ABBA - sneaking up behind you with a message

Published June 22, 2018

For long-time observers of ABBA, the story of how the lyrics for The Visitors album's 'Slipping Through My Fingers' came about is well-known. The song deals specifically with Björn and Agnetha's seven-year-old daughter, Linda, as Björn told me when I interviewed him for ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions (abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com). “I was watching Linda going away to school, turning around and waving, and I thought, ‘Now she has taken that step, she’s going away – what have I missed out on through all these years?’, which is a feeling I think every parent has.”

The song is featured in the Mamma Mia! musical, where the mother is reflecting over the fact that her daughter is now a young woman who's going to get married. I remember being at the London opening of the musical and being hit hard by this scene. I don't have any children, so I didn't relate to it on that literal level. For me, it was more about the impossibility of life itself: that we only have one go at it, and that however much we try to "capture every minute", it's gone. Eventually we will lose everyone we ever loved, on whatever level. Everything, everywhere is constantly slipping through our fingers.

I think the reason the song hit me so hard was that it caught me off-guard. And this, I think, is also part of the reason why ABBA's music resonates with so many people. ABBA entice you into their lair with ostensibly upbeat songs such as 'Mamma Mia' and 'Dancing Queen' and then they sneak up from behind and whisper the 'Slipping Through My Fingers' lyrics in your ear. In other words: unlike many other acts in the history of pop and rock, they don't advertise that they have something "important and profound" to relate. They hit you with it while you're unguarded, and that will often make it all the more powerful.

The full story of 'Slipping Through My Fingers' and every other ABBA song is in my book ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions. Learn more and order your copy here: abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com

 

ABBA research - couldn't do it without helpful fans

Published June 15, 2018

As I was writing ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions (abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com) back in 2015–2017, I spent a lot of time in various archives searching for facts and stories that could add further insights into ABBA's recorded history. But - and this is important - there were also plenty of fans who contacted me and offered to help. Some even donated entire cuttings collections to me, or at least partial collections, which is more than I could ever have hoped for. Many of the stories and facts in the book wouldn't have been available to me if it hadn't been for those fans.

Just a few days ago, another kind fan decided to part with his cuttings and generously sent them to information-greedy me. I'm just now going through them all and have already found stuff that I didn't know about. I just love doing research and dig deep to unearth new facts, so to receive a collection like this in one go is heaven to me. I'm constantly astounded by the generosity and kindness out there.

Much of what I'm finding here will, of course, be very useful in the companion volume to ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions, scheduled for publication some time in 2019. In the meantime, if you haven't already ordered your copy of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions, chock-full of interesting facts and human stories about ABBA as a musical entity, the book is available here: abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com

Let The Music Speak - a book celebrating its 10th anniversary

Published June 12, 2018

As most readers of my posts will be aware, my book ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions (abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com) tells you the story of how the group's classic recordings were made: from being written to recorded and mixed. However, there is an aspect that my book doesn't touch upon so much, which is an analysis of ABBA's music from a musicological perspective.

Fear not, though, because a book that takes on that challenge already exists. Christopher Patrick's ABBA: Let The Music Speak was first published in 2008, so celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. I read through a number of drafts of the book and also wrote the foreword to it, and I can heartily recommend it to anyone interested in delving deeper into ABBA's music.

By the way, I'm not the only one who likes it - Frida herself has given it a ringing endorsement: “I am so happy to at last read a book that mainly concentrates on our music, and not on gossip about the band members. You have written a literally wonderful exposé and should be very proud of your work. Thank you so much for letting me have a copy. I will always cherish it!”

Copies are still available, sold by Chris himself on Ebay (see ordering link to the right). Get yours while you can!