What they say about ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions

Published October 12, 2017

What the critics say:

"Scholarly and forensically researched but at the same time eminently readable ... The scope of the research is staggering ... The book stands as an enlightening study of a pop phenomenon ... A beautifully designed passion project ... The author has excelled himself in terms of Abba scholarship ... The ultimate ABBA artefact"

What the fans say:

"The book is very accessible for a general reader - it is far from a dry technical volume ... Truly amazing and a wonderful discovery ... I've never read a music book that's so detailed and gives so much insight into the songwriting process as this one ... I can't say enough about how good this book is ... It must surely be the most comprehensive work of its kind in the world ... So much new information, it's very hard to put it down!"

What you will say:

"This book sounds like a must-read. Where can I learn more and order a copy?"

Just go to abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com. It's easy to order: prices include postage and packing - a few clicks and you're done!

 

 

 

 

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has also managed to structure the narrative so that

it is very accessible for a general reader - it is far

from a dry technical volume.

Great Frida interview - and thank you for the book praise!

Published October 06, 2017

Are you a member of The Official International ABBA Fan Club? If not, you should be. The latest issue of its quarterly magazine features a great interview with Frida, where she answers many questions I haven't seen being put to her before. Considering how rarely Frida gives interviews these days, this is unmissable. Stany van Wymeersch, who conducted the interview, did a great job. Of course, there are many other interesting features in the mag as well - as always - including a fab interview with Benny by Robert Beuving.

Also, don't forget that membership in the fan club isn't particularly expensive, and that you get exclusive offers and opportunities to participate in ABBA-related events. Every ABBA fan should be a member.

On another note, the latest issue of the magazine also features two pages of fan comments about my book ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions. Can I just say thank you to everyone for their very, very kind words about the book? It's now a little over six months since it was published and I'm so happy with how this project turned out. We all - I, as the writer, and the fans who supported the making of the book - got what we wanted: a book that tells the story of ABBA's musical creativity in-depth. What an extraordinary result!

Order your copy of the book here: abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com


Benny Andersson's Piano album - a review and some further thoughts

Published October 03, 2017

I usually don't feel compelled to write anything about the former ABBA members' solo projects as they are released, mainly because they are usually being discussed and written about in so many other places that there is little for me to add. I do want to make an exception for Benny Andersson's Piano album, though, as this has triggered quite a few emotions and thoughts within me.

First of all, I really love this album. I don't care whether or not Benny is the most accomplished pianist on the planet - I'll leave that discussion to others - but I do feel it's him I'm hearing here. That may sound like a self-evident observation, but with no belting vocalists, no meticulously worked-out orchestral arrangements and no lyrics loaded with meaning, we're left with the sheer beauty of the melodies.

In one of the many interviews Benny has given to promote the album, he mentions that he and the recording engineer, Linn Fijal, had discussed whether they should make the album sound as if he was performing in a concert hall or simply as if he was sitting in a room, playing the songs. They wisely opted for the room, so that you would feel like you were right there beside him. And that's exactly how it feels for me. When I listen to the album I see Benny and his grand piano in front of me, nothing else.

For similar reasons, my favourite track on Agnetha's A album is 'I Keep Them On The Floor Beside My Bed', the only tune she wrote herself on the album - I hear pure Agnetha instead of some outside producers and songwriters' idea of what she should sound like. Piano is pure Benny, more intimate than anything he's ever done.

My only disappointment with the album is that he didn't include the 1966 Hep Stars hit 'Sunny Girl'. I do realise that it's a difficult fit among the more "worthy" works on the album, but I feel it would have been an appropriate nod to the 19-year-old who'd just discovered that he had the talent to write songs that communicated with people. Maybe I would have opened the album with it, as a sort of "prelude", and then ditched 'Thank You For The Music' which has become ABBA's 'Yesterday' in the sense that it's been heard so often that there is little emotion left to squeeze out of it.

I'm also amazed at all the media Benny has done to make the album known, and I especially like that, because of the nature of the product he's been promoting, many of the interviews have focused on him as a musician and composer. These are the kind of questions he should be asked more often. Just through following the media reports I have gained quite a few new insights, so well done to the people asking the questions and to Benny for agreeing to not only appear on the biggest, lowest-common-denominator TV shows.

Finally, I'm amused that journalist Camilla Lundberg has written the liner notes for the album. Forty years ago she wasn't exactly a fan of Benny's music. In her review of ABBA's Birmingham concert in February 1977 she wrote about their music that, "It is anything but varied, as is well-known. Nor is it beautiful, nor innovative." Admittedly, while more or less dismissing three quarters of the group, she noted that "Benny Andersson is the most interesting ABBA member. He is actually a real musician, he is the most spontaneous and most credible of them," but for the most part the review was a discussion of ABBA as a product, pushing the angle of how everything they did was part of a "plan", as was quite common back then. Lundberg is of course allowed to change her mind about Benny's music, but it still surprises me how critical assessment of ABBA and their members has evolved and changed over the years, to the extent that some of their fiercest critics are now a part of Benny's circle of friends.

 

 

Brief excerpt of original Fernando demo

Published September 28, 2017

SVT (Swedish Television) are currently airing a series about the stories behind major hits, with last week's episode focusing on Emilia's 1998 global smash 'Big Big World'. The song was of course co-written and produced by Lasse Anderson, the son of ABBA manager Stig Anderson.

Lasse's heritage, growing up with Stig as a father and working within the Polar Music organisation, is allued to in the programme, and what's of interest to us here is the excerpt from the 1975 documentary Mr Trendsetter, about Stig Anderson, featured in the programme. Let's look up page 164 in ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions (abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com) and find out why.

In a section about the recording of 'Fernando', we can read the following: "Interestingly, a Swedish documentary about Anderson, entitled Mr Trendsetter and filmed around this time, features footage of the ABBA manager working on the lyrics in his house on the Viggsö island. A few bits of Björn and Benny humming and playing the tune on a cassette tape can be heard in the background – the only known instance of any of these Andersson/Ulvaeus cassette demos being heard in public."

Well, a bit of that "Fernando demo" segment of Mr Trendsetter is included in the Big Big World programme, albeit obscured by narration. But you can just about make it out behind the talking, so I thought it might be of interest to ABBA fans. Oh, and I also realised there is an error in the text: the demo was not recorded on a cassette tape but on a reel-to-reel tape - I wonder where that tape is now...

Listen to the 10-second demo excerpt here.

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

 

ABBA's songwriting and recording secrets revealed!

Published September 21, 2017

Which classic ABBA hit had the original working title 'Turn Me On'? Which defining element of 'Dancing Queen' was only added at the last minute? What were the lyrics for the deleted verse in 'Hole In Your Soul' like? How did ABBA almost get it wrong with 'The Winner Takes It All'?

These and hundreds of other questions are answered in Carl Magnus Palm's revised and expanded edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions (abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com), which ABBA's Björn Ulvaeus calls "a fantastic work". Warmly greeted by ABBA fans all over the world, this book is unmissable for those who want to learn the secrets behind some of the best pop music ever made.

Order your copy here.

Author-signed ABBA books - clearance sale

Published September 11, 2017

I have surplus stock of some of the ABBA books I've written over the years and I am now selling them at bargain prices. If you want to, I can also sign them for you.

Stock is limited, so it's first come first served.

Prices include shipping to most places in the world (there are some exceptions though, send me an email at info@carlmagnuspalm.com to find out more).

Send me an email at info@carlmagnuspalm.com if you'd like to buy one or more of the books.

ABBA (hardback, first edition, Finnish language). The Finnish edition of ABBA - The Story. Price: USD 28


ABBA - The Backstage Stories (Swedish version). Price: USD 39


ABBA Backstage (German version of ABBA - The Backstage Stories). Price: USD 39


Send me an email at info@carlmagnuspalm.com if you'd like to buy one or more of the books.

More signed books available here