When it was first released in September 2001, Bright Lights Dark Shadows – The Real Story Of ABBA by Carl Magnus Palm quickly became my favourite ABBA book.
For the first time we had a full-length authoritative biography of ABBA. Other books had tried but failed, based on gossip, opinionated theory or bad research from previously published mistakes.
Bright Lights Dark Shadows truly revealed how the group came together, their amazing international career and eventual dissolution. It covered the lives of Björn, Frida, Benny, Agnetha, and their manager Stig Anderson from the very beginnings right up to 2001. I found it a revelation to read.
The book has now been re-released with a new nine-page afterword, bringing the continuing ABBA story up-to-date. Which has been a good excuse to re-read the book, again.
There are those who have said that the book is lacking in “new detail”, that it tells that ABBA story “that we already know”.
I’ve always wondered what these people expect. A Kitty Kelly or Albert Goldman-style hatchet job based on unsubstantiated hearsay? Scandal , salaciousness and smut? A previously hidden alternative ABBA history?
The ABBA members were all conservative, white, suburban, heterosexual people in their late 20s and early 30s who were married to each other. Eventually the marriages ended, both men quickly finding new partners, and there were a few dodgy business deals, but that was as bad as it got. The details of their lives, especially during the group’s active years, were quite open.
Anyone who had followed the group and read every available book and article would of course know the gist of the ABBA story. But Bright Lights Dark Shadows brought together the whole story in a way that had never been done before.
Bright Lights Dark Shadows – The Real Story Of ABBA is a book that every ABBA fan should read.
See Carl Magnus Palm’s website for more information about Bright Lights Dark Shadows.