The Remasters - the details

Published April 03, 2010


At the end of the 1990s, a decade after PolyGram acquired Stig Anderson's group of companies, PolyGram itself was bought by the Canadian conglomerate Seagram's. The new proprietors then proceeded to merge their acquisition with a record company they already owned: Universal Music. The end result was the biggest record company in the world.

When the dust had settled after this complicated process, Marko Söderström - then Strategic Marketing Manager at Universal Music in Sweden - set about figuring out what could be done with the ABBA catalogue. One of his first decisions was that the eight original ABBA albums needed to be repackaged. This had been done as recently as 1997, but there was still room for improvement in terms of layout, selection of bonus tracks etc. "Although ABBA's original albums have been reissued several times, we felt there was an urgent need to upgrade the packaging," Marko recalled in the press release for the reissued CDs. "ABBA is one of the world's biggest bands ever and it's important that the packaging keeps a high standard."


Marko asked me to be a part of this process. We had a few meetings and discussions about the project throughout 2000, but it wasn't until January 2001 that work truly was started. The team was quite small: in effect, it was Jeanette Andersson and Meta Lundström, both at Universal Music, and myself who put the whole thing together.

Picture selection was done by myself and Jeanette: we searched through books like my own From ABBA To Mamma Mia! and Jean-Marie Potiez' ABBA - The Book, and we also visited a number of picture archives in Stockholm. The goal was to find pictures that accurately reflected the time period when the album was recorded and promoted. Where possible, we wanted to include some photographs that hadn't already been printed zillions of times. However, finding "good colour pictures" was our main objective.

I wrote new liner notes for all eight albums. I also provided suggestions for track listings, which were then discussed and whittled down to a final suggestion that was submitted to ABBA's Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson for their approval. At their request, Dream World was removed as a bonus track from the Voulez-Vous album and You Owe Me One was not included as a bonus on The Visitors, but otherwise the track listing remained intact according to our original intent. Jon Astley set to work on the additional bonus tracks that weren't already available as 24 bit remasters.

One complication was tracking down the American remix of Ring Ring, which had previously only been released on the North American issue of the Waterloo album on Atlantic Records. For many ABBA tracks that were originally only released outside Sweden, there was no tape available in the Polar Music archives. After a number of phone calls and e-mails, the tape was finally sent over from the US so that it could be properly remastered.

For the design, most of the films for the original album sleeves were located. The clean, Scandinavian artwork for the CD re-releases - all in line with Universal's current policy of "bringing ABBA back to Sweden" - was created by Fredrik Hurtig at the design company In Fine Style.


The live album, ABBA Live (consisting of recordings made between 1977 and 1981, originally released in 1986) was a part of the remastering program in 1997, but in 2001 it was absent from the re-released CDs. Universal Music felt that there must be a better way to put together an ABBA live album, so therefore this title was deleted. It seems a complete live concert of one of ABBA's show at London's Wembley Arena in November 1979 will be released in 2014.



November 2005 saw the release of a box set entitled The Complete Studio Recordings, containing a complete overview of ABBA's studio-recorded works. Click the link to the right for more info.

In the period 2004-2014, Anniversary/Deluxe Editions of Ring Ring, Waterloo, ABBAArrival, ABBA - The Album, Voulez-Vous, Super Trouper and The Visitors have been issued.


ABBA - The Remasters. Ring Ring, Waterloo, ABBA, Arrival, ABBA - The Album, Voulez-Vous, Super Trouper and The Visitors originally released 1973-1981. These remasters released in jewel cases June 25, 2001. Limited digipak editions released July 16, along with limited vinyl editions on July 23.