Pre-ordering ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions: some important questions answered

Published January 31, 2015

ABBA - THE COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS:
THE MOST COMMON QUESTIONS ANSWERED RIGHT HERE

The crowdfunding campaign for the revised, updated and expanded edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions has been going on for a few days now. There's been a LOT of information to digest for everyone, so it's not so strange if there have been a few misunderstandings here and there. Here I will answer some of the more important questions. If you're still uncertain whether you want to pre-order this book - which will only be written if the crowdfunding succeeds - I strongly urge you to read this Q&A (Question & Answer):

Q: I don't quite understand this "pledging" and "crowdfunding" thing. What are we paying for exactly?

A: Regard it as a pre-order. You are essentially pre-ordering a copy of the finished book. Choose a reward level, and you will get a copy of the book sent to your address when it's finished. That's basically how it works.

Q: OK, let's say I'm pre-ordering the book. What if your campaign fails - will I get my money back?

A: Here's the nice part: Money will only be taken from your credit card if the campaign succeeds. If it fails, nothing will happen. So you're risking absolutely nothing by making your pledge. On the contrary, you will only help the campaign succeed!

Q: But even if the crowdfunding campaign fails, you will still write the book, right?

A: No, if the campaign fails it's very unlikely this updated edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions will ever be written. There's no other way to finance the very time-consuming work involved, unfortunately. The message here is: It's now or never! If you're interested in reading a well-written book that will reveal much new information about ABBA's music across 400-500 pages, there's no other choice but to pre-order the book before 28 February 2015.

Q: The book is more expensive than many other books. So I guess you're planning to get rich on all these pre-orders?

A: Nothing could be further from the truth. I have put together a budget where there's a portion of money set aside for me that will enable me to eat, pay the rent, pay for costs associated to conducting research for the book - and not much else. The rest of the money is reserved for printing costs (since this is a once-in-a-lifetime thing, I want the book to look really, really nice) and distribution (sadly, I can't do anything about shipping costs). Believe me, I've tried in every way imaginable to find ways to cut corners without affecting the quality of the book, and this was the best I could do. The message here is: This book project is driven by passion, not by greed.

Q: But what will I actually get for my money? I know that the first edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions is held in high regard by ABBA fans, but what will the new edition be like?

A: You can find more details about the book contents on the Kickstarter campaign page, and on my website, but briefly: 400-500 pages on very nice paper, a clothbound book with dust cover, full colour. A tastefully designed quality book you will be proud to put on your coffee table, in other words! As for the contents, I have so much new information to tell you about ABBA's music that I guarantee that you will find something interesting on every page. I have put together a couple of excerpts from the book so that you can get a feel for the contents. These are, of course, preliminary texts and designs, since I expect to learn even more when research starts for real, but hopefully it's enough to get you excited about the book. Here are the links to the pdf files featuring the chapter excerpts:

Excerpt from 1973 chapter

Excerpt from 1974 chapter

Q: Wow, I'm really excited about the project now! Where do I go to pre-order the book?

A: I'm glad to hear it - your pre-order will help make this project become a reality! The link to the crowdfunding campaign for ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions is here:

http://kck.st/15Sb0XK

Thanks for pre-ordering the book - your support matters!

 

Backing more than one reward level? No problem!

Published January 29, 2015

Some prospective backers for the crowdfunding campaign for the updated edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions have contacted me to let me know that they would actually like to pledge twice - at the very least! For instance, they might want one copy of the book for themselves and one or more to give away as gifts. I like the sound of that very much, since it will help the campaign reach its goal.

However, Kickstarter will not allow you to pledge more than once for the same campaign, so that creates a problem. But I believe there are at least two different solutions.

Solution A: USING DIFFERENT E-MAIL ADDRESSES. If you use different e-mail addresses when you pledge, I hear on the grapevine that this will work. Kickstarter will interpret each e-mail address as a separate individual.

Solution B: SPECIAL REWARD PACKAGES CREATED JUST FOR YOU.

I will create new "reward packages" that combine the reward levels you're interested in. Just follow the instructions below and I will make it happen.

1.  Write me an e-mail on cmp@carlmagnuspalm.com (PLEASE ONLY USE THAT ADDRESS, it's the only way for me to keep track of things). In the e-mail, let me know the following:

• which reward levels you are interested in (for example 02 and 04 - combine the four different reward levels whichever way you want)

• which shipping area(s) the books should be sent to (UNITED KINGDOM, EUROPE or REST OF WORLD)

• the name and address to which the rewards (books) should be sent (only necessary if one of the addresses differs from your own address), indicating which recipient should have which reward

This could be an example of your message:

------------------------------------

Levels 02 + 04 - EUROPE

Kristina Abbasson (LEVEL 02)
Baldersgatan 1
114 27 Stockholm
SWEDEN

Johan Abbafan (LEVEL 04)
Hamngatan 11
111 47 Stockholm
SWEDEN

----------------------------------

2.  I will then create a "special reward package" for you and add it to the Kickstarter page. After that I will let you know that your "reward package" has been created, and then you can make your pledge.

3. In the meantime I will file away your message in a special folder, so that I will have all the relevant info at hand when the time comes to mail out the rewards.

Easy as pie!

Join the crowdfunding campaign here: http://kck.st/15Sb0XK

 

Crowdfunding for ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions starts today!

Published January 28, 2015

After a long build-up and much preparation, today I finally launched the crowdfunding campaign for the updated, revised and expanded edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions on Kickstarter.com. The campaign will end on 28 February 2015. Click this link to go straight to the Kickstarter page for the book:

http://kck.st/15Sb0XK

The process of pledging on Kickstarter.com is easy and straightforward - I've managed to back a project myself, so it can't be that complicated! Kickstarter will guide you through the entire process.

A reminder before you start pledging. The purpose of this Kickstarter campaign is twofold: to ensure that you, the reader, will get a copy of the finished book, but also to provide funds enabling the book to be researched, written and printed in the first place. If you have the resources to choose one of the higher reward levels, you will have made an especially significant contribution to this book becoming a reality, to the benefit of everyone interested in the secret stories behind ABBA's musical creativity.

If you want to contribute beyond the reward levels, that's also possible. The upper limit on Kickstarter is SEK 50,000 (approx. GBP 4,000; EUR 5,400; USD 6,100; AUD 7,600). All contributions, small or large, are much appreciated - your support matters!

Please share this post and/or the link to the Kickstarter page in as many places as you can: your own Facebook wall, ABBA discussion groups, and groups and pages devoted to related subjects, such as "'70s music", "classic pop", "Eurovision", "Swedish music", "Scandinavian pop" - and whatever else you might think of. If you're on Twitter, you may want to mention it in a tweet as well (I'm @carlmpalm). The more people are aware of the crowdfunding campaign, the greater the chance that it will succeed - and the book will only be written and published if the campaign does succeed.

Oh, and be sure to watch the cool promo video for the project on the Kickstarter page, starring yours truly. The location for it is highly appropriate for the project...

The link to the crowdfunding campaign for ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions again:

http://kck.st/15Sb0XK

Happy pledging!

 

Chapter excerpts from ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions

Published January 26, 2015

With two days until the crowdfunding campaign for the revised, updated and expanded edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions is launched, I thought it was high time that y'all had the chance to read a few excerpts from the book. Excerpts from the 1973 and 1974 chapters are available below.

Before you start downloading and reading, please read the following:

• I've only written four chapters so far: 1966-1971, 1972, 1973 and 1974. That's why there are no excerpts from ABBA's later years.

• The chapters I have written are only finished in the sense that they have a beginning, a middle and an end. The book is evolving organically, so as new information surfaces, and I talk to more people, receive answers to questions - and so on! - the text will change. In fact, there is a good example of that in the 1974 excerpt: when this was written, the BBC Radio One Waterloo jingle hadn't yet surfaced, so that's why it isn't mentioned in my text.

• Similarly, the design and layout is in no way finished. My designer, Maria Nicholas, has put together these excerpts in order to show the general direction we're heading in. For instance, the pictures you see here are, in many cases, just preliminary images, and will be replaced by other images as work on the design progresses.

• The content in the excerpts is not necessarily chronologically arranged: it has mainly been chosen to show you selected features in the new edition.

• The pdf files have been programmed so as to open as two-page spreads. If they don't, please download the files to your computer and open them straight from there. Then you should be able to view them as two-page spreads.

Click on the links below to download each pdf file (requires Acrobat Reader). Happy reading!

Excerpt from 1973 chapter

Excerpt from 1974 chapter

Read all about the crowdfunding campaign for the revised, expanded and updated edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions here.

Get notified of updates about the book and the crowdfunding campaign by following me on Facebook or on Twitter.

Please keep on spreading the word about the crowdfunding campaign: ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions will only be published if the campaign succeeds. Your support matters!

 

More vintage reviews of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions

Published January 23, 2015

Only five days now before the crowdfunding campaign for ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions kicks off. Lots to prepare and plenty of things to consider, but I believe I'm almost there. And inevitably, now that thoughts on this particular book occupies so many of my waking hours, I think a lot about the original 1994 edition.

About a week ago, I shared a Russian story about ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions, originally published back when the book was first released. It triggered a desire to dig out old reviews of the book, many of which I had completely forgotten - or should I say put out of my mind? There were only a handful of mostly very brief reviews in the English-language press at the time, and they weren't all positive. Let's go through them all, starting with the negative ones:

An anonymous reviewer in the NME had this to say: "ABBA: The Complete Recording Sessions (Century 22) is a rather poor attempt to give the Scandinavian popsters the completist treatment archivist Mark Lewisohn gave to The Beatles with a day-by-day guide to their recording schedule with mora data than insight." Ouch! So you mean you didn't appreciate my efforts to detail the facts of 'Rubber Ball Man' and 'Lady Bird I'? (Sobs softly...)

In the Financial Times, Peter Aspden was also dismissive, but perhaps more of ABBA than of my book: "Carl Magnus Palm's ABBA: The Complete Recording Sessions (Century 22, £12.95) is a good example of a pop act, notwithstanding phenomenal sales and even a cult retro following, being unable to withstand detailed critical attention. Palm has done his homework, however, and some of the early pictures are hilarious." Which I guess translates as, "What's the point of writing a complete recording sessions book about ABBA?"

Moving on to more positive, or at least neutral, assessments, Record Collector's Pat Gilbert noted that the book was "meticulously researched", before continuing: "Considering the wealth of material it contains, and the quality of all the fascinating 'extras' - facsimiles of handwritten lyrics and studio bills, plus scores of archive photos - 'The Complete Recording Sessions' is virtually impossible to fault, though its appeal will be lost on the casual fan." Hmm, sounds like Mr. Gilbert browsed through the book without actually reading very much of it. This review was part of a one-page article about ABBA, the Thank You For The Music box set, and my book (the cover of which received prominent exposure). Read the full article here.

The fourth and final review from UK media that I'm aware of was published in the now defunct magazine VOX. Written by Steve Malins, I'd say this was the only proper review, assessing the good and the less successful aspects of the book, and doing it with a sense of humour to boot. Malins awarded ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions a score of 7 out of 10, which I think was fair. The complete review is available here.

As I look back on these reviews, I remember feeling that the book was something of a failure, even though I was, in many ways, proud of what I'd accomplished (despite the book's shortcomings, of which I was painfully aware). While I had hoped that ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions would generate plenty of attention, it was like no-one really cared that it had been published. I seem to recall it took a while before it started trickling down to me how much ABBA fans all over the planet had enjoyed the book, and it was only then I began understanding that I had been reading the wrong reviews, as it were.

Well, 20 years on I'm hopefully a much better writer than I was back then, and I know a lot more about ABBA, their career, and their music, so I'm confident that the brand new edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions, which will hopefully become a reality soon, will be a much, much better read. No more "rather poor attempt" reviews, OK?

The crowdfunding campaign for the revised, expanded and updated edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions kicks off 28 January 2015. Read all about it here.

Get notified of updates about the book and the upcoming crowdfunding campaign by following me on Facebook or on Twitter.

Please keep on spreading the word about the crowdfunding campaign: ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions will only be published if the campaign succeeds. Your support matters!

 

Dedicated area to the updated ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions launched on this site

Published January 21, 2015

So, today it's exactly a week until the crowdfunding campaign for the updated, revised and expanded edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Session kicks off on Kickstarter.com. In a series of blogs, I have written about the new features in the book and generally what the new edition is all about.

Today, I thought it was time to launch a dedicated area to the book on this site. Here you will be able to get better acquainted with the project and find out exactly how this crowdfunding thingy will work out. Most importantly, you will learn exactly what kind of rewards you can expect in return for backing the crowdfunding campaign. And there are also a few sneak peeks inside the book - more comprehensive excerpts will be published shortly before the Kickstarter campaign starts (it kicks off on Wednesday 28 January at 10.00am CET; if you want to find out what time that is in your time zone, please use this Time Zone Converter).

Read all about ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions here.

Note: Some links in this new section for the expanded edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions will only work once the crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter is live.

Get notified of updates about the book and the upcoming crowdfunding campaign by following me on Facebook or on Twitter.

Please keep on spreading the word about the crowdfunding campaign, which starts on 28 January: ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions will only be published if the campaign succeeds.

 

New cover of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions revealed

Published January 19, 2015

As I've mentioned in a previous blog, I'm working with New York-based art director Maria Nicholas on the design and layout for the revised version of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions. Today, I'm happy to be able to reveal the new cover for the book - or at least what we feel is a potential cover design. As we get nearer publication, the design may evolve and is subject to change.

Click here to see the cover in a larger size.

I don't know about you, but I think this looks pretty fab.

More information about the updated version of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions here. Get notified of updates about the book and the upcoming crowdfunding campaign by following me on Facebook or on Twitter.

Please keep on spreading the word about the crowdfunding campaign, which starts on 28 January: ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions will only be published if the campaign succeeds.

Flashback to 1994 - Russian review of The Complete Recording Sessions

Published January 16, 2015

Well, here's something I was never aware of - or at least had forgotten about. The other day, ABBA fan Yuri Kobzev sent me this story about the original edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions, published in the major Russian daily Izvestia in November 1994.

In these times when the focus is so much on the forthcoming new edition of the book, it's fun to be reminded of how the book was featured in the media two decades ago. It was a long time ago now, so even though I was interviewed for this, I have no recollection of it - which is strange in a way, since I generally feel I have very clear memories of media coverage from that time, when it was all so new to me.

Thanks to the efforts of Vlad Nickolaev, an English translation of the story is available here.

More information about the updated version of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions here. Get notified of updates about the book and the upcoming crowdfunding campaign by following me on Facebook or on Twitter.

Please keep on spreading the word about the crowdfunding campaign, which starts on 28 January: ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions will only be published if the campaign succeeds.

Two weeks 'til crowdfunding blast-off...

Published January 14, 2015

Today, it's exactly two weeks until the crowdfunding campaign for the revised, updated and expanded edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions kicks off. All the pieces are beginning to fall into place and I'm really looking forward to pushing the launch button. Here are a few random thoughts at this particular point in time.

THE NUMBER OF PAGES IN THE BOOK
As I hinted in my previous blog, my initial page count estimate proved to be insufficient. After discussing the matter with my designer and the printer, we're now looking at somewhere between 400 and 500 pages (originally I'd thought we'd land somewhere between 300 and 400). A little more than I had envisioned, then - but this is no time to compromise on the inclusion of interesting information about ABBA's recorded work, is it?

ABBATALK EVENT IN LONDON
All tickets for the event in London on 7 February, where I will be talking about the book, are now gone. The event is sold out.

THANK YOU
Since I first announced the plans to publish an updated edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions about a month ago, I've had a fantastic reaction from the ABBA fan community. There is so much enthusiasm out there that I'm really overwhelmed. Some have even reached out and offered to help out with information and materials - to say that I'm touched and grateful is a gross understatement. Every author of ambitious factual books knows that there is no way you can do absolutely everything by yourself, you always rely on people helping out through enthusiasm for what you're trying to achieve and with no other reward than the gratitude of the author. I'd like to extend a warm thanks to everyone who has shown their support so far, whether through offering to help or simply through being enthusiastic about the project.

AND, FINALLY, A REMINDER...
More information about the updated version of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions can be found here. It's easy to be notified of updates about the book and the upcoming crowdfunding campaign by following me on Facebook or on Twitter. (If you're worried that you're going to be inundated with updates and tweets, fear not - I seldom post things not related to my work, and you will usually only hear from me a few times every week, at the most.)

Please keep on spreading the word about the crowdfunding campaign, which starts on 28 January: ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions will only be published if the campaign succeeds.

 

ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions - more about new features

Published January 11, 2015

These are interesting times at CMP headquarters.

As I revealed in my previous blog, Maria Nicholas has come on board as the designer for the revised, updated and expanded edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions. I have a few finished chapters of the book - finished in the sense that they have a structure, and a beginning, middle and end; there is still much information to be added to the texts. Earlier this week Maria took one of the chapters and created a sort of "test layout" for it. I learned two things from this: a) Maria knows what she's doing and the text looks really nice on the page, and b) there is no way this is going to be a 300-page book, as I thought might possibly be the case. We're looking at 400 pages - possibly more, but we'll see what happens as we fine-tune the page designs.

I certainly don't want this to turn into a massive, unmanageable book, so in order to keep the page count on a sensible level, some of the new features I intended to include in the book are now in jeopardy. After all, the story of ABBA's recording sessions, and how they created their music in general, is what this book is all about, so my number one priority will be to make sure that all those stories and details are included in the book.

That said, the features revealed in my previous blog will definitely remain. And another new feature that's also a sure-fire inclusion is the "sidebars", or "separate articles", focusing on interesting aspects related to ABBA as a musical entity. For instance, one such article could be entitled "Agnetha and Frida as vocalists". This article would focus on ABBA's two lead singers, their special qualities and methods, and so on. Another article could be "Janne Schaffer", giving the reader some background info on one of ABBA's most frequently used studio guitarists. If you have the original edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions, you will perhaps remember that the subjects mentioned as examples here are already featured in the text, but I think the book will benefit from presenting these indepth features as separate articles in the book - and with more detail, of course. I also have ideas for completely new themes to explore in these articles.

I will return with more information about the book in a future blog. As I'm writing this it's only 17 days until the crowdfunding campaign starts on Wednesday 28 January - exciting...!

More information about the updated version of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions can be found here. It's easy to be notified of updates about the book by following me on Facebook or on Twitter. (If you're worried that you're going to be inundated with updates and tweets, fear not - I seldom post things not related to my work, and you will usually only hear from me a few times every week, at the most.)

I will be talking about the revised edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions at an event hosted by the Facebook group ABBAtalk in London on 7 February 2015. More details and tickets here.

 

New features in ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions

Published January 04, 2015

As promised in my previous post about ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions, in this blog I will reveal some of the new features in the updated, revised and expanded edition of the book.

But first I'd like to announce that I now have a designer for the project. If you're a member of ABBA Intermezzo Fan Club you will be aware that they publish a very nicely designed magazine. The brains behind the look of the magazine is Maria Nicholas, and I'm very happy that she has offered her services to design my book.

Maria, based in the United States, is a designer by profession, and we've already started discussing various solutions for the layout and overall look of the book. I'm very pleased with what I've seen so far and feel confident that we will have a book that will be both stylish and reader-friendly. If you're interested in checking out her work, please visit her website (personally, I'm especially impressed by this example of her stellar work).

Now, over to the new features in the book. One thing that I want to accomplish with the new edition is to expand its scope a little. The original version of the book offered details of recording dates, mixes, the creative aspects of writing and recording ABBA's music, and plenty of commentary from the four ABBA members, engineer Michael B. Tretow and the musicians. That approach served me well, and it's not something I want to lose sight of for the new edition.

However, I also want to "open up" the book and bring in the outside world just a little. One subject I'd like to focus on in a little more detail is how ABBA's singles and albums were received at the time of their original release, and so I've decied to include a selection of contemporary review quotes - both good and bad. Let me tell you, the reviews I've assembled so far have been quite revelatory, and when you bring them together they provide a very clear picture of exactly how ABBA's music was viewed by the media at the time. For example, I hadn't quite realised just what a marked difference there was between a positive review of the Waterloo album in the Swedish press and one in the US press. I think you will find it just as interesting as I do.

Another new feature will be the stories behind the original Polar Music album sleeves (and single sleeves as well, where, admittedly, there may sometimes be less to say, but one or two interesting tidbits for some of the seven-inch sleeves will be included nevertheless). You may feel that you already know everything about the album sleeves, but I feel confident that I will be able to widen the perspective considerably and provide new, previously unpublished details. Or, if nothing else, bring together all the facts and stories into one place, which is also one of the goals of the book.

Well, those are some of the new features in the revised edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions. I will return with more details in a future blog. And don't forget that the crowdfunding campaign, hopefully making the book a reality, will start 28 January.

More information about the updated version of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions can be found here. It's easy to be notified of updates about the book by following me on Facebook or on Twitter. (If you're worried that you're going to be inundated with updates and tweets, fear not - I seldom post things not related to my work, and you will usually only hear from me a few times every week, at the most.)

I will be talking about the revised edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions at an event hosted by the Facebook group ABBAtalk in London on 7 February 2015. More details and tickets here.