ABBA

Tuesday, February 28, 2006






German photographer Wolfgang 'Bubi' Heilemann was an important one for the ABBA image as well.
Over the years he took many pictures of ABBA. He worked for the German youth magazine Bravo but his pics went all over the world in magazines, on posters, stickers and even on some record sleeves.
These headshots, taken April 3th 1978 in Stockholm, are alternate pictures of the ones used on the single sleeve for Summer Night City. That single was released on September 6th 1978.

Monday, February 27, 2006





The four ABBA members were always in demand: traveling, doing tv performances, giving interviews, shooting promo videos and doing fotoshoots.
Especially Bjorn and Benny were never big fans of fotoshoots but they had to be done since ABBA's image was very important for their succes.
In the last years of the band it was friend and photographer Anders Hanser who took most of the bands pics. He started working with ABBA in 1978 and met them through his girlfriend and future wife Gorel Johnsen who was Stig Anderson's (ABBA's manager) right hand.
These pics were taken by Anders in the spring and summer of 1981 for an upcoming ABBA calender.




I Am An A is one of those never released ABBA songs. It wasn't even recorded in the studio but performed on tour in 1977 to introduce the four ABBA members in a funny and ironic way.
Frida called herself the star of the show, Agnetha claimed to be the young one, Bjorn talked about the band as if it was his and Benny felt he was the talented one.
ABBA sat down for this song with both Bjorn and Benny playing guitar while all four sang their own introduction.
Parts of the melody of I Am An A would end up seven years later in the song I Know Him So Well for the musical Chess.

Sunday, February 26, 2006




In the 10 years ABBA were together they jetsetted all over the world: from Japan to Australia, from Poland to the USA and from Canada to Spain.
Agnetha never really liked flying and she and Bjorn tried, if possible, not to fly together for the sake of their children.
In early October 1979 ABBA boarded a plane from New York City to Boston; weather was bad and the plane got caught in the middle of a storm and was tossed around badly. This was too much for Agnetha who still performed that night but had to spend two days in bed because of high fever caused by the stress. These pictures show the ABBA members during that tour leaving their private plane.

Saturday, February 25, 2006




ABBA visited Holland in June 1975 to tape the Eddy Go Round Show for the third time. The band had been pretty succesful in Holland: Ring Ring, Waterloo and I Do I Do I Do I Do I Do had all been top 5 hits and the current single SOS as well.
Their album ABBA was in the top 5 and the album The Best Of ABBA that would be released in August 1975 would be a great succes in Holland as too.
These pictures show ABBA relaxing after the taping and they were taken in the gardens of hotel De Hooge Vuursche in Hilversum.





When ABBA traveled to Japan for their last tour in March 1980 their current hit was Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! at number 2 in the charts. It had entered the charts in late November 1979 and had been number 1 for several weeks. The song would stay in the charts until May 1980. Both singles before Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! had been number 1 hits in 1979: Chiquitita and I Have A Dream.
ABBA arrived in Tokyo after a 22 hour flight and hundreds of fans were waiting for them. ABBA posed for pictures and talked for a while to journalist John Tobler who would publish his book ABBA For The Record later that year.





ABBA's succes in Australia started in the summer of 1975 with the single I Do I Do I Do I Do I Do hitting the number 1 spot and staying there for 3 weeks. This was followed by Mamma Mia getting to number 1 and remaining there for 10 weeks. SOS was their last hit in 1975 and was a number 1 hit for a week.
In March 1976 ABBA paid a 10 day visit to Australia. Their current single was Fernando and that would become their biggest hit in Australia: number 1 for 14 weeks.
These pictures were taken during a pressconference at the Sydney Hilton Hotel. In the background a giant album sleeve of their current album of that time: The Best Of ABBA, released shortly before Christmas 1975. It would be a megaseller with 16 weeks in the topspot of the charts.
Why Agnetha showed her bare foot is unknown...

Friday, February 24, 2006





After winning the Eurovision Songcontest in April 1974 ABBA traveled all over Europe to promote Waterloo. They also recorded versions in French and German and were seen on tv in countries such as Holland, Spain, Germany, Belgium and France.
Next to that both Frida and Agnetha were working on soloalbums (both to be released in late 1975) while Bjorn and Benny produced songs for the Hootenanny Singers. Recordings for a new album started as well and Benny would later call this period "chaotic".
But there was time to relax at home in Vallentuna (near Stockholm) were both couples lived. They were photographed in the aftermath of Waterloo and just before things became really hectic and crazy with ABBA.

Thursday, February 23, 2006




In 1978 ABBA traveled a lot while working on a new album.
They were in the US twice and also visited Germany, the UK and France twice plus went to Japan for the first time.
Recordings for the new album did not go smoothly and it was announced that the autumn 1978 release would become a spring 1979 release.
Songs like Summer Night City and Lovelight were recorded and would be released but they would not end up on the new album.
And a song like Dreamworld would not be released at all.
ABBA were still good in print and they did do some photoshoots. These very stylish pictures were taken in 1978.




In early January 1982 both Bjorn and Benny became new fathers again. For them it was now more family time and less ABBA time.
With ABBA they filmed the video for Head Over Heels late January and did an interview for Spanish tv which showed the four members looking tired and indifferent.
In March both men went back into the studio to work on a demo for Frida's forthcoming album but somehow that did not work out.
It was only in early May 1982 that they started recording a new ABBA song: Kamelo (workingtitle of You Owe Me One).
These pictures (taken by Anders Hanser) show Bjorn and Benny with Agnetha and Frida during their last photoshoot as ABBA, December 11th 1982.



ABBA The Album was sort of the soundtrack for ABBA The Movie: The Name Of The Game, Eagle, I'm A Marionette and Thank You For The Music were all featured in the film while the film started with the instrumental intro of Hole In Your Soul.
The recordings of The Album started May 31st 1977 with a song called A Bit Of Myself; working title of The Name Of The Game. In early November 1977 it was announced that all vocal parts had been recorded. Agnetha being pregnant had recorded some parts reclined on a deckchair.
These pics are alternate takes of the picture on the innersleeve of The Album and were taken late summer 1977.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006




On January 24th 1981 ABBA dressed up in their Waterloo costumes to shoot a new video for a song they had recorded just a few days earlier: Hovas Vittne.
Music was composed by Bjorn and Benny and the lyrics were written by them together with Agnetha, Frida, engineer Michael B. Tretow and album designer Rune Soderqvist.
The song was pressed on 200 red vinyl copies which makes it one very rare collectors item.
All this to celebrate the 50th birthday of manager Stig Anderson on the 25th.
The pics taken by Anders Hanser show ABBA while filming the video at Berns restaurant in Stockholm.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006




During their tour in the autumn of 1979 (Canada, USA and Europe) and in early 1980 (Japan) ABBA had some surprises for the fans:
Summer Night City had a slow beginning (just like the original recording that was kept unreleased in the ABBA days).
Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! had Frida dancing all over the stage... and how,
I Have A Dream featured a local childrens choir.
During Why Did It Have To Be Me Frida dressed up in shirts of a local sportsteam to the delight of many fans.
And Agnetha surprised the fans with her own song I'm Still Alive that she played all by herself on the piano.
In the pictures ABBA thanking their fans and saying goodbye before leaving the stage.

Monday, February 20, 2006




The Studio 2 special ABBA did in Poland in October 1976 was an interesting one.
ABBA performed Dancing Queen walking down high stairs with very small steps and Tiger was performed while Agnetha and Frida kicked around some odd balloons.
But the best part was Agnetha and Frida almost cracking up together during the second performance of Fernando; there was no eyecontact although both were amused by something but did get their act together in a split second.





Exactly a month before releasing the new album ABBA were in the Europa Film Studio in Sweden to shoot pics for the album cover.
At this day (Oktober 3th 1980) Bjorn and Benny had started working on the song that would become the titlesong of the album: Super Trouper.
Agnetha and Frida had their pics also taken without Bjorn and Benny.

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