Film celebrating 30 years of Benny Andersson and Orsa Spelmän to premiere soon

Published February 28, 2018

Last week I had the privilege of attending a preview of Anders Hanser's upcoming film, Benny Andersson & Orsa spelmän 30 år tillsammans ("Benny Andersson & Orsa Spelmän 30 Years Together").

Photographer Anders Hanser, with whom I did the book From ABBA To Mamma Mia!, was the man who introduced Benny to this group of fiddlers back in the mid-1980s, leading to their appearance on Benny's first solo album, Klinga mina klockor ("Ring, My Bells", 1987). Since then the Orsa Spelmän members have become a part of Benny Anderssons Orkester, and band member Kalle Moraeus has emerged as a very popular performer and TV personality in his own right. In the international ABBA fan community, there is a section that is particularly interested in this part of Benny's post-ABBA activities.

The film features plenty of rare footage and, apart from covering the collaboration between Benny and Orsa Spelmän, it also traces the fascinating story of how the Swedish folk music indigenous to the county of Dalarna (Dalecarlia) has been kept alive, in no small part thanks to Orsa Spelmän and the members' ancestors. The band is interviewed in the film, of course, as is Benny himself.

The film will receive its official premiere at the Röda Kvarn cinema in the town of Orsa on 18 March (click here for the poster/ad). It seems there will be a screening in Stockholm on 14 March as well. No doubt it will be shown elsewhere throughout the year.

Those ABBA essays...

Published February 23, 2018

As I'm typing this, it's almost exactly a year since the printing presses started churning out physical copies of my book ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions. Looking back at the extraordinary 12 months since then, one of my proudest achievements in the book are the five essays describing how the ABBA songs came into life, from "Writing the tunes" to "Overdubbing and mixing". Judging by the feedback, they've been appreciated by readers as well.

Those extensive essays were by far the most complicated things to tackle in the book. I remember when I was going to put together the first of them, "Writing the tunes", and thinking to myself, "Oh, this will take no more than two or three days". Two weeks later the darned thing was finally completed. That's pretty much how it turned out with all the essays.

The problem was that I had collected so much information - from my own interviews, as well as other books and newspaper and magazine stories - and the whole point was to give the reader as many details as possible. The challenge, then, was to include all that information, and still make the essay readable. The pages you see in the illustration come from the documents I put together with all the info, from which I then pieced together the essays. It wasn't easy, but, even if I say so myself, it was worth the effort.

Curious about the book featuring these essays? Then please go to to find out more and to order your copy.

Wellander and Schaffer together onstage

Published February 05, 2018

Here's something you don't see very often: ABBA's two main session guitarists, Lasse Wellander and Janne Schaffer, playing together onstage. As many fans will know, between them there are very few ABBA recordings with guitar-playing that don't feature either Wellander or Schaffer.

Tonight, just a few hours ago, they both performed two Wellander compositions when Lasse received the Studioräven ("The Studio Fox") award. In Swedish, a "studioräv" is "a session musician who's been around for many years and has done innumerable sessions". The prize is awarded every year by the Swedish Musicians' Union, and this year Lasse was one of the recipients.

And the saxophonist? You guessed it: Ulf Andersson, of I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do fame - plus, of course, he toured with ABBA in 1977.

A fun and memorable night, and a fitting tribute to the musicians who helped Swedish recordings sound great.

Read all about Wellander, Schaffer and Andersson's exploits on the ABBA sessions in ABBA - The Complete Recording Sesssions:


ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions nominated for book award

Published January 31, 2018

I'm immensely happy and proud to announce that my book ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions has been nominated for the 2018 Association for Recorded Sound Collections Awards for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research. 

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, and this year ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions is one of the nominees.

The winners will be announced in September 2018. Whether I win or not, I'm thrilled just to be nominated for this very cool award.

Want to find out what all the fuss is about? Learn more about ABBA – The Complete Recording Sessions and order your copy at

ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions for Christmas

Published November 30, 2017

Looking for a Christmas gift for an ABBA fan? Then you could do a lot worse than ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions! :-) Based on hundreds of hours of research, the 448-page book details the story of how the Swedish group created their pop masterpieces, and features plenty of insight from the four members of ABBA as well as the people who worked with them.

ABBA's Björn Ulvaeus calls the book "a fantastic work", the critics say it's "scholarly and forensically researched but at the same time eminently readable", "an enlightening study of a pop phenomenon" and "a beautifully designed passion project"; the fans feel it's "truly amazing and a wonderful discovery", "so detailed and giving so much insight into the songwriting process", and "surely the most comprehensive work of its kind in the world".

If you live in Europe, now is the time to order to ensure you have it well in time for the holiday season. (NB! Customers outside Europe should be aware that there is a chance the book may not arrive in time for Christmas if ordered now).

Order your copy here: It's easy to order: prices include postage and packing - a few clicks and you're done!


A day in the life of an ABBA researcher

Published November 24, 2017

Contrary to what some may believe, I don't research ABBA only when I'm working on a certain project. Research is ongoing all the time, as I'm absorbing new information from a multitude of different sources. You never know when the results of your efforts will come in handy, and there have been many times over the years when I've had reason to rejoice at a piece of info being available in my files - and I had even forgotten that I had it.

I keep a list of items that need to be researched at the National Library of Sweden here in Stockholm, and when that list starts getting long enough I spend a day at the library trying to go through as much as possible. It can be anything from following up on an alert that there might be an interesting interview in this or that journal, or just trying to verfiy a fact.

On my most recent visit to the library, for instance, I thought that I should try to pin down the date for a certain Bubi Heilemann photo session in Stockholm. In one of Bubi's books, the date is noted as June 1974, probably a guesstimate based on when the pictures were first published. However, I had something more concrete to go on from the photo session, namely a picture of Benny reading a newspaper, a detail of which is shown below.

Svenska Dagbladet

Behind him, there are also placards of other newspapers from that day.

Benny and placards

The headline in the newspaper is about the French election of 1974, mentioning François Mitterand. A little googling made it clear that this would have been May 1974. To cut a long story short, at the library - after locating the news items mentioned on the placards and comparing them with the newspaper headline - I was able to determine that this photo session had taken place on 3 May 1974.

Now, this in itself doesn't mean so much, but it gets a little more interesting when we put it  together with other things the ABBA members did around this time, which I'd found during other research:

29 April: A team from the UK's Daily Mirror travel to Viggsö island in Stockholm's archipelago, to take pictures of ABBA as they're going to be number one with their Waterloo single next week. The result was this photo session (I was able to verify this piece of info at the British Library a couple of years ago):

ABBA at Viggsö

ABBA are out relaxing at Viggsö, but the news that they're number one means that they have to go to London to appear on Top Of The Pops.

1 May: They film a performance of Waterloo on Top Of The Pops, which can be viewed here.

2 May: ABBA travel back to Stockholm; Top Of The Pops is broadcast that evening.

3 May: Bubi Heilemann conducts his photo session with ABBA (the main picture on this page was taken in Stockholm's Gamla Stan district). That same day, backing vocals are recorded for 'Aldrig mej' and 'Vill du låna en man', two tracks from Frida's upcoming solo album Frida ensam. I found the info about these recording dates at the SAMI archive in Stockholm back in 1993.

I don't know about you, but to me stringing together the dates like this gives me a clearer view of exactly how busy ABBA were after their 'Waterloo' victory on 6 April 1974. It won't change the ABBA story in any earth-shattering fashion, but it does add colour.

Just like ABBA went to London to appear on Top Of The Pops back in 1974, I will soon travel there myself to conduct further research at the British Library for the companion volume to ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions. Really looking forward to that, as there are few things I enjoy more than going through old music industry magazines searching for the tiniest details. I really do mean that!

In the meantime, ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions is available here: