Posts Tagged ‘Carl Magnus Palm’

A look at ABBA – The Complete Recording Sessions in progress

24 September, 2015

IMG_2640I’m very excited that my friend Carl Magnus Palm is writing a revised, updated, and expanded version of his first ABBA book, The Complete Recording Sessions.With so much more information that has come to light since the book was published in 1994, through Carl Magnus’s research for other ABBA book, CD, and DVD projects, and because it’s long out-of-print and highly in demand, the idea of a new version of this book is something we’ve talked about for several years.

I’ve been honoured to read draft versions of the first four chapters, covering the period from Benny and Björn’s first collaborations in 1966, through the gradual formation of ABBA, and up to the end of 1974. The most recent versions of the chapters include all the latest details and insights gleaned from Carl Magnus’s unique opportunity to listen to the unreleased studio tapes from the so-called Polar Archive.

Particularly fascinating to me is learning just how much work went into the recording of ‘Waterloo’, as ABBA worked to create the song that would have the most impact for the Eurovision Song Contest. How instruments and vocals were added and removed from the song, how many different mixes were attempted to find the right sound, how the song was edited to fit within the mandated three minutes, and why the various released versions (in Swedish, English, German, French, the alternate English mix, and the playback version used at Eurovision) sound a bit different from each other.

But it’s not just ‘Waterloo’ that’s got me excited. As ABBA’s recordings became more ambitious, when they began recording tracks for their third album later in 1974, they tried and discarded so much that was never heard on record, that will now be revealed in the book. Though we will probably never hear what’s on those tapes, they are described in such detail that we can imagine what they sound like.

I can’t wait to read what the rest of the chapters hold and what future research brings to the book. I’m really looking forward to the end of next year when we should all be holding copies of the book in our hands (and/or on our devices).

If you’re an ABBA fan, even if you have the original edition – perhaps especially if you have the original edition – you will want to read this vastly expanded and improved version of the book. Pre-order it now at

ABBA – The Complete Recording Sessions (revised & expanded)

29 January, 2015

ABBA - The Complete Recording SessionsTwenty years ago Carl Magnus Palm’s ABBA – The Complete Recording Sessions was the first book to take a serious look at ABBA’s music. At the time there had been just a few books published on ABBA, mostly lightly-researched biographies or picture books.

Today, with a couple of hundred ABBA books published, it remains a firm fan favourite. But it’s been out-of-print for many years, and only high-priced second-hand copies are available.

All being well, that will change within the next couple of years. Carl Magnus Palm is planning a brand new, updated, revised and expanded edition. Pictured is the proposed new cover.

Since the original book was published in 1994, Carl Magnus has continued his research on ABBA and the group’s music, and unearthed much more information about their recordings. Some has been used in CD and DVD booklets, other details have appeared in books such as the biography Bright Lights Dark Shadows -The Real Story of ABBA.

Benny and Björn have also authorised Carl Magnus to listen to more unreleased recordings in the Polar Music archive, which will provide much more detail that can be included in the book.

To fund the research and self-publishing of the new edition, Carl Magnus has started a Kickstarter campaign (see below for the link). Pledgers will receive a copy of the book when it’s completed, estimated for late 2016 or early 2017.

However, if the Kickstarter campaign does not reach its target, the book will not be written. So if you’d like a new, updated and expanded version of this excellent book, please support it by pledging money. The campaign is open now, until 28th February.

I’ve had the honour of reading the first few draft chapters. Already there is a lot more detail in those early chapters, which are likely to be further expanded as more research is done (not to mention hearing those archived recordings!)

For much more information about the new edition (and the original edition), see Carl Magnus

To pledge for the new edition, see Kickstarter

Two new ABBA books

3 December, 2009

Hot on the heels of the announcement of the ABBAWORLD touring exhibition opening in London comes news of two new ABBA books to be published in January 2010.

First comes ABBA i Amerika or ABBA in America, “a pictorial travelogue” of ABBA’s final concert tour in 1979/1980. With photographs by Swedish royal court photographer Charles Hammarsten and text by journalist Leif Schulman, the book is published in both Swedish and English, with 148 pages illustrated in colour.

In addition to covering ABBA’s first and only concert tour of North America the book follows ABBA to the final concerts in Japan in 1980. The pair originally produced a smaller book Succé på världs-scenen: Agnetha, Björn, Benny & Annifrid (Success on the world stage) in 1979.

The second is an updated version of From ABBA to Mamma Mia! , featuring the photographs of Anders Hanser with text by Carl Magnus Palm. First published in 1999, it covers ABBA’s career on stage and in rare behind-the-scenes glimpses in images from circa 1978 up to the opening of Mamma Mia! in 1999, now updated to cover the last ten years.

P.S. It will not include any photos of the “ABBA reunion” in 1999 when Agnetha, Frida, Björn and Benny sang together for Görel Hanser’s 50th birthday party.

Both books are from Premium Publishing, renowned for their excellent music books in Swedish and English.

Let the music speak – a new book

8 October, 2008

ABBA Let The Music SpeakABBA Let The Music Speak – An armchair guide to the musical soundscape of the Swedish supergroup is an exciting new book by Australian musician and ABBA fan Christopher Patrick.

Let The Music Speak is a unique guide to ABBA’s music from a musician’s point-of-view. In the book Chris disects both the songs’ melodies and the arrangements of the recordings. Though the book is heavy in musical terms, it’s written in an easy-to-read style that anyone without a musical eduction will be able to understand.

I’ve been lucky enough to read the book in draft. It’s been a long time coming, and I’m glad that soon it’s going to be out in the world and people will finally be able to read it. I have to say that if you love ABBA’s music, you’ll want to read this book. It should be available from November 2008.

More information about Let The Music Speak including ordering details will soon be posted to

Marketing release #1

Bright Lights Dark Shadows redux

11 August, 2008

Bright Lights Dark Shadows - The Real Story Of ABBAWhen it was first released in September 2001, Bright Lights Dark Shadows – The Real Story Of ABBA by Carl Magnus Palm quickly became my favourite ABBA book.

For the first time we had a full-length authoritative biography of ABBA. Other books had tried but failed, based on gossip, opinionated theory or bad research from previously published mistakes.

Bright Lights Dark Shadows truly revealed how the group came together, their amazing international career and eventual dissolution. It covered the lives of Björn, Frida, Benny, Agnetha, and their manager Stig Anderson from the very beginnings right up to 2001. I found it a revelation to read.

The book has now been re-released with a new nine-page afterword, bringing the continuing ABBA story up-to-date. Which has been a good excuse to re-read the book, again.

There are those who have said that the book is lacking in “new detail”, that it tells that ABBA story “that we already know”.

I’ve always wondered what these people expect. A Kitty Kelly or Albert Goldman-style hatchet job based on unsubstantiated hearsay? Scandal , salaciousness and smut? A previously hidden alternative ABBA history?

The ABBA members were all conservative, white, suburban, heterosexual people in their late 20s and early 30s who were married to each other. Eventually the marriages ended, both men quickly finding new partners, and there were a few dodgy business deals, but that was as bad as it got. The details of their lives, especially during the group’s active years, were quite open.

Anyone who had followed the group and read every available book and article would of course know the gist of the ABBA story. But Bright Lights Dark Shadows brought together the whole story in a way that had never been done before.

Bright Lights Dark Shadows – The Real Story Of ABBA is a book that every ABBA fan should read.

See Carl Magnus Palm’s website for more information about Bright Lights Dark Shadows.

ABBA – The Story – a new book

1 April, 2008

ABBA - The StoryAuthor Carl Magnus Palm has written a new ABBA biography specifically for the Scandinavian countries.

ABBA – The Story: Sanningen om supergruppen (The Truth About The Supergroup) is the first comprehensive biography of ABBA written in Swedish.

Though it tells essentially the same story as 2001’s Bright Lights Dark Shadows – The Real Story Of ABBA (the ABBA story is what it is, after all), it is not a direct translation of that book.

The approximately 400 page book will include about 50 colour and black & white photographs.

ABBA – The Story will be published in Sweden, Denmark and Norway in September 2008. See the author’s website for more information.

For English readers, a new edition of Bright Lights Dark Shadows, featuring some updates and a nine page afterword covering events from 2001 to 2008, will be published in June.

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