The basic facts of the revised and expanded ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions

Published February 18, 2016

Work is ongoing on the revised and expanded edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions. Today, for instance, I will be talking to a musician who did a fair amount of work with ABBA, but whom I've never interviewed before. Very excited about that!

For those who are unfamiliar with the project, and for those who may only have a dim view of it, here's a brief summary of what it's all about.

Q: What is ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions?

A: It's a book originally published in 1994, detailing the songwriting and recording work of ABBA. The revised and expanded edition will reveal much more about ABBA's songs.

Q: Is there really anything more to add?

A: Oh yes! I have already listened to plenty of unreleased recordings and alternate mixes that I wasn't able to hear when the first book was written. I hope to hear more as work on the book progresses. So there will be many new revelations about ABBA's music when the book is published. Learn more about what I've heard so far by clicking here.

Q: Those are the new facts to be gleaned from the tapes, but what else is there to add?

A: I'm doing new interviews, as well as researching books, radio and TV interviews, along with an indefinite number of vintage magazine and newspaper articles so as to dig up new and long-forgotten facts about ABBA's music. It will be a completely new book, re-written from the ground up. Trust me - there's a LOT more to be said.

Q: When will the book be published?

A: I hope to publish in November 2016, but there is a chance publication will be postponed: my main priority is to make the book as good as it needs to be, and that takes time. The new edition got off the ground thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign which ended in April 2015. However, it's still possible to pre-order the book, and this is encouraged: every pre-order helps make the book better, and each pre-ordered copy will be signed with a personal dedication by the author. Pre-order here:

Thanks for reading!


When wrong turns into right

Published February 05, 2016

I've mentioned a number of times how I've long been itching to revise and update ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions, and how good it feels to finally be able to do that. The main reason, of course, is to help us all know and understand more about how ABBA wrote and recorded their music, through listening to unreleased alternate mixes and so on. But almost as important is the opportunity to correct the errors and misconceptions of the original edition.

I was reminded of this the other day as I was revising the section about the recording made of one of ABBA's Royal Albert Hall concerts in February 1977. As far as I've been able to ascertain, no filming was made at this venue for inclusion in what was to become ABBA - The Movie, as stated in the original edition of the book (I don't quite remember where that information came from), since it had long since been decided to film ABBA's concerts in Australia in March. Nor, it seems, was the 24-track-recording made to serve as a soundtrack to such a film - it wasn't even commissioned by Polar but by... Furthermore, the recording as such was produced by... And the reason for the making the recording was probably... Well, those details, along with other corrected stories and innumerable brand new insights into ABBA's songs and recordings, will be revealed in the revised and updated edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions.

Support this exciting book project by pre-ordering your copy (which will be personally signed to you) here:

Bright Lights Dark Shadows - some recently expressed love for the book

Published February 01, 2016

Just recently some praise for my book Bright Lights Dark Shadows - The Real Story Of ABBA has come my way. My editor at Omnibus Press (who published the book), Chris Charlesworth, began working there in 1983 and is retiring just now. So in a recent blog he listed his favourite out of the circa 800 books he's commissioned and edited over the decades. I was chuffed - well, speechless actually - to learn that Bright Lights Dark Shadows made the top ten. Thanks, Chris, for making the book happen and for agreeing to a thorough revision of it a few years ago so that we could make it even better.

Virtually at the same time as Chris' blog post, ABBA fan Helena Buckinx sent me a review of the revised edition of the book. It pretty much sums up why I wanted to revise it, and confirms to me that it was well worth doing. Thanks, Helena, for the review - it's available to read in full below.

You can order a signed copy of the book directly from me. More info here.


Helena's review of Bright Lights Dark Shadows - The Real Story Of ABBA:

I'm an Abba fan since 1979 (at the age of 9) and collected everything (from music to posters, articles etc.) from then on. This to say, that I know quite a bit of the ABBA history, or at least I thought so!

I read the first edition of Bright Lights Darks Shadows when it came out. I was surprised to discover how many things I didn't know of.

When the second version came out, I wondered what added value this new edition could possibly have, if any. I was surprised by the addition of extra information. Not only things that happened after the publication of the first version, but also during the ABBA years. For instance, I was especially amazed by the mentioning of Krishnamurti in the revised edition as an inspiration for Frida by the end of the late seventies. I've read some of his books, after a recommendation by a friend with no connection to ABBA whatsoever. For this reason alone the revised version proved it's added value to me. But more examples are available, I'm sure.

In general you can say that even when you think you know everything of the ABBA history, this book proves you wrong! It's a great read (the book reads like a novel) and has many details. I'm sure I'll read it again. In short, it's a must have for every ABBA fan.