Alternate versions

WaterlooABBA’s main catalogue consists of 98 individual songs, with a plethora of well-known alternate versions: recordings in languages other than English, remixes, edits and more.

However, there are a number of alternate versions of ABBA songs that evaded most fans for many years, or the stories behind them aren’t well known. Here is the first part of a two-part look at some of those alternate mixes.

Waterloo: when the English version of ‘Waterloo’ was first released in Sweden in March 1974, the single contained an early mix, not the final approved one. When it was discovered, the single was recalled, and reissued win the correct mix under the same catalogue number. Some copies had already been sold and remained out in the world. This alternate mix was not widely known among ABBA fans until the early 21st century, when fans who owned the single started discussing it in online forums. The alternate mix was included in The Complete Studio Recordings box set in 2005. It is now available on the Waterloo Deluxe Edition CD (2014).

Ring Ring: in 1974 after the number one success of ‘Waterloo’, Epic Records in the UK decided that ABBA’s 1973 Eurovision hopeful ‘Ring Ring’ should be re-released as the follow up single. But rather than re-release the 1973 version, Epic Records A&R man Paul Atkinson suggested it should be “beefed up” to more closely resemble the sound of ‘Waterloo’. Atkinson flew to Stockholm to oversee the makeover, which featured a heavier sounding guitar riff, and a short saxophone riff near the end of the choruses. It seems that it may have actually been a different take of the vocal. As well as being released in the UK (where it reached a dismal number 32), it was also released in Australia and West Germany. Curiously, it appears that in West Germany it was intended as the A side, backed with ‘Honey, Honey’, but it was ‘Honey, Honey’ that was promoted and sold as the A side. It’s certainly the side that ABBA promoted on various West German television shows. This mix was also used on the promotional clip, filmed in June for distribution for television stations around the world. A different mix of the alternate version appeared on the Atlantic Records Waterloo album in the USA and Canada, with an even heavier and noisier mix, and saxophone riffs after every line of the chorus. The single mix first appeared on CD in the CD singles box set Singles Collection 1972*1982 in 1999, mastered from a vinyl single as the master could not be located. The master was eventually found, and included on the 2001 compilation The Definitive Collection. The so-called US mix was first released on CD on the Waterloo remaster in 2001. Both mixes are included on the Waterloo Deluxe Edition CD.

Man In The Middle: another alternate mix that only came to light in recent years is the ABBA album track ‘Man In The Middle’ from 1975. First thought to only have appeared in the 1986 Polydor CD release of the ABBA album in Japan, it has since been found that it appeared on the album when released in France by Vogue Records in 1975. The difference is minor: on the standard version the vocal “in the middle middle middle… ” at the end of the second chorus has been subjected to electronic treatment, and possibly an additional overdub by engineer Michael B. Tretow, making it deeper and more rumbling. On the alternate mix, this vocal is untreated, like the one at the end of the first chorus.

Fernando: when ABBA performed their new single ‘Fernando’ on the West German television special The Best Of ABBA in early 1976, they mimed to a very different mix to the one released on record. This version featured a chiming sound playing a counter melody throughout the choruses. Later in the year, ABBA performed ‘Fernando’ on the US program Midnight Special, the backing track over which ABBA sang live had two extra bars of music in the break between the first chorus and the following verse. Neither of these variations has been released on CD, though the full West German TV special was briefly available in a DVD box set of the Musikladen series.

When I Kissed The Teacher: the Swedish television special ABBA-dabba-doo!! featured specially-made clips or performances of most of the songs from the forthcoming Arrival album. The special included an early mix of the album’s opening track ‘When I Kissed The Teacher’. The first verse was missing the echoed vocal “they dreamed”, and the rumbling build up under the lines “nearly petrified cause he was taken by surprise”. The rest of the track is a slightly different mix from the album version. This version was released on DVD along with the entire special on the Arrival Deluxe Edition in 2006.

The King Has Lost His Crown, Kisses Of Fire, Lovers (Live A Little Longer), Does Your Mother Know: in February 1979 ABBA travelled to Switzerland to make the television special ABBA in Switzerland. Several early mixes of songs from the unfinished Voulez-Vous album were included. The most radical difference was ‘Does Your Mother Know’, which had a much looser and more rock and roll feel than the discofied final version released on record a few months later. The special including all these alternate versions was released on the Voulez-Vous Deluxe Edition DVD in 2010.

More alternate mixes to come in part 2…


Author: Ian Cole

My name is Ian Cole, and I live in Sydney, the capital of the state of New South Wales in Australia.

5 thoughts on “Alternate versions”

  1. 98 Main songs? For me is 116.

    1 She’S My Kind Of Girl
    2 I Saw It In The Mirror
    3 Hej Gamle Man !
    4 Merry-Go-Round
    5 Santa Rosa
    6 People Need Love
    7 Åh, Vilka Tider
    8 Rock’N’Roll Band
    9 Another Town, Another Train
    10 Nina, Pretty Ballerina
    11 He Is Your Brother
    12 Ring Ring
    13 Me And Bobby And Bobby’S Brother
    14 Disillusion
    15 Love Isn’T Easy (But It Sure Is Hard Enough)
    16 I Am Just A Girl
    17 Dance (While The Music Still Goes On)
    18 Suzy-Hang-Around
    19 My Mama Said
    20 What About Livingstone?
    21 Honey, Honey
    22 King Kong Song
    23 Gonna Sing You My Lovesong
    24 Waterloo
    25 Watch Out
    26 Sitting In The Palmtree
    27 Hasta Mañana
    28 So Long
    29 Man In The Middle
    30 S.O.S.
    31 Hey, Hey Helen
    32 Rikky Rock’N’Roller
    33 I’Ve Been Waiting For You
    34 Bang-A-Boomerang
    35 Here Comes Rubie Jamie
    36 Intermezzo No. 1
    37 Crazy World
    38 Rock Me
    39 Tropical Loveland
    40 I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do
    41 Mamma Mia
    42 Dancing Queen
    43 Fernando
    44 Knowing Me, Knowing You
    45 That’S Me
    46 Money, Money, Money
    47 When I Kissed The Teacher
    48 Tiger
    49 Dum Dum Diddle
    50 My Love, My Life
    51 Why Did It Have To Be Me?
    52 Arrival
    53 I’M An A
    54 Thank You For The Music
    55 I Wonder (Departure)
    56 I’M A Marionette
    57 Get On The Carousel
    58 The Name Of The Game
    59 Scaramouche
    60 Eagle
    61 One Man, One Woman
    62 Hole In Your Soul
    63 Take A Chance On Me
    64 Move On
    65 Lovelight
    66 Lovers (Live A Little Longer)
    67 Summer Night City
    68 Free As A Bumble Bee
    69 The King Has Lost His Crown
    70 Just A Notion
    71 Hamlet III
    72 Crying Over You
    73 Dream World
    74 If It Wasn’T For The Nights
    75 Angeleyes
    76 Chiquitita
    77 Voulez-Vous
    78 Does Your Mother Know
    79 Kisses Of Fire
    80 As Good, As New
    81 I Have A Dream
    82 Sång Till Görel
    83 Rubber Ball Man
    84 Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)
    85 I’M Still Alive
    86 The Way Old Friends Do
    87 Andante, Andante
    88 Elaine
    89 The Piper
    90 Happy New Year
    91 On And On And On
    92 The Winner Takes It All
    93 Burning My Bridges
    94 Our Last Summer
    95 Me And I
    96 Lay All Your Love On Me
    97 Put On Your White Sombrero
    98 Super Trouper
    99 Hovas Vittne
    100 Slipping Through My Fingers
    101 When All Is Said And Done
    102 Two For The Price Of One
    103 Givin’ A Little Bit More
    104 Like An Angel Passing Through My Room
    105 Head Over Heels
    106 I Let The Music Speak
    107 Should I Laugh Or Cry
    108 Soldiers
    109 One Of Us
    110 The Visitors (Crackin’ Up)
    111 You Owe Me One
    112 Just Like That
    113 I Am The City
    114 Cassandra
    115 Under Attack
    116 The Day Before You Came
    117 Dancing Queen
    118 Waterloo

    1. Excluding songs only performed in concert and songs released after 1982. I should have said that it was 98 songs released during ABBA’s time as an active group.

    2. Erik. You re including the demos of unfinished songs, that s why you count more songs, besides, to begin your list, you listed “She s my kind of Girl” as an abba song…A&F werent even in the recording studio!! (maybe they were but on the other side of the glass!!!)

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