Questions & answers
 

December 2020

Is it known if ABBA profited or lost money from the major tours?

Simon, UK

 

 

It's highly likely that they lost money on the tours. Björn said of touring in 1976: "There is only one place in the world where it is possible to make money touring and that is America. Possibly also in Australia. In those countries there are arenas that hold 20,000 to 30,000 people, necessary if tours are to be profitable. In Europe there are no touring groups that show a profit." He also said of the costs of touring "There are directly deductible expenses and there is no reason to save on them. There will be next to nothing left after the taxes are paid." (quoted in the book ABBA By ABBA by Christer Borg). Famously, ABBA made the commercials for National electronics for Australia to help cover the huge costs of the Australian tour in March 1977.

 


What does 'Hovas Vittne' and 'Tivedshambo' mean in Swedish and why they were written?

Yair, Israel

 

 

'Hovas vittne' translates as "Hova's wittnes". It is a pun around "Jehovah's wittness". Hova is the town where Stig was born in 1931. 'Hova's vittne' was written for ABBA manager Stig Anderson's 50th birthday in January 1981, released on a special 12 inch single given to guests at Stig's birthday party. The lyrics with translation are here.
'Tivedshambo' translates as "Tivedean hambo" or "Hambo from Tived". Tived, or Tiveden, is a region in central Sweden near where Stig hails from. Hambo is a type of Swedish dance in 3/4 time that originated in the late 19th century. 'Tivedshambo' was the first successful song that Stig wrote himself in 1947, and has become a Swedish classic tune played on the accordian. An instrumental version (quite likely Benny solo on accordian and synthesizers) was on the b-side of 'Hovas vittne', and ABBA also taped a vocal performance of the song for Stig's This Is Your Life TV programme in 1986.

 


I am trying to find a copy of the Harry Edgington book with the blue cover. I think it is a reprint from 1978 or 1979. I already have the red cover paperback edition of this book and was wanting a copy of the revised blue cover book. Can anybody out there help?

Kind Regards,
Julian

 

 

The third edition of that book is difficult to find. I don't have a copy of that edition myself. If anyone out that can help Julian with his quest, please write to ask@abbaomnibus.net

ABBA by Harry Edgington

 


The first ABBA release in Australia was the 'Ring Ring' single catalogue number 102357. I know it reached Number 92. Is it the rarest ABBA release from Australia? Have you or others you know a copy of the single that would have been sold and bought through a store rather than a promotional copy? Would you have an approximate value? It is rarely mentioned though I read in a 1979 Music Magazine RCA Australia saying they had represented ABBA since 1973. Do you know if Stig Anderson himself would have established this relationship seeing how he took a hands on approach to such matters.

Thanks,
Ross, Australia

 

 

Indeed, the 1973 'Ring Ring' single is likely the rarest of all Australian ABBA records. Other contenders could be the original Ring Ring album, also released in 1973 (though it seems more common the single); the Spanish single of 'Chiquitita' which had limited release in 1979; or the misprinted 'When All Is Said Is Done' single sleeve in 1982. All the copies of the 'Ring Ring' single I've seen appear to be commercially-released records- I'm not aware of any specifically marked promotional copies. Recently copies have sold in the range of $150-$220. Yes, Stig Anderson arranged the deal with RCA himself. Even ABBA discographies distributed by RCA in the 70s failed to mention the 1973 'Ring Ring' single and album releases.
'Ring Ring' wasn't actually the first Polar Music release by RCA Australia - in 1972 RCA released Lena Andersson's single 'Better To Have Loved' / 'Cecilia' (catalogue number 102088), both sides written by Benny and Björn with Stig Anderson, English lyrics by Tony Waddington and Wayne Bickerton.

 


Was the song 'Get On The Carousel' supposed to be on ABBA - The Album?

Yair, Israel

 

 

It appears that there was never any consideration to include 'Get On The Carousel' on the album. No studio recording was ever attempted. It is a quite long and repetative song, and doesn't add anything to the storyline of the mini-musical "The Girl With The Golden Hair" that isn't already expressed in 'I'm A Marionette'.

 


How many mixes does the song 'Thank You For The Music' have?

Yair, Israel.

 

 

There are three different mixes of the standard recording: the version we hear on ABBA - The Album and all singles, compilation albums, and the music video; the version heard in ABBA - The Movie, which appears to be an early mix missing some elements, particularly in the choruses and second verse; and the version heard when ABBA performed on the British television programme Mike Yarwood's Christmas Show in 1978, remxed to make it appear that ABBA had recorded a new backing track in accordance with British Musician Union rules about performing pre-recorded music on TV. There is also the "Doris Day" version, a completely different recording, which was unreleased until 1994 on the Thank You For The Music box set. There are also live performances on the television programmes ABBA Special (Japanese television special, 1978), The Late Late Breakfast Show and Nöjesmaskinen, both in 1982, and of course it was performed live on ABBA's 1977, 1979, and 1980 concert tours (two different recordings of the 1979 tour are available, on the albums ABBA Live [1986] and Live At Wembley Arena [2014]).

 


Does 'El Lute' by Boney M (one of ABBA's main rivals) resemble 'Fernando'? I've tried making it out like some sites say, but I can't hear any resemblance. Do you think it does?

Aaron, Australia

 

 

I can hear a supeficial resemblance, but only in the fact that both songs have a Spanish inflection, and the lyrics have a general theme of fighting for freedom.

 


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