Michael B. Tretow at 75

Published August 19, 2019

Back in 1993, when I was researching and writing the first edition of my book ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions, the first person I contacted for an interview was the group's engineer Michael B. Tretow. Over two separate 90 minute sessions in April of that year, I interviewed Michael on the phone about his memories and insights from recording ABBA. Michael was as impressed and intrigued by my research as I was by his talents as a raconteur and willingness to share his stories. From that moment on I knew I had a valuable ally in my endeavours to document their musical history. As I found out later, it was through his assertion that I was "a serious guy", as Björn and Benny wrote in their foreword to my book, that I was granted interviews with the male half of ABBA and then also got the opportunity to ask questions of Frida and Agnetha. A new, still ongoing chapter of my life began.

Although my contact with Michael has been pretty sporadic over the years, he has always been ready with an enthusiastic answer whenever I've had questions to ask, and if there was a door he could open for me, he was sure to open it. Naturally, I consulted him several times when I wrote the revised and expanded edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions, but, more importantly, working on that new edition renewed my admiration for the man, and reminded me just how important his creativity and perspective were for making ABBA's records so great.

The notion of "the fifth Beatle", "the sixth Rolling Stone" and so on is pretty silly, because if there had really been a fifth Beatle he would have been a member of The Beatles. Nevertheless, if there was something like a fifth ABBA member, Michael would be it. In my opinion, his talent for making recordings sound great is still underrated - this includes the "amateur" recordings he made in his bedroom while he was still living at home with his parents in the town of Norrköping, released on a CD a few years ago.

Incredible as it may seem, Tuesday 20 August 2019 marks Michael's 75th birthday.  I wish him all the best on that special day, and, on a personal note, I want to thank him for everything he's done for me over the years. I wouldn't be where I am today without his support at a crucial moment - simple as that.

Happy Birthday, Michael!