ABBA by Micke book

Published January 10, 2012

When you're spending most of your time working on various ABBA projects, as I do, after a long day's hard work you tend not to think, "gee, let's relax by listening to ABBA or watching an ABBA DVD or reading an ABBA book or magazine." As a result, I often end up with a backlog of ABBA-related releases to catch up with.

Recently I devoted some time to catching up with my ABBA reading, among them the book ABBA by Micke, by long-time fan Micke Bayart. The core of the book is the many articles the fan club team wrote for the German fanzine ABBA Fan-Blatt between 1984 and 1988. These mostly consisted of meetings with various ABBA members at airports, television studios and the Polar Music offices. The book gives a good view of the diligence with which some fans have tracked down and then met their idols - there is no shortage of photos of Björn and Benny carrying shoulder bags at airports, outside hotels and at other venues.

Most interesting for me are the interviews with the ABBA members, originally printed in German in the fan magazine. These have now been transcribed in English in the book, and you do get some fascinating fact nuggets here and there. These were something of "wilderness" years for Agnetha, Björn, Benny and Frida, where they certainly achieved media attention for their various projects, but the coverage was less intense. And with many fan clubs closing down shortly after the group stopped working together, not to mention the official ABBA magazine, only loyal fans such as Micke bothered to keep track of the four Swedes. For instance, this book was the first time I read a public comment from Benny on the controversial ABBA Live album. Not of earth-shattering importance, perhaps, but truly interesting for those of us interested in "ABBA details".

I'm hoping the people behind other ABBA fanzines will follow in Micke's footsteps and compile their material in books. I'm sure there are many other long-lost stories out there that deserve to be made available to a larger audience. And in English, please!