A new magazine on ABBA – out now!
Written by Audrey Taylor and Instinctive Production Development, the magazine features many full colour photos supplied by the likes of Getty Images, Rex Features, Gunnar Gustafsson and Newspix.
Personally speaking, it was a lot better than I thought it was going to be. I imagine that for anyone coming to ABBA by way of Mamma Mia! then it’s a pretty good introduction to the group. Solo pictures of Frida are pretty thin on the ground though.
The thirteen sections are:
- The Early Years
- The Key Players
- The Start of a Musical Phenomenon
- The Hit Years
- The Tours
- The End of an Era
- Studio Albums and Compilations
- The Singles
- One of Us – solo careers
- The Legend Lives On
- Imitation – The Greatest Form of Flattery
- Mamma Mia!
ABBA fan Gary Collins supplied this review (and also my copy, thanks Gary!):
At 132 pages, this WHSmith exclusive magazine is fairly generously packaged with both photographs and text. As the title suggests, it pays homage to ABBA’s career, and, for the casual fan of the group, it does a fairly decent job.
Photo quality is not the absolute greatest on some pages – but then again, at under a fiver, you probably get what you pay for.
The hard-core fan will doubtless raise an eyebrow at some of the points made in the magazine, which appears to drift towards the author’s own feelings (note the reference to the ‘syrupy’ songs such as ‘Chiquitita’ and ‘I Have A Dream’).
And one or two claims don’t quite seem to ring true – was ‘The Day Before You Came’ really a Top 5 hit single in Canada, for example? News to me if so…
Ice’s note: That will be the Canadian Adult Contemporary Chart Gary!
Also, as so often happens with such productions, the attempt by the author to set out text in a broadly chronological order is not supported by photographs from the same timeline. Therefore, a section on ‘The Early Years’, explaining Benny and Björn’s first song-writing efforts in 1966, is accompanied by a mid-1980s portrait of the pair.
Nevertheless, you do get a selection of little-seen photographs in the magazine, and there are one or two that I had not seen at all – for instance, a pensive-looking Agnetha leaning on the bar on the video-shoot set for ‘The Winner Takes It All’, with her reflection in the polished surface, and a double-page black-and-white shot of the two couples kissing on stage shortly after winning the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest.
Other sections include the inevitable chapter on ‘Mamma Mia!’, a brief history of the career of ‘Björn Again’, commentary on Stig Anderson’s crucial role in the group’s rise to fame, solo career overviews, plus an ABBA singles and albums discography.
All in all, an interesting addition to anyone’s collection, in my view, and there are definitely worse ways to squander a few pounds.