Posts Tagged ‘1975’

Portrait of the artist as a young ABBA fan

25 December, 2015

Susan and Ian, Xmas Day 1975Forty years ago today I got my first ABBA record, the self-titled album released in 1975.

The photo shows my sister and I on Xmas Day 1975. I’m holding the ABBA album, not that you can tell. Our father liked to take candid snaps, rather then posed photos, so sadly there’s no photo of me holding the album properly. The following year there is a photo of me with an ABBA bag  in the foreground.

Having fallen for ABBA after hearing ‘Mamma Mia’, I’d asked my parents for the ABBA album for Xmas. I’ve written before about getting the album before here, and how I first fell in love with ABBA here.

Getting the album was the start of my ABBA fandom. From this point I collected every album and single, newspaper and magazine clippings, watched every ABBA special on TV, listened to the radio waiting for ABBA songs. A highlight of course was going to ABBA’s first concert in Sydney in March 1977.

Twelve-year-old me had no idea that forty years later I’d still be loving ABBA, have made so many friends (sadly lost a few along the way), and experienced so much through the love of ABBA.


ABBA Deluxe Edition

10 November, 2012

My first and favourite ABBA album is finally being released as a Deluxe Edition.

The Deluxe Edition of ABBA’s self titled album, originally released in April 1975, will be released on 19 November 2012 (check local sources for local release dates).

ABBA was the album that really broke ABBA internationally, with hit singles ‘SOS’, ‘Mamma Mia’ and ‘I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do’. After two hit-and-miss albums ABBA had finally found their own sound on this album.

Curiously, every song on the album appeared on single A or B side somewhere in the world during 1975/76, and five of the album’s songs appeared on ABBA’s first Greatest Hits album.

The Deluxe Edition adds three songs to the original 11-track album – B sides ‘Crazy World’ and ‘Medley: Pick A Bale Of Cotton-On Top Of Old Smokey-Midnight Special’ and the Spanish version of ‘Mamma Mia’. The CD tracklist is actually identical to the ABBA disc in the box set The Complete Studio Recordings (2005).

As always it’s the DVD that has the fans most excited. The highlight of the DVD is the classic 1976 television special ABBA in Australia, filmed during ABBA’s first visit to Australia in March, 1976. The version included here was compiled for overseas market, which features ABBA appearing between songs at a wildlife park near Sydney, and during ‘Tropical Loveland’ ABBA are seen boating on the Hawkesbury River north of Sydney, and enjoying a beach barbecue. The domestic version (titled The Best Of ABBA) was taped entirely in the studio.

Also on the DVD are ABBA’s three songs from the television special Made In Sweden – For Export; BBC TV performances of ‘SOS’ and ‘Mamma Mia’, which feature re-recorded backing music and live vocals; TV commercials for The Best Of ABBA (Australia) and Greatest Hits (UK) compilation LPs; and a gallery of international album and single sleeves.

This release has come as a huge surprise, as this year we’ve already had the Deluxe Edition of ABBA’s final album, The Visitors, released in April, plus the new compilation CD and DVD The Essential Collection.

As I say above, ABBA is my first and still my favourite ABBA album. I wrote previous blog posts about falling in love with ‘Mamma Mia’ and getting this album for Christmas 1975.

See ABBA | The official site and Carl Magnus Palm for more details. Click on “Read the rest” below for the full tracklist. (more…)

ABBA Greatest Hits

16 June, 2012

ABBA’s Greatest Hits (1975) has become an accepted part of the historical ABBA catalogue, along with the eight studio albums, the Spanish recordings on Gracias Por La Música, compilations Greatest Hits Vol. 2, The Single – The First Ten Years, and ABBA Live.

But did you know that Greatest Hits was not a worldwide release? And in many countries where is was released the album did not feature the same tracklist?

The story starts somewhere in the middle of 1975. Polydor in West Germany and Vogue in France put out ABBA compilations The Best Of ABBA and Greatest Hits respectively. Both albums featured the same 12 songs, though in different running orders. Both albums were also released in countries covered by these companies: Polydor in Austria and The Netherlands, Vogue in Belgium.

The two companies may or may not have colluded on the track list. But by accident or design, though each album featured songs that had not been hit singles in their own territories, all songs bar one had been single A sides somewhere in the world; the remaining track had been a B side in a few countries.

Worried that import copies may affect local sales of ABBA records in Scandinavia, Polar Music put together its own Greatest Hits album, released in November 1975. This 14-track album featured the same 12 tracks as the German and French compilations, plus two more. The gatefold cover featured a painting by fantasy artist Hans Arnold – the original painting had been presented to ABBA earlier in the year, and they liked it so much they used it for the album.

Also in November RCA in Australia released The Best Of ABBA, with the same tracklist as the West German album but a new locally-designed cover (this album will be the subject of a future blog post).

In March 1976 Epic Records in the UK released Greatest Hits, with the same tracklist as the Scandinavian album but a new cover, featuring the iconic photograph of ABBA on a park bench; Benny and Frida in passionate embrace, Agnetha staring forlornly into the camera, and Björn reading a newspaper seemingly ignoring his wife (the same photo had been inside the gatefold of the Polar album). Inside the gatefold was another photo from the same parkland session. The photos were taken by Bengt Malmqvist, on a bright autumn day in 1975 during an epic session all over the Stockholm island Djurgården.

Almost immediately after release Epic added the current single ‘Fernando’ to Greatest Hits, as did Polydor and Vogue to their albums. Polar added ‘Fernando’ in Denmark and Norway, but not in Sweden. RCA however did not add ‘Fernando’ to its compilation, instead adding that hit to Arrival later in the year.

During the rest of the year and into 1977 other licensees around the world released variations of Greatest Hits, some using the Polar sleeve design, some using the Epic one. Some included 14 tracks, some 15, all the same selection of tracks as the Polar and Epic albums, but almost all in different running orders. A few other countries copied the 12/13 tracks from the West German and French albums.

In many countries Greatest Hits/The Best Of ABBA became one of the biggest selling albums of 1976; in the UK and Australia their respective albums actually were the biggest sellers of the year, remaining at number one for many weeks.

In the CD age the album has had limited re-release. The US version of Greatest Hits was released on CD by Atlantic Records around 1984. RCA in Australia re-released The Best Of ABBA  in 1988. Finally the Scandinavian 15-track album was released as a 30th Anniversary Edition in 2006, in a replica of the original gatefold sleeve.

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