Showing posts from 2010

Merry Christmas, My Friend

The Rivals- "Merry Christmas, My Friend" , Promotional Video, December 2010

Benny and Bjorn wrote this English language  song to promote the Hotel Rival  during the 2010 Christmas Season. It's the first Christmas song that they have written as a team.  However , Benny did  write Christmas ring tone for the Swedish Red Cross a couple of years ago.  The song is a little awkwardly written, not particularly anything to write home about. The employees on the video don't seem particularly enthusiastic, but that may just be a Swedish thing. In any case, the song and video for "Second Best To None", the previous Hotel Rival music project, was substantially better. The song was recorded on was recorded on November 18th, 2010 in the Atlantis Recording Studio in Stockholm. As far as I have heard this has not been released as physical single, not sure whether it is downloadable as a MP3.

Gudrun Anderson dies.

Gudrun  Rystedt Anderson, the wife of ABBA manager Stig Anderson died in October.  It was really only reported in a couple places in the Swedish press, and on a few ABBA fan sites.  Gudrun Anderson, was born  April 2, 1931,  and  died October 31, 2010.  She married Stig in August 1955.   They had three children- Marie (Ledin) , Anders and Lasse Anderson. ABBA informally  recorded the song 'Ja må hon liva' as a tribute to her 50th birthday 1981. It's sometimes known as "Sang Till Gudrun".

ABBA Couplings

Agnetha and Bjorn appeared together at the October 2010  Danish  premiere of Mamma Mia in Copenhagen.   The is the first time, Agnetha and Bjorn have appeared hand-in hand as a couple in public since ABBA. This is the fourth in a series of  unprecedented ABBA member couple reunions.  Since ABBA's breakup  Bjorn and Benny would often appear together, occasionally Bjorn would appear with Frida, and  a few times three of the members got together.  Normally the partial reunions would occur at premieres of Bjorn and Benny's musicals or for TV promotion and interviews.  The most notable public occasion was ,when all four members of ABBA showed up in July 2008  for the Mamma Mia movie premiere in Stockholm. At the movie premiere , made a point of not having all members stand together, instead  they  were interspersed amongst the stars of the movie. 

Not too long ago the group decided to not appear together in combinations of three members-since that would make it look, like one of t…

New ABBA Gold Cd/DVD

ABBA-ABBA Gold CD/DVD Special Edition , Universal 060252752259  November 29, 2010

Yet another version of ABBA's most popular album.  The CD features the latest remastered version of the album, while the DVD features newly remastered versions of all the video clips featured on the original DVD.

The DVD includes five  bonus selections in the shape of "before-and-after" split-screen comparisons of five original film clips and the remastered versions of those clips. The new DVD also features a recently discovered archive find: a cartoon version of 'Money, Money, Money', made circa 1977. (I have never seen  this particular cartoon version). ABBA Gold Special Edition also features a brand new essay on the album by Elisabeth Vincentelli, author of the books ABBA Gold and ABBA Treasures.
The ABBA Gold CD/DVD Special Edition will be released in a so-called flip-tray with a slip case.

Track listing:

1. Dancing Queen
2. Knowing Me, Knowing You
3. Take A Chance On Me

New Frida song !

Georg Wadenius (and friends) –Reconnection,  EMI-50999 -9190442,   Swedish CD, October 27, 2010

This is a new album "Reconnection" by Swedish musician Georg "Jojje" Wadenius. The album features guest singers Nina Persson, Helen Sjöholm, Peter Jöback and Frida. Thomas Johansson, ABBA’s tour promoter, had the idea for bringing Georg together with guest singers on seven of the tracks.  Frida leads the album off with an excellent if somewhat aging  vocal on the song "Morning Has Broken", the Christian  hymn made popular by Cat Stevens. Nina Persson of the Cardigans performs "Brothers In Arms" which was originally done by Dire Straits. Helen Sjohom sings "Sometimes" . Georg also worked on Anne Sofie von Otter's  'I Let The Music Speak', as Guitarist, Arranger and Producer.    Georg  is known for playing with Blood, Sweat and Tears, the SNL band, Steely Dan and many other things.

1. Morning Has Broken   2. Until We Bleed 3. Bro…

New releases:Kerry Ellis, ABBA-Icons, Brazilian ABBA DVD

Kerry Ellis - Anthems, Decca, International CD September 13, 2010

The new CD "Anthems" by Kerry Ellis. Produced by Queen guitarist Brian May, the album includes "Anthem" from Chess and "You Have To Be There" from Kristina plus more musical numbers and other symphonic rock songs.The album also features new compositions by Brian May.
Kerry played Svetlana in Chess In Concert at the Royal Albert Hall opposite Josh Groban .She has performed in Les Misérables, Miss Saigon, Oliver, Wicked and We Will rock You. Kerry also sang at the BBC Radio 2 ABBA concert -Thank You For The Music in Hyde Park.Youtube has a TV appearance by Kerry Ellis and Brian May performing "Anthem"!

1. Dangerland
2. Anthem (Chess)
3. I Can’t Be Your Friend (This Can’t Be Over)
4. Defying Gravity (Wicked)
5. I’m Not That Girl (Wicked)
6. You Have To Be There (Kristina)
7. Love It When You Call
8. Save Me
9. Diamonds Are Forever
10. No-One But You (Only The Good Die Young) (We Will Rock You…

Chess again and again!!

Fall 2010: Apparently the Andersson-Rice- Ulvaeus musical Chess has two revivals on tap at the same time.  In England, Craig Revel Horwood has reinvented the original West End version, and given it  a lot more sexual energy, He managed to successfully stage the  games  aspects of musical, and most notably has many of the actors playing the music, which makes for great visuals.The only thing I didn't like from the videos shown of this staging was the music itself which seemed nothing special.   The Horwood variation is actually a touring road show of the musical. 

Over on the other side of the Atlantic at the Signature Theater  in Washington, the Broadway version of Chess has been redone by Director Eric Schaeffer with a little help from  the original Broadway Chess book writer Richard Nelson. It is a shorter leaner production.  It ran through October 2010.

Oddly enough both shows have gotten good reviews with the Horwood variation getting unusually good notices

Update October 4,…

Alejandro and Fernando!

Lady GaGa has a new top ten single out from her Fame Monster album. Released in April 2010. It is called "Alejandro" and is clearly influenced by ACE of BASE's arrangement of the Diane Warren song-"Don't Turn Around". There is also an intentional ABBA reference in the song-one of the names spurted out along with "Alejandro" and "Roberto" is "Fernando". This is not the first song to reference "Fernando". Apparently, this was an intentional ABBA reference by Lady GaGa. Yet another 2girl/2boy quartet- "The Brotherhood of Man had a # 1  British hit with a "Fernando" style song called "Angelo". Lady GaGa's main collaborator- RedOne, the co-writer of this song-emerged out of the Swedish music scene, even though he was born in Morocco.

New german DVD's!

Various Artists- Musikladen Boxsets, ARD Video, German DVD sets  Planned for release August 2010, but cancelled?
3 DVD box sets were supposed to be  released containing all 90 Musikladen programs from 1972 to 1984 on August 19. Each box was to  contain 10 DVDs and  be purchased individually or together at a discount. The first box was to  contain episodes aired between 1972 and 1976, including the well-known "Best of ABBA" episode from August of 1976. The second box features ABBA's performance of "Chiquitita" from 1979, while the third will feature the Agnetha and Frida solo appearances on the program from 1982-1984.The last I heard was this DVD was canceled at the last minute due to legal ownership disputes.

New Benny song at Swedish Princess' wedding!

Gustaf Sjökvists kammarkör, Storkyrkans kör ,Kungliga Filharmonikerna and Orsa Spelmän- Vilar Glad I Din Famn , Mono MMCD-S 136 Swedish CD single, Summer 2010

"Vilar Glad I Din Famn" is a new choral song performed at the of wedding of Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria and Daniel Westling. The title translates in English to “Resting blissfully in your arms”. The single also features a Capella version of the song. The song features music by Benny Andersson and lyrics by Kristina Lugn. Kristina had previously written the lyrics to "Nu mår jag mycket bättre" from BAO 3. Conductor Gustaf Sjökvist and Benny Andersson are both members of the Swedish Academy of Music. This recording was made at Konserthuset, Stockholm, June 2010 by Bernard Löhr. The single is produced by Benny Andersson, and the arrangement is by Anders Eljas. The single will be available at the ABBF record service site and other Swedish music web outlets.

2007 ABBA releases

2007 ABBA related releases
2007  featured  a new album by BAO and a few other releases, but not as many as other recent years.

ABBA-20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of ABBA -digipak  January 30, 2007 US CD

Digipak reissue of a CD originally issued only in a jewel box in September 2000. The original release of this collection  actually went gold (500,000 copies sold ) in the USA even though it only offers 11 ABBA songs....
1. Waterloo
2. SOS
3. I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do
4. Mamma Mia
5. Fernando
6. Dancing Queen
7. Knowing Me, Knowing You
8. The Name of the Game
9. Take a Chance on Me
10. Chiquitita
11. The Winner Takes It All
ABBA-W Pack Series - Japanese CD sets March 2007
The Japanese released these two CD pack sets of ABBA's  eight studio albums-Ring Ring/Waterloo, ABBA/Arrival, The Album/Voulez-Vous,and Super Trouper/The Visitors.  The four sets are released separately and each CD appears to feature the 2002 remastered track listings, thus the …

The Death of Ola Brunkert

Image from Roger Lindqvist's blog -


The world of ABBA was shaken on March 16th, 2008 by the accidental death of Ola Brunkert.  It is fascinating how prominent a news story  his death became considering how few people knew who Ola Brunkert was. One article pointed how Ola played on most of the records of what most people regard as one of the most successful musical acts of all time, so yes that suggests that Ola  made an important if unsung contribution to the world at large.

Ola was ABBA's main live and session drummer. He played on all eight of their studio albums. He played on their first single, "People Need love" and many, but not all of their biggest hits. He played on their 1977, 1979 and 1980 live  tou…

2006 ABBA releases

2006  New releases  by ABBA, ABBA solo and ABBA related artists. 

2006 saw a new live album by by Benny Andersson's Orkester,the ABBA number one compilation, a reissue of Bjorn's and Benny's Lycka album on CD, and a few other little ABBA related projects.. In total at least 24 ABBA related DVD's or CD's were released.. Bjorn tooled around in  a private jet, Benny reached Age 60!
SISSEL-Into Paradise -February 2006 internationally released CD
ABBA-Take a Chance on Me   February  2006 Dutch CD
ABBA-ABBA Chronicles  3CD American Box set March  2006
ABBA-Greatest Hits (30th anniversary edition) April 2006 Sweden and some other territories CD
Benny Andersson's  Orkester-BAO På Turné (BAO LIVE)  May  2006 Swedish CD
Bjorn Ulvaeus & Benny Andersson -LYCKA  May 2006 reissue Swedish CD (May have also been released in Austria, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain,  Switzerland)
ABBA-16 Hits  June 2006…

Susan Boyle performs I Know Him So Well, again.

I have just caught up to the fact that Susan Boyle has sung a Andersson-Rice-Ulvaeus song.

She performed a new duet on "I Know Him So Well" with Chess star/West End legend, Elaine Paige. They performed the duet on British TV. I kept expecting Susan to falter-you never know when Susan is going to lose the key or the pitch,but she did OK. Susan performed the Barbara Dickson part (a good fit)and Elaine did the Elaine Paige part. A competent if perhaps unspectacular performance. Elaine looks like her body has been rebuilt hair by hair, skin follicle by skin follicle.. Of course, Susan still looks like Susan, no matter how she gets rebuilt.

Elaine Paige also has new DVD out that features her take on "Someone Else's Story" from Chess. It also features "I Know Him So Well". The DVD is called Elaine Paige-Celebrating Forty Years on Stage. The DVD is only available in the PAL format and is being released in the UK.

Update-Susan also did a comedy duet versi…

ABBA inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

ABBA was inducted on March 15, 2010 into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They were the first act from a non-English speaking country to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. The choice of ABBA was controversial one in the press and among some rock fans. The Hall of Fame selection process is notoriously unpredictable, certain sub-genres of rock music are not well represented and obscure acts often get in before more well known artists. It seems to be feeling that ABBA got in finally after more than a decade of eligibility due to the success of the MAMMA Mia franchise.At the time, of their admission they were the largest selling eligible act of the rock era, not to have inducted into the hall of fame.

In any case, the induction was a proud moment for ABBA and ABBA fans, if a little bittersweet. Only two (Benny& Frida) of the four members showed up. Agnetha doesn't fly-so it was no surprise that she was not there. Bjorn's not showing up was a little bit stranger-since he has …

Voulez-Vous deluxe!

ABBA-Voulez-Vous-Deluxe Edition, Universal, 1CD/IDVD, Planned Release May 31, 2010

The long awaited deluxe version of Voulez-Vous finally came out on May 31, 2010. Voulez-Vous originally came out in June 1979. It took the longest to record of all the ABBA studio albums. This occurred mainly because most of the early songs recorded did not make it onto the album. Eventually the boys settled in earnest and  finished the album early in mid-1979.
Although no totally new tracks are included,the version of "Dreamworld" included on this release is the full version without fade-in, as a master tape containing the full version was recently discovered. The most obvious omissions are the Spanish versions of "I Have a Dream" and "Chiquitita".
Not surprisingly, None of 1978/1979 rarities found on "ABBA Undeleted" are included here. So that means no full versions of "Just A Notion", "Rubber Ball Man" etc. will be included…

Agnetha not really a blond?

I was surprised to look into my 2010 Pocket Pal datebook to find a quote from the noted philosopher, Agnetha Faltskog. There on the page for February 11, 2010 is a quote attributed to Aggie that says, "There is a danger in changing too much in search of perfection." I don't recall the original source of the quote-perhaps it is from her biography. I don't know if she originally said it in Swedish, and it was translated into English. I don't know what she is referring to exactly-perhaps the recording process.

Still, It's not the first time I have heard something intelligent from her. On my ABBA-The Albums website , I quote her as saying-"The myth is that Frida and I were there as a front for Björn and Benny's music. But the truth of the matter is that we were the people that could bring over precisely what they couldn't do with their previous bands".

I love the Hep Stars and admire much of what B&B did as a duo, but I get exactly wha…

The new "Mamma Mia!"? Viva Forever

Mamma Spice Girls?

There was lot of cajoling from Universal for some sort of sequel to Mamma Mia,
and while the idea has not been totally ruled out, it not still apparently not something that Bjorn and Benny want to do. So what is their jilted producer, Judy Craymer thinking of doing now instead? A Spice Girls musical! It may work, Mamma Mia proves anything is possible.

Update August 2011, June 2012 

The romantic comedy Spice Girls  musical will be called Viva Forever, It is scheduled to premiere in  December 2012. According to the producer,  "The story follows the idea of an American Idol-type singing contest, a young woman with a chaotic home life who attempts to resolve her feelings about adoption, learning to believe in herself and about friendship and "girl power."
Absolutely Fabulous star Jennifer Saunders will be involved as the writer and Mamma Mia! producer Judy Cramer as executive producer.Marianne Elliot will direct. So like Mamma Mia  another group of g…

French and Saunders

ABBA on youtube...

Recently I discovered two really enjoyable videos by French and Saunders on Youtube.
The first was an excellent parody of the Mamma Mia movie. The parody was made for a British TV charity show. The parody is really more entertaining than the original movie.

I also saw a concert video performance of French & Saunders cover of "I Know Him So Well" from B&B's 1984 musical Chess. Very funny as well...



Recently I discovered a relatively new ABBA site, called ABBA on CD by Ken Griffin.
It has a lot of interesting details and original research about how ABBA's various albums were released on CD back in 1980's. A subject of particular interest to an American like myself.  Here in the USA, we were always the last to see ABBA CD's come out.  This CD gives a lot a background information on how the early ABBA CD's were released.  I must admit as a "ABBA expert" I still stumble on how to describe the first CD release of the The Visitors. It is known in history as the first pop CD produced, though it holds that role more securely as a prototype, rather than as a commercial release.   You can find this interesting web site at

Agnetha Faltskog- 3 Original Album Classics

Agnetha Faltskog- 3 Original Album Classics" January 27, 2010 German 3CD set.

Sony ,will release the 3 CD box set "3 Original Album Classics" in January. This set will include three of Agnetha's Swedish solo albums by Agnetha:
"Agnetha Fältskog" (1968)"När en vacker tanke blir en sång" (1971) and "Elva Kvinnor I Ett Hus" (1975). This set is  based on the recent "5 Original album classics" that featured five Agnetha early solo albums, which itself drew on the six disc Agnetha box set called "Den Forsta Aren".

All in all a bit of a comedown from the original six then five disc versions....