Australian 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.