Posts Tagged ‘CD’

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 #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.

The compact disc at 25

23 June, 2007

Benny & Björn with PolyGram's Jan Timmer and test pressings of The Visitors CD, 1982

Today the worldwide media have been reporting on the 25th anniversary of the introduction of the compact disc, or CD. Some of the stories (such as this video report from Reuters) have reported that ABBA’s The Visitors was the first commercially released CD.

The origin of today’s media story is this press release from Bayer MaterialScience, which reports that 25 years ago The Visitors was the first CD pressed as a test using a new high tech plastic, Makrolon®, during the development phase of the new audio standard.

The Visitors was indeed the first ABBA CD released, and is thought to be one of the first (if not the first) pop music CD released by PolyGram in Europe. But it wasn’t the first CD ever – that honour apparently goes to Billy Joel’s 52nd Street, released in Japan in October 1982, along with 15 other CDs in that first batch.

Benny & Björn were introduced to the new format in late 1982, when they were surprised to hear the tape hiss on analog-recorded tracks on The Visitors (most audible in the ticking between ‘Slipping Through My Fingers’ and ‘Like An Angel Passing Through My Room’ on the original 1983 CD, but not on later remastered versions).

The Visitors was the first CD I ever bought, sometime in 1983, probably 18 months before I bought my first CD player. It cost a whopping $30, which is close to the full price CD in Australia today. My copy was on the Polar label (POLCD 342), manufactured by PolyGram in West Germany, but actually came from the UK where it had been distributed by Epic, and so had a label attached to the spine with the UK catalogue number (EPC CD10032).  But I peeled off that sticker many, many years ago – maybe it could have been a rare collectors item?

It became a tradition for that very same CD to be the first one played everytime I bought a new CD player.

I loved the CD from the outset. The improved sound quality and the ease of playing. But I missed the full 12 inch album sleeve, and even the action of turning over the record to side 2.


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