Waterloo was first performed by ... Ajax?!

Published January 30, 2020

So you thought that ABBA were the original artists who performed 'Waterloo'? Wrong! Well, in a sense, at least.

ABBA performed 'Waterloo' in Melodifestivalen - the Swedish selection for the Eurovision Song Contest - on 9 February 1974. But in advance of that year's broadcast, all the entries were performed in the Swedish television magazine, Sveriges Magasin, which aired Monday–Friday between 6.30 and 7.30 pm. Two songs were performed in each programme by the vocal group Ajax (who would also serve as Melodifestivalen backing singers for artists that required them). On 30 January, they performed ‘Min kärlekssång till dig’ (“My Love Song For You”, Lasse Berghagen’s entry) and also ‘Waterloo’, marking the first time that the ABBA song was heard in public, albeit not performed by Agnetha, Björn, Benny and Frida.

The four members of Ajax were:

Karin Stigmark - in the mid-1960s, she released a number of singles and EPs in France under the name Karine, before returning to Sweden towards the end of the decade. She continued her recording career in Sweden, co-wrote songs for Melodifestivalen (including one in 1973), and was a member of the Swedish progressive super group Baltik, the other members being ABBA musicians such as Janne Schaffer, Mike Watson, Malando Gassama and Ola Brunkert, to name just a few.

Beverly Glenn Sundel - an American singer who came to Sweden in 1964, and eventually did session work (she sings on Agnetha's Elva kvinnor i ett hus album) before concentrating on jazz and gospel; she passed away in 2009.

Peter Lundblad - although never a major star, he emerged on the Swedish music scene in the 1970s, and a handful of songs he released in the 1980s have remained popular; he passed away in 2015.

Göran Wiklund - became a member of Ajax through his friendship with Peter Lundblad, later went on to a progressive band, and is still around today, mainly as a soul music singer.

Later in 1974 the budget album Svensktoppen 2 was released, where Ajax performed a number of recent hits, including Waterloo. This recording, then, should be fairly close to that first TV performance. I recently located a copy of the LP, and I've uploaded Ajax' version of 'Waterloo' here. (May not work on mobile phones.)

This is just one of a myriad of similar stories to be included in my forthcoming book ABBA On Record - Packaged Promoted Reviewed. Read more here.

 

Sold out: ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions

Published January 26, 2020

The hardcover edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions (Revised and Expanded Edition) is now sold out. I don't know if or when I'm going to reprint, but this edition with the dust cover etc. is gone forever. The ebook will remain available for the foreseeable future.

Depending on how you count, you could say that 2020 marks the 30th anniversary of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions - at least the start of my journey, as 1990 was the year I began collecting information about ABBA in the hope that I would write a recording sessions book one day. Most of the work on the first edition of the book was conducted in 1993, and ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions was published in 1994.

In 2007 I began tentative work on a revised edition, but it wasn't until 2014 that I was finally in a place where I could take the plunge and start exploring the possibilities of self-publishing the new edition, and financing it through crowdfunding. The first crowdfunding campaign was launched in January 2015 - it failed, but a second attempt two months later was successful, and I could finally get to work on the book (the picture here shows me listening to archive recordings in May 2015). ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions (Revised and Expanded Edition) was eventually published in March 2017. And now, the last hardcover copy has been sold.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who supported the initial crowdfunding campaign and to everyone who has bought the book since then, whether it was the hardcover edition or the ebook. I know I've written this many times before over the past few years, but it's worth repeating: I quite literally couldn't have done it without you. The support and the enthusiasm were truly inspiring for me.

My only goal was to produce a book that would please those who were interested in the details of how ABBA wrote and recorded their music. I had not expected the overwhelmingly positive reaction from reviewers, Björn's very nice comment about the book in an interview, and then the Best Popular Music Discography award from the Association for Recorded Sound Collections.

To sum up: I am so pleased with how this project turned out. Everything has gone beyond my wildest expectations.

Now back to work on ABBA On Record, which will be published in 2021.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

Almost sold out: ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions

Published January 23, 2020

UPDATE, 25 JANUARY: The book is now completely SOLD OUT!

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Based on years of in-depth research and interviews, ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions is the book that tells the story of how ABBA wrote and recorded their music. Since the publication of the Revised and Expanded Edition in 2017, the 448-page book has received rave reviews from everyone from ABBA's Björn Ulvaeus to fans and reviewers, ultimately going on to win the Association for Recorded Sound Collections 2018 award for Best Popular Music Discography.

Now, almost three years after publication, there are less than 20 copies left of the hardcover version of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions. It is far from certain that the book will be reprinted, and if it is, it won't be in this nicely produced version with a dust cover and all the rest of it (the ebook will remain available for the foreseeable future).

So if you want a copy before they're all gone, now is the time to order!

 

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