A message from someone who believed in ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions

Published December 15, 2016

In the darkness of the Stockholm winter, and in between posting Advent Calendar songs, we here at CMP headquarters are busy finishing ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions. While until very recently, research and interviews were still ongoing, 99% of that is over now, which means I can concentrate fully on the writing - and I'm loving it. To immerse oneself fully in a highly interesting subject like this is great and I'm still learning and discovering so much that I didn't know about ABBA's music, just through the process of putting all the pieces together.

Pre-order your personally signed copy of the book here: abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com

In today's blog I'd also like to link to someone else's blog, namely ABBA fan Robert Verbeek, who passed away recently. I didn't know Robert well, but he was always friendly to me and very supportive of my projects. He ran a popular ABBA website called ABBA Plaza, and at the time when I was kicking off the original crowdfunding campaign for ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions, he posted a nice blog about the book. Read it here.

Rest in peace, Robert.

 

ABBA recording sessions book - the proofreader's point of view

Published December 08, 2016

When writing a comprehensive, fact-based book such as ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions, one is never completely alone in the process. The writer is reliant on the generosity of spirit of innumerable people. An important part of the process is the proofreading, and I have been blessed with not one but two friends who've been willing to take on this task. Their patience with my somewhat irregular delivery of chapters, and constant submitting of new drafts, is second to none.

Early on in the project we heard Ian Cole's thoughts about what he'd read so far (his blog is here), and in this post we're going to hear from Paul Carter. Like Ian, Paul, who has been offering his comments on my writing for a decade now, has a good head on his shoulders, has in-depth knowledge about ABBA, and is particularly interested in the hows, whens and wherefores of the music - perfect for this project in other words. Read his thoughts on the book below.

Pre-order the book here: abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com

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I was fortunate to be asked back in 2014 to be one of the proofreaders on the revised, updated and expanded version of Carl Magnus Palm's ABBA – The Complete Recording Sessions. Over this time it's been fascinating and exciting to read through the first and then subsequent drafts of the book. Carl Magnus' exhaustive research and interviews with the key people who worked with ABBA in the studio has revealed a vast amount of new detail and information about the songs we're all so familiar with, how they came to be constructed as well as fantastic new information about the alternate mixes which survive in the Polar archives. After you've read the book, there are ABBA songs which you'll never quite think of in the same way again.
 
The latest chapter I've read through covers 1978, which was a milestone in ABBA's recording career with the opening of their own Polar Music Studios and there's an in depth and definitive essay about the construction and design of the facilities. The new studio had the desired effect of allowing Björn and Benny to spend as much time as they needed to perfect each recording, having previously had to fit around whatever studio time could be booked elsewhere.
 
1978 was also notable for the higher than average number of recordings which didn't make it on to next ABBA album. Either they remained unreleased, only appeared as a B-side, or in the case of 'Summer Night City' even released as an international single but ended up being removed from consideration for the upcoming Voulez-Vous album. In the book we learn about the extensive attempts to mix 'Summer Night City', ultimately to no-one's complete satisfaction, but also how much work went into a song with such a rich soundscape as 'Dream World', which would be abandoned not long after completion. When 'Dream World' was first commercially released in 1994 on the 'Thank You For The Music' box set, it featured a fade in and it wasn't until the deluxe edition of the Voulez-Vous album in 2010 that we were able to hear the circus-like introduction in its full glory. In the book we find out exactly what happened with the intro and how it was later possible to hear it in its full state by editing in the intro from a different mix - it's this sort of detail included in the book that I find fascinating.
 
I can't wait to proofread the next chapters as the story progresses through to the later ABBA years to find out what surprises and previously unknown information is included in the book. This is the definitive story of how the recordings we know and love were created and I'm sure that once it's published there will be much discussion about what is revealed. The sense of expectation hanging in the air about the book's publication next year is one which is fully justified.

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Pre-order your copy of the book here: abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com