Björn and Benny's first co-production assignment

Published August 12, 2016

Although by the late 1960s Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson had some experience as producers, without receiving much credit as such, in September 1969 they got their first official assignment as co-producers. Contrary to what you'd expect, however, that first job was not for Stig Anderson's Polar Music label. Here's the entry about this particular session from the forthcoming revised and expanded edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions.

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12 September 1969

Metronome Studio. Recording ‘Det var en gång’; ‘Så kom den där våren’.

Björn and Benny’s first official co-producer assignment was this recording of two songs for release on a single by the immensely popular singer Anna-Lena Löfgren. ‘Det var en gång’ (“Once Upon A Time”) was a Swedish version of the Bee Gees hit ‘First Of May’, while the B-side ‘Så kom den där våren’ (“Then The Spring Came”) was in fact the tune of Björn’s composition for the Hootenanny Singers, ‘Fåfängans marknad’ (“Vanity Fair”), with new “heartbreak” lyrics more suitable to the wistful, melancholy style of Anna-Lena Löfgren. Since Björn and Benny used to record at Metronome Studio from time to time, they often ran into Metronome record label boss Anders Burman, a legend in the Swedish music business and regarded as one of the nation’s finest producers. He asked them if they would like to produce a single for Löfgren, who was contracted to his label. They agreed, and chose these two songs.

Anders Burman later recalled that he was “very pleased” with the result and at one point even tried to woo the two budding producers away from Stig Anderson and Polar Music. According to Burman they were interested in working for Metronome, but since they had already established a working relationship with Stig, nothing came out of his proposition.

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I don't know how many of you readers out there have actually heard these recordings. They don't sound at all like ABBA, of course, nevertheless they're interesting as milestone moments in their recording history. The late Anna-Lena Löfgren was very popular in her day, but, like so many other Swedish schlager singers, has been ill-served in the CD age. I believe only two fairly identical greatest hits compilations were ever released, none of which included either of the B&B-produced tracks.

Fortunately, though, this single has been made available digitally, as I just recently discovered, so if you want to own the songs in pristine quality, you can buy them from iTunes (I'm not sure if they're available for purchase worldwide, but fingers crossed). Just click here.

If you live in the UK or Germany you can also buy the mp3 files from Amazon. See links in the menu to the right.

And when you're done ordering those tracks, please pre-order your copy of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions at abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com

 

 

 

Just a big thumbs-up

Published August 05, 2016

In this week's blog post concerning the revised and expanded edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions, I'm not going to write about the contents of the book. Right now, I just feel the need to say thank you to everyone who has supported the book project so far.

When I think about it, I find it almost incredible that there are so many people out there who wanted to and were able to contribute the crowdfunding campaign so that the book could be funded. I'm also immensely grateful to everyone who has placed pre-orders since the campaign ended. It's truly inspiring to know that I'm writing a book for an audience who's really eager to learn what I've found out. It helps keep me going on the rough days.

Every writer of factual books is dependent on the help of a large number of people, and this is certainly the case with ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions. Beyond the financial contributions and encouraging shout-outs, there are so many people who have contacted me, offering to help out with all sorts of things, be it vintage newspaper and magazine cuttings, rare radio programmes or scans of sleeves and ads. Also: In Maria Nicholas I have an exceedingly generous, first-class designer of the book. In Chris Williams of ABBAtalk I have someone who tirelelessly and with never-ceasing enthusiasm promotes the book with Youtube clips, promotional activities in London, and on other outlets. In Ian Cole and Paul Carter I have a pair of patient, knowledgeable and encouraging proof readers. And in Simon Finn I have someone who supports this book project generally through enormous generosity and commitment.

I single out these names because they've all been part of the project from the inside since it first began. But everyone who has ever uttered or written a supportive word about the book, or helped me in whatever way, has done something of immense value.

So here's just a big Thumbs-Up to you all!

Pre-order your copy at abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com. Every little pre-order helps make the book better. Many thanks in advance!