Waterloo at number one - this requires a brand new picture

Published July 02, 2015

When writing and researching a book such as ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions, listening to tapes of unreleased material is only one part of the job. Much of it consists of going through thousands of press clippings as well as radio and TV items in the hope of stumbling across that elusive long-forgotten fact that will shed new light on the story. Sometimes you strike gold, but sometimes you end up slightly disappointed.

When ABBA hit number one in the UK with 'Waterloo', an impressed Swedish newspaper reported that the Daily Mirror had sent a journalist and a photographer to ABBA's holiday island of Viggsö. Ever since I saw the Swedish article many years ago, I'd been curious about that Daily Mirror report. After all, if they went to all the trouble of flying to Stockholm and then making the fairly long journey by boat to the island, they must have made quite a story of it. Wrong!

When I finally located the report it turned out to be one picture, a very brief text with no direct quotes from the ABBA members - and that was it. These obviously were the days when the print media were rolling in money and could afford to send a team to an island in the Stockholm archipelago, just to get an exclusive photo of the artists who were number one that week. Incredible.

Note: Some alternate shots from this photo session have since emerged. I seem to recall seeing one with Agnetha spread across the front of the sailboat with the other three members in the back.

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The briefest of reports on ABBA's number one success in the Daily Mirror, 30 April 1974.