Vintage ABBA poster featured in new book

Published August 29, 2012

Premium Publishing will soon issue a book of concert posters drawn by Nils Sture Jansson. Nils Sture who?, I hear you ask. Well, during the Seventies and Eighties his posters for Stockholm's Gröna Lund were well-known in Stockholm and perhaps in the rest of Sweden as well. Jansson had a very distinctive drawing style, and his drawings were used on posters and in advertisements. They became a sort of trademark for the Gröna Lund shows.

A selection of his concert posters have now been collected in a book, entitled Grönalundsaffischerna ("The Gröna Lund Posters), which of course features the poster for ABBA's concert at Gröna Lund in June 1975.

More information at the Premium Publishing website.

I've Been Waiting For You - a song of its time

Published August 20, 2012

We often use the word “timeless” to describe a piece of music that we enjoy as much today as we did when it was first released. The word is supposed to signal that the song still sounds fresh and will do so forever more. But when I was listening to ABBA’s ‘I’ve Been Waiting For You’ the other day, it struck me that although it's one of my favourite ABBA songs, this is not a timeless recording: it sounds very much like the mid-Seventies – which for me is not necessarily a bad thing. 

If you want to apply the timeless label to an ABBA song, I would say that something like ‘Dancing Queen’ or ‘The Winner Takes It All’ would be a good fit. We can all hear that they don’t sound anything like Rihanna or One Direction or whoever else is at the top of the charts these days, and obviously the instruments used and the way the different sounds on them are balanced tell us that they were recorded sometime in the late Seventies or early Eighties. But at the same time they don’t sound dated in the sense that they are period pieces, locked in the time in which they were created. In some ways they sound “new” every time you hear them, regardless of the year you might be listening to them.

‘I’ve Been Waiting For You’, on the other hand, is very much of its time, at least for me. I believe there are two main factors that make it so. Firstly, the string machine, a very dominant sound in the choruses – augmented by other analogue synthesizers – which is a very mid-Seventies sound. And secondly, the vocal performance of Agnetha, the embodiment of the blonde, long-haired girl that was an ideal at the time. That’s the image I see in front of me whenever I hear ‘I’ve Been Waiting For You’: a battered old string machine and the innocence, earnestness and downright blonde-ness of Agnetha. It’s one of those songs that transport me back to my 10-year-old self and the smells, sounds and looks of mid-Seventies Stockholm suburbia. And much as I have no wish to go back to that time and place, its ability to offer three and a half minutes of time-travel is one of the things I love about 'I've Been Waiting For You'.