Posts Tagged ‘An unusual ABBA record’

Two unusual new CD releases

1 August, 2022

Recently two unusual unauthorised CDs have been released.

ABBA Bremen 1979 – The German Broadcast was released in April. The booklet claims that the CD is a radio broadcast of ABBA’s concert at the Stadthalle in Bremen, West Germany, on 1 November 1979. However, it is actually the radio special ABBA in Concert, from concerts recorded at Wembley Arena later that month, which was prepared by Polar Music for BBC Radio for broadcast not long after the tour finished. Introductions heard on the CD from Björn about ‘Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!’ being “the current number three in the British charts” and the choir on ‘I Have A Dream’ being “kids here from London” are a clear giveaway (notwithstanding the audio is clearly the same as the radio special). The special was distributed on a “transcription disc” to BBC radio stations for broadcast in 1980. It was reissued on CD in 1994, again for distribution to BBC radio. The sound quality is very good; it is likely this CD is a copy of the transcription CD.

ABBA Live In Warsaw 1976 was released in June. It claims to be “a classic radio broadcast recorded in Warsaw / Poland in 1976”. The CD actually contains the audio of the television special ABBA w Studio 2 (ABBA in Studio 2, aka ABBA in Poland), which was recorded in October 1976 and broadcast in Poland in November. ABBA lip-synced to their studio recordings during this special, so it contains no live music at all. The CD only contains the music portion of the special, all dialogue is excluded. The sound is muffled and in mono, with applause from the studio audience quickly fading in and out and the start of end of each song. This special was also released on an unauthorised DVD in Argentina in 2013.

Apparently, there is an EU ruling that allows the release of radio broadcast material over 40 years old. I don’t know how true this is, but that’s what I’ve heard from a few different sources. Though both these CDs seem to originate from the UK, where EU rules wouldn’t apply. There was a similar loophole in copyright law in Australia years ago, which saw the release of dozens of CDs of audio from radio and TV broadcasts and even bootleg concert recordings in the early 1990s, including one ABBA title featuring live TV performances between 1974 and 1981. There seem to be similar legal loopholes in South America, where unauthorised DVDs of TV material have been released in Brazil and Argentina (like the above-mentioned Poland special).

The companies that produced these CDs both have a long list of similar CDs of radio broadcast material from dozens of popular international artists. How long these CDs will remain available is anyone’s guess. Bremen 1979 has already disappeared from a couple of webstores where it was listed.

An unusual ABBA record #7

8 September, 2015

ABBA & RubettesOne of the most unusual ABBA records ever released is this one, imaginatively titled ABBA & Rubettes, featuring hits by, you guessed it, ABBA and British group The Rubettes. 

It’s quite a strange album, with seven songs by each band. The cover is a not particularly attractive mash-up of ABBA’s 1975 self-titled album and Rubettes’ album We Can Do It released the same year, bisected with a diagonal yellow band with the song titles ‘I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do’ and ‘I Can Do It’, plus the apparent random phrase ‘Stop Stop Stop’, which isn’t an ABBA title and doesn’t seem to be a Rubettes title.

Five of ABBA’s seven songs come from the ABBA album, but only two Rubettes songs come from We Can Do It, the others from other albums and singles. The album was released in 1975 by Polydor In West Germany through the record club Club-Sonderauglage.

I’d seen images of this record on the net many times, but had never seen the record itself until I found a copy a few weeks ago at my favourite local record shop.

Trivia: The Rubettes hit ‘Sugar Baby Love’ which is on this album also  featured in the 1994 Australian movie Muriel’s Wedding, alongside ABBA hits ‘Dancing Queen’, ‘Waterloo’, ‘Fernando’ and ‘I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do’.

More trivia: Rubettes’ creators and songwriters Wayne Bickerton and Tony Waddington wrote the English lyrics for Lena Andersson’s 1972 single ‘Better To Have Loved’ (Säg det med en sång) and ‘Cecilia’, written by Benny, Björn and Stig Anderson. ‘Säg det med en sång’ was their submission for that year’s Melodifestivalen. Bickerton also produced the Swedish and English recordings.



An unusual ABBA record #6

5 May, 2010

This unusual ABBA record isn’t so unusual for its contents but for its cover image.

Grandes Éxitos was released by Universal Music in Venezuala in 2002. Its tracklist is identical to the CD The Best Of ABBA – The Millenium Collection, first released in the USA and Canada in 2000, featuring 11 ABBA hits.

But what’s unusual is the image on the front cover. At first glance it appears to be a rearranged version of a familiar photograph from 1976. However on closer examination the image was actually copied from the original version of ABBA World (2000-2004).

You can see that Frida’s necklace is bluish, rather than glittering golden, almost white as it normally looks. As a design feature for the website I’d replaced every round item in the image (even the buttons you can see on Agnetha’s front) with the world globe that featured as part of the ABBA World site logo at that time.

I always thought it was funny that an image I’d manipulated for the net ended up on an officially released CD! (more…)

An unusual ABBA record #5

30 May, 2009

wto-8Just this week I learned about a CD that was released in Australia in the early 1990s that I’d never heard of before.

ABBA World Tour In Concert is an unofficial CD containing a selection of songs from television performances.

Due to a loophole in Australian copyright law at the time unpublished live recordings could be released without permission of the artist or copyright holder. There were dozens if not hundreds of titles available for a few years. Most contained recordings from concerts taped by an audience member, but there were also some recorded from television performances or concert broadcasts. Most sold for just AU$5 at a time when a regular CD cost $25.

Eventually the loophole was closed and the CDs disappeared from sale overnight. Today they are hard to find and rarely appear for sale second hand.

The CD contained:

1. Waterloo (Top Of The Pops UK 1974)
2. SOS (Seaside Special UK 1975)
3. Mamma Mia (Midnight Special USA 1976)
4. Fernando (Midnight Special USA 1976)
5. Money, Money, Money (ABBA Special Japan 1978)
6. Thank You For The Music (ABBA Special Japan 1978)
7. Why Did It Have To Be Me (ABBA-dabba-doo!! Sweden 1976)
8. Dum Dum Diddle (ABBA-dabba-doo!! Sweden 1976)
9. Dancing Queen (ABBA – The Movie 1977)
10. Knowing Me, Knowing You (Dick Cavett Meets ABBA Sweden 1981)
11. Summer Night City (Dick Cavett Meets ABBA Sweden 1981)
12. Slipping Through My Fingers (Dick Cavett Meets ABBA Sweden 1981)
13. Me And I (Dick Cavett Meets ABBA Sweden 1981)
14. Two For The Price Of One (Dick Cavett Meets ABBA Sweden 1981)
15. Does Your Mother Know (ABBA In Switzerland UK 1979)
16. Medley: Dancing Queen/Fernando/Take A Chance On Me (Olivia USA 1978)
Bonus tracks:
17. Waterloo (Seaside Special UK 1975)
18. SOS (ABBA Special Japan 1978)

Thanks to Trudy Wilkie @ ABBA Village for the information and the picture.

An unusual ABBA record #4

12 April, 2008

Dancing QueenAustralian fans watching the ABC TV programme Collectors this past week would have seen this unusual single sleeve on their televisions screens.

‘Dancing Queen’ was the first ABBA record to feature ABBA’s famous logo with the first B reversed, which was designed by art director Rune Söderqvist.

And it was the first ABBA single in Australia to come in a picture sleeve.

Apparently an Australian advertising firm had a similar logo, which led to legal proceedings regarding the ABBA logo. In preparation, RCA printed a version of the sleeve with ABBA written normally.

Close examination of the sleeve shows the obvious cut and paste of the artwork – the first B is slightly out of line with the other letters.

It seems that the legal dispute was quickly resolved, as on release day, 11 August 1976,  the single sleeve appeared with the ABBA logo.

But the logo-less version didn’t go to waste, as copies were distributed to record shops. I remember my local record shop had a whole rack of them. Stupidly I didn’t buy one then, but I’ve been lucky enough to find many copies at record fairs and second-hand shops since then.

A 1994 ABBA TV special declared that there were only three of these “misprinted” sleeves, which were worth thousands of dollars. This is patently not true – hundreds if not thousands were in circulation.  The Collectors programme told us it’s worth about AU$10, which is about right these days.

Another unusual ABBA record

11 November, 2007

Summer Night CityWhen ‘Summer Night City’ was released in the UK in September 1978, there were reports around the world of an alleged radio airplay ban of due to “bad language” in the fadeout, coyly described at the time as “love making love in the moonlight”.

This is, of course, reference to the now infamous final chorus repeat as the song fades out, when the line “walking in the moonlight” sounds suspiciously like “fucking in the moonlight”.

It appears that the stories of a “ban” were exagerated, but at the time the news spread regardless.

In an apparent effort to counteract the problem, Epic Records released a promotional single with an edited version of ‘Summer Night City’, running 3.10 and fading out before the contentious line. The promotional single carries the original release date 8 September, but it was probably released later.

Whether it was due to the bad publicity, the long break since the previous ABBA single (‘Take A Chance On Me’ in February), or the new and very different musical style for ABBA, ‘Summer Night City’ was ABBA’s lowest charting UK single since 1975, peaking at number 5.

The first ABBA record

1 October, 2007

Ring Ring single UK (pic thanks to ABBA for the record)

It’s long been assumed that the Waterloo album and singles (Swedish and English versions), released March 4 1974, were the first records featuring the name ABBA

But it turns out that’s not the case.

The first record to bear the name ABBA was in fact the original UK single of ‘Ring Ring’ b/w ‘Rock’n Roll Band’ (Epic S EPC 1793), released October 12 1973. Pictured here is the promotional single, showing the release date in the centre of the label. Infamously, this single apparently sold just 500 copies.

Ten days later, on October 22, the single was released in Italy (Durium DE 2807), the first record in a picture sleeve with the name ABBA. Like the UK, the single failed to make the Italian charts, though it had already been a top ten hit in northern Europe and Scandinavia.

The group’s first album, Ring Ring, and four singles had been released under the long-winded moniker Björn & Benny, Agnetha (or Anna) & Anni-Frid (or Frida or Frieda). 

The name ABBA had come into use during 1973, as ABBA manager Stig Anderson started using the acronym of the members’ names in interviews. The first recording session documentation to feature the name ABBA was dated October 16 1973, on sessions for the songs ‘Suzy-Hang-Around’ and ‘My Mama Said’ for the Waterloo album.

An unusual ABBA record

18 June, 2007

When All Is Said Is Done

In early 1982 it was time for a second single from The Visitors album. ABBA and Polar Music had selected ‘Head Over Heels’ backed with the album’s title track, with many of ABBA’s licensees around the world following suit.

RCA in Australia instead chose what many have long thought was the obvious single from the album, ‘When All Is Said And Done’, which had actually been the lead single from the album in North America at the end of 1981.

‘When All Is Said And Done’ had in fact been the first song from the album heard in Australia, when the film clip was played on the ABC-TV music show Countdown the week before the album was released.

Unlike the previous two Australian singles (‘Super Trouper’ and ‘One Of Us’), RCA decided to put the single in a picture sleeve. Through an unfortunate error with the artwork, the first print run gave the song title ‘When All Is Said Is Done’.

RCA’s initial reaction was to just release the picture sleeve as is. But wiser heads prevailed, and the sleeve was reprinted with the correct title before the single made its way to the nation’s record shops. However, an unknown quantity of the misprinted sleeves appeared on sale. From available evidence, it seems to have been available in some regional cities in the state of New South Wales.

Sadly, all this effort was for naught. The single peaked at number 81, with a chart life of just three weeks.

But it did give ABBA collectors a most unusual rarity.

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