An update on ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions

Published April 15, 2016

As regular readers of my blog and Facebook messages will know, work is ongoing on the very exciting project that is the revised and expanded edition of my book ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions. Every day working on the book is a day of endless fascination for me, as disparate facts and information gleaned from listening to alternate mix tapes come together to form new theories and conclusions regarding ABBA's recorded work. If you're interested in how the group's music came to be, this is a book that will not disappoint.

There is an aspect I need to clarify, though. Contrary to what I believed when I first announced the project, there are some tapes that I will not be able to listen to. The multitrack tapes (i.e. 16-track and 24-track tapes) will remain off limits for everyone outside the group and their immediate circle. This was a misunderstanding on my part, and the misunderstanding is my responsibility entirely. There have been some discussions about this, but those have now reached the end of the line, so I please ask everyone not to contact the former ABBA members, their representatives or their record company about this. Much as I applaud passionate feelings about this project, contacting ABBA and their representatives at this stage is not going to help the book. Thanks for understanding.

What will this mean for the book? Less than you'd think, to be quite honest. The multitracks are unlikely to feature any unheard songs - there would have been traces of such titles on tape boxes or on session sheets if they existed - so what would remain would perhaps be a few alternate takes of backing tracks with no vocals. My understanding is also that many of these alternate backing track takes were junked along the way, so as to keep the library of multitracks neat and clean, which means that the remaining alternate takes will mostly be instrumental versions that perhaps ran a bit slower or a bit faster than the familiar version. 

Another important fact: On my journey through this project, I've come to the realisation that the alternate mixes do a much better job of telling the story of how ABBA's songs and recordings evolved over time than the multitracks would have done. It is in the alternate mixes that we can hear when certain overdubs were added in the process, when they were removed, and how ideas were put forward and discarded along the way. The multitracks would only show what was still on the tracks, without saying anything about in which order all the different elements and overdubs were added.

All in all: the revised and expanded edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions will bring us all much closer to ABBA's working process and how their music was written and recorded than any other book has been able to - or, in all likelihood, will ever be able to accomplish. As the author of the book, I have been granted unique access to tapes and materials that are off-limits to most other people on this planet. Thanks to the support of ABBA fans all over the world, this book will now become a reality, and I guarantee a book that will be an eye-opener for everyone.

Thanks for reading, and I hope to see some of you at the ABBA Friends and Fans Day at ABBA - The Museum here in Stockholm, when I will do a presentation about ABBA's recording sessions.

Pre-order your copy of the book here: abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com

 

ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions, revised and expanded edition.