Posts Tagged ‘Super Trouper’

Happy New Year’s vision of the future

30 May, 2011

‘Happy New Year’ is a song that frustrates many ABBA fans. They want to play it at midnight on New Year’s Eve, but feel that the third verse statement “what lies waiting down the line/in the end of Eighty-Nine” dates the song and spoils the sentiment.

However ABBA’s ‘Happy New Year’ isn’t a song that was made to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Rather it is a relfection typical of the new year period on what’s happened in the past and what’s coming in the future.

What’s astounding about the song is how prescient it was in making the reference to what was waiting at down the line.  In 1980, when ‘Happy New Year’ was composed and recorded, the Cold War between east and west was raging, symbolised when many countries boycotted the Olympic Games in Moscow. The Islamic Revolution in Iran a year earlier added to already high tensions in the Middle East. Polution was a growing concern.

Yet just ten years later, by the “end of Eighty-Nine” the Berlin Wall was torn down and the Cold War was effectively over. There was a general feeling that the world was becoming a better place. At least for a while.

Super Trouper Deluxe Edition

11 March, 2011

A couple of weeks ago ABBA fans everywhere erupted with excitement and anticipation when this announcement about the forthcoming Super Trouper Deluxe Edition was made.

A week later many dreams came when the contents were announced. Most of the contents had already been guessed by fans on various forums, though there were a couple of surprises that no one could have anticipated.

Alongside the expected CD bonus tracks is the previously unreleased stereo mix of the long version of ‘On And On And On’, with an additional verse and chorus not heard when the songs was released on Super Trouper in 1980. The mono mix has appeared on various VHS and DVD releases, and on CD in the 2005 box set The Complete Recording Sessions.

The DVD includes many expected items – German TV appearances of several Super Trouper tracks and the special Words and Music. Completely unexpected is a brand-new featurette Somewhere In The Crowd There’s You – On Location With ABBA, with footage filmed on the night the elaborate album sleeve was photographed.

As always there are some who have called the selections “boring” and “nothing new”. I don’t know how they can say that, with one all-new audio track fans have been clamouring after for 30 years, and 15 minutes of never-before-seen footage. I guess there’s no pleasing some people. Happily most fans seem happy with the content, with many already calling this the best ABBA Deluxe Edition ever!

For more about the background of the Super Trouper Deluxe Edition see here. It is released on May 9.

It was 40 years ago today…

1 June, 2007

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band   Super Trouper

… that The Beatles landmark album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released.

Sgt. Pepper has, for all the years since 1967, been considered by music critics and music fans as a peak of pop/rock music, something for all other artists to aspire to.  It was the album that changed the focus of popular music from the single to the album, that lasted up to the download era of the Naughties.

Björn and Benny have both said that The Beatles, particularly the song-writing partnership of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, inspired them first individually, and then together, to compose their own songs.

In some interviews in the 1970s, Björn and Benny had said that many expected them to create their own Sgt. Pepper with each next ABBA album.

There are a remarkable number of similarities between Sgt. Pepper and ABBA’s Super Trouper album:

  • Both front covers show the group surrounded by a crowd – The Beatles, by life-size cut-outs of various friends and heroes; ABBA, by friends and circus performers.
  • Both album covers involved elaborate staging.
  • Both title tracks refer to a band performance.
  • Both title tracks cast a thematic aura over the whole album.
  • Both albums have several songs with a nostalgic air.
  • Both albums have the final two tracks cross-faded as a “grand finale”.
  • Both have sound continuing into the run-out groove, so that those whose record players didn’t have automatic lifting arms would hear sound infinitely (on Sgt. Pepper, specially recorded gibberish; on Super Trouper, the applause following ‘The Way Old Friends Do’). [the CD of Sgt. Pepper recreates this effect; no CD version of Super Trouper does this]
  • Both albums came at the popular peak of each group’s career. Afterwards, both groups fell into a downward spiral.
  • Both albums were each group’s first after their final concert tours.
  • Both are considered by many fans and critics as the group’s finest achievement.

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