ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions companion volume

Published October 26, 2017

When I first decided to publish a revised and expanded edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions, I had all sorts of grand plans on features I wanted to add to the book. One of them was review quotes from the time when the singles and albums were first released, another was fairly indepth background stories on how the album sleeves were put together (and whatever information there were on the original single sleeves as well).

Now, in the course of writing the book I realised that there was so much information on the main subject of the book - the writing and recording of ABBA's music - that I couldn't include any reviews or album sleeve stories. My first idea was to put together a separate pdf file with these features and be done with it. But with time, and with other ideas transpiring, I felt that it would be better to approach this another way.

What I'm going to do is to produce a proper book: a companion volume to ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions. This will allow me to expand on those sleeve design features, and publish more review extracts, rather than dash off something in a pdf. Most readers of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions have preferred the physical book rather than the ebook alternatives, so I'm confident this will be better for everyone.

The working title of this companion volume is Releasing ABBA, as this is what this book will mainly be about. In other words, after ABBA had created their music, as explored in the main book, this volume will answer what happened with it afterwards: how it was packaged, promoted, and reviewed. In the vein of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions, you will get the hard facts, but also background stories and personal recollections, so that it will be an entertaining read.

There are also other features I wanted to include in the main book, which I will now be able to research and write properly for the companion volume. They are all related to ABBA's music, of course.

Last, but certainly not least, there have been some exciting developments recently, which will enable me to shed even more light on ABBA's recordings. Yes, dear reader, quite unexpectedly I have been able to listen to hours and hours of recordings/versions I had never heard before and I am very much looking forward to sharing these new findings with you all. Exactly why and how I was authorised to listen to these tapes is not something I wish to discuss at this time, but I'm confident you will find this new information highly interesting - I know that I was extremely excited and fascinated when I listened to the recordings.

I have not set a publication date for this companion volume yet. I'm not certain it will be published in 2018, but hopefully no later than 2019. I have some other projects I want to deal with first, and I also want to make sure my ace designer, Maria Nicholas, will have the time to be onboard for this volume.

More details will follow later.

In the meantime, ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions is still available here: abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com

Thanks for reading!

 

 

What they say about ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions

Published October 12, 2017

What the critics say:

"Scholarly and forensically researched but at the same time eminently readable ... The scope of the research is staggering ... The book stands as an enlightening study of a pop phenomenon ... A beautifully designed passion project ... The author has excelled himself in terms of Abba scholarship ... The ultimate ABBA artefact"

What the fans say:

"The book is very accessible for a general reader - it is far from a dry technical volume ... Truly amazing and a wonderful discovery ... I've never read a music book that's so detailed and gives so much insight into the songwriting process as this one ... I can't say enough about how good this book is ... It must surely be the most comprehensive work of its kind in the world ... So much new information, it's very hard to put it down!"

What you will say:

"This book sounds like a must-read. Where can I learn more and order a copy?"

Just go to abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com. It's easy to order: prices include postage and packing - a few clicks and you're done!

 

 

 

 

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has also managed to structure the narrative so that

it is very accessible for a general reader - it is far

from a dry technical volume.

Great Frida interview - and thank you for the book praise!

Published October 06, 2017

Are you a member of The Official International ABBA Fan Club? If not, you should be. The latest issue of its quarterly magazine features a great interview with Frida, where she answers many questions I haven't seen being put to her before. Considering how rarely Frida gives interviews these days, this is unmissable. Stany van Wymeersch, who conducted the interview, did a great job. Of course, there are many other interesting features in the mag as well - as always - including a fab interview with Benny by Robert Beuving.

Also, don't forget that membership in the fan club isn't particularly expensive, and that you get exclusive offers and opportunities to participate in ABBA-related events. Every ABBA fan should be a member.

On another note, the latest issue of the magazine also features two pages of fan comments about my book ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions. Can I just say thank you to everyone for their very, very kind words about the book? It's now a little over six months since it was published and I'm so happy with how this project turned out. We all - I, as the writer, and the fans who supported the making of the book - got what we wanted: a book that tells the story of ABBA's musical creativity in-depth. What an extraordinary result!

Order your copy of the book here: abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com


Benny Andersson's Piano album - a review and some further thoughts

Published October 03, 2017

I usually don't feel compelled to write anything about the former ABBA members' solo projects as they are released, mainly because they are usually being discussed and written about in so many other places that there is little for me to add. I do want to make an exception for Benny Andersson's Piano album, though, as this has triggered quite a few emotions and thoughts within me.

First of all, I really love this album. I don't care whether or not Benny is the most accomplished pianist on the planet - I'll leave that discussion to others - but I do feel it's him I'm hearing here. That may sound like a self-evident observation, but with no belting vocalists, no meticulously worked-out orchestral arrangements and no lyrics loaded with meaning, we're left with the sheer beauty of the melodies.

In one of the many interviews Benny has given to promote the album, he mentions that he and the recording engineer, Linn Fijal, had discussed whether they should make the album sound as if he was performing in a concert hall or simply as if he was sitting in a room, playing the songs. They wisely opted for the room, so that you would feel like you were right there beside him. And that's exactly how it feels for me. When I listen to the album I see Benny and his grand piano in front of me, nothing else.

For similar reasons, my favourite track on Agnetha's A album is 'I Keep Them On The Floor Beside My Bed', the only tune she wrote herself on the album - I hear pure Agnetha instead of some outside producers and songwriters' idea of what she should sound like. Piano is pure Benny, more intimate than anything he's ever done.

My only disappointment with the album is that he didn't include the 1966 Hep Stars hit 'Sunny Girl'. I do realise that it's a difficult fit among the more "worthy" works on the album, but I feel it would have been an appropriate nod to the 19-year-old who'd just discovered that he had the talent to write songs that communicated with people. Maybe I would have opened the album with it, as a sort of "prelude", and then ditched 'Thank You For The Music' which has become ABBA's 'Yesterday' in the sense that it's been heard so often that there is little emotion left to squeeze out of it.

I'm also amazed at all the media Benny has done to make the album known, and I especially like that, because of the nature of the product he's been promoting, many of the interviews have focused on him as a musician and composer. These are the kind of questions he should be asked more often. Just through following the media reports I have gained quite a few new insights, so well done to the people asking the questions and to Benny for agreeing to not only appear on the biggest, lowest-common-denominator TV shows.

Finally, I'm amused that journalist Camilla Lundberg has written the liner notes for the album. Forty years ago she wasn't exactly a fan of Benny's music. In her review of ABBA's Birmingham concert in February 1977 she wrote about their music that, "It is anything but varied, as is well-known. Nor is it beautiful, nor innovative." Admittedly, while more or less dismissing three quarters of the group, she noted that "Benny Andersson is the most interesting ABBA member. He is actually a real musician, he is the most spontaneous and most credible of them," but for the most part the review was a discussion of ABBA as a product, pushing the angle of how everything they did was part of a "plan", as was quite common back then. Lundberg is of course allowed to change her mind about Benny's music, but it still surprises me how critical assessment of ABBA and their members has evolved and changed over the years, to the extent that some of their fiercest critics are now a part of Benny's circle of friends.