The new ABBA songs - my comments in the media

Published April 30, 2018

I was in Tuscany, Italy, when the news broke last Friday about the brand new ABBA songs to be unveiled later this year ('I Still Have Faith In You') and probably in the spring of 2019 ('Don't Shut Me Down'). I was out on a ferry, leaving the Isola Maggiore, which wasn't an ideal location when my phone started going berserk.

Anyway, I managed one radio interview on BBC Radio Berkshire, which you can listen to here (I was on mobile phone, so there are some drop-outs here and there).

I was also interviewed by the Swedish news agency TT, and their story was published in various newspapers, for example here. (In Swedish)

There was also a story by the news agency AFP, which you can read here. (In English)

Finally, a very brief comment from me was published in the German magazine Stern. (In German)

At the time of doing the interviews I didn't have the info on 'Don't Shut Me Down', which has been described by Björn as an uptempo song, so I was clearly wrong when I surmised that both tunes were ballads and/or mid-tempo. Either way, I'm looking forward to hearing them!

 

ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions: one year later

Published April 06, 2018

About this time, a year ago, those who had pre-ordered the revised and expanded edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions (abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com) began receiving their copies. I can't quite believe it's already been a year, but what an amazing 12 months it's been.

When you're writing a book, for the most part you're so concentrated on getting the work done that the fact that someone's actually going to read it feels very abstract. Oh sure, there were times when I got particularly excited by something I was writing and thought, "they're going to get a real kick reading about this", but for the most part it was all about getting the work done.

So while I felt fairly confident that ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions would be well-liked by the fans, I was unprepared for the sheer love directed towards the book, much less the amazing reviews. I am so happy that this self-publishing "experiment" came off so well: that it was possible to put together a self-published, thoroughly researched book aimed at a small but highly motivated readership through the wonders of crowdfunding.

Thank you all for your amazing support throughout the entire experience of writing and publishing ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions. I am now working on the companion volume, which I hope will be published sometime in 2019.

ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions is still available here: abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com

 

Lill-Babs asked for my autograph

Published April 04, 2018

The death of singer Barbro "Lill-Babs" Svensson yesterday is front-page news in Sweden. She made her first record as a 16-year-old back in 1954 and has never quite been out of the spotlight since then: that's 64 years. Sweden's biggest daily, Dagens Nyheter, devoted their entire culture section to her passing today.

Swedish showbusiness being as small as it is, there are many connections between her and ABBA, the most prominent one of course being her 1971 hit single 'Välkommen till världen' ("Welcome To The World"), which was written by Björn and Benny, and also featured backing vocals by all four future ABBA members. ABBA manager Stig Anderson wrote her 1959 mega-hit, 'Är du kär i mig ännu, Klas-Göran’ ("Are You Still In Love With Me, Klas-Göran"), which also laid the foundation for his own music business empire.

I only met Lill-Babs once, at the release party for Ingmarie Halling's and my book ABBA - The Backstage Stories, which was held at ABBA The Museum in 2014. We ended up sitting fairly close to each other at the bar and although this was mainly Ingmarie's book and party, which was exactly how it should be, Lill-Babs asked me about my involvement. I had heard this about her: that she was good at "seeing" people and making them feel like they matter.

I told her that we had put 'Välkommen till världen' as a bonus track on Ring Ring Deluxe Edition, which made her throw back her head and roar with laughter; she was really amused by that. She also asked me to sign her copy of the book: I don't know how many international stars would have bothered asking a "lowly" author for his or her autograph, but she's certainly the most famous person to specifically ask me to sign something for her.

I can't quite imagine what it must be like being a star, satisfying the public's dual expectations of you being somehow different and more special than ordinary people, and at the same time being just like everybody else - perhaps especially in Sweden (and the other Nordic countries), where big-headed acts seldom get the love of the public. Lill-Babs seemed to master this balancing act better than most people in her position.