Björn and Benny - who wrote what?

Published September 07, 2017

In a few weeks, Benny Andersson will release his new solo album, Piano, featuring his solo interpretations of tunes from his catalogue - from ABBA to the present day. Several of the songs on the album were written in collaboration with Björn Ulvaeus, and although the latter concedes that Benny was always the "musical motor" in the Andersson/Ulvaeus partnership, it would be wrong to underestimate the importance of Björn's presence in the room when those songs were written.

In this excerpt from my book ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions (abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com), Benny gives full credit to his songwriting partner:

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While Benny remembers several melody lines for ABBA songs coming to him, today Björn can’t remember any specific parts of tunes that he himself contributed. “Benny provided most of the music even in the early days,” he admits, “but it’s awfully difficult to say exactly where things start and end during the songwriting process.” And, as Benny points out, the Andersson/Ulvaeus partnership has never been about that type of issue. “It’s an interesting question, to pinpoint who does what in a song. It might be that one of us brings along a song that is complete: both of us feel that it’s complete, so that’s what it is. But let’s say that the song is complete, and then one of us says, ‘Wait a minute, what if we do it like this at that point in the song?’ and then we both agree, ‘Yeah, that’s really great!’ Who has written the song then? Is it the work of one person or of two persons? In other words, if we agree on a thing together, then both of us have been equally involved. In that respect there’s a tremendous difference between being alone and being together.”

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The 5,000-word essay about Björn and Benny's songwriting methods, from which this excerpt was extracted, can be read in full in ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions. Order your copy here: abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com