ABBA On Record contents - 02 The music that inspired them

Published March 31, 2019

This is the second of six daily instalments, describing the contents of the upcoming book ABBA On Record - Packaged Promoted Reviewed. Day seven, Friday 5 April, is when pre-ordering starts (read more here).

In addition to the discography, which constitutes the main part of the book (detailed in yesterday's blog post), there will also be five additional sections. This is the first of these appendices:

02 THE MUSIC THAT INSPIRED THEM

In this detailed essay I will try to cover, in as much detail as possible, the music that the four ABBA members liked and/or was influenced by 1945–1982. Drawing from a multitude of interviews with the ABBA members - from newspapers, magazines, radio and television programmes - I will put together a kind of chronicle of what Agnetha, Björn, Benny and Frida liked in their youth and how their musical tastes evolved over the decades, up until the end of the ABBA era. It will also tell us something about how the consumption of music changed from the early days, when it was mainly a matter of live music or, at best, the radio, to the 1970s, when most homes had a hi-fi system.

I hope to put this information into perspective and see to what extent the music the ABBA members heard may have influenced their own creations. Naturally, one should be careful not to fall into the trap of sloppy analysis, saying that ABBA's music is simply the sum of their influences, so the essay will not offer any easy "Bach + Beach Boys = ABBA" formulas. Nevertheless, I think there's some insight to be gained here, and I'm looking forward to getting to grips with the text. If nothing else, it's fun to see what kind of music ABBA liked, whether or not it had any direct bearing on their own music.

Note: The above content description is subject to minor changes and adjustments.

Stay tuned for the next instalment in the "ABBA On Record contents" story, to be published tomorrow.

 

ABBA On Record contents - 01 The discography

Published March 30, 2019

This is the first of six instalments, describing the contents of the upcoming book ABBA On Record - Packaged Promoted Reviewed. Day seven, Friday 5 April, is when pre-ordering starts.

01 THE DISCOGRAPHY

• This discography, which constitutes the main part of the book, will use the Polar Music releases 1972-1982 as its basis - plus the unique recordings released in 1983 and later - just like the main book did. It will feature all known sleeves used on the Polar releases in Sweden, Denmark and Norway.

• In terms of songs/recordings/mixes not released on Polar back in the day, the discography will also feature entries for the single/album where a particular version of a song was first released, in chronological order. So, for example, the UK Ring Ring remix single (not released by Polar in Scandinavia) will be featured and presented with an entry dated 21 June 1974.

• Edits will not be included in the discography (except when released on Polar), since I want to focus on creative choices made by ABBA and their closest associates, not on edits made by local record companies.

• The discography will take an indepth look at the stories behind the official single and album sleeves: how they were conceived and put together, in as much as there is a story to be told. The focus will mainly be on the albums, since most of the time there isn’t much of a story behind the single sleeves. However, whatever facts I can find will be in the book. Click here for a rough and unfinished draft of how a few of the pages might look.

• As part of the discography, there will be more information on how the various releases were promoted and marketed, primarily in Scandinavia, the UK, the US and Australia, and what kind of success they had in those territories. This is a lot more exciting than it sounds: I've already interviewed quite a few record company people who worked with ABBA in the UK, Australia and the United States, and their stories are very interesting indeed, shedding light on how and why things happened or didn't happen. I expect to do more interviews in the course of 2019.

•  Review excerpts from Sweden and the English-speaking countries will be included with each discographical entry, if they are available. Through my own extensive research and with the aid of helpful ABBA fans around the globe, I've been able to amass an insane amount of reviews. It's highly interesting to read exactly how ABBA's recordings were received at the time, as it gives us a flavour of the times and also shows how opinion on ABBA fluctuated over the course of their career.

Note: The above content description is subject to minor changes and adjustments.

Stay tuned for the next instalment in the "ABBA On Record contents" story, to be published tomorrow.

 

ABBA On Record - pre-orders start a week from today!

Published March 29, 2019

I'm delighted to announce that pre-orders for my next book, ABBA On Record - Packaged Promoted Reviewed, will start Friday 5 April 2019. Coincidentally, it's Agnetha's birthday, so what date could be more appropriate?

ABBA On Record is presently scheduled for publication late 2019 or early 2020, and you can support the project by getting in on it early. Everyone who pre-orders will get their book signed with a personal dedication, plus their name listed in the book. For a limited period, until 5 June 2019, “early bird” pre-orders of the hardback book will also be rewarded with a 10 % discount!

The exact prices will be revealed a few days prior to 5 April.

The 448-page book is designed by Maria Nicholas, the art director who also designed the award-winning revised and expanded edition of ABBA – The Complete Recording Sessions. The first edition is hardcover, 200 x 240mm, clothbound with dust jacket; both cover and insides are printed in full colour, and the inside pages are on high-quality matte paper stock. There will also be an ebook edition.

As hinted to above, the publication date is not set in stone at this point, for two reasons:

• The quality of the contents in the book come before any other considerations. I don't want to publish a half-baked book just in order to meet a deadline.

• ABBA's new songs, recorded in 2017 but as yet unfinished and unreleased, will be covered in the book, but since we don't know exactly when they will be made available, I won't be able to publish the book until I've heard the finished songs.

ABOUT THE BOOK

ABBA On Record - Packaged Promoted Reviewed started out as a companion volume to ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions. Essentially, if the first volume explored ABBA's own creativity and the stories behind the songs, then ABBA On Record tells the reader what happened after the music had left the studio: single by single, album by album it presents the stories behind the iconic album sleeves, explores how the record companies worked with ABBA releases in presenting them to the record-buying public, shows what kind of success – or lack thereof – they enjoyed, and presents a selection of review excerpts to give a flavour of how the singles and albums were received by the media at the time.

The book also features five supplementary sections, essential to anyone who enjoyed ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions. Over the next six days I will present each of the sections (the main contents, plus the five supplementary chapters) in a series of blogs. On the seventh day, Friday 5 April, I will not be resting, for that is the launch date for the pre-orders.

Orders will be placed through PayPal (if you prefer to pay via credit card, you should be aware that PayPal handles credit card orders – you don’t need to have any money in your PayPal account to use it for credit card payments. The PayPal account itself is free – you won’t be charged any additional fees).

I'm feeling really excited about this new book, which is turning into much more than a simple companion volume to ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions. I'm looking forward to sharing the journey towards its completion with you. Thank you for your support: past, present and future. See you in the next blog post...!