Questions & answers

December 2019

Is there any ABBA songs that their elements later used in the musicial Chess?

Yair, Israel



There are a few. The most well-known is 'I Know Him So Well'. Most of the melody of the chorus was originally the chorus of 'I Am An A', the song that ABBA sang to introduce the four members in concert during the European and Australian tour in 1977. 'Merano' has a snatch of melody from Stig's 50th birthday tribute song 'Hovas vittne'. 'Anthem' started out as an instrumental demo recording in 1981, during sessions for The Visitors, titled 'Nationalsång' (National song). The middle 8 of 'Someone Else's Story', introduced to the musical in the Broadway production in 1988, was originally part of an unreleased ABBA-era instrumental demo, 'Lady Bird'. The Swedish production in 2002 introduced another new song, 'Glöm mig om du kan' (Forget me if you can), with the verse melody orginally from ABBA's unreleased 'Just Like That'.


I dont know if this is true, but I read that many years after 'The Day Before You Came' was recorded, Michael Tretow, ABBA's sound engineer said that Agnetha asked to recorded her vocals with dimmed lights, I think it's just a story, but can you tell me if this story is true?

Yair, Israel



Indeed that story is true. Michael B. Tretow recounts it in the book ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions. He said it was to enhance the melancholy mood of the song, and the recording session itself, as they felt even then tha thit may be the last ABBA song.

Was 'Rock Me' ever issued as a single commercially in Australia? Some people think radio stations just started playing it due to being featured in the Bandstand Best of ABBA special and was NOT issued as a commercial single, but official ABBA historian Carl Magnus Palm states it WAS issued commercially as a flipped single. ABBAMania Australia shows images of a radio-only promo 7' with switched A and B labels (maybe an RCA scheme to avoid 'I Do' getting extra airplay?), but are there legit or are they a mockup?

Love, Aaron, Australia



Technically, 'Rock Me' was not issued as a single A-side, but the existing single charted for its B-side between 12 April and 4 October 1976, as did 'Hasta Mañana, the B-side of the 1974 single 'So Long' (10 May-6 September 1976). Both songs had featured in The Best Of ABBA special. I've never seen a single with the A side matrix number assigned to 'Rock Me', though there are three known label variations - one with the word Victor (of RCA Victor) written in white, one in black, and one with Victor in black and the ABBA logo, which was introduced 3 months after the single was released. I don't know the source of the image in that book.


Does the songs 'The Visitors' and 'Soldiers' are both related to the Soviet Union (USSR)?

Yair, Israel



'The Visitors' definitely was. Björn revealed in ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions that the lyrics dealt with the situtation of dissidents, living in fear that the KGB would come knocking on the door. 'Soldiers' is less specific, dealing with the fear that those in charge will declare war, against the wishes of the people.


Could you confirm the legality of a news item that clears up the small number of bootlegged tracks? To simplify it, in 1983 Bjorn had been preparing an album featuring material from The Visitors sessions (1981-1982 material), and somehow a theif stole much of the tapes that were inside Bjorn's car at this point, unaware he was going to immediately bootleg them. And as the thief expected, tapes containing such songs like 'I Am The City', 'Just Like That' and 'Every Good Man Needs A Helping Hand' (Agentha demo of 'Heaven Help My Heart' from Chess) came across the bootleg market.

Aaron, Australia

*Link for reference, do not post or could you?:*



Apparently, yes it's true. The story of the tapes stolen from Björn's car was already circulating when the bootleg tapes started ciruclating in 1983/84.


Back around the mid 80's I managed to obtain a copy of a copy of Opus 10 from an ABBA fan after much begging & pleading to him to pleeeeeese give me a copy of it. The guy was truly a huge fan, had gone to the concert here in Sydney, went to all the trivia themed event nights, knew so much about ABBA, their concerts, albums and other general info most others wouldn't know, and of course the details about the history of how Opus 10 came about. He also made mention that there was an actual copy of 'I Know Him So Well' from the Chess stage production by Benny & Bjorn sung by Agnetha & Frida. Do you know of any truth behind this?

Jeff, Australia



There is no evidence of a version of 'I Know Him So Well' sung by Agnetha and Frida. As mentioned above, the chorus melody originated in 'I Am An A', sung by all four ABBA members in 1977.


Which songs were released as a single from Frida's albums Something Going On and Shine?

Yair, Israel



'I Know There's Something Going On' was the lead single from Something's Going On. It was followed by 'To Turn The Stone' and a solo version of 'Here We'll Stay'. 'I See Red' was a single in South Africa, and 'Tell Me It's Over' was released in Japan. From Shine, 'Shine' was the first single worldwide, followed by different singles in different countries: 'Come To Me (I Am Woman)' in Scandinavia, West Germany, the Netherlands, and South Africa; 'Heart Of The Country' in the UK; and 'Twist In The Dark' in France.

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