The final sessions

In 1982 ABBA made what would be the group’s final recordings.

In May Benny, Björn, Agnetha and Frida convened to start recording ABBA’s 9th album. After recording just three songs – ‘You Owe Me One’, ‘Just Like That’ and ‘I Am The City’ – the group abandoned plans for a new album, and announced the end-of-year release of a career-spanning compilation double album, planned to include one or two new songs to be recorded in August. The May recordings were shelved for a possible future album.

In August they came together to record three new songs – firstly ‘Cassandra’ and ‘Under Attack, and then on August 20 what became the last ABBA song, ‘The Day Before You Came’.

I’ve always considered those songs from 1982 to be the “postscript” of ABBA’s career. On first hearing The Visitors in December 1981, and reading between the lines of what had been going on with the ABBA members for quite some time, I wouldn’t have been surprised if The Visitors was the end of ABBA.

So I was most surprised during 1982 to learn that they were recording and would release more songs. Though those two singles, and the compilation album ABBA The Singles – The First Ten Years (with its ironic subtitle), did seem to put a full stop to ABBA’s career.

In November and December ABBA made their final television appearances on programmes in the United Kingdom, West Germany and Sweden. They seemed much more relaxed and at ease than they had in years. I wonder if, despite all those comments that ABBA would be “taking a break”, that they actually felt relief that it was all over.

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