Makeup to Breakup on Sirius XM radio

Published January 09, 2021

In case you haven't had enough of me talking about ABBA, Sirius XM - the U.S. satellite and online radio company - have launched a podcast series entitled Makeup to Breakup. In the series, they take a look at how various bands started and how they ended. I provide the narration on that subject for the ABBA episode, which was published on 6 January.

For those who are interested, here's a direct link to the podcast. However, listening to Sirius XM requires a paid subscription.

I will be interviewed by ABBAtalk tonight

Published January 07, 2021

When the clock strikes eight in Sweden tonight, I will be parked in front of my laptop computer for a live interview with Chris Williams of ABBAtalk. I'm sure we will be talking about my forthcoming book ABBA On Record (abbaonrecord.com), as well as other subjects.

If you'd like to watch, you can access the live broadcast by going to abbatalk.com (it's viewable for everyone). Hope to see you there!

ABBA On Record - Latest News

Published December 31, 2020

As the unlovely year of 2020 draws to a close, I thought I should post an update on where I'm at with the seemingly never-ending book project that is ABBA On Record - Packaged Promoted Reviewed.

As reported in an earlier blog post, the pandemic has not affected my day-to-day routines very much. In basic terms, I'm at my desk, sorting through my research, contacting people for interviews, and then writing the chapters. It's just that this book takes so much longer to write than expected.

If you're into details, like I tend to be, you want to try your best to verify that what you're writing is accurate. This, in turn, sometimes means that before you're really aware where all the time went, you find that you've spent hours on one tiny detail - and sometimes a detail that, at first glance, may appear to be not very important. Nevertheless, it's all those details that, taken together, make up the story that I want to tell.

Let me point to one example: the story behind the sleeve of the 1975 ABBA album. In the album sleeve essays, it's my ambition to turne a two-dimensional image into a three-dimensional story. In other words, I'm trying to "open it up" so that we can learn as much as possible about how the sleeve was put together, and whatever related anecdotes there may be about the locations and the people involved.

I should also point out that in these endeavours I'm indebted to those who went before me: Jean-Marie Potiez's wonderful essay about the sleeve in his book ABBA - The Scrapbook, for instance, not least because he had the foresight to interview people who are no longer around to be asked about it. I have also had further discussions with Jean-Marie about the sleeve, which has helped a lot. Sara Russell has also shared information gathered for her excellent The ABBA Guide To Stockholm book.

Coupled with my own research, it all adds up to is a text that currently stands at 5,760 words - just about the ABBA album sleeve. That's longer than the entire sleeve notes I wrote for the Deluxe Edition of that album!

So, will ABBA On Record be published before 2021 is over? I certainly hope so, but it also depends on when the new ABBA songs are released, and when I will be able to access information about their creation. There is also additional research I would like to do, which is currently impossible because of the pandemic. To everyone who has pre-ordered the book, I can only extend my heartfelt thanks for your patience. Trust me, it will be worth the wait.

If you want to support the book by pre-ordering a copy (your name will be listed in it, plus you will have it autographed by me), please visit abbaonrecord.com. Your support really does matter.

In the meantime: Happy New Year!

 

 

Super Trouper half-speed master released 30 October

Published August 31, 2020

Following on from similar vinyl issues of Arrival, ABBA - The Album and Voulez-Vous, 30 October 2020 sees the release of a half-speed mastered 45 rpm double LP version of Super Trouper.

Three vinyl singles are also issued in tandem:

The Winner Takes It All/Elaine
Super Trouper/The Piper
Lay All Your Love On Me/On And On And On

These singles will be released in two editions:

A box set of coloured 7-inch singles

Separate 7-inch picture singles

My involvement was limited to writing the liner notes for double LP.

More info here.

 

ABBA On Record - A Progress Report

Published August 27, 2020

In April 2020, when Paul McCartney was interviewed on the Howard Stern show about the forthcoming re-edited version of The Beatles' Let It Be movie, he was asked when it would be released. The film had previously been announced for September 2020, but the current pandemic had turned things upside down. As McCartney replied, "Nobody knows when anything is coming out right now".

This is pretty much the situation I'm in at the moment with my book ABBA On Record - Packaged Promoted Reviewed. The plan is to publish it in 2021, but there are factors beyond my control that will affect the schedule. The book will be published, no doubt about that, but the publication date is not just dependent on my own input to the project. For instance, I have promised to include information about the new ABBA songs, and at the moment we don't know when they will be made public. There are also other factors related to the production of the book that I have limited control over.

To be perfectly honest, part of the reason for the long delay is also that this book project turned out to be much bigger than I'd expected. In many ways, it's harder to see through than ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions, and I'm far from finished at this stage.

However, I've been very gratified by the feedback from my proofreaders on the completed chapters so far: plenty of new information that we never knew. It's so easy to lose perspective on of what you're writing, but I'm confident that I'm doing good work and that going the extra mile will be worth it in the end.

Right now, for instance, I'm trying to make sense of the charts used in a number of countries during ABBA's heyday. In the main part of the book, I'm listing the chart positions for the various record releases, but I thought that I should also have an explanation at the start of the book on how those various charts were compiled. It's so easy to say "number one in Sweden" or "UK number one", but what do these chart positions really mean and what are they worth?

Through researching the charts I've also made a startling discovery from the very beginning of ABBA's career, that could very well have affected the future of the group. Intriguing stuff, and all will be revealed in the book. In short, I haven't lost any of my excitement for this book, and discovering new or long-forgotten facts.

Thank you for reading this and thank you for your patience in waiting for ABBA On Record. If you want to support this project, you may pre-order your copy here.

 

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