Archive for April, 2008

CHESS revival

25 April, 2008

CHESSThe Benny Andersson · Tim Rice · Björn Ulvaeus musical CHESS – Benny and Björn’s first post-ABBA project – is undergoing quite a revival at the moment.

March saw the South African premiere of the musical in Johannesburg, which moves to Capetown in June.

An small theatre group in Massachusetts, USA staged a production in February.

The musical was also stage in Tartu, Estonia in January.

A short run production opens next week in Watford in London.

Next month sees an all-star concert version at the Royal Albert Hall in London, to commemorate the 21st anniversary of the original London production. Rumour has it this concert may be recorded for CD or DVD release.

May also sees a short-run production in Sydney, Australia, in the same theatre as the musical played in 1990.

Another short run production plays in Harrogate in Yorkshire, England in May.

An all new production opens in Los Angeles in May 2009, apparently with the “world premiere” of a brand new book.

Next year marks the 25th anniversary of the original concept album’s release.

An unusual ABBA record #4

12 April, 2008

Dancing QueenAustralian fans watching the ABC TV programme Collectors this past week would have seen this unusual single sleeve on their televisions screens.

‘Dancing Queen’ was the first ABBA record to feature ABBA’s famous logo with the first B reversed, which was designed by art director Rune Söderqvist.

And it was the first ABBA single in Australia to come in a picture sleeve.

Apparently an Australian advertising firm had a similar logo, which led to legal proceedings regarding the ABBA logo. In preparation, RCA printed a version of the sleeve with ABBA written normally.

Close examination of the sleeve shows the obvious cut and paste of the artwork – the first B is slightly out of line with the other letters.

It seems that the legal dispute was quickly resolved, as on release day, 11 August 1976,  the single sleeve appeared with the ABBA logo.

But the logo-less version didn’t go to waste, as copies were distributed to record shops. I remember my local record shop had a whole rack of them. Stupidly I didn’t buy one then, but I’ve been lucky enough to find many copies at record fairs and second-hand shops since then.

A 1994 ABBA TV special declared that there were only three of these “misprinted” sleeves, which were worth thousands of dollars. This is patently not true – hundreds if not thousands were in circulation.  The Collectors programme told us it’s worth about AU$10, which is about right these days.

ABBA – The Story – a new book

1 April, 2008

ABBA - The StoryAuthor Carl Magnus Palm has written a new ABBA biography specifically for the Scandinavian countries.

ABBA – The Story: Sanningen om supergruppen (The Truth About The Supergroup) is the first comprehensive biography of ABBA written in Swedish.

Though it tells essentially the same story as 2001’s Bright Lights Dark Shadows – The Real Story Of ABBA (the ABBA story is what it is, after all), it is not a direct translation of that book.

The approximately 400 page book will include about 50 colour and black & white photographs.

ABBA – The Story will be published in Sweden, Denmark and Norway in September 2008. See the author’s website for more information.

For English readers, a new edition of Bright Lights Dark Shadows, featuring some updates and a nine page afterword covering events from 2001 to 2008, will be published in June.

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