My very best – Agnetha Fältskog

My Very Best - Agnetha FältskogThis year marks the 40th anniversary of Agnetha’s first hit single, ‘Jag var så kär’ (I was so in love).

To commemorate Sony BMG Sweden is releasing a new compilation CD My Very Best – Agnetha Fältskog on October 8.

So far details are sketchy. A media release this week announces that it will encompass all of Agnetha’s recording career, from that first 1968 hit, through her five Swedish albums, her three English albums in the 1980s, to songs from her last album to date, My Colouring Book from 2004. (read the press release here and an English translation at icethesite)

The media release makes references to Agnetha’s input, the inclusion of an introduction by Agnetha, “unique images” in the booklet and the inclusion of Agnetha’s “special favourite from the ABBA period” which makes it sound like a revised version of the 1996 compilation My Love My Life.

I’m disappointed that yet again an image from an ABBA photo session (in this case from 1978) is being used to sell what is essentially Agnetha’s output before and after ABBA.

There will apparently be single and double-disc versions. Both will be available in both plastic jewel cases and digipaks. The track list has yet to be announced, though it’s been said there are 35 tracks – presumably on the double disc.

Agnetha fans will also be treated to a new five-disc set including all her Swedish albums from 1968 to 1975. This collection is part of a series of Original Album Classics released for a number of Sony BMG artists in Scandinavia.

Both can be ordered now from Swedish webstores and some other European ones, or the ABBA Fan Club Shop.


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9 Responses to “My very best – Agnetha Fältskog”

  1. Ian Cole Says:

    The tracklist has finally been announced:

    CD 1:
    1. S.O.S.
    2. Var det med dej?
    3. När du tar mig i din famn
    4. Många gånger än
    5. En sång om sorg och glädje
    6. Dröm är dröm, och saga saga
    7. Doktorn!
    8. Tack för en underbar, vanlig dag
    9. Så glad som dina ögon
    10. Vart ska min kärlek föra
    11. Tio mil kvar till Korpilombolo
    12. Så här börjar kärlek (duett med Björn Ulvaeus)
    13. Sången föder dig tillbaka
    14. Dom har glömt
    15. Om tårar vore guld
    16. Allting har förändrat sig
    17. Fram för svenska sommaren
    18. Jag var så kär

    CD 2:
    1. Wrap Your Arms Around Me
    2. Little White Secrets
    3. Can’t Shake Loose
    4. The Heat Is On
    5. If I Thought You’d Ever Change Your Mind
    6. I Stand Alone
    7. Mr. Persuasion
    8. I Won’t Let You Go
    9. If You Need Somebody Tonight
    10. Never Again (duet with Tomas Ledin)
    11. Let It Shine
    12 .Take Good Care Of Your Children
    13. Sometimes When I’m Dreaming
    14. The Way You Are (duet with Ola Håkansson)
    15. I Won’t Be Leaving You
    16 .When You Walk In The Room
    17. The Winner Takes It All

    There is no confirmation yet on the contents of the single disc version, if indeed there is still to be a single disc.

    (thanks icethesite)

  2. Graeme Says:

    Gorgeous collection, but I’m disappointed that “Maybe It Was Magic” and “Man” have not been included. Nice to see some other I Stand Alone tracks though. Wonderful that they’re celebrating her anniversary year.

  3. Ian Cole Says:

    Yeah, I’m very happy to see that it’s more than just a retread of My Love My Life as I’d first feared.

  4. Ian Cole Says:

    It looks like it will only be a double disc set. The webstores that had the single disc listed now only have the double disc listed.

  5. Samuel Inglles Says:

    Hi IAN

    These are articles in regards to Agnetha’s solo records from 1983 to 2004.

    Kind Regards
    Samuel Inglles

    New Idea – 11 June 1983 (Page 40)

    ABBA’s Agnetha Fältskog – or Anna, as she’s known to millions – has just released her first English sung solo album, called ‘Wrap Your Arms Around Me’, says “I hope the album will mean I will be recognised for myself,” says Anna, but she is not planning any major worldwide jaunts to promote it.

    All of a sudden, a fear of flying has emerged.

    Comment by Agnetha: At first I thought I’d get used to flying but the more I travel, the less I like it. I suppose I’m always half expecting to be involved in a plane crash.

    Billboard (U.S.) – 3 September 1983 (Page 24)

    New on the charts: This weekly feature is designed to spotlight new artists on Billboard’s pop, country and black music charts.

    Agnetha Fältskog: ‘Can’t Shake Loose’

    If the name doesn’t ring a bell, the sharp, sultry voice will. Agnetha Fältskog, an integral part of ABBA’s success, takes a strong solo stand as her Polydor debut, ‘Can’t Shake Loose’, moves up the Hot 100 to 64. The single is taken from her LP ‘Wrap Your Arms Around Me’, which was directed by Blondie and Bow Wow Wow producer Mike Chapman and sports a clean, uncluttered sound with catchy hooks and ample space for Fältskog’s emotive vocals.

    Fältskog began her career in 1968, and several of her singles reached Sweden’s Top 10, including the self-penned Number One hit, ‘I Was So In Love’. She married Björn Ulvaeus and the two joined Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad to form ABBA. Ten years and two children later, the Swedish singer had played a role in the film ‘Raskenstam’ and plans to pursue a film career.

    All members of ABBA are moving in new directions now, and Fältskog likes the idea. “I like new challenges. I feel my best when meeting them,” says the singer.

    For more information, contact Görel Hanser, Polar Music International, PO Box 7793, Hamngatan, S10396, Stockholm Sweden; (08) 143-0200.

    Daily Mirror (Sydney) – Monday, 12 September, 1983 (Page 36)

    New tune for Anna. From London

    Sexy blonde ABBA star Agnetha Fältskog is to marry her former bodyguard, Swedish police inspector Torbjörn Brander, 40.

    The couple who have been living together for two years, made the announcement in a three line advertisement wedged into the engagement columns of Stockholm’s morning newspapers.

    Agnetha, 33, was formerly married to ABBA’s guitarist-composer-lyricist Björn Ulvaeus for more than seven years.

    They were divorced in 1979 and given joint custody of their children, Linda, 10, and Christian, 5.

    Agnetha has also been promoting her new solo album recently, called ‘Wrap Your Arms Around Me’, her first sung in English and is one of Europe’s fastest selling records.

    The Times (London) – Tuesday, 4 October 1983 (Page 6)

    Pop star better

    Agnetha Fältskog of ABBA pop group, who left hospital yesterday after being badly bruised and concussed when her private coach overturned on a motorway in Southern Sweden on Sunday night.

    TV Week – 29 October 1983 (Page 36)

    Agnetha in a bus accident

    Pop singer Agnetha Fältskog of the hit ABBA group narrowly escaped death in a storm when her tour bus overturned and she was thrown through a window. Ironically, she’s been riding the bus for eight years ever since vowing never to fly a lot again when her private plane with ABBA crashed in a storm during their 1979 concert tour in the United States. She was released from hospital after treatment, and boyfriend Torbjörn Brander, a Swedish police inspector, was so relieved she was safe he promptly proposed marriage. The couple is now celebrating their engagement.

    Rolling Stone (Australian Edition) Issue No. 370 – November, 1983 (Page 82)

    Agnetha Fältskog: ‘Wrap Your Arms Around Me’ – (Polydor). By Christopher Connelly

    As a tireless booster of ABBA, it grieves me greatly to report what a disappointment Agnetha Fältskog’s first solo album is. Agnetha is the ruby-throated belter behind such ABBA classics as ‘Waterloo’ and ‘Dancing Queen’, but ‘Wrap Your Arms Around Me’ is a treacly, string-sopped outing that doesn’t begin to do her justice. Chief culprit is producer Mike Chapman, who seems to see Fältskog as some sort of Swedish Sylvia (“Pillow Talk”) Robinson. Even the modest tempos of such tunes as ‘Mr Persuasion’ and ‘Once Burned, Twice Shy’ sound positively incendiary next to the bogus cooing of ‘Stay’ – or, for that matter, all of side two.

    Only the Caribbean-crafted textures of ‘The Heat Is On’ and the solid, punchy rock of Russ Ballard’s ‘Can’t Shake Loose’ sweep away the saccharine taste. Fältskog’s own (written and composed song) ‘Man’ suggests that she has a way with a melody; maybe her next solo project will bring her talents more to the fore. ‘Wrap Your Arms Around Me’ would be a hard invitation to resist from Agnetha Fältskog – but the guy I’d really like to get my hands on is Mike Chapman.

    Score: 2 out of 5 stars.

    The Australian Women’s Weekly – December 1983 (Page 31)

    What people are wearing overseas.

    Travelling’s rough. Returning from a promotion for her single ‘Can’t Shake Loose’, ABBA singer Agnetha Fältskog, who hates flying, was in a coach that crashed out of control. Luckily she was only shaken up!

    Woman’s Day – 29 March 2004 (Page 11)

    Agnetha is björn again: Mamma Mia – here she goes again! ABBA’s Agnetha Fältskog comes out of self-imposed hiding to relaunch her solo career. By Leigh Reinhold

    ABBA’s glamorous grandmother is on the comeback trail. Agnetha Fältskog suffers from a string of phobias, but she has financed her return to the music world with the completion of her first solo album in 17 years.

    ‘My Colouring Book’, to be released by Warner Music, is a selection of cover songs from the 1960s. The first single is expected to be a remake of the Cilla Black classic ‘If I Thought You’d Ever Change Your Mind’.

    Agnetha, who turns 54 on April 5th, has certainly changed her way of thinking since 1983. Suffering from phobias, such as a fear of flying, open spaces, crowds and heights, she shut herself off from the world on the island of Ekerö off the Swedish coast, where she’s known as Greta Garbo II because she just wants to be alone.

    Following years at the top of the charts with the Swedish super-group, thanks to hits such as ‘Mamma Mia’, ‘Fernando’ and ‘Dancing Queen’, friends say that Agnetha simply wanted to be a wife to her husband, fellow ABBA member Björn Ulvaeus, now 58, and a mother to their children Linda and Christian.

    However, when the marriage ended in 1979 and ABBA split four years later, she eventually retreated to her island hideaway and from there refused to listen to or play music for 10 years. The sexy blonde chose to concentrate on alternative pursuits and practised yoga, astrology and natural medicines.

    Agnetha also took a string of lovers, but none was as controversial as Gert van der Graaf, an obsessed Dutch fan.

    The forklift driver, now 37, had stalked Agnetha for years before their relationship took its amazing detour in 1997.

    “Agnetha had known about his obsession,” explains her biographer Brita Ahman. “Still she got involved with him.”

    When her Gert was charged with threatening behaviour by a Swedish court in 2000, Agnetha claimed Gert’s persistence had persuaded her to finally take him into her bed.

    “His courting of me was very intense…in the end I couldn’t resist him,” she said at the time.

    While she has declined to comment on the reasons for her musical return – some say it could be a need for cash – Agnetha’s out to prove a point.

    “She wants to take back control and show she can still do it,” Brita says. “She’s tired of people talking about her as if she’s defeated – as if she has run away and been finished off by the man who stalked her. But it’s incredible for her to take this step. She’s taking a huge risk.

    “I think Agnetha has enjoyed the Garbo image. She likes being mysterious, and she has cultivated that. Now she has tired of the labels and wants to show something of herself. But she still hates publicity!”

    While Agnetha may hope for some success with her new album, she probably won’t care if it doesn’t reach the heights of ABBA, who sold 350 million records worldwide.

    “I like being a little star,” she once said. “Being a big star is too much pressure.”

    Photos: (1) Agnetha today. (2) Agnetha with ABBA in 1975. (3) Agnetha with the stalker, Gert.

    Agnetha made the following statement in regards to the negativity of the press towards her private life after she and Björn divorced in 1979. In this statement Agnetha mentions in regards to herself wanting to “run away and hide”. Agnetha ultimately pursued a life out of the limelight for a very long time to have quiet and peace of mind.

    Comment by Agnetha: We told one newspaper the facts. Yet still the papers went off and printed things that were untrue. When I read the newspaper stories about how I’d got another man, (the psychiatrist) which isn’t true, and how we didn’t care about our children I got very angry. I’d love to get my hands on the people who wrote those things! – What I didn’t realise was that it wasn’t enough, the Press still wanted more. They’re very hungry I think. What’s happening now is that people are writing things there isn’t any truth in. I don’t have another man, I do still work with Björn, and we both still love our children. Sometimes, yes, I’d just like to run away and hide; but that’s always with you, that feeling – and you still have a job to do. I’ll stay in the business. I can see us going on for a long time as long as the boys can still write. So you get over it. Like other things.

    The Times (London) – 17-23 April 2004 (Page 16)

    No Super Trouper: Life still doesn’t sound rosy for ABBA’s Agnetha Fältskog – A life of being rubbish with men seems to have informed the track listing. By Peter Paphides

    What was it about the 1970s that made us temporarily blind to very obvious things? How did we not stop to consider whether Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of a band called Queen, might be gay? And why the hell did all our dads think that Agnetha was the fun one in ABBA? Since when was being clearly quite fed up with the whole business of being a pop star glamorous? Didn’t it occur to anyone that the redhead standing next to her – the one bouncing up and down like a mink on heat in the video to ‘Take A Chance On Me’ – might actually be the fun one?

    I can’t say that, at the age of seven, I was any the wiser. But as I got a bit older, it was harder to ignore the obvious. Being in ABBA may have brought Agnetha fame and wealth beyond her wildest dreams, but it was clearly doing her head in. A glance at her 1996 autobiography As I Am confirms as much. Chapters boasted titles such as ‘ABBA’s Last Tour Was A Success But Awful For Me’ and ‘There Was A Fever, There Were Ovations, There Were Sweaty Obsessed Crowds’.

    It’s hard not to feel a little sorry for Björn. During ABBA’s glory years he could have indulged in the kind of bacchanals barely hinted at in the lyrics of ‘Summer Night City’. But, lest we forget, this was the decade of missing Very Obvious Things. Hence in 1971, having asked Agnetha to sing on a couple of his and Benny’s rubbish early folk tunes, Björn asked her out – the family was beckoned. Do you reckon that a decade spent hitched to the perpetually homesick, congenitally maudlin Agnetha made him bitter? He’s never said so in interviews, but sometimes actions speak louder than words. On ‘The Winner Takes It All’, Björn – now seeing another woman – wrote the lines “But tell me does she kiss/ Like I used to kiss you/ Does it feel the same/ When she calls your name?” Then he got his ex-wife to sing them. When I met him two years ago he confessed that the song was written in a drunken outpouring of self-pity.

    Agnetha probably thought that the dissolution of ABBA would cheer her up. So far, it hasn’t really worked. The solo career never took off. Promoting her 1983 single ‘Can’t Shake Loose’, she tottered on to The Late Breakfast Show in stilettos and prove-a-point miniskirt. She tripped and fell flat on her face, an experience that upset her sufficiently to warrant an entire chapter in As I Am. “As I lay in the hollow,” she wrote memorably, “I remember thinking that if I can just get up, I’ll save the show.” What a (super) trouper.

    If you : (a) found ‘As I Am’ as fascinating as I did; and (b) were rather disappointed by those post-ABBA solo records, you certainly won’t be disappointed by Agnetha’s comeback album. ‘My Colouring Book’ is composed of cover versions that echo the events of her life. All the songs are taken from the 1960s – apparently, the last decade in which Agnetha felt truly happy. She has mostly eschewed the usual jukebox classics. A life of being rubbish with men (in 1997 she even entered into a relationship with a stalker) seems to have informed the track listing. ‘Sometimes When I’m Dreaming’, written by Mike Batt, is a heartrending memoir of a woman reconciled to life without love: “It’s only when I’m dreaming that I fall in love for real/ But I wake up screaming.” ‘If I Thought You’d Ever Change Your Mind’ sees our heroine taunting herself with an unrequited lover’s fantasy over a chamber pop arrangement that eclipses Cilla Black’s original.

    Great play has been made of the fact that she has cancelled all interviews to do with the album. In fact, it’s more surprising that, after years of Garbo-esque seclusion, she entertained the notion in the first place. After all, the performances on ‘My Colouring Book’ can’t do anything other than prompt speculation concerning the well-being of the woman singing them. Take, for instance, a mildly delirious monologue called ‘Past, Present and Future’, in which she mourns a past of “silent joys” and “broken toys” and guesses at her prospects: “It doesn’t look good at the moment/ I don’t think it will ever happen again.” Personal? Compared to this, ‘The Winner Takes It All’ sounds positively elliptical. ‘My Colouring Book’ is out on WEA on the 19th April, 2004.

    New Idea – 29 May 2004 (Page 86)

    Agnetha Fältskog: ‘My Colouring Book’ – (Warner) Reviews with Sarrah Le Marquand, Monique Buttlerworth & Ed Gibbs

    After being a virtual recluse for 17 years, ABBA’s Agnetha returns with this collection of 1960s favourites. Paying tribute to her influences and mentors – of whom there are many – Agnetha shows that her voice hasn’t lost any of its seductive charm. Easy listening for lazy weekend breaks away.

    Score: 4 out of 5 stars.

    Who – 14 June 2004 (Page 77)

    Agnetha Fältskog: ‘My Colouring Book’ – (WEA, 42 min.) By B.D.

    In the CD booklet, the former ABBA songbird thanks a long list of famous names, including The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Simon & Garfunkel, Cilla Black, Bing Crosby and er, Grace Kelly. Why not Burt Bacharach and Marty Feldman? Don Knottts and Ella Fitzgerald? It’s a senseless list of mismatched icons. But it’s not quite as senseless as the album, a karaoke-like collection of over worn standards including ‘When You Walk In The Room’, ‘Sealed With A Kiss’ and ‘Fly Me To The Moon’. The backing tracks could be Eurovision entries, while Fältskog herself sleepwalks from song to song. ‘Past, Present And Future’ has kitsch value, her spoken-word vocal having a certain Brigitte Bardot appeal. The sad truth is that she had a bright voice that chimed perfectly with Frida Lyngstad on the turbocharged 1970s pop songs penned by hit machine Benny and Björn. But fans (who will undoubtedly say they love ‘My Colouring Book’ anyway) have waited years for this, an unimaginative covers album that even makes Rod Stewart’s recent atrocities sound like he was trying.

    Score: D-

    Rolling Stone (Australian Edition) Issue No. 629 – August 2004 (Page 100)

    Agnetha Fältskog: ‘My Colouring Book’ – (Warner). By Kelsey Munroe

    ABBA’s blonde goes solo with orchestral pop effort

    So she looks like your mum, but a few hundred million ABBA records sold worldwide says your mum can’t sing like this. Yep, it’s Agnetha, the blonde from ABBA, with a surprising gorgeous solo record of classic songs backed by a string orchestra. I know it sounds like a bad idea – but it’s not. Fältskog co-produces the record, and she performs lush, beautiful versions of ‘Fly Me To The Moon’, ‘A Fool Am I’ and (on a more questionable note) Jackie De Shannon’s ‘When You Walk In The Room’. But it’s on the seductively whispered spoken word of ‘Past, Present and Future’ that Fältskog really shows her pedigree; not many people could pull this off. It’s old-school romance crafted by superb performances from all musicians involved. They just don’t make records like this anymore – except maybe in Sweden.

    Score: 4 out of 5 stars.

    Sam’s comment: I hope Agnetha has the inspiration to record a brand new album soon with some original songs written by herself as well!

  6. Ian Cole Says:

    See the Swedish television commercial at SonyBMG’s You Tube channel.

  7. Dave Graham Says:

    anna course you’d have more then five fiends im now ;
    Your friend to ok love Dave

  8. Dave Graham Says:

    evry ABBAfan love you

  9. RADIO IRISH Says:

    Brilliant CD!

    New York’s Only Irish Station

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