Brief excerpt of original Fernando demo

Published September 28, 2017

SVT (Swedish Television) are currently airing a series about the stories behind major hits, with last week's episode focusing on Emilia's 1998 global smash 'Big Big World'. The song was of course co-written and produced by Lasse Anderson, the son of ABBA manager Stig Anderson.

Lasse's heritage, growing up with Stig as a father and working within the Polar Music organisation, is allued to in the programme, and what's of interest to us here is the excerpt from the 1975 documentary Mr Trendsetter, about Stig Anderson, featured in the programme. Let's look up page 164 in ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions ( and find out why.

In a section about the recording of 'Fernando', we can read the following: "Interestingly, a Swedish documentary about Anderson, entitled Mr Trendsetter and filmed around this time, features footage of the ABBA manager working on the lyrics in his house on the Viggsö island. A few bits of Björn and Benny humming and playing the tune on a cassette tape can be heard in the background – the only known instance of any of these Andersson/Ulvaeus cassette demos being heard in public."

Well, a bit of that "Fernando demo" segment of Mr Trendsetter is included in the Big Big World programme, albeit obscured by narration. But you can just about make it out behind the talking, so I thought it might be of interest to ABBA fans. Oh, and I also realised there is an error in the text: the demo was not recorded on a cassette tape but on a reel-to-reel tape - I wonder where that tape is now...

Listen to the 10-second demo excerpt here.

Order your copy of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions at


ABBA's songwriting and recording secrets revealed!

Published September 21, 2017

Which classic ABBA hit had the original working title 'Turn Me On'? Which defining element of 'Dancing Queen' was only added at the last minute? What were the lyrics for the deleted verse in 'Hole In Your Soul' like? How did ABBA almost get it wrong with 'The Winner Takes It All'?

These and hundreds of other questions are answered in Carl Magnus Palm's revised and expanded edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions (, which ABBA's Björn Ulvaeus calls "a fantastic work". Warmly greeted by ABBA fans all over the world, this book is unmissable for those who want to learn the secrets behind some of the best pop music ever made.

Order your copy here.

Author-signed ABBA books - clearance sale

Published September 11, 2017

I have surplus stock of some of the ABBA books I've written over the years and I am now selling them at bargain prices. If you want to, I can also sign them for you.

Stock is limited, so it's first come first served.

Prices include shipping to most places in the world (there are some exceptions though, send me an email at to find out more).

Send me an email at if you'd like to buy one or more of the books.

ABBA (hardback, first edition, Finnish language). The Finnish edition of ABBA - The Story. Price: USD 28

ABBA - The Backstage Stories (Swedish version). Price: USD 39

ABBA Backstage (German version of ABBA - The Backstage Stories). Price: USD 39

Send me an email at if you'd like to buy one or more of the books.

More signed books available here

Björn and Benny - who wrote what?

Published September 07, 2017

In a few weeks, Benny Andersson will release his new solo album, Piano, featuring his solo interpretations of tunes from his catalogue - from ABBA to the present day. Several of the songs on the album were written in collaboration with Björn Ulvaeus, and although the latter concedes that Benny was always the "musical motor" in the Andersson/Ulvaeus partnership, it would be wrong to underestimate the importance of Björn's presence in the room when those songs were written.

In this excerpt from my book ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions (, Benny gives full credit to his songwriting partner:


While Benny remembers several melody lines for ABBA songs coming to him, today Björn can’t remember any specific parts of tunes that he himself contributed. “Benny provided most of the music even in the early days,” he admits, “but it’s awfully difficult to say exactly where things start and end during the songwriting process.” And, as Benny points out, the Andersson/Ulvaeus partnership has never been about that type of issue. “It’s an interesting question, to pinpoint who does what in a song. It might be that one of us brings along a song that is complete: both of us feel that it’s complete, so that’s what it is. But let’s say that the song is complete, and then one of us says, ‘Wait a minute, what if we do it like this at that point in the song?’ and then we both agree, ‘Yeah, that’s really great!’ Who has written the song then? Is it the work of one person or of two persons? In other words, if we agree on a thing together, then both of us have been equally involved. In that respect there’s a tremendous difference between being alone and being together.”


The 5,000-word essay about Björn and Benny's songwriting methods, from which this excerpt was extracted, can be read in full in ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions. Order your copy here: