Books about ABBA and related subjects

ABBA biographies, musical examinations and pictorial surveys


published June 01, 2017


"That weighty bible is a fantastic work. That someone can set all that down in writing. I can only remember ten per cent of everything that's in the book. It's bloody great documentation."

Björn Ulvaeus of ABBA, interviewed in Aftonbladet, 17 May 2017

"Incredibly well-made. I'm extremely impressed - a terrific achievement of great value for us musicians and 'nerds'".

Janne Schaffer, ABBA session guitarist 1972–1982

"Many thanks for the solid work behind your latest book!"

Roger Palm, session drummer on 'Dancing Queen', 'Mamma Mia', 'Thank You For The Music' and many other ABBA recordings

"An impressive document. Congratulations!"

Ulf Andersson, saxophone on 'I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do' and other tracks, also toured with ABBA in 1977.

"This is a magnificent book, done the right way for the right reasons by the right person. Well done."

Mark Lewisohn, author of The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions and The Beatles - All These Years: Volume One: Tune In

"I am so thrilled for you (that you've completed this amazing work) and for me (that I get to dive into this amazing work!). Knowing what it takes to make a self-published book happen, you have outdone yourself in its visual beauty and the scope of the work."

Mark Easter, co-author of Eight Arms to Hold You: The Solo Beatles Compendium


"ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions must rate as THE bible for true aficionados of [ABBA]. [...] Scholarly and forensically researched but at the same time eminently readable[.]" 

John McGurk, Sunday Life (Ireland), 16 April 2017  (Complete review available here)

"Music history feels inadequate to describe what Carl Magnus Palm achieves with ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions. [...] [The book] offers a unique insight into how the foremost Swedish pop group of all time created and worked concretely. [...] The scope of the research is staggering, with a flowing narrative and a will to enlighten all the way through. Carl Magnus Palm deserves recognition as one of Sweden's foremost cultural historians."

Jan Gradvall, DI Weekend (Sweden), 21 April 2017  (Complete review available here)

"This masterly volume [...] is an exemplary display of research and writing, enhanced by the author seizing the proffered chance to carry out more interviews and to listen to a wealth of unreleased material, including alternate versions. [...] [The book is] not just limited to details of recording sessions, but actually stands as an enlightening study of a pop phenomenon."

Russel Newmark, The Beat (UK), May 2017  (Complete review available here)

"While he provides more detail than fans could have ever hoped to know about the sessions, Palm manages to do so without being too dry. It’s the kind of thing you might dip into and end up reading a fair few pages. Adding context there are also essays on specific aspects of their artistry (songwriting, lyrics, recording techniques) as well as pivotal studios and equipment, and it’s well illustrated too – with plenty of in-studio photographs, session sheets and promo artwork and contemporary ads, making this beautifully designed passion project that bit more desirable for the hardcore." (4 stars out of 5)

Jamie Atkins, Record Collector (UK), June 2017  (Complete review available here)

"[The author has] excelled himself in terms of Abba scholarship ... an astonishing labour of love [...] [Palm] has painstakingly set down precisely what happened and when, and is thus able to describe in precise terms how Abba’s music was assembled and how choices were made in regard to what was released and what remained in the can. ... [Along] the way [he] charts the group’s development in terms of their success, ambition and enterprise, giving an overview of each recording, singles and albums, as they were issued, setting all this in a frame of everything else that was happening elsewhere in the world of pop during the years when Abba was together."

Chris Charlesworth, Just Backdated blog (UK), 6 June 2017  (Complete review available here)

"Over the course of 450 fact-packed pages [Palm] dissects every song and studio session, ensuring ABBA's studio time is documented in comprehensive fashion, not only including dates that songs were recorded, but dates that individual parts of tracks were recorded. ... [The] ultimate ABBA artefact ... as as close as it gets to being in the studio with Sweden's fab four." (5 stars out of 5)

Mark Lindores, Classic Pop (UK), July 2017   (Complete review available here)

"[The author] has been able to map out the complete ABBA work, leaving nothing to chance. The history of ABBA is thus mapped out in an extremely unique way. [...] Palm has not fallen into the trap of noting separate details and side issues, but always keeps an eye on the evolution of ABBA's music. That makes 'The Complete Recording Sessions (expanded edition)' an all-encompassing biography with a studio touch, but also a reference book that can be effortlessly taken out of the closet, for example when listening to an album like 'Voulez Vous', searching for backgrounds."

Wouter Bessels, Plaat voor je kop (Netherlands), 23 December 2017   (Complete review available here)

"A fascinating account of how [ABBA's] great hits were made."

David Chiu, Brooklyn Based, 18 December 2018 

"ABBA – The Complete Recording Sessions may well be the crowning achievement from this writer who sets the gold standard for music journalism in general. ... Readers ... will be richly rewarded with a fascinating journey through the group’s creative process. ... Carl Magnus Palm leaves no stone unturned as he takes us through the recording of each ABBA song from its inception to the final steps of production. ... [The author] is a national treasure, and Abba – The Complete Recording Sessions may well be his greatest accomplishment."

Barry Livingston, Swedish Press, April 2019   (Complete review available here)

ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions (revised and expanded edition)

ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions (revised and expanded edition). Published March 31, 2017. English language. 448 pp. Hardback. CMP Text. ISBN: 978-91-639-2656-3 (or 9789163926563). Sold out (but ebook still available).