA's so-called Folk Medley, which is a bonus track on this Deluxe Edition, has long been the subject of confusion and misconception. During the ABBA era, the recording was issued twice: first in 1975 and then in 1978. There are subtle changes in sound on these recordings, which has led some to believe (myself included) that although they sound so similar, they are in fact different mixes. Now, I believe that this is in fact not the case. The conclusion reached recently is that they are one and the same mix, but that the 1978 "version" was simply subject to a heavy dose of compression, which made it sound a bit different here and there. If you want a more detailed account of "The Medley Mystery", please read my recently updated piece towards the end of this page.

The version of the Folk Medley featured on ABBA Deluxe Edition is the original 1975 version.

Note: If you want to know more about the hows, whens and whys of the ABBA Deluxe Editions, please click the "About the Deluxe Editions" link in the More Info menu.