Archive article: Gothenburg sessions, 1977

Published March 29, 2015

The crowdfunding campaign for ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions has now reached and exceeded the goal sum. Thank you to everyone who's pre-ordered! There's still time to pre-order an additional copy for yourself or a friend - or several additional copies! Simply click here:

Today's vintage article comes from a local Gothenburg newspaper, September 1977. The report was made when ABBA were in the town of Kungälv on the west coast of Sweden, mixing their upcoming single The Name Of The Game plus recordings intended for ABBA - The Movie.

Benny, Björn and Michael Tretow mixing tracks in Gothenburg, 1977.

As you can see in the pictures, there were also plenty of fans waiting outside the studio, asking for autographs - around 40, according to the report. "Björn and Benny write autographs for all they're worth, and even if they would remain in the doorway writing for a week without satisfying the need, they politely but firmly ask to be allowed to stop after a quarter of an hour." Plus ça change, eh?

Newspaper reports like this are gold for someone like me who's trying to make a recording sessions story come alive. Speaking of which - are you certain you've pre-ordered all the copies you need of the revised and updated ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions? ;-) If not, this is where you need to go:

Thanks for your support!


A thank you from the past, looking towards the future

Published March 28, 2015

Carl Magnus Palm typing away in 1994.

Now that we've crossed the 100% threshold in the crowdfunding campaign for the revised and expanded edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions, the person pictured above would like to thank everyone who's contributed, spread the word and wished him well over the past few months. Your enthusiasm and generosity of spirit have given him the opportunity to create a vastly improved version of the book he first published 21 years ago (at which time the attached video still was shot). So THANK YOU!

The book is still available for pre-order here:

Dancing Queen, Fernando, Happy Hawaii - the recording secrets we never knew!

Published March 25, 2015

Just two weeks to go before the crowdfunding campaign for ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions ends. Thanks to everyone who has pre-ordered so far. If you haven't pre-ordered yet, now is the time do it. Just click here:

So far in this campaign I have mentioned several times about the previously unknown information on ABBA’s recordings that I mean to share with you all in the revised and expanded edition of ABBA – The Complete Recording Sessions. But I haven’t actually revealed very much about what that information might be. Well, time to change that!

The following list features just some of the fascinating tapes I’ve stumbled across in my role as consultant for Polar Music:

•  Tiger – an alternate mix, revealing details about the harmony vocals that aren’t noticeable in the familiar mix.

•  Happy Hawaii – an alternate mix that’s really different from the one we’ve lived with for the past 38 years. It blew my mind when I heard it.

•  Dancing Queen – an early alternate mix that seems to suggest something very interesting regarding the development of that particular recording (no, I’m not talking about deleted verses).

•  Fernando – an alternate full-length mix; yes, folks, even Fernando was a “victim” of the razor blade and the sticky tape.

•  Voulez-Vous – a rough mix of the original backing track recorded in Miami, before further overdubs and adjustments were made in Stockholm.

•  Dream World – an alternate mix with a few interesting differences.

•  Our Last Summer – an alternate mix with details from the familiar version missing.

Remember, this is just a selection of stuff I’ve heard “by accident” over the years. Can you imagine how much more there is to hear, once I start going through all the recordings systematically? What does ‘Me And I (with laughter)’ sound like, for instance? And what are the secrets we don’t even know are there to be found?

If you’re as excited as I am about finding out more about ABBA’s unreleased and unheard recordings, and the stories on how the familiar hits were constructed in the studio, then pre-order your copy of ABBA – The Complete Recording Sessions here:

Thanks for your support!


Vintage review quotes: a new feature in ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions

Published March 24, 2015

With a little over two weeks to go before the crowdfunding campaign for the revised and updated edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Session ends, now is the time to pre-order this collector's item. If you haven't done so yet, just click here:

One of the new features in the book is the quotes from reviews of ABBA's singles and albums from the time when they were first released. 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.

Take the Waterloo album, for instance. In Sweden, even the fairly positive reviews had a somewhat begrudging tone, as if the writers wanted to point out that no-one could fool them into thinking that this music had any actual worth. "Naturally, the album will be a so-called monster seller. Because to that end it’s virtually computer programmed, skilfully crafted and in English, naturally," wrote one reviewer, while another stated that "You can hardly accuse Björn & Benny of being especially original; they borrow freely from various places. But they certainly know what sells. They are two skilful craftsmen who write straightforward, commercial chart songs." An acknowledgement of the craftmanship, but at the same time a subtext of "well, so what?"

Compare this with the American reviewers, who seem to have felt that ABBA's arrival on the pop scene was nothing short of a miracle. "Sometimes it takes so long for greatness to be recognized that when it finally happens, most people wonder how such a highly-developed ability sprang into being, seemingly from nowhere," wrote Greg Shaw in Phonograph Record, while Gene Sculatti's review in Zoo World opined that Waterloo was "A fine first shot with variety and freshness, perpetrated by a pair of Scandinavian student princes with big ears and more talent than they can handle." Here, it seems, the craftmanship was not something the reviewers would take for granted, instead regarding it as the point of the entire exercise.

I find all this stuff fascinating. Equally interesting is the fact that none of the two major British music papers, Melody Maker and the New Musical Express, even bothered reviewing the album. For them, I suspect, it was an album recorded by Eurovision Song Contest winners, and therefore automatically not worth wasting print on.

There will be more review quotes in the revised and expanded edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions. Pre-order your copy here:


Highest contributing countries for ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions pre-orders - where are you in the list?

Published March 23, 2015

The following was posted earlier today on the official Facebook page for the revised and updated edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions.


Have you secured your copy of the updated and enhanced edition of Carl Magnus Palm’s definitive book on ABBA's recording history? If not, don't wait – visit today. The book will only be published if the campaign goal is met by April 8, so there's no time like the present!

Confirming the endurance of ABBA’s international appeal, pre-orders have come in from around the world for this important project. From Chile to Slovenia and Israel to Morocco, fans from ...36 different countries have pledged their support. With less than 3 weeks to go before the campaign draws to a close, we thought you might like to see some of the statistics behind the contributions to date.

Highest contributing countries (so far!)

Ever the devoted ABBA market, the United Kingdom tops the list of contributing countries by a giant margin, while Germany proves it is firmly ABBA territory by securing the #2 spot. The United States and the Netherlands are waging an interesting battle for 3rd place; although Holland has a higher number of individual contributors, America leads in the amount of money pledged—but only by a few hundred euros, so anything can happen between now and April 8.

Australia, the country where ABBA surpassed the Beatles in popularity in the 1970s, nicely rounds out the top five. Of note, Ireland has just made the top ten, knocking Canada down to #11—but Canada trails by less than 120 euros, so watch this space for updates!

Here's the breakdown for the top ten countries:

Country / Amount / Contributions
United Kingdom / €16,117 / 147
Germany / €9,240 / 80
United States / €6,870 / 48
Netherlands / €6,546 / 56
Australia / €5,954 / 48
Belgium / €2,194 / 18
Sweden / €1,824 / 16
Switzerland / €1,616 / 12
France / €1,060 / 9
Ireland / €1,045 / 9

Want to make your mark and ensure the creation of this exclusive collector's item? Click here:



A little something from the archives

Published March 21, 2015

The second and final crowdfunding campaign for the revised and expanded edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions is still ongoing. Huge thanks to everyone who's contributed so far. If you haven't pre-ordered your copy yet, there's no time like the present. It's a simple procedure - just click here:

The hard facts to be gleaned from studying recording sessions documents and listening to tapes are at the core of a book like this. And talking to those who were there at the time is also invaluable. But as I've mentioned elsewhere, you can also strike gold by going through rare and long-forgotten newspaper and magazine stories. In fact, I'd say it's essential, because just as the articles themselves may be long-forgotten, the information in them may also have been buried deep in the memories of those who were actually there. Sometimes there's nothing better than a written report.

The enclosed gem, which I came across in my archives the other day, comes from the New York Post of all places. I mean, knowing how comparatively low ABBA's stock was in the U.S., you wouldn't necessarily expect a mainstream tabloid to feature them at this late stage of their career. Also, I don't think the pictures from this photo session have been particularly widespread, so they were interesting from that perspective.

Recording session for The Visitors, May 1981.











I will be back with another archive gem from the archives in a future blog. In the meantime - enjoy!

And don't forget to pre-order your copy of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions here:

Thanks in advance - your support matters!


Video Q&A: six fan questions about ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions answered

Published March 20, 2015

If you want to pre-order a copy of the revised and expanded edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions, simply click here:

On that page there is also a Gallery section where you can watch a series of videos with me where I'm answering questions related to ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions. The questions were asked by members of the Facebook group ABBAtalk .

The sixth and final video was posted today, and includes a recitation of a few lines from the chorus of the unreleased track 'Terra del Fuego'.

The Q&A videos are here:

And after watching the videos, don't forget to pre-order a copy of the book - or several copies, if you'd like to invest in what looks likely to become something of a collector's item.

Three good reasons to pre-order a copy of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions

Published March 19, 2015

Why should you pre-order a copy of the revised and expanded edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions? Well, the main reason is that the book will tell you a lot of previously unknown facts and stories about ABBA's music. If, like many others, you feel that's reason enough, then just pre-order here:

But, just in case, here are three additional reasons:

1.  All hardback copies of the book will be personally signed by me, the author, with a dedication to you.

2.  At the moment it looks like the updated ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions will only be printed once. So if you want to secure a signed hardback copy, it's now or never.

3.  Because of the low number of copies presently scheduled to be printed, it seems the hardback version of the book will be rarest of rare ABBA books, the ultimate collector's item. It might even be a good idea to invest in several copies: you may pre-order as many copies as you like, whether for yourself or for friends. As for my signature, you can request to whom the book should be signed, or if you prefer that there is no dedication at all. Just let me know at and I will file away your specifications in a "special requests" folder for future reference.

Convinced? Then pre-order your copy (or copies) of ABBA: The Complete Recording Sessions here:


Recording dates and remixes - watch the video Q&A!

Published March 18, 2015

What would you do if you were in central London on a Saturday night with 30 minutes to spare? Why, film a video Q&A, of course!

Sometimes perilously close to Oxford Circus traffic, I recently answered a number of questions from members of the Facebook group ABBAtalk. In five video clips, you can watch me discussing subjects such as the Fernando recording date and the unreleased 1983 dance remixes.

The video Q&As are available on the crowdfunding page for the revised and expanded edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions:

Haven't pre-ordered your copy of the book yet? Then make sure you secure a copy - or several copies - of what will in all likelihood become something of a collector's item:

Thanks for your support!


Putting in the hours

Published March 17, 2015

If one  wants to write a book that truly presents unknown or long-forgotten facts, research - and lots of it - is essential. You've simply got to put in the hours, because that's how you find the great stories and the fun facts you didn't even know were there to find.

Here's an example: When I researched the original edition of  ABBA: The Complete Recording Sessions, I spent weeks if not months going through each and every page of the Swedish newspaper Expressen, which I knew had covered ABBA quite extensively. Buried deep in a gossip column was the easy-to-miss information that Agnetha, highly pregnant during the recording of ABBA - The Album, had recorded some of her vocals reclined in a deck chair. I was then able to ask Agnetha if this was true - she confirmed it and also made a comment that was included in the book. It's details like that, that make a story come alive.

So, as you've probably guessed, I'm already looking forward to putting in even more hours so as to unearth unknown facts for the revised and expanded edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions!

Thanks to everyone who has  pre-ordered copies of the book in the second crowdfunding campaign. Only a few weeks left of the campaign, so if you haven't pre-ordered your copy yet, you know where to do it:

Your support matters!


Now live: the second crowdfunding campaign for ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions

Published March 09, 2015

As of 10am (CET) today, the second and final crowdfunding campaign for the updated ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions is live. The campaign will end at 08.59am (CEST) on Thursday 9 April.

The campaign is here.

Thanks so much in advance for your support!



ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions: now on Indiegogo

Published March 06, 2015

I'm happy to announce that the new and final crowdfunding campaign for the updated edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions will launch on Indiegogo on Monday 9 March 2015 at 10.00am (CET). The new campaign will offer the hardback book along with an eBook version (the paperback version, as featured in my recent survey, will not be a part of the campaign - there simply wasn't enough interest to make it a viable proposition).


Thanks to the first crowdfunding campaign, on Kickstarter, I now have a much clearer view of exactly how many are interested in pre-ordering the updated edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions, and how many are actually able to do so at this stage (I fully understand that many would have wanted to contribute, but were unable to for various reasons). Furthermore, I learned which aspects of the campaign worked brilliantly and which were less successful. The recent survey, where everyone was asked which of three book formats they would prefer, has also provided me with important data. Taken together, this has now enabled me to put together a second crowdfunding campaign with a much greater chance of success.

I am confident that I'm in a position to write a really interesting and authoritative book - I'm already bursting with interesting information and untold stories that I'm looking forward to sharing with you all - so that's why I'm doing this second campaign. And don't worry: I'm not going to do campaign after campaign after campaign. This will be the final one, so if it doesn't work, it's unlikely that ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions will be updated in the foreseeable future. I thank you in advance for your patience; I'm just very eager to get this book project off the ground, and from the feedback I've been getting I know there are many others who feel the same way. Thanks for your support!


Here's a list of some of the more important changes for the second campaign.

• Campaign now on Indiegogo instead of Kickstarter

• Transactions now handled by PayPal: you can choose between paying with credit card or with PayPal

• Campaign now run in euro (EUR) instead of kronor (SEK)

• Simplified campaign: choose between a hardback book or an e-book (or a combination of both at a reduced price)

• Bonus CD and personalised page are no longer offered. However, if all goes well, the bonus CD may be offered as a separate item sometime during the course of the book project. But it will not be a part of the current crowdfunding campaign.

• Instead of the personalised page, everyone who pre-orders the book will now get their individual copy signed by me, with a personal dedication - it will not cost you a penny extra

• At the bottom of the project page on Indiegogo, you can change the language to German, Spanish or French to have all ordering and checkout info displayed to you in your preferred language, for your convenience

• Brief summaries of important info about the campaign also available as PDFs in German, Spanish and French

• You can pre-order as many copies as you like and do it several times over

• If you want to pre-order a copy on behalf of a friend, or several friends, this option is now readily available to you. Read more about it here.