Metronomical ABBA

Published May 26, 2016

Yesterday, in the course of researching the revised and expanded edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions, I spent the day at Atlantis Studio here in Stockholm. Formerly known as Metronome Studio, this is where ABBA did most of their recording for the first half of their career, so it's a really important place in the group's history - and about the only remaining ABBA-related facility in central Stockholm that is still today what it used to be back then.

The studio has saved most of its booking calendars and I spent all day going through those to see what information could be gleaned from them. I already knew that it mainly would say that the group's record company, Polar Music, had booked the studio for such and such a day, so my expectations were on a moderate level. However, there were quite a few interesting bits in there, and very useful information that will help greatly in re-telling the story of ABBA's recording sessions.

For instance, did you know that ABBA actually did work at Metronome as late as 1979, a full year after their own Polar Music Studio had opened for business and supposedly made all other studios completely redundant? I certainly didn't. So, what did ABBA do there in 1979? Well, that's for me to know and for you to find out...when the book is published.

Please support this exciting project by pre-ordering your copy here:

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New ABBA book featuring interview with me

Published May 12, 2016

What do I have in common with Suzi Quatro, Giorgio Moroder, Andy Scott, Neil Sedaka, James Last and Glen Matlock? Except for the fact that we're all recording artists (ahem...) and generally fab people, we've also been interviewed for Stany van Wymeersch's new book We All Love ABBA.

As you may recall, three years ago Stany published the book Let's Talk About ABBA, which I blogged about here. Now he's returning with more interviews, mainly with people who didn't necessarily work with ABBA directly, but may have had dealings with them in one way or another, or simply were inspired by them.

The book is published on May 26. The press release is here, and the book can be ordered from the ABBA Fan Club Shop (see link under Order From, to the right). I have no doubt that the book will feature many interesting insights, along with rare and unusual pictures.


Almost exploding - the drumming on The Winner Takes It All

Published May 05, 2016

In a fairly recent Swedish interview with ABBA's Björn Ulvaeus, reporter Niklas Natt och Dag posed a question about The Winner Takes It All. On the recording, drummer Ola Brunkert does a double-beat on his tom-toms at a certain juncture (circa 03:57/58), which the reporter and his friends had noted only happens at that point and never anywhere else in the song. The theory was that although the song was so tightly arranged, Brunkert just couldn't stop himself from doing that double-beat, and the reporter now hoped that Björn could clarify.

He couldn't, of course, but reading this reminded me of how much I love Ola's drumming on The Winner Takes It All. What's so special about someone just playing a steady beat throughout a song with very little in the shape of showing off, I hear you ask. Well, that's just the point. Sure, for most of the song Ola simply provides a steady disco beat, driving the song along, but at the end of some of the couplets in both the verses and the choruses, he does these little double beats and extra drumming on the snare and the tom-toms. It's especially noticeable and effective towards the end of the song, during the final chorus repeats. What I hear is someone wanting to just explode like Animal in The Muppets, but knowing that he has to hold back - and it is that tension that makes it so damned powerful.

So if there was an additional double-beat in there, the reporter was probably on to something: Ola just couldn't help himself.

The background story of Winner Takes It All and every other ABBA recording is discussed in detail in the revised and expanded edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions, which you can pre-order here:

The interview with Björn is here: Thanks to Tom Hase of the Facebook group The Hootenanny Singers (Björn, Tonny, Hansi and Johan) for the alert.