Archive for September, 2007

ABBA GOLD at 15

27 September, 2007

ABBA GOLD - Greatest HitsThis month marks the fifteenth anniversary of the original release of ABBA GOLD – Greatest Hits.

At the time the CD was released, it had been almost ten years since ABBA had come to an end. General interest in the band had declined, though a dedicated worldwide fan base continued to love ABBA and enjoy their music.

It’s astounding that this simple compilation CD, which at the time seemed to be just another in a long line of quickly thrown together ABBA CDs that had flooded the market over the previous ten years, would kickstart a global revival and reevaluation of the band, and would become not only ABBA’s biggest selling album, but one of the biggest selling albums of all time.

The revival had actually been building up over the previous five years, with ABBA music playing in trendy clubs, theme nights, and a growing fan club. But the release of the compilation, along with Erasure’s cover EP Abba-esque and the international break-through of tribute band Björn Again, saw the revival explode to the general population.

The premise is simple – 19 ABBA hits on one single CD.

I’ve never been a particular fan of the compilation. The running order seems fairly random and arbitrary. There are at least two songs that don’t really belong as they don’t fit into the context of “ABBA’s greatest hits” – ‘Lay All Your Love On Me’ (a limited release 12 inch single) and ‘Thank You For The Music’ (a single A side in just a few countries, mostly to promote compilation albums in 1983). International chart-topping hits ‘Ring Ring’, ‘I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do’ or ‘Summer Night City’ seem better qualified for inclusion.

Still, ABBA GOLD has been a phenomenal success, having sold something like 26 million copies and introducing a whole new generation of ABBA fans.

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Seventies legends reunite

22 September, 2007

Two legendary bands from the Seventies have made the news in recent weeks for announcing one-off reunion concerts.

Led Zeppelin will be performing at the O2 Arena in London on 26 November this year in aid of the Ahmet Ertegun Education Fund . This is the third time the band have reuniting since disbanding in 1980. Famously this forthcoming concert has attracted over one million applicants for tickets.

The Sex Pistols will also be performing three concerts in November at Brixton Academy in London to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the band’s classic album Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols. This is not the first reunion for this band either, having done a world tour in 1996 and a US tour in 2003.

With the news of two of ABBA’s contemporaries reuniting (albeit briefly) it’s surprising that on-line ABBA fandom hasn’t been flooded with “if they can do it, ABBA could too” sentiments, though one newspaper article I read about the Led Zep announcement commented that “two billion dollars wasn’t enough” for ABBA to reunite.

Stig Anderson in memoriam

12 September, 2007

Stig Anderson (pic: Polar Music Prize site)Ten years ago today Stig Anderson, ABBA’s manager, lyric-writer, mentor and friend died at the age of 66.

Without Stig, ABBA would almost certainly not have achieved their worldwide fame. It was his confidence in the Andersson/Ulvaeus team and Swedish music in general that saw him pushing ABBA to their international breakthrough and beyond.

Stig came up with the name ABBA, and wrote (or co-wrote) the lyrics to many of ABBA’s early big hits, including ‘Ring Ring’, ‘Waterloo’, ‘SOS’, ‘Mamma Mia’, ‘Fernando’, ‘Dancing Queen’ and ‘Knowing Me, Knowing You’.

It’s sad that in recent years Stig is often written out of the ABBA story. He was not mentioned at all in the 2004 authorised documentary Super Troupers – 30 years of ABBA. And when he is mentioned, it’s most often in connection with failed business deals and legal actions from the ABBA members during the 1980s and 90s.

But his legacy in ABBA, the Polar Music Prize, and the 3,000 lyrics he wrote lives on. Visit ABBA World for a full tribute to Stig’s memory.

ABBA – THE ALBUM Deluxe Edition

8 September, 2007

Release date: October 15th 2007
Cat.No: 060251731763
UPC: 602517317635

ABBA - THE ALBUM Deluxe EditionINFO:
In October 2006 the Deluxe Edition of ABBA’s classic Arrival album was released to great acclaim. “[This] expanded edition – bolstered by the glittering 1976 single Fernando and an absorbing documentary – captures all the glory and innocence of ABBA’s wonder years,” wrote Q Magazine.

Now, one year later, on October 15th 2007, Polar Music International/Universal Music will release an equally exciting Deluxe Edition of ABBA – The Album. Featuring the original album, expanded with six bonus tracks, this Deluxe Edition also comes with a bonus DVD of rare and previously unreleased performances, news reports and vintage TV commercials for ABBA – The Album.

ABBA – The Album was originally released 30 years ago, in December 1977, marking a new step in musical development for the group. Functioning partly as a companion album to the feature film ABBA – The Movie, 6 of the 9 songs on the album featured in the film. Three songs from the mini-musical The Girl With The Golden Hair, originally performed during ABBA’s spectacular 1977 tour of Europe and Australia, were included on the album.

ABBA – The Album, which contains some of ABBA’s most familiar hits, such as ‘The Name Of The Game’, ‘Take A Chance On Me’, ‘Eagle’ and ‘Thank You For The Music’, reached number one on the album charts in 8 countries and the Top Five in a further 4 countries.

The bonus tracks feature two rare in-concert recordings: an alternate mix of ‘Take A Chance On Me (Live Version)’, released on CD for the first time, and the rare single B-side, ‘I Wonder (Departure) (Live Version)’, which was originally released on the flipside of ‘The Name The Game’. Further bonus selections come in the shape of the first take of ‘Thank You For The Music’ – the so-called Doris Day Version – the single edit of ‘Eagle’, and the Spanish versions of ‘Move On’ and ‘Thank You For The Music’.

The companion DVD included with this Deluxe Edition features television performances of songs from ABBA – The Album – including a rarely seen performance of ‘The Name Of The Game’ from a 1978 Japanese television special – vintage interviews and news reports from the time of the album, plus two original television commercials for the album, and an extensive gallery of album and single sleeves from around the world. All content is previously unreleased on DVD (except the UK TV commercial, which was
previously available on the Limited Special Edition DVD of ABBA – The Movie).

Finally, ABBA – The Album – Deluxe Edition also comes with a 28-page booklet featuring a detailed 5,300-word essay by ABBA historian Carl Magnus Palm about the making of the album, photographs from the era of ABBA – The Album, and rare memorabilia.

FACTS:
ABBA – The Album was released exactly 30 years ago, in December 1977, marking a new step in musical development for the group. Functioning partly as a companion album to the feature film ABBA – The Movie, 6 of the 9 songs on the album featured in the film. Three songs from the mini-musical The Girl With The Golden Hair, originally performed during ABBA’s spectacular 1977 tour of Europe and Australia, were included on the album.
ABBA – The Album contains some of ABBA’s most familiar hits, such as ‘The Name Of The Game’, ‘Take A Chance On Me’, ‘Eagle’ and ‘Thank You For The Music’.
ABBA – The Album reached number one in 8 countries and the Top Five in a further four countries.
• Expanded 2-disc edition.
• Disc 1: CD of the original album plus six bonus tracks.
• Alternate mix of ‘Take A Chance On Me (Live Version)’ for the first time on CD.
• Disc 2: DVD featuring television performances of songs from ABBA – The Album, vintage interviews and news reports from the time of the album, plus two original television commercials for the album, and an extensive gallery of album and single sleeves from around the world. All content is previously unreleased on DVD (except the UK TV commercial, which was previously available on the Limited Special Edition DVD of ABBA – The Movie).
• Rarely seen performance of ‘The Name Of The Game’ from a 1978 Japanese television special.
• Booklet featuring a detailed 5,300-word essay by ABBA historian Carl Magnus Palm about the making of the album, photographs from the era of ABBA – The Album, and rare memorabilia.

TRACKLIST:
DISC 01: CD
1. Eagle
2. Take A Chance On Me
3. One Man, One Woman
4. The Name Of The Game
5. Move On
6. Hole In Your Soul
“The Girl With The Golden Hair”
– 3 scenes from a mini-musical –
7. Thank You For The Music
8. I Wonder (Departure)
9. I’m A Marionette
Bonus tracks
10. Eagle (Single Edit)
11. Take A Chance On Me (Live Version; Alternate Mix)
12. Thank You For The Music (Doris Day Version)
13. Al Andar (Spanish Version of Move On)
14. I Wonder (Departure) (Live Version)
15. Gracias Por La Música (Spanish Version of Thank You For The Music)

DISC 02: DVD
1. Eagle/Thank You For The Music (Star Parade, ZDF)
2. Take A Chance On Me (Am Laufenden Band, Radio Bremen)
3. The Name Of The Game (ABBA Special, TBS)
4. Thank You For The Music (Mike Yarwood’s Christmas Show, BBC)
5. Take A Chance On Me (Star Parade, ZDF)
6. ABBA on tour in 1977 (Rapport, SVT)
7. Recording ABBA – The Album (Gomorron Sverige, SVT)
8. ABBA in London, February 1978 (Blue Peter, BBC)
9. ABBA in America, May 1978 (Rapport, SVT)
10. ABBA – The Album Television Commercial I (UK)
11. ABBA – The Album Television Commercial II (Australia)
12. International Sleeve Gallery

POLAR MUSIC INTERNATIONAL AB

[official press release September 2007]

Frida's 40 years

3 September, 2007

En ledig dag single (pic: thanks to Elmari ABBA lehekülg)Forty years ago today, 21-year-old Anni-Frid Lyngstad made her Swedish television debut and launched an international music career.

Earlier that day, young Anni-Frid had won a talent contest at Skansen in Stockholm, singing the song ‘En ledig dag’. Frida had been entering these contests for many years in an attempt to break into the music business.

Part of her prize was the chance to perform on a television spectacular designed to keep Swedes at home as this was the day that Sweden changed from driving on the left-hand side of the road to driving on the right.

As we all know, this auspicious occasion led to an illustrious career that culminated with ABBA’s enormous worldwide success, but also saw a long and varied solo career.

Today it doesn’t seem likely that we will any new music from Frida. She has said that she has “shut that door” behind her. Still, we have forty years of ABBA albums, solo collections, duets and guest appearances on other people’s records to enjoy.

Congratulations to Frida on this momentous anniversary!


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