ABBA – THE ALBUM vinyl reissue

ABBA - THE ALBUMAs part of a series of classic album vinyl reissues from Universal Music, ABBA – THE ALBUM is to be re-released as a 12 inch long-playing vinyl album, just as it was in 1977. The series will be released on 8 July 2008.

It seems an odd choice – a more obvious “classic” album might have been Arrival, Super Trouper, or Voulez-Vous or even ABBA.

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21 Responses to “ABBA – THE ALBUM vinyl reissue”

  1. Scandiaca Says:

    Thanks for info on the release date! The Album was my first ABBA record, so I´m personally happy for this choice 😛 (but that´s just me). Have a nice day!

  2. Samuel Inglles Says:

    Hi IAN!

    Here is a very interesting article in regards to the re-release of the ABBA-‘The Album’ on vinyl this year.

    Kind Regards
    Samuel Inglles

    The Daily Telegraph – Saturday, 21 June 2008 (Page 118)

    INSIDE EDITION

    Just for the record: The clinical quality of digital music has led to a resurgence in vinyl. By Kathy McCabe

    Music industry power-brokers would have fallen over in hysterics if you told them five years ago that vinyl could kill the CD. But as sales of digital downloads overtake those of the shiny plastic discs, there is an underground revolution that may restore the LP to its former glory as the preferred music format.

    Audiophiles have never given up their love of vinyl and a new generation of music fans haunting second-hand stores on the street and online have stirred the big labels into action.

    There has been a regular stream of much-loved records reissued in small limited editions in recent years to satisfy the vinylphiles.

    But Universal Music Group, the world’s biggest conglomeration of labels, has readied 80 classic and contemporary records to release this year under an initiative called Back To Black.

    The first batch of 20 albums will be released in July to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the first long-playing, micro-grooved album being available to the consumer.

    Just looking through the covers of the chosen ones is enough to stir the warm glow of nostalgia.

    Emotional sighs of “ahhhhhhh” or shouts of “awesome” emanate from misty-eyed music fans as they spot the psychedelic blast of colour of Cream’s 1967 break-through album ‘Disraeli Gears’, or 1977’s ABBA-‘The Album’.

    The cover of Blind Faith’s self-titled album featuring a topless girl will thrill collectors as it was banned in Australia when the record was released in 1969 and only available in one small store in Town Hall arcade, probably wrapped in brown paper. There is also a wee giggle as the eye wanders to the odd one out – Amy Winehouse’s debut album ‘Frank’. Hey, her sound is retro so you may as well throw her in with Jimi Hendrix, Elton John, Def Leppard, Eric Clapton and KISS.

    Winehouse’s look is so old-school she bears little resemblance to the anorexic drug addict pictured in the media almost daily. Rod Cameron, Universal’s commercial director in Australia and a man who grew up with LPs, says the 80 reissued albums will be absolute replicas of original pressings, right down to gatefold artwork, plastic sleeves and 180-gram vinyl.

    “One of the things we’ve really lost with CD is album art. When you put the albums we are talking about on, you had something to read while they were playing,” Cameron says.

    “As packaging became more elaborate with librettos, pull-outs, and remember the ‘Sgt Peppers’ cut-outs, it was so far ahead of its time…an interactive experience.”

    Universal’s managing director George Ash, who spent nights during his university years listening to records as a quality controller at a vinyl pressing plant in Wellington, New Zealand, says the LP remains the Holy Grail of the hardcore music fan.

    “If you are a hard core fan of KISS, you want everything KISS has ever done. Everything. My relationship with vinyl may be stronger because of when I grew up,” he says.

    But not anymore. Generation Y and their younger brothers and sisters have adopted a love of vinyl as a badge cool. Ash says much of the fashionista rejuvenation of the format emanates from New York and London, in particular, where pop art, T-shirts, clothing and accessories are heavily influenced by the LP.

    “It’s not just about the sound but the imagery,” he says.

    “High-end fashion is incorporating a lot of the iconic images into fashion and accessories.”

    Specialist independent record store Red Eye Records in Sydney has always done a regular trade in the black disc. Red Eye spokesman Dan Farrar says there has always been a generational changing of the guard when it comes to who buys vinyl. With them, Metallica is as popular as Nirvana.

    “We have a lot younger kids, as young as 11, coming in with their dad or their mum,” Farrar says.

    “The teens tend to go through the second-hand bins looking for anything old like Cat Stevens and that stuff and then you have the fashionistas who want vinyl because it’s cool. I think also what is happening is that people want something tangible. It’s all well or good seeing that little file on your computer, but some people are what we call completists; they just have to have everything a band ever releases, right through to bootlegs. You’ll find Led Zeppelin and Metallica fans do that a lot.”

    Several big Australian acts insist, even now, on some vinyl pressings of new releases to please fans.

    Powderfinger orders up to 1000 LPs for each new album. Resale value online of new LPs entirely depends on how limited the supply and how successful the record. Powderfinger’s manager Paul Piticco says they do it for the purists. “They still want to hear the crackle of the needle and they are the hardest of hardcore music fans,” he says. “And for me and Powderfinger, who grew up on vinyl, for us that connects an aural pathway back to when you first discovered music, a connection that unites all the music you first heard, whether it was ABBA or Led Zeppelin.”

    Sydney music industry staffer Adam Yee is so in love with vinyl he has a collection of about 10,000 seven-and 12-inch records.

    His mother is to blame, thanks to her love of 1970s disco compilations.

    “Oh yeah, I’ve still got ’em,” Yee laughs. “Friends love looking through them all and you get used to it, having to pack them all up when you move. I wonder if 16-year-olds today are going, ‘Oh downloads are great’ … whether they will embrace vinyl remains to be seen.”

    But it seems the rock and hip-hop stars of the future still haunt second-hand record stores.

    Alex Burnett and David Hall of Sydney band Sparkadia would whittle away hours at a record store near their university and buy up $2 vinyl albums on a whim.

    “If it had a cool cover or you’d see a Burt Bacharach record and you’d want to check out what he did, or a cool film soundtrack, you’d get it,” Burnett says, explaining that listening to records like Massive Attack’s ‘Blue Lines’ gave them a more practical sonic education.”

    “Listening to those albums made us want to work out how they did it,” Hall says.

    Anyone making sample-based music relies on the LP for inspiration. One of the most famed stories of over-eager sampling of vinyl in the Australian music industry involves the award-winning ‘Since I Left You’ album from the Avalanches. It is rumoured to have contained more than 3000 samples and its release was delayed several months as lawyers attempted to gain permission for their use. Rock musicians just love vinyl for all the right reasons – it sounds better and looks better than CD or downloads.

    ARIA award-winning producer Matt Lovell says vinyl offers the superior listening experience because the music is recorded in its truest form. As Neil Young once remarked, listening to an analogue recording is like walking through a fine mist; listening to digital recordings is like being blasted with ice cubes from a shotgun.

    “With analogue recording, you are hearing the music the way you hear things in the natural world,” Lovell says. “You get the ambience of the room and there is much more top end. Digital recording has filters which mean you’re just not getting the details.”

    Universal are giving fans both formats with the Back To Black campaign when the first batch are released on July 19, 2008. And those who order the records also receive a code to download the songs on to their computers from a special Back to Black website.

    “It will be interesting to see how many people download the album after they’ve bought it on vinyl, if they want both,” Cameron says.

    The first release includes Jimi Hendrix, ‘Are You Experienced’; James Brown, ‘Live At The Apollo Part 1’; Supertramp, ‘Breakfast In America’; Eric Clapton, ‘461 Ocean Boulevard’; Steely Dan, ‘Gaucho’; Cat Stevens, ‘Tea For The Tillerman’; Cream, ‘Disraeli Gears’; KISS, ‘Alive!’; Marvin Gaye, ‘I Want You’; Blind Faith, ‘Blind Faith’; Elton John, ‘The Captain And The Kid’; Aerosmith, ‘Pump’; Amy Winehouse, ‘Frank’; The Police, ‘Zenyatta Mondatta’; Eminem, ‘The Marshall Mathers LP’; Peter Frampton, ‘Frampton Comes Alive’; Def Leppard, ‘Hysteria’; ABBA, ‘The Album’; Nick Drake, ‘PinkMoon’; and Van Morrison, ‘Tupelo Honey’.

    Photos: New spin…a number of artists are releasing their music on vinyl in a nod to purists and hardcore fans. They include Amy Winehouse, ABBA, The Police, KISS and Cream.

  3. Ian Cole Says:

    I finally saw the LP today. I was surprised to see that the sleeve is a copy of the Epic Records gatefold sleeve from the UK and Ireland, not the original Polar-designed sleeve. Personally I prefer the original, though the UK version has its fans.

    See Back To Black for more information.

  4. Eugene Harrington Says:

    Does anybody actually know the pressing facility which Universal has used to manufacture these LP reissues? I am especially interested in the Van Morrison LP but will wait until I hear the reaction of the audiophile community as to (i) pressing quality and (ii) sound quality and how it compares with an original pressing.

  5. Andrew Adam Says:

    I am glad the sleeve is the one Epic used in UK – the blue top airbrushing with the White logo is much less austere than the Polar White sleeve – I only hope that they have put the version of Take A Chance On Me on it that is 4:05 and not the 3:58 version that fades out too early 🙂 Nice one Universal; now let’s have some more Abba re-released on vinyl please !

  6. Ian Cole Says:

    Eugene, it appears to be pressed by GZ Vinyl – their website’s URL is stamped in the runnout on the disc itself.

    Andrew, the stated running time for Take A Chance On Me on the disc and sleeve is 4.05. All the ABBA albums were re-released on vinyl in 2001, but they’re no longer available.

    Incidentally, the LP includes a coupon for a free download of the album on mp3. While the LP itself has the 9 tracks of the original 1977 release, the download includes the bonus track from the 2001 CD, Thank You For The Music (Doris Day version).

  7. Eugene Harrington Says:

    Unfortunately, the sources used on a number of these reissues appear to be digital and maybe even from the same masters that were used for the commercial 16bit 44.1KHz Compact Disc releases. This is a shame and shows a lack of understanding on the part of the major record companies of why Vinyl is preferred by many music fans. Some of these reissues have been given a major thumbs down on the Steve Hoffman forum. This is truly a lost opportunity.

  8. bebsie Says:

    I have always loved ABBA. Since vinyl seems to be what’s in now a days, I am wondering if copies of it will also be released her in the Philippines.

  9. Ahmed Kadret Says:

    I would love to get the entire original Abba albums, they should re-release them on Vinyl, I think all albums should be re-released in vinyl and CD, the artwork on vinyl is way nicer and CD’s just look cheap. I would love to get the Madonna, Bee Gees, Abba, BoneyM, Wham, George Michael and Michael Jackson albums on Vinyl.

    CD’s are ok for a party or a car but when you are at home drinking and relaxing you want the real stuff, and the Abba Cd’s look awful, I mean the artwork looks terrible, I got the Abba remastered 1997 CD’s while I was in Australia, but now I want the Vinyl ones, they are like an art collection. Are Vinyl albums sold in HMV in London??

  10. Ian Cole Says:

    Ahmed, as I wrote above, the eight ABBA studio albums were re-released on vinyl in 2001. But I don’t think they’re available any more. The CDs were also re-released in 2001, in much better packaging and a better selection of bonus tracks than the 1997 set. These are still available everywhere.

  11. Ian Cole Says:

    ABBA – The Album can be ordered from:

    Music Direct (USA)
    What Records (UK)
    JB Hifi (Australia)
    Chaos (Australia)

  12. Ahmed Kadret Says:

    awesome, well maybe I can find some store that has a few copies on vinyl even if they are the old original versions and not the reissues, or I can order them online, I would love to get them when I visit london later on this year, thanks.

  13. Mark Pearce Says:

    The best thing to do is search the thrift shops and second hand record shops for the original LPs. As has been mentioned, the new releases are likely to be digital remasters. Bonus tracks aside, the 24 bit remasters are not very sympathetic to the originals. They have just been compressed to make them a lot louder. For example, the atmospheric piano intro to Thank You For The Music is so loud on the 24 bit that the tape hiss (which Benny, Bjorn and Micke would have tried avoid like the plague originally) is so loud that it completely detracts from the music. Then, when the band come in for the chorus it is so loud as to be unnatural and uncomfortable. The originals have real dynamic range, so that the intro in this case is quiet and relatively hiss free, and there is a natural build up to the chorus. Conversely, the wick can then be turned right up and it is much easier on the ear.

  14. Calvin R Murty Says:

    The Arrival and ABBA album were both re-released in 180g vinyl in the late 90s or early 2000s, by a ‘brand’ or company known as Simply Vinyl. Unfortunately, their website no longer seems to work. I bought Kate Bush’s Hounds of Love from there, also on vinyl, and the soung quality was superb. In the cover of that album, they had a catalogue of sorts, and the abovementioned 2 ABBA albums were listed there.

  15. Samuel Inglles Says:

    Hi Ian

    Another article on the vinyl release of ABBA-The Album!

    Kind Regards
    Samuel Inglles

    The Daily Telegraph – Saturday, 9 August 2008 (Page 21)

    I want to play it black: Forget digital music, we love the warm crackle of vinyl. By Kathy McCabe

    The explosion of music downloads has sparked an unexpected vinyl revival as audiophiles embrace the warm crackle and super-sized artwork of the old fashioned LP.

    Musicians are leading the charge resurgence of the black wax because of superior sound quality to overly compressed digital files and their fond memories of growing up with records.

    Most local rock and electro-pop acts demand their labels produce between a few hundred and 1000 copies of their new releases on vinyl.

    Sydney duo The Presets issued their platinum hit album ‘Apocalypso’ on LP this week, four months after its release.

    The band’s label Modular has always issued singles and LPs for the majority of their artists’ releases.

    “One of our new acts Tame Impala are really adamant that they want their stuff on vinyl,” label manager Heath Mawson said.

    “They are totally out of the 1970s – Cream meets Can psychedelia – and all they do is go through every Newtown store hunting for records.

    Powderfinger, Silverchair and Youth Group always release limited quantities of their new records on vinyl for the “purists” and to satisfy their personal desire to hear their music on a format that everyone now agrees is superior to CD and digital – even with the pops and crackles.

    “They want to hear the crackle of the needle and they are the hardest of hardcore music fans,” Powderfinger’s manager Paul Piticco said.

    “And for me and Powderfinger, who grew up on vinyl, for us that connects an aural pathway back to when we first discovered music.”

    Local singer songwriter Diesel has sent advance vinyl copies of his new album ‘Days Like These’ to reviewers and his brother-in-law Jimmy Barnes is soon to celebrate the 15th anniversary of his ‘Heat’ record with a double red vinyl edition.

    And Universal Music Group launched the Back To Black campaign last week which will see dozens of seminal albums by legendary artists re-released on vinyl, including Kiss, Cream, Eric Clapton, ABBA, Van Morrison, Cat Stevens, Blind Faith, Supertramp, James Brown and Jimi Hendrix. The bonus of the pressings – to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the format – is they come with a code to allow fans to download the record.

    Photos: (1) Revolution…The Presets insisted their album ‘Apocalypso’ be released on vinyl. (2) Retro…‘Apocalypso’ cover art (3) New is old…Diesel on black. (4) Celebration…Jimmy Barnes

  16. Hugh Says:

    Almost every single release on the Universal Back to Black series is digital sourced right from the cd!! There are no mastering credits because that is how they did it. The cat Stevens vinyl stands as one of the most shameful vinyl re-releases that has been done: Digital sound and 3rd generation recycled vinyl.
    The Epic Legacy vinyl series is the same way. I sent an email to the mastering engineer for those titles and a good number of them are digital sourced, as well. This is just a corporate bailout for which you are giving these idiots 25 dollars for a “cd replica” that is reduced from 16 bits to 10.

  17. Hugh Says:

    I have to add: Those 180 gram AC/DC releases are digital sourced. It says it right on the back cover of the 1st round they did. (The ones with the sticker) They realized that people are starting to look so they edited the line to say: remastered from the original tapes. The ones with the stickers say: Digitally remastered from the original tapes. They just removed the word “digitally.” What is amazing is that they will go through more garbage to hide their mischievous intentions than it would be just to fix it properly. The only safe place is the old vinyl you can pick up for 3 bucks. It is quieter (believe it!!), sounds better and the covers are not just some cheap scan they used.

  18. Samuel N. Inglles Says:

    The Courier-Mail – Brisbane (Tuesday, 26 May 2009)

    Back in the grooves with a vinyl revival. By Paddy Hintz (Shopping Reporter)

    Forget about home theatre surround sound, iPod docking stations and the latest new-wave all-in-one music systems. It’s time to get ready for the next revolution.

    Record players and the paraphernalia that goes with them – stylii, cleaning tools, vinyl records and old-fashioned amplifiers – are making a comeback.

    The downloading generation has discovered the tangible benefits of vinyl, and records sales are soaring across the country.

    High-end hi-fi specialist Mervyn Marshall, of Northside Hi-Fi, has already doubled his sales of record players this year over last year.

    Egg Records owner Ric Trevaskes says players and old-fashioned amplifiers are becoming harder to get and more expensive as more people want them.

    And the range of retailers stocking record players has mushroomed, from the small retailer dedicated to acoustic excellence to mass market stockists such as Aldi and Dick Smith Electronics, as record companies now produce records that come with codes to access a free download so you can protect your precious vinyl.

    Brisbane’s Rocking Horse Records owner Warwick Vere says record sales are up 45 per cent on last year. “It is one of the good things that has come out of the downloading generation,” he said.

    “They and their cousins are discovering the wonders of vinyl.

    “There are some funny stories of course. A lot of them go, you mean, you turn them over and play the other side?”

    Mr Vere says there’s no doubt records sound better than CDs, as the highs and lows of recordings are compressed on CDs.

    While many may not realise the value of their dusty old record collections, a lot of others over-estimate the worth of their collections.

    ‘We have plenty of people ringing us up telling us that they’ve got ‘Hot August Night’ by Neil Diamond,” Mr Vere said.

    “I tell them, so has half the universe, love.”

    Those new to vinyl are discovering you just can’t buy an old record player on its own – you also need the old-fashioned amplifiers, usually sourced from parents or grandparents, to reproduce the sound.

    Photos: (1) Superior sound…Jack Pemble, with Gran’s hi-fi. (2) Mervyn Marshall shows off a record player.

  19. Alex Says:

    I just want to confirm some of the comments in regard of ABBA the album.

    I’ve bought the reissue by Polar, it says Made in EU. I do like the blue background on the cover, the sound is clean but when compared to an old 70’s Australian press (which is not particulary amazing). The sound of the 70’s pressing is far superior even thought the vinyl is very thin.

    I have bought several reissues which are pretty good, this one is not one of them, the dynamic range and high frequencies are just not there. It was the most dissapointed reissue I’ve bought and has made me wary of buying others despite having mostly good experiences before.

    • Ian Cole Says:

      Thanks for the comments Alex. I’ve not actually heard this vinyl album. I’m surprised that they use the CD remastered tapes for vinyl reissues (not just ABBA), not the original tapes which were mastered for vinyl.

      • Alex Says:

        I didn’t find any mention about a digital master on the record but it does sound like many CD’s I own.

        It is interesting to note that I do have several repeats (different countries) of Beatles albums and the ones from the 90’s and the more recent re-issues are all known to come from digital masters but they all sound quite decent. If you compare those digital LP against the early issues of Beatles CD’s you just want to put the CD’s in the garbage because there is no chance of comparison. I am yet to hear the new remastered Beatles CD’s from this year.

        It is a shame there is some much inconsistency with the quality of reissues.

        If someone wants to hear a stunning re-issue (and like jazz) then try “Time out” by The Dave Brubeck Quartet. CS8192 in 200gram quiex SV-P . Watch out, there are lesser quality issues. The sound in this one is out of this world!

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