I recorded in the same studio as ABBA

Published June 15, 2017

As some long-time followers of my blog posts may remember, I sang four songs on a children's album back in 1975. Because of my current profession, I thought it would be fun to identify any possible ABBA connections, and found three:

• Ola Brunkert was the drummer on the children's album
• Steel guitarist Janne Lindgren ('Happy Hawaii') appears on the album
• The sleeve pictures were taken by Bengt H. Malmqvist (innumerable ABBA publicity photos including park bench pic and Ring Ring album sleeve)

But during the writing of the revised and expanded edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions I found that there's one more connection, of perhaps even greater significance. I was able to confirm something I had a hunch about, which is that Ljudkopia, where the backing track for 'Bang-A-Boomerang' was recorded, and Polyvox are one and the same studio. In early 1975, when 'Bang...' was recorded it was still known as Ljudkopia, but by the summer of the same year, when I recorded those songs, it had changed its name to Polyvox.

Furthermore, according to the recollections of drummer Rolf Alex, some mixing work for 'Summer Night City' was made there as well, and this is where Rolf overdubbed his hi-hat on that recording. So the fact of the matter is that I've recorded on the same premises as ABBA. Call me silly, but I think it's kind of fun!

Of course, ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions features several essays about the recording studios most frequently used by ABBA, and a few paragraphs about Ljudkopia/Polyvox as well.

Order your copy of the book here: abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com


Whatever you do, don't knock ABBA!

Published June 10, 2017

It's August 1975 and ABBA are still in their post-Eurovision slump in the UK. Harry Doherty of UK music paper Disc has just given the group's eponymous album a one-star review - that's one star out of four. "Stick to singles, Abba. You're just a mediocre albums' band", is the harsh verdict, and Doherty (signing his review as "HD") doesn't even include 'SOS' and 'Mamma Mia' among his single candidates.

But wait! Two weeks later Disc publishes a letter from an irate reader, proving that ABBA did indeed have their ardent supporters in the UK even back then. I must admit, I have a certain fondness for angry fan letters to the editor, written at the time and not with the benefit of hindsight we have today. There's something truly touching about the passion contained therein, especially when it's for an act that isn't particularly successful.

Read the letter here.

And the full story of how the "mediocre" ABBA album was written and recorded, is of course available over 30-or-so pages in the revised and expanded edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions. Order your copy here: abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com

Rave reviews for ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions

Published June 01, 2017

When I decided to put together a revised and expanded edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions (abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com), I had one aim only: to satisfy those that were truly interested in an in-depth study of how and when ABBA's music was written and recorded. I had zero expectations on comments from the subjects of the book, much less that the book should receive much attention from the media.

Two months after the book was published, I'm happy to say that the reception of the book from  ABBA fans has been overwhelmingly positive - and I've had more accolades from ABBA members and the media than I had counted on. "A fantastic work," says ABBA's Björn Ulvaeus; "An exemplary display of research and writing," writes The Beat magazine; "The scope of the research is staggering, with a flowing narrative and a will to enlighten all the way through," writes Jan Gradvall. Seems I got it right this time!

I've just put together a page of the "professional" comments and reviews I've seen so far, which is available here. The fan reviews have been collected here.

And if you feel inspired to order the book after reading the reviews, it's available here: abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com


An actual ABBA member offers his opinion about ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions

Published May 17, 2017

Björn Ulvaeus mentions my latest ABBA book in an interview in today's Aftonbladet (Swedish newspaper):

"Carl Magnus Palm has recently published a substantial book in English about all of ABBA's recordings and studio days....
– That weighty bible is a fantastic work. That someone can set all that down in writing, says Björn Ulvaeus. I can only remember ten per cent of everything that's in the book. It's bloody great documentation."

Original Swedish article here.

If you want to find out for yourself if Björn's assessment is accurate, the book can be ordered here: abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com

The fascinating story behind the book design

Published May 11, 2017

I've mentioned many times how much I owe my ace designer Maria Nicholas in making the revised and expanded edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions a reality. In fact, every now and then I pick the book up simply to marvel at how great it looks - forget about my writing, it's just such a beautiful object!

Maria has just published a very interesting presentation of the philosophy and method behind her design of the book, which I thought was truly fascinating. The presentation is here, and I urge you to read it as I believe you will find it interesting.

Order your copy of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions here: abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com