ABBA: Thank you for the music

Those pesky Brazilians have struck again with another unofficial official ABBA DVD. My friend Phillip found this one on a recent trip to Rio.

ABBA: Thank you for the music contains the entire ZDF Kultnacht: ABBA programme that has been screened in Germany several times over the last few years, featuring ABBA and solo appearance by Frida and Agnetha on the German popular music programmes Disco, Musikladen and Show Express, plus songs from the Dick Cavett Meets ABBA TV special.

Picture and sound quality are infinitely better than the last Brazilian DVD I wrote about here, ABBA Live TV. But like that DVD this is not an official release from Universal Music. I don’t understand the legalities of releasing things like this in Brazil – they’ve got a history going back to the first unauthorised DVD release of ABBA Gold around 2001.

This DVD covers every period of ABBA’s history right from the start, with a performance of ‘People Need Love’ that infamously features Frida’s friend Inger Brudin substituting for Agnetha, who had only recently given birth to daughter Linda. Right through all the biggest ABBA hits and on to beyond the end of the group, with solo performances by Frida and Agnetha, and a bizarre performance of ‘One Night In Bangkok’ from the Benny Andersson/Tim Rice/Björn Ulvaues musical Chess, featuring Björn, Benny, Karin Glenmark and Frida miming the backing chorus – Frida happened to be on the same show promoting her new album Shine.

Continue reading “ABBA: Thank you for the music”

Thank You For The Music: A Celebration of the Music of ABBA (updated)

BBC Radio 2 is presenting Thank You For The Music: A Celebration of the Music of ABBA in London’s Hyde Park on Sunday 13 September 2009.

The concert promises “an array of stars” performing the songs of ABBA plus songs from Benny and Björn’s “recent offerings in musical theatre and folk”.

Performers announced so far include Elaine Paige, Lulu, Jason Donovan, Russell Watson, Helen Sjöholm with the Benny Andersson Band, “original ABBA musicians”, and the cast of Mamma Mia! (presumably the current London cast). John Barrowman is another name that has been mentioned, and apparently Annie Lennox has been approached.

Benny has said that he and Björn will be performing (“if you can call what Björn does performing” as Benny quipped on the Jonathan Ross Show on July 3rd when announcing this concert). What’s not clear is what that means – one song, the whole concert or something in between. I suspect it’s more likely just a song or two.

Rumour and speculation are rife that Frida and Agnetha should appear. Which doesn’t seem likely.

The concert is associated with the annual BBC Proms series, which conjures up scary images of rampant flag waving and “Rule Britannia”! Will this concert be like that? I guess we will learn more as the date grows closer.

UPDATE 6 August: apparently Russell Watson and Helen Sjöholm won’t be taking part in this concert as they will be rehearsing for Kristina – A Concert Eventat Carnegie Hall in New York on September 23rd and 24th. Sharleen Spiteri and The Feeling have been added to the list of performers.

Thanks to icethesite for additional information.

ABBA CD reissues

ABBA Gold, More ABBA Gold, Thank You For The MusicJust in time for the July opening of the MAMMA MIA! movie, Universal Music is re-releasing the popular compilations ABBA Gold, More ABBA Gold and the 4 CD box set Thank You For The Music.

ABBA Gold and More ABBA Gold will be repacked in Super Jewel Boxes. Both have updated liner notes and booklets, especially More ABBA Gold, which was last available in 1999, still in its original 1993 format.

Thank You For The Music will be repackaged in a similar format to 2005’s Frida 4xCD 1XDVD box set. It will contain new photographs and the same essays as the original 1994 set, with some “gentle” corrections.

The disc contents will feature the latest remastered versions of the songs.

Reaction to the news is typically split – some fans see the reissues as a “rip off of loyal fans”, while others see them as repromoting ABBA for new markets.

ABBA Gold has reportedly sold 26 million copies to date, while MAMMA MIA! (the stage musical) has been seen by 30 million people – that’s several million who have seen the musical who haven’t bought ABBA’s most popular CD. Many millions more will be seeing the movie in coming months, and may be inspired to go in search of the original ABBA songs.

I think that anything that spreads ABBA music to new audiences is a good thing.

ABBA Gold and More ABBA Gold are released at the end of May. Thank You For The Music is released in early June.

More information at ABBA – The Site.

%d bloggers like this: