"We wish you the best of luck with your book" – Benny and Björn's original foreword

Published November 16, 2018

Recently, I had reason to revisit my original 1993 interviews with Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus for my book ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions (abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com). I was reminded what a privilege and what an extraordinary situation that was, sitting with them individually for hours on several different occasions, discussing this, that and the other from ABBA's recording career.

As if that in itself wasn't enough, they also wrote a great foreword to the book. They certainly didn't have to do that, but they did. What a thing to happen.

In case you haven't seen the foreword before, I thought I should post it here. It still makes me very happy read it, and takes me back to a very special time in my life.

Click here to read the foreword.

The revised and expanded edition of the book is available here: abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com


Yes, it's for real! Proudly presenting my book award

Published November 14, 2018

As previously announced, my book ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions has won an Award for Excellence In Historical Recorded Sound Research. The award, 2018 Best Discography in Popular Music, has been bestowed upon me by the Association for Recorded Sound Collections in the United States. I hope to travel to Portland, Oregon in May 2019 to attend the awards ceremony.

In the meantime, the association has sent me the actual award certificate. I am of course immensely proud of this award, but I also feel that a part of it belongs to everyone who has bought the book, perhaps especially those who pre-ordered it: without your faith in me, the revised and expanded edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions wouldn't exist. Simple as that.

You haven't purchased the book yet? Wondering what all the fuss is about? More info and convenient ordering links are available here: abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com


Björn Ulvaeus' new book - a review

Published October 13, 2018

ABBA and autobiographies are a strange, or at least a bit unusual, story. Agnetha's 1996 book As I Am seems to have come about at the suggestion of co-writer, Brita Åhman, rather than a pressing need on Agnetha's part to share her story. Frida is currently working on a sort of fairy-tale version of her life, where she, and presumably everybody else, will be depicted as animals. And if I recall correctly, Benny said not too long ago that he's never going to write his memoirs.

Which leaves us with Björn, who has said that he has tried writing his autobiography, but found the excercise too lonely, plus he feels he has a hard time remembering things. But rather than ditch the idea completely, he has now published something of a memoir. In collaboration with London based artist Patrick Vale, who has provided illustrations, Björn has published the book You Are Who You Meet. It takes the form of chronologically presented meetings with people throughout his life: family, love interests, professional collaborators, etc.

I think this approach works really well. Instead of forcing himself to go through every itty bitty detail of his 70+ years on the planet, he provides the reader with glimpses of events that have been important to him. Björn is a good writer and he conveys these memories in a way that engages the reader. Those of us who are into those itty bitty details will notice that he's got several of the dates wrong, but I guess that's neither here nor there when the stories themselves are so interesting. There are a number of anecdotes in the book that I certainly can't recall having read anywhere before. In other words, You Are Who You Meet, modest though it may be in its scope, is essential reading for the dedicated ABBA fan.

Now, this being an ABBA member book project, there is, of course, a catch: you can't buy it in regular book shops. It is only sold at Björn's Slottsholmen complex in his hometown of Västervik on Sweden's east coast.

Fear not, though, for the ABBA Fan Club Shop has reached an agreement to sell the book, making it available to those who aren't able to travel to Västervik to buy a copy. Helga van de Kar, who runs the shop, tells me that the first copies she ordered were sold in a flash, but she's expecting more books soon, so click here to pre-order and she will help you.

 

Dine (While The Music Still Goes On)

Published October 02, 2018

In 1993, when I interviewed ABBA's Björn Ulvaeus for the original edition of my book ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions (abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com), he told me the story of writing the lyrics for the Waterloo album's Dance (While The Music Still Goes On).

"I wrote the lyrics in a small Stockholm flat that Polar or someone working at Polar owned," he told me. "Agnetha and I had [our daughter] Linda by then, so I probably needed somewhere to be where I could concentrate properly. I remember that I had some canned food with me, called Mat för en (“Food For One”): there were two cans and then you were supposed to just heat the contents." I was eight years old in 1973, when those lyrics were written, and I had no memory of Mat för en, but ever since Björn told me the story I've tried to picture it.

A while ago I found this ad, and according to the copy there weren't two cans but just one glass jar, the contents of which you heated up by putting it in boiling water. At least this was how it worked back in 1969, when this ad was published: the Dance (While The Music Still Goes On) lyrics were written four years later. A typical product for its times: home cooking was out, time-saving ready-made dishes were in.

Such delicacies were Björn's fuel when he wrote the words for one of the best songs on the Waterloo album.

This is where Agnetha and Björn met for the first time

Published September 24, 2018

On 23 May 1968, Agnetha and Björn met for the first time when both performed at Idrottsparken in Målilla, Sweden. I believe this is the stage where they performed, picture snapped by me a few days ago.

The stage looks tiny and unglamorous? That's how they looked in many Swedish folkparks at the time. It didn't matter if you were among the biggest stars in the country or a local act - everyone had to do their shows under the same circumstances.

Here is an excerpt about that first meeting between Agnetha and Björn from my book Bright Lights Dark Shadows - The Real Story Of ABBA.

ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions wins an award

Published September 13, 2018

What an extraordinary journey my book ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions (abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com) has been. Latest news: I'm so proud and happy to announce that, after being nominated in January, the book has won the Association for Recorded Sound Collections award for Best Popular Music Discography. I don't even know who nominated my book, but whoever you are: thank you!

The Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) was formed in 1966 and is, according to their website, “a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and study of sound recordings—in all genres of music and speech, in all formats, and from all periods.” As part of their activities, since 1991 the ARSC Awards for Excellence has also been recognising outstanding published research. The full title of the award bestowed upon ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions is: Best Discography in the 2018 Association for Recorded Sound Collections Awards for Excellence in the category Best Historical Research in Recorded Popular Music. Phew! (The ARSC press release is here.)

There will be an awards dinner in Portland, Oregon in May 2019, which I hope to attend.

I would like to thank everyone who supported the crowdfunding campaign for the book and everyone who pre-ordered it – the book wouldn't exist if it weren't for your faith in my ability to deliver on my promise.

The extraordinary generosity and support shown by so many people when the book was written and produced also deserve special mention. It's been about 18 months since the book was published, but I'm still marvelling at the fact that everything turned out exactly as I'd hoped it would – and even better!

There are still copies left of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions, but it's selling steadily, so if you're interested in a copy there's no time like the present. It will not be reprinted in it's current form: dust cover, cloth-binding, nice paper etc.

Learn more and order your copy here: abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com

How did ABBA create their music? The full story in ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions

Published August 31, 2018

ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions (abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com) is a book exploring in detail how ABBA's music was written and recorded, based on extensive archive research and interviews with all four ABBA members plus many of their associates.

The book encompasses 448 pages and is a beautifully produced artefact. In a diary format, the book explores the writing and recording of ABBA's music - it's got the factual details, but also the human element: anecdotes, stories and opinions about the music from those involved in creating it. There are a number of essays taking a closer look at how an ABBA song would be created, from A–Z. And much more!

ABBA's Björn Ulvaeus calls ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions "a fantastic work", while reviewers have said that it "stands as an enlightening study of a pop phenomenon", and that it's "the ultimate ABBA artefact". More reviews here.

Read an excerpt from the book here.

Order your copy at abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com.