Pre-ordering page for ABBA recording sessions book launched

Published July 31, 2015

As of today, I will no longer be accepting pre-orders for ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions on the Indiegogo crowdfunding page. Instead, a separate page dedicated to accepting pre-orders of the book has been created. Just go to:

abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com

Don't miss out on a book that will be chock-full of new and updated information about the amazing music ABBA created between 1972 and 1982!

Rutger Gunnarsson remembered

Published July 24, 2015

It's sad to think that with the passing of Rutger Gunnarsson on 30 April this year, the two musicians who appeared on more ABBA recordings than anyone outside the group - Rutger and drummer Ola Brunkert - are no longer with us. Although neither Rutger nor Ola were required to take centre stage on ABBA's recordings, indulging in intricate solos, that was also the point: they delivered a solid backing, yet were able to apply just enough personal colour to make their contributions feel human. That isn't necessarily an easy trick to pull off.

Even though it was for a sad reason, I was pleased to see that obituaries for Rutger Gunnarsson were published in two UK music magazines recently: Uncut (June issue) and Record Collector (July issue). Gone but not forgotten, as the saying goes. I've attached both obituaries here.

Uncut

Record Collector

 

This book will not make you fall asleep

Published July 09, 2015

How do you ensure that a book about a series of recording sessions is a good read and doesn't send you to sleep? The answer is that you go beyond the hard facts, bringing in a human element - the memories and stories from those who were there at the time - and also work on the prose so that it becomes a pleasurable reading experience.

With the Swedish summer being a little slow to start this year, what better time for me to sit behind my desk working hard to make the revised and expanded edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions just that: a pleasurable reading experience. In fact, I'm sitting here getting all excited that after all these years, I can finally transform the book into the volume it should always have been. I'm really happy with what I've got so far: all the facts, of course, but also a good read.

Pre-order your copy of the revised and expanded ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions (guaranteed not to send you to sleep) here: abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com

Rarities on new Hep Stars compilation

Published July 08, 2015

In March 2015, RPM Records in the UK released a Hep Stars compilation CD entitled Like We Used To: The Anhtology 1965-1967, featuring liner notes by Kieron Tyler plus an interview with lead singer Svenne Hedlund. The Hep Stars were, of course, the group where Benny Andersson of ABBA first found fame.

Like We Used To is a compilation with a difference, since it contains rare or previously unreleased versions of some of the tracks, making it a must-have purchase for the collector. The most important differences are as follows:

Wedding - this is the original single version of the song, where lead singer Svenne Hedlund sings "to FELL down on my knees" instead of "to fall down on my knees"; also half the ending has been edited out of the track (compared to the LP version). This has previously only been available on CD on the Swedish compilation album Tio i topp - Volym 4: 1965-67, which is long out of print.

No Time - The Hep Stars' version of this composition by Björn Ulvaeus appears here in a slightly different form than on the band's eponymous album, with wider stereo separation, and, with no fadeout at the end, lasting about 10 seconds longer.

She Will Love You - the lead vocal is louder in the mix than on the familiar single version; this might possibly be the original lead vocal as recorded in London (it was re-recorded in Stockholm).

Consolation & Christmas On My Mind - this compilation features the original mono single mixes. However, contrary to what is claimed on the sleeve, the original single version of Cadillac is not featured here, but the re-recorded album version.

Many thanks to Bjørn Henning Halvorsen for alerting me to these variations.

 

 

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.

Pre-order your copy of the revised and expanded edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions here: abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com