How the story of ABBA's Song X became three-dimensional

Published September 22, 2016

Among the best parts of working on the revised and expanded edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions is talking to the musicians who played on the records. When I wrote the first edition, I didn't have time to talk to more than the three drummers, two bass players and two guitarists who did the bulk of ABBA's session work. Of course, I knew all along that those other musicians must have memories and stories as well, and this has proven accurate.

One of my greatest "coups" is that I've been able to talk to quite a few of the people who played on Björn and Benny's backing track session in Miami in February 1979. On the tape box the song was labelled 'Song X', but later morphed into 'Voulez-Vous'. Information about this session has been sketchy, to say the least. We've had Björn, Benny and Michael Tretow's memories, and the late Tom Dowd also talked a bit about it in a 1982 interview, but that was basically it.

Well, I now have the memories of so many of the people that actually were there for those two February days that the story has become three-dimensional. Instead of being anonymous "members of disco group Foxy", the musicians have become flesh-and-blood human beings, as have some of the engineers involved. After talking to these people, I feel a little closer to the action, and I'm so grateful that they agreed to talk to me.

Just in the past few days, I've also got some more info about the Miami session, which makes the story even more detailed and interesting. Can't wait to share it with you in the book!

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ABBA's Voulez-Vous started out as a Miami-recorded backing track entitled Song X. (Sleeve scan courtesy of ABBA For The Record website.)