ABBA had originally planned to release a live album from the 1979 tour in 1980, but canned the idea claiming that the tracklist would be too similar to the recently-released Greatest Hits Vol. 2 album.
Live at Wembley Arena will feature one entire concert, recorded on November 10th 1979, ABBA’s final night of five at the London venue. However, it excludes the guest spot from backing singer Tomas Ledin, who sang his solo hit ‘Not Bad At All’ in an attempt by Polar Music to introduce the singer to the wider world.
The cover was revealed slowly over the course of a few days in late June on ABBA’s official Instagram page. Instantly fans were expressing their opinion on all the ABBA online forums, even when all that was seen was the lower right corner. The most common discussions have been the origin of the photo (taken at one of the US concerts in September, rather than at Wembley Arena), the placement of the album title, and even complaining at the omission of ‘Not Bad At All’, though most of them don’t actually like the song or the singer!
But to the excitement of all fans, the album includes the unreleased song ‘I’m Still Alive’, written by Agnetha with lyrics by Bjorn, performed solo by Agnetha at the piano. Rumour has it the song will also be released as a single, though there doesn’t seem much point, aside from the publicity angle of the previously-unreleased song.
Rather curiously, the front cover is a colorized version of a well-known photo from Anders Hanser. It’s a quite dynamic and active cover, not at all like most people expected (obviously, judging by the continuing online comments). Thankfully it’s not the overused photo that first appeared on the ‘I Have A Dream’ single sleeve in December 1979.
Live At Wembley Arena will be released on 25 September 2014 on double CD, download, and triple LP. There has been talk that the download version will have an exclusive 15 minutes of material recorded at the Royal Albert Hall in London on ABBA’s 1977 tour, but this has not been confirmed.