Archive for the ‘New release’ Category

Agnetha Fältskog – The Girl With The Golden Hair

22 May, 2016

978-1-78155-521-7The life and career of Agnetha are celebrated in Daniel Ward’s new biography Agnetha Fältskog – The Girl With The Golden Hair.

Though unauthorised and thus with no direct input from Agnetha or those close to her, the book is extremely well researched. All phases of Agnetha’s life are covered, from her early childhood when she first fell in love with music, her infamous first public performance aged five, singing on the dance band circuit, her solo recording career, through the ABBA years, and on after ABBA, to her 2013 album A and beyond.

The Girl With The Golden Hair is well written and an enjoyable read. It’s very respectful and not sensationalist in any way. The unfortunate episodes of Agnetha’s later life are not avoided, as they shouldn’t be, but they are covered delicately and with respect.

There is also a photo section, with many familiar but some lesser-seen photos of Agnetha through her life – a few that I don’t recall seeing before.

I was honoured to be asked to read a draft version of the book. I’m happy to see that I was able to make a contribution to the finished product.

Daniel has also written ABBA – The Quiz Book, as well as crime fiction and articles for medical publications.

If you are a fan of Agnetha, I’m sure you will enjoy this book. More information can be found at the publisher’s website.

 

 

 

ABBA for Peace Tracks

22 September, 2015

Peace TracksTo commemorate International Peace Day on 21 September, the Talking Peace Festival 2015 and International Alert gathered musicians from around the world to collaborate on a musical project, Peace Tracks.

ABBA are part of this project, with two songs featuring an ABBA connection. Track 3, ‘Coupé in C Minor’ features a sample of the piano riff from ‘SOS’, while the final track ‘Soldiers 2015’ builds on the drums and bass of ‘Soldiers’.

Amazingly, these samples have been approved by ABBA, only the third time sampling of ABBA recordings has ever been officially authorised by the group.

The songs can be heard and the album downloaded free at http://talkingpeacefestival.org/peace-tracks/

There’s Something Going On

15 August, 2015

Something's Going On Deluxe EditionTo commemorate Frida’s 70th birthday in November, Polar Music is releasing a limited edition of her most successful international album, Something’s Going On, on 23 October.

The three-disc set contains the original 1982 album plus two bonus tracks (the same bonus tracks as the 2005 remaster); a DVD featuring the documentary Something Going On – The Making of a Record Album, the promotional video clips for four of the album’s songs, and two interviews; and a 7-inch vinyl single of the hit ‘I Know There’s Something Going On’.

The set also includes an art card of the album cover signed by Frida, and a booklet including liner notes written by Frida. It is limited to 2,000 copies.

From the images that have appeared so far on the official ABBA site, it looks like it will be a lovely, quality tribute for Frida’s birthday.

Something’s Going On was Frida’s declaration of independance from ABBA, just a few months before the band came to an end. The album sounded very different from anything she had done before, as a solo artist or in ABBA. Frida had been inspired by Phil Collins’ solo album Face Value, and hired him to produce. Though with such a distinctive style, at times it does sound like a Phil Collins album with Frida singing. Despite that, it’s my personal favourite of all the ABBA members’ solo albums.

Yes, there could have been more on the CD, but would the available suitable tracks add any value?  There is the single edit of ‘To Turn The Stone’, which takes a five and a half minute epic and hacks it down to 3.24; the alternate mix of ‘Here We’ll Stay’ that originally appeared on the Polar cassette version of the album, which would then put three versions of the same song on the CD; The outtake ‘Shot Down In Action’, which is included in the documentary, and is likely incomplete; the ABBA-cadabra songs ‘Belle’ and ‘Time’, which would sound out of place on this album, and may not be available from the rights holders. Frida herself has previously vetoed the issue of unreleased recordings.

Unfortunately distribution has been a bit of a mess due to third party providers. Amazon.co.uk has had it available for pre-order for many weeks, but with no details so customers did not know what they were ordering, and it’s now listed as “currently unavailable”. It appeared on ABBA The Museum’s webstore for about six hours (between midnight and 6 am CET, when its prime audience was asleep), the off and on for a few more hours until the allotted 100 copies were ordered. Since the official announcement it has appeared on a few more European webstores.

A limited item like this should have been available from a single official source, like ABBA The Museum or uDiscover. Hopefully distribution will be sorted out, so that all fans who want a copy get the chance to order it.

More information at ABBA | The official site.

(more…)

New music from Frida

25 January, 2015

1865Much to everyone’s surprise, in October 2014 Frida announced that she was working on a new musical project.

The new song, ‘1865’ is scheduled for release on 13 February. It’s a duet with Swiss entertainer Dan Daniell, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the first successful ascent of the Matterhorn, near Frida’s and Dan’s hometown of Zermatt.

Frida and Dan have previously collaborated in 2003 on the single ‘Lieber Gott’, which also featured a cover of ABBA’s ‘I Have A Dream’. Like that previous single, proceeds are donated to the charity Kinder in not (children in need).

Like all of Frida’s releases after 1996, she’s singing in support of a friend. Fans expecting “Frida’s next single” have expressed disappointment. But this is the Frida we have in the 21st century – an occasional song on another artist’s release. If not for these collaborations, we wouldn’t hear Frida’s voice at all.

‘1865’ will be available on CD from retailers in Switzerland, Germany and Austria, and from ABBA The Museum and the ABBA Fan Club Shop, and download from iTunes and Amazon (UK, Germany, France, Italy, SpainUSA).

Gracias Por La Música Deluxe Edition

11 September, 2014

Gracias Por La Música Deluxe EditionABBA’s 1980 Spanish-language album is to be released as a Deluxe Edition CD/DVD on 10 November 2014.

The Deluxe Edition will feature the ten tracks featured on the original album, plus ABBA’s five other Spanish recordings: ‘Ring Ring’ (recorded in 1973, but unreleased until 1994), and tracks recorded for Super Trouper (1980) and The Visitors (1981), included on those albums in Spain and Latin America. As always it also includes a DVD of television performances, this time with every TV performance of ABBA’s Spanish songs.

I was quite surprised to hear that Gracias was to be re-released. In the modern ABBA catalogue it has been replaced by ABBA Oro, which has featured those same 15 songs since 1999. But many fans have a fondness for the original album, so should be very happy that it’s finally seeing a worldwide CD release. Previously, Gracias Por La Música has only had limited release on CD in the 1980s and early 90s, in Japan and Argentina. It has been something of a lost album.

The package includes the usual detailed history of the recording of the album, plus a special greeting from Frida, in Spanish and English.

(more…)

ABBA Live at Wembley Arena

5 July, 2014

ABBA Live at Wembley Arena (photo: Bengans)One of the most highly anticipated new ABBA releases in 2014 is ABBA Live at Wembley Arena.

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.

ABBA on stage, 1979Rather 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.

(more…)

ABBA The Singles – new box set

8 June, 2014

ABBA The SingleAmong the many new releases commemorating the 40th anniversary of ABBA’s Eurovision triumph, one of the big ticket items (mainly due to its size and its price) is the box set ABBA The Singles.

The Singles contains 40 7 inch vinyl singles, 40 singles for 40 years. It includes replicas of all 31 singles released by Polar Music in Scandinavia, from ‘People Need Love’ in 1972 to ‘Under Attack’ in 1982, including the Swedish language singles of ‘Ring Ring’ and ‘Waterloo’. For those singles that were released in Sweden, they appear here as they were originally released. As not all Polar singles were released in Sweden, the Danish or Norwegian singles were the template for the rest.

The other nine singles come from all over the world. The German singles of ‘Ring Ring’ and ‘Waterloo’ and ‘Honey, Honey’ (though in English, but it includes the 1974 ‘Ring Ring’ remix on the B side); The French single of ‘Waterloo’; Argentinean singles of the Spanish versions ‘Chiquitita’ and ‘Estoy Soñando’; plus ‘Lay All Your Love On Me’ (from the UK), ‘Happy New Year’ (Portugal) and ‘When All Is Said And Done’ (Australia).

Also in the box set are a set of cards with Bjorn telling stories behind the six of the songs. These are fascinating insights into both the lyrics and the circumstances around the creation of the songs, and I would have loved to have seen more of these – not necessarily one for every song, but maybe 12 or 15.

A couple of things could have been done differently. Personally, I would have liked to have seen the additional 9 singles have modern style labels, rather than matching the contemporary Polar labels. And perhaps it could have included a different ‘Estoy Soñando’, for a different sleeve image and B side. As I was honoured to have helped with the selection of singles, I could have suggested a different single. But those are just minor quibbles.

The Singles is limited to 4,500 (unnumbered) sets. It’s beautifully made, with each single reflecting its original release, right down to the label style, hole size and quality of paper used for the sleeve. It’s a lovely collector’s item.

(more…)

ABBA The Official Photo Book reviewed

15 March, 2014

The Super Trouper Edition Of The Official Photo BookOne of the big ticket items in this ABBA 40th anniversary year is ABBA The Official Photo Book (see previous blog posts here and here for more details)

This week I received the Super Trouper Edition, a limited edition numbered boxed set (number 847) including the book, a set of postcards, and documentary DVD. The book features over 600 photographs from the ABBA members as children, through their early careers in music, the ABBA years and beyond, right up to a photo of Benny, Frida and Bjorn together at Mono Music in May 2013, the day after the opening of ABBA The Museum. The deluxe version also features an extra section of photos of ABBA in concert.

The book, and indeed the box set, are beautifully presented and well laid out. Of the 600+ photos 100 are said to have never been published before. To my eyes many more of the photos have been rarely seen, if ever. Even those all-too familiar images are welcome, making the book a tribute to ABBA’s lasting legacy.

Browsing through the book the first time I did have a moment of déja vu, during the later ABBA years. There are quite a few Anders Hanser photos at this point, as he took so many photos of ABBA during that period, which makes the section feel similar to the Hanser photo book From ABBA To Mamma Mia! (2000), with the same images presented in a similar manner. It’s not a complaint, just an observation.

The text tells an abbreviated version of the ABBA story, with comments from Agnetha, Björn, Benny and Frida on events or the photographs themselves. I haven’t read the text yet, but from the bits I have glanced at show signs of being translated from original Swedish text – Stig Anderson is always referred to as Stikkan, a stage name he took in the 50s that became the nickname he was known by in Sweden for the rest of his life, but never outside of Sweden, and there are references to “the ABBAs”. But that’s just a personal gripe, it doesn’t detract from the book at all.

Curiously, I notice that some of the record cover images throughout the book have been sourced from the internet -I’ve spotted my scan of the Australian 1973 ‘Ring Ring’ single from ABBA for the record.

As always fans have been polarised. First over the price of the special editions, then over the contents of the book, the handling of the release by the publisher and distributor.

Some complaints of manufacturing faults and damage in transit are indeed valid. But to complain about the contents not meeting expectations (whatever they might have been) or “too many photos that have been seen before” just seems petty. The publishers have posted a message with an email address to report any problems with the book, though that hasn’t stopped fans venting online, as if that would fix things.

I do think it’s strange that after it seemed that the release would coincide with the Eurovision anniversary in early April, suddenly the book was made available a month earlier. It has led to those who ordered the deluxe editions, who were promised delivery before the bookstore edition, are now getting their copies late.

A very cute but small detail: the four ABBA figures (below) from the opening of ABBA – The Movie on the barcode label on the delivery box and the back of the presentation box.

ABBA The Official Photo Book

9 October, 2013

SPECIAL NINE MONTH CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED FOR ‘ABBA – THE OFFICIAL PHOTO BOOK’

ABBA The Official Photo BookThe first authorised photographic biography of the pop group ABBA is set for publication in April 2014, marking precisely 40 years to the month since the band’s international career was launched by its winning performance of Waterloo at the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest. Max Ström (www.maxstrom.se), one of Europe’s most prestigious illustrated publishers, is putting a nine month extensive marketing plan into action in the run up to the anniversary, and publication of ABBA – The Official Photo Book, culminating in an exciting international launch, at the beginning of The London Book Fair (8-10 April 2014).

Max Ström’s campaign for the title involves a unique approach, featuring four different versions of the Photo Book, enhancing the fan and reader experience. The versions include:

– Standard ‘Trade’ edition

– Swedish language ‘Deluxe’ edition

– English language ‘Deluxe’ limited edition – with 10,000 copy print run

– ‘Super Trouper’ limited edition – with 5,000 copy print run

Trade Edition

ABBA – The Official Photo Book will be unique in being the first and only official photographic book that will cover the entire career of the Swedish band. The book will consist of more than 500 classic, rare and previously unseen images of the band that, to date, has sold 380 million albums worldwide, making it one of the best-selling musical acts of all time, surpassed only by The Beatles and Elvis.

The book’s images will document the band members’ early years, the formation and rise in popularity of ABBA, the group’s international breakthrough performance at the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest in Brighton, subsequent global superstardom, and eventual break-up – after just 10 years together – in 1982. ABBA – The Official Photo Book will also feature photographs which provide insight into the four band members’ subsequent careers, including the international success of the musicals Chess and Mamma Mia (which, in 2008, was turned into the hit movie starring Meryl Streep). It will be produced in a large format style which recalls the design and size of a classic LP. The foreword will be written by all four band members: Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. 

Deluxe Edition

The ‘Deluxe’ edition will have an extra 20 pages, featuring images from major live concerts, and will also include a new DVD documentary: ‘ABBA in Pictures – The Photographers’ Stories’. The English language version of this edition will be limited to 10,000 copies.

Super Trouper Edition

Max Ström is working with PledgeMusic (www.pledgemusic.com), and their pioneering direct-to-fan platform, to give ABBA fans the opportunity to pre-order the special ‘Super Trouper’
collector’s edition
of ABBA – The Official Photo Book for delivery in March, ahead of the publication of the main consumer version, which will be available in more than 20 countries in 2014.

The ‘Super Trouper’ collector’s edition of ABBA – The Official Photo Book has a limited print-run of 5,000 copies, each individually numbered and signed by the authors: award-winning picture editor, Bengt Wanselius, and leading Swedish writer, Petter Karlsson. The collector’s edition’s 460 pages feature more than 600 pictures (100 of which are previously unseen), 40 bonus pages of images (not available in the main consumer version), and is delivered in a presentation box. This will also contain a section with all the names of the dedicated fans who made the limited edition possible by ordering the book before 15th December 2013. Fans who pre-order the book will also gain access to private ‘Pledgers-only’ updates from the making of the book.

The collector’s edition also features a DVD with a specially produced documentary on ABBA in pictures, and is included with a numbered print which is a rare alternative shot from the cover session for the Super Trouper album (1980) printed on high-quality photographic paper.

ABBA – The Official Photo Book will be published in the UK and Sweden by Max Ström Publishing, with the company in ongoing discussions with a number of international publishing houses regarding publication in other territories.

Quote From ABBA

Frida comments: “I am thrilled with all of these pictures, some of which I am seeing now for the very first time. The book provides a real trip down memory lane.” 

ABBA – An International Fan Base And An Enduring Appeal

With the band continuing to sell more than 2 million albums each year, ‘ABBA The Photo Album’ is anticipated to appeal to a sizeable international fan base, with ABBA having had multiple number 1 albums in the UK, Australia, Holland, France, Germany, Austria, and high-charting albums in Canada and the USA. ABBA’s most popular single, Dancing Queen (1976) was number 1 in the US, UK, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, West Germany, Ireland, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, and Sweden. In October 2012, the Official Charts Company identified ABBA’s greatest hits album, Gold – which features hits including S.O.S., Money, Money, Money and Knowing Me, Knowing You – as the UK’s biggest selling CD, with 4 million copies sold since 1992.

The ABBA Museum in Djurgården, Stockholm is set to open in 2013.

Max Ström Publishing – Background 

Max Ström is one of Scandinavia’s most prestigious illustrated publishers. The company was founded in 1994 by Marika Stolpe and Jeppe Wikström and is now a part of the Bonnier Group.  The company started publishing in the UK last year with the hugely successful, A Day In The World.

The Super Trouper Edition of ABBA – The Official Photo Book will cost £195 ($365 USD / 240 Euros – subject to exchange rates, prices inclusive of delivery to door) 

To pre-order the Super Trouper collector’s edition of ABBA – The Official Photo Book, visit – www.pledgemusic.com

Media release 8 October 2013

PledgeMusic / ‘ABBA – The Official Photo Book’ – launching today

16 September, 2013

ABBA The Official Photo Book

PLEDGEMUSIC CHOSEN BY MAX STRÖM PUBLISHING TO LAUNCH COLLECTOR’S EDITION OF ‘ABBA – THE OFFICIAL PHOTO BOOK’

DIRECT-TO-FAN PRE-SALE CAMPAIGN

PledgeMusic will be working with one of Europe’s leading photographic publishing houses – Max Ström Publishing – on the international launch of the ‘Super Trouper’ collector’s edition of ABBA – The Official Photo Book, the first authorised photographic biography of one of the best-selling music acts of all time.

In choosing PledgeMusic’s direct-to-fan platform, Max Ström Publishing is giving ABBA fans the opportunity to pre-order the special ‘Super Trouper’ collector’s edition of ABBA – The Official Photo Book: for delivery in March ahead of the publication of the main consumer version which will be available in more than 20 countries in 2014, to coincide with the 40th anniversary of ABBA’s Eurovision win and resulting international breakthrough.

The ‘Super Trouper’ collector’s edition of ABBA – The Official Photo Book has a limited print-run of 5,000 copies, each individually numbered and signed by the authors: award-winning picture editor, Bengt Wanselius, and leading Swedish writer, Petter Karlsson. The collector’s edition’s 460 pages feature more than 600 pictures (100 of which are previously unseen), 40 bonus pages of images (not available in the main consumer version), and is delivered in a presentation box. This will also contain a section with all the names of the dedicated fans who made the limited edition possible by ordering the book before 15th December 2013. Fans who pre-order the book will also gain access to private ‘Pledgers only’ updates from the making of the book.

The collector’s edition also features a DVD with a specially produced documentary on ABBA in pictures, and is included with a numbered print which is a rare alternative shot from the cover session for the Super Trouper album (1980) printed on high-quality photographic paper.

Frida: “I am thrilled with all of these pictures, some of which I am seeing now for the very first time. The book provides a real trip down memory lane.”

PledgeMusic Managing Director Malcolm Dunbar comments, “We are honoured that Max Ström has chosen PledgeMusic’s technology and platform to deliver this unique tribute to one of the world’s most iconic bands. ABBA – The Official Photo Book has the endorsement of all four members and this way of delivering it will give fans an unparalleled insight into the career of the one of the world’s most respected and successful bands.”

Jeppe Wikström, publisher at Stockholm and London-based Max Ström comments, “ABBA – The Official Photo Book will provide the definitive photographic documentation of the story of one of the world’s most popular bands. We are delighted to be working with PledgeMusic to market the limited edition Super Trouper edition for the band’s super fans.”

ABBA – The Official Photo Book – Background

ABBA – The Official Photo Book has the full co-operation of Björn, Benny, Frida and Agnetha, who have contributed a foreword (as well as personal commentaries on many of the images featured) and charts the four members careers before the formation of the band as well as the band’s career from their winning performance at 1974‘s Eurovision Song Contest to the present day. The book contains more than 600 pictures, more than 100 of which have never previously been published. These images include private photographs, behind-the-scenes tour shots, unpublished photos by eminent photographers and photos of all four members taken in recent months.

Max Ström Publishing has worked with award-winning picture editor, Bengt Wanselius, and Petter Karlsson, one of Sweden’s most talented writers, to create this unique book, more than 400 pages-thick, and in the format of a classic LP. It is printed on high quality photo-book paper and is designed by Patric Leo who also designed Benny Andersson’s latest records.

PledgeMusic – Background

PledgeMusic is the leading international direct-to-fan platform offering artists a unique way to engage their fans in the music making process whilst interacting with PledgeMusic’s global audience of music consumers. Since it’s inception in 2009 PledgeMusic has worked with labels and artists to deliver high impact campaigns focusing on quality messaging, content and presentation, resulting in ten top 40 albums to date with top 5 chart placings in the UK, Europe, Canada and Australia. Successful campaigns have included Slash, Bring Me The Horizon, Ginger Wildheart, Ben Folds Five, Killing Joke, Emmy The Great and Rachel Yamagata amongst others.

To pre-order the Super Trouper collector’s edition of ABBA – The Official Photo Book, visit – www.pledgemusic.com/abba

Media release 15 September 2013


%d bloggers like this: