Focusing on the music

Published January 08, 2016

As some of you may already have seen, the designer of the revised ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions, Maria Nicholas, recently tweeted a pic of her first design draft of a complete book chapter (this same picture illustrates this text). It's been very exciting for me to get a real flavour of how the book might turn out once it's completed.

However, seeing the pages for the first time like that has also brought something home to me: if I want the book to become a comfortable reading experience, I will have to remove some of the sections I had planned to include in it. Before you go into shock, let me assuage your worries: the core of the book - the facts and stories regarding the writing and recording of ABBA's music - will not be affected. I'm obviously very protective of everything to do with that since that is the whole point of doing the book, and the reason those of you who have pre-ordered the book are buying it in the first place.

The sections that I will have to remove from this book are the background stories of how the original Polar single and album sleeves were conceived. In other words, I will have to make the work of Agnetha, Björn, Benny and Frida my priority rather than the work of the many other talented people they collaborated with. These stories will instead be presented in a separate ebook/pdf file which will be made available for free shortly after ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions has been published (it will be free for those who have bought ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions but will also be available for purchase for everyone else). The great advantage with giving the sleeve design stories their own, separate context is that there won't be any space restrictions. I feel confident that you will agree I've got my priorities right here.

I should also point out in reference to the "complete" chapter that Maria designed for me, that it's only complete in the sense that it has a beginning, a middle and an end. If you were to read that chapter today, you would find it enjoyable and informative, but since this project is growing organically, new information is constantly added as I come across it. Therefore, none of the chapters are actually finished yet.

I'm working very hard on the book, and have only had a few days off over Christmas. I've just finished the first draft of the 1976 chapter, and again it's been so much fun piecing together facts and stories - some of which I've had in my files for many years, some of which are brand new discoveries - and having several eureka moments when I finally understand how this or that song evolved over several recording sessions. Next up: 1977...

Pre-order your copy of the revised and updated edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions here:

A glimpse of the first full chapter design for ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions. Pic: Maria Nicholas; photo montage: Chris Williams.