"One, two, three, four..."

Published May 11, 2015

Björn: "We could stop after a while, of course." Benny: "Yes, that's right."

Benny again: "One, two, three, four...".

This piece of dialogue - although in Swedish, naturally - preceded each and every attempted mix of 'Ring Ring' that I listened to today, my first day of getting to grips with the ABBA tape archives (for the purpose of updating my book ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions). The first part of the dialogue is on-mike, i.e. clearly audible, suggesting that it was recorded while Björn and Benny were about to do some vocal overdubs. The off-mike count-in, meanwhile, obviously hails from the original backing track recording session.

This was not necessarily the most interesting or revealing bit of recorded sound I heard today, but still it's somehow symbolic of the prying-the-door-open activities I'm now engaged in. Brief dialogue like that tends to bring you right into the studio. All of a sudden I could see long-haired Björn and bearded Benny in front of me, both in their late twenties, standing on the floor of the Metronome Studio in central Stockholm, working out the first truly important ABBA recording. "One, two, three, four..." and then the first building blocks of the famed ABBA sound were in place. Great stuff.

The details of what I heard today will of course be revealed in the revised and expanded edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions. Pre-order your copy here: abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com