What do you think was the ABBA event of the past year? Agnetha and Frida accepting ABBA’s lifetime acheivement at the Rockbjörnen awards? Benny and Björn’s new “pop songs”? ABBA in Japan released on DVD? Or something else? Vote now for the ABBA event of 2009. Up to three choices are allowed. If you chose “Other” please leave a comment.
Archive for December, 2009
I’m very happy to say that the ABBA World blog has again been nominated for ABBA Plaza’s ABBA Site of The Year. To vote pop over to ABBA Plaza right now and follow the links. The winner will be announced on 1 January 2010.
I’m slightly disappointed to see that three of the previous winners are in the final ten nominations. In the first few years previous winners were disqualified, giving more sites a chance. This is not a criticism of those sites – the previous winners are all among my favourite ABBA sites. There are over 1,000 ABBA websites out there (which, of course, you can find in the Links section of ABBA World), surely enough to fill ten nominations with fresh content every year.
ABBA never made a Christmas record. The four did sing a few impromptu Christmas songs, usually on radio broadcasts, and there were a few recorded spoken-word Christmas greetings released on giveaway flexidiscs.
Agnetha recorded a Christmas album with her daughter Linda, 1981’s Nu tändas tusen julejus (Now a thousand Christams candles are lit) . Benny’s pre-ABBA group The Hep Stars recorded an album Jul med Hep Stars (Christmas with Hep Stars) in 1967. Both Frida and Björn’s group Hootenanny Singers recorded songs for a Polar Music Christmas album, När juldagsmorgon glimmar (When Christmas morning shines), in 1972.
ABBA remained away from any songs that could be restricted to any seasonal event, with the one exception ‘Happy New Year’ (on Super Trouper, 1980), which is more a song of wistful reminiscence than a song to be played at midnight on New Year’s Eve (not that that stops many people from actually playing it then).
Personally I’m glad that ABBA never recorded a Christmas album. Most of them are too kitsch, too sugary, and most of them sound the same. Very few have anything to offer artistically. ABBA remained secular, without trying to appeal to a small niche market or disenfranchising any part of their audience.
However it’s not as exciting as it sounds. Most of the clips seem to be sourced from German TV network ZDF’s Kultnacht programme, featuring most of ABBA’s German TV appearances, which has been screened several times in recent years.
Parts of some clips are zoomed in, an obvious attempt at removing on-screen graphics. As a result the picture is often blurred. Most songs are cut off at the start and end. The picture quality at best is the quality of a home recording.
Oddly two official promotional films are also included: ‘No Hay A Quien Culpar’ (the Spanish version of ‘When All Is Said And Done’) and ‘Mamma Mia’.
This is not an official Universal Music release. Judging by the artwork it appears to be a relative of several unauthorised documentary DVDs released in the UK over the last three or so (some of which are discussed in the previous blog post DVD Overload). Brazil has a habit of releasing unauthorised DVDs. A few years before its official DVD release ABBA Gold, and also More ABBA Gold, appeared there.
Unless you’re a completist, or really, really want dubious quality clips of ABBA performing some of their biggest hits, don’t rush to get this DVD.
Hot on the heels of the announcement of the ABBAWORLD touring exhibition opening in London comes news of two new ABBA books to be published in January 2010.
First comes ABBA i Amerika or ABBA in America, “a pictorial travelogue” of ABBA’s final concert tour in 1979/1980. With photographs by Swedish royal court photographer Charles Hammarsten and text by journalist Leif Schulman, the book is published in both Swedish and English, with 148 pages illustrated in colour.
In addition to covering ABBA’s first and only concert tour of North America the book follows ABBA to the final concerts in Japan in 1980. The pair originally produced a smaller book Succé på världs-scenen: Agnetha, Björn, Benny & Annifrid (Success on the world stage) in 1979.
The second is an updated version of From ABBA to Mamma Mia! , featuring the photographs of Anders Hanser with text by Carl Magnus Palm. First published in 1999, it covers ABBA’s career on stage and in rare behind-the-scenes glimpses in images from circa 1978 up to the opening of Mamma Mia! in 1999, now updated to cover the last ten years.
P.S. It will not include any photos of the “ABBA reunion” in 1999 when Agnetha, Frida, Björn and Benny sang together for Görel Hanser’s 50th birthday party.
Both books are from Premium Publishing, renowned for their excellent music books in Swedish and English.
ABBAWORLD THANKS LONDON FOR THE MUSIC AND CHOOSES EARLS COURT FOR THE WORLD PREMIERE
Fully approved and supported by ABBA, ABBAWORLD will make its stunning, sequin spangled, world debut in London at Earls Court on 27 January 2010. The hugely interactive experience will take visitors on a mind-blowing journey through ABBAWORLDS 25 rooms, bursting with exclusive music, footage, images and never-before-displayed memorabilia from the personal collections of the worlds most cherished pop icons; Agnetha, Benny, Björn and Frida.
ABBAWORLD TO PREMIERE AT EARLS COURT ON 27th JANUARY.