Thoughts and observations on the Swedish foursome
published March 30, 2023
One of the most successful children's books in Sweden in recent years is entitled The Book That Did Not Want To Be Read, and lately I've been toying with giving my forthcoming book ABBA On Record an alternate title: The Book That Did Not Want To Be Finished. However, four years since it was announced, I do plan to publish later this year - no specific date to share yet - and I am also pleased to report that I'm beginning to see the end of the project. There is still plenty of work to be done, but the horizon has become more visible to me.
As the book has come together, slowly but surely, I have realised that there is just too much material in it. The main crux of the matter is the new ABBA songs. When I first announced the book, I, and everybody else, thought there would be a matter of two songs to be covered in the book. It wasn't until September 2021 that we finally got confirmation that an entire album had been recorded. I had only promised to write about two songs in ABBA On Record, but, naturally, I wanted to cover the full album. This I have done, and now that the Voyage chapter is finished, there is so much information in it - not just about the recording sessions but also about the album and single sleeve designs - that something has to give.
Therefore, I have found myself forced to remove three of the appendices from the book. They are:
• The Music That Inspired Them – a detailed essay exploring the four members’ musical influences, or simply the music that they themselves enjoyed as children, teenagers and up until the ABBA era ended in 1982.
• What Is A Schlager? – an attempt at explaining in more detail this genre of music from continental Europe, an important ingredient in ABBA’s mix of influences throughout their career.
• Lyrics Sentiment Analysis – an ABBA fan who works in statistics and data analysis has analysed ABBA’s lyrics with some interesting results.
However, the three removed appendices will be made available as a free PDF for everyone who pre-orders the book. So, in the end the reader is the winner: you get a book that covers the Voyage sessions, but you also get all this other stuff. Given that I can't much exceed a page count of 448 pages - this would make the book too heavy and, with packing, push it over the 2 kilos line, making it much more expensive to mail - I believe this is the best solution for me as the author/publisher and you as the reader.
Writing this book has been painful because of all the time it has taken - I don't like to keep people waiting like this - but it has also been a lot of fun and offered a series of "wow!" moments. For instance, even with album sleeves where I thought there wouldn't be much to say, such as ABBA's Spanish-language album Gracias por la música, there turned out to be a few interesting stories.
Not for the first time I apologise for the delay: I am so grateful for all the patience shown me by those who have pre-ordered. It means a lot. And there will be what I hope is a fascinating book at the end of the journey.
More updates to follow soon. In the meantime, you might enjoy watching Steve Blame's recent interview with me about the book.
Haven't pre-ordered yet? Read more and pre-order at abbaonrecord.com.
ABBA On Record. Projected publication date: 2023. English language. 448 pp. Hardback. CMP Text. ISBN: 978-91-519-0980-6 (or 9789151909806).
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