ABBA – The Essential Collection (Updated 07 May 2012 – delay for all regions except Germany)

ABBA - The Essential Collection released on 21 May comes in three flavours

The Essential Collection – a brand new ABBA hits collection will be released on 21 May 2012**. Billed as including “all the hits and more on 2 CDs and 1 DVD.”

**Colin, an icethesite visitor writes: For some reason, The Essential Collection will not now be released in the UK until Monday 3 September it seems. That is for all 3 versions of it – the 2 CDs + DVD, the 2 CDs & the DVD. It is still being released elsewhere in May. It may not be released in Ireland until September, too, as the UK & Ireland tend to have similar release schedules.”

Carl Magnus Palm adds: “Germany gets it now, the rest of the world later. The release dates for The Essential Collection, in all its different configurations, have been changed. Germany will still get the CD, DVD and 3-disc versions in May, to coincide with the German television special to be aired in June. In the rest of the world The Essential Collection will be released in September.”

The release will come in three different configurations: a double-CD,  a DVD, and a Limited Edition package featuring the two CDs, the DVD and an illustrated 28-page booklet.

The DVD features all official ABBA promo clips in remastered form, including two previously unreleased videos: Conociéndome, Conociéndote and Gracias por la música (Spanish versions of Knowing Me, Knowing You and Thank You For The Music, respectively).

Track listings:

CD 01:

1. People Need Love
2. He Is Your Brother
3. Ring Ring
4. Love Isn’t Easy (But It Sure Is Hard Enough)
5. Waterloo
6. Honey, Honey
7. So Long
8. I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do
9. SOS
10. Mamma Mia
12. Fernando
13. Dancing Queen
14. Money, Money, Money
15. Knowing Me, Knowing You
16. That’s Me
17. The Name Of The Game
18. Take A Chance On Me
19. Eagle
20. One Man, One Woman
21. Thank You For The Music
22. Summer Night City

CD 02:

1. Chiquitita
2. Does Your Mother Know
3. Voulez-Vous
4. Angeleyes
5. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)
6. I Have A Dream
7. The Winner Takes It All
8. Super Trouper
9. On And On And On
10. Lay All Your Love On Me
11. Happy New Year
12. One Of Us
13. When All Is Said And Done
14. Head Over Heels
15. The Visitors
16. The Day Before You Came
17. Under Attack


1. Waterloo
2. Ring Ring
3. Mamma Mia
4. SOS
5. Bang-A-Boomerang
6. I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do
7. Fernando
8. Dancing Queen
9. Money, Money, Money
10. Knowing Me, Knowing You
11. That’s Me
12. The Name Of The Game
13. Take A Chance On Me
14. Eagle
15. One Man, One Woman
16. Thank You For The Music
17. Summer Night City
18. Chiquitita
19. Does Your Mother Know
20. Voulez-Vous
21. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)
22. On And On And On
23. The Winner Takes It All
24. Super Trouper
25. Happy New Year
26. When All Is Said And Done
27. One Of Us
28. Head Over Heels
29. The Day Before You Came
30. Under Attack
31. Estoy Soñando
32. Conociéndome, conociéndote
33. Gracias por la música
34. Felicidad
35. No Hay A Quien Culpar
36. The Last Video

Carl Magnus Palm is responsible for writing the booklet and on his website, he has further details, including these details about the DVD:

“The Essential Collection pulls together every official ABBA promo clip as originally conceived and produced by Polar Music in the 1970s and 1980s…

The clips are newly remastered in the 16:9 format, as opposed to the normal 4:3 format. However, this does not mean that the aspect ratio of the picture has been compromised – on the contrary you get more picture for your money, since the 4:3 frame shaves off some of the original 16mm picture. On the DVD, the picture takes up more space on the screen, with “black bars” on either side of the picture.”

Related links:

Carl Magnus – The Essential Collection


  • Great news! But why no bluray version of the dvd? Very dissapointing.

  • Amazing! Can’t wait! 😀

  • Does the cd actually differ in any way from the “Definitive collection”? The videos may be remastered but is there any other reason to get the Essential collection? The tracklisting seems to be more or less the same.

  • I hesitate between the full package and the dvd only. Depends on the audio quality of the cd´s. I don´t care if there will be a blu-ray or not. Blu-ray´s not likely to replace dvd in the coming years. I could complain about this release, but it will keep Abba in the picture of the general public. And the release will be a classy (looking) one!

  • ..Great but I would love to have “When I kissed the teacher …again. on dvd.I only have it on More abba gold video…hmmm remember video…ha!

  • …or ” how to take the shine off ‘from a twinkling star…’ and make a fool,of the fans releasing the same old thing again.” Will NOT be buying!

  • This is a “must have” for me. After reading “Bright Lights, Dark Shadows” I realized that Carl Magnus Palm was the only one in the media telling the true story of ABBA. The rest of the media’s were too focused on sensationalism and character assassination to tell the truth. They just made stuff up about ABBA to sell their rag publications. I’m after the Essential Collection for the booklet as much as the material. This will be fun!

  • @Mikko: I put the tracklistings side-by-side (yes, I’m a nerd!), and they’re not quite identical. The differences are that The Essential Collection doesn’t contain the bonus tracks that were on The Definitive Collection, i.e., the 1974 UK Remix of “Ring Ring” and the extended remix of “Voulez-Vous”. Instead, The Essential Collection contains “Bang-A-Boomerang”, “That’s Me”, “One Man, One Woman”, and “Happy New Year”, presumably because they all have videos that are included on the DVD.

    As a side note, I have to wonder: where were the videos for “Conociendome, Conociendote” and “Gracias Por La Musica” when they were putting together the DVD for The Definitive Collection, or the DVD for the Complete Studio Recordings boxset? In particular, the claim that “the DVD contains all official ABBA videos as conceived by Polar etc” was also used on The Definitive Collection, and I have a hard time believing that these two Spanish videos were recent finds in the archives or something. Universal has a knack for releasing the same thing over and over again with a couple new additions each time, and they sure don’t make it easy to have everything in one place (which I’m sure is intentional).

  • I can´t be bothered.
    I am tired of repackaging the same old stuff without adding anything new.
    Will not buy this one.

  • same old same old in pretty packaging. Nope this is one I will give a miss.

  • That sound like a great collection of ABBA songs. Will it be available in New Zealand?

  • I’m pleased that they’re not doing the same old same old just in pretty packaging.

    The 16:9 remastered videos should be a real treat (and about time too I say).

  • Another compilation??? I’ll probably buy it but how many more times are Polar going to dilute and compromise on quality?

  • I can’t wait for this one. It sounds wonderful

  • This seems to be a great collection, probably the best so far. If you are new fan to Abba and don’t want to buy the whole set (though Abba The Albums is an easy and cheap way to do so), this collection gives you an excellent overview of their carreer.

    But I won’t be buying it. The great thing about Polars current Abba releases is that you can find all the songs on the albums (or among their bonus tracks). This means you don’t have to buy several different compilation albums to get this or that single track that is not available on an album.

    Now that I am the city is included on Visitors Deluxe edition (which I will be buying) the only Abba song that is not included on the original albums is Åh vilka tider, but I guess most of the casual Abba fans can live without it.

  • Where is the video for ‘I have a dream’? It also wasn’t on the Definitive Collection. Also, why not put ‘When I kissed the teacher’ and ‘Dancing queen’ which are on the Definitive Collection on this new release? They always release something which the die hard fans ‘have’ to buy, but it’s hardly ever possible to replace an older release with a new one, because there are always one or two things missing from one, which are on the other. So in the end the die hards end up with several ‘definitve’ and ‘complete’ editions, without being able to get rid of an earlier release. I don’t feel like buying again another dvd with ABBA-video’s to fill the space on my shelves just for two new video’s, which probably won’t be *that* surprising anyway.

  • Is ‘Love Isn’t Easy’ really ‘Essential’?

  • This looks like a really nice compilation. The tracklisting is better than “The Definitive Collection” with Chiquitita as track nr 1 on disc 2 (just as “The Singles”) and all the videos made by Polar Music is available remastered, 16:9-format. The two “new” spanish videos are a nice bonus indeed.

    I wouldn’t say that Love Isn’t Easy nor Bang-A-Boomerang is essential. I would rather have Hasta Manana and When I Kissed The Teacher included, but Love… was a Polar A-side and Bang… had a Polar-produced video. Hasta Manana wasn’t a Polar A-side and neither was When I Kissed The Teacher, the video for When I Kissed The Teacher was also produced by Swedish television and not Polar Music.

  • The idea/aim of ‘The Essential Collection’, is to gather ABBA’s
    Singles together, – with their early Swedish ones, starting it all
    off. ‘When I Kissed The Teacher’ was not a Single. Nor was
    ‘One Man One Woman’, but that one gets added to ABBA
    Compilations less, than ‘When I Kissed The Teacher’.

    ‘That’s Me’ was an ‘A’ Side in Japan – ‘Money, Money, Money’
    was the ‘B’ Side. (They got ‘Tiger’, as the ‘B’ of ‘Dancing Queen’).
    ‘Bang-A-Boomerang’ was the ‘A’ Side of ‘SOS’, in France.

    They could not fit every Single on – so, that is why there is no
    ‘Hasta Manana’ – which has no Video, anyhow, so that was another
    reason that was not chosen. (It was a Single in Australia, & a few
    other Countries).

    The 2012 ‘Set’ is gathering as many ‘A’ Sides as possible, with
    some Album Tracks, that had Videos made for them. That is it, really.
    We could all say what we’d have liked in the ‘Set’, but, ‘A’ Sides with
    Videos were the main priority – not Album Tracks, or ‘B’ Sides.

  • A definite improvement on The Definitive Collection, which had two very non-essential and non-definitive mixes. Still a missed opportunity to represent ABBA’s career in terms of singles that actually made the top ten in at least one country. We are still missing Hasta Manana, Rock Me, I’ve Been Waiting For You, Nina Pretty Ballerina and As Good As New which all should be included rather than The Visitors which just managed a 63 placing in the US.

    ABBA’s early albums are not properly represented on the Gold or Definitive collections. We who experienced ABBA mania first hand remember when most people seemed to know most of the songs on the early Greatest Hits albums. This was never the case with the later albums. My country even had local language versions of Hasta Manana and Nina Pretty Ballerina.

  • The DVD info @ now says: “what you get is a 4:3 picture with “black bars” on either side of the picture” – which means 1/4 of the resolution is lost to nothing.

    Add to that the loss in resolution by using NTSC instead of PAL (all ABBA DVDs since 2006 have been NTSC, no matter the country of release) and the videos of this brand new DVD have a resolution which is 37.5% lower than those of the 10 year old The Definitive Collection (540×480 vs 720×576 pixels).

    What’s the point in remastering if you release it like that? And what’s the point in the black bars? I’ve never experienced a DVD player that can’t handle 4:3 DVDs on a 16:9 screen?

    As much as I’d like the remastered videos, I sure won’t pay for this. Release it on a proper 4:3 PAL DVD and I’m in, or even better on Blu-ray.

  • Are the two “new” Spanish videos something that we have never seen before? Do they feature the same scenes and scripts, but just have ABBA sing in Spanish? Or something completely different? Does anybody know?

  • Yeayh!!!
    Another collection… Just what we need….

    Now if B&B did some serious studioworks remixing the tracks they weren´t totally satisfied with in the first place, as they once were talking about doing,
    That would be something to look forward to.

  • It seems the release date has been delayed everywere, as Bengans (the ABBA Site webshop) took it out completely from their website, and the different CDON websites have no exact date and just state “Incoming”.

  • What’s there to rave or be happy about? Some old story, same old song. It’s time they will put abba to rest. All is said and done.

  • There will be many future ABBA ‘Hits’ Albums, because they sell
    very well. Each one sells at least 500,000 Globally.

    The Studio Albums sell very poorly. ‘The Visitors’ Deluxe became
    the first ABBA Studio Album, to reach the UK Top 75, in 30 Years,
    but, it sold less than 2,000 copies to do it, & it was not even in the
    UK Top 200 the next Week.

    It is the ‘Hits’ Albums that make the most money for Universal, &
    that is why there will be such ABBA Compilations for many Years
    to come. It is of no consequence, that many ABBA Fans do not like
    such ABBA ‘cash-ins’. They sell well, & that is all that matters.

  • And is the delay also for Holland??
    I ordered it on the official ABBA site ‘ABBA the site’

    kind regards Richard

  • Richard – As far as I understand it, the September release date
    of ‘The Essential Collection’ applies to every Country – except Germany.

    In Germany it is released on Friday – 25th May.

    So, The Netherlands will have wait until September, as will the UK, Ireland, Sweden, Spain, Norway, France, USA, Canada, Australia, & everywhere else.

    Perhaps there will be a special ‘ABBA Event’ in September? Who
    knows? It is just odd that ‘The Essential Collection’ was going to
    be released everywhere in May, & now everywhere, (except Germany),
    has to wait until September. Why September?

  • I orderd it on the official ABBA site ABBA-The Site and a few days ago i got it
    and i can tell you if you have a copy of the the 2 cd,s and 1 dvd as i have you are lucky it,s not pretty good …………IT,S WONDERFULL

    Kind regards Richard

  • Ok, invite the girls to the studio and finish JLT. What would you give for that recording? Remember, ABBA never officially disbanded. They just went on a long vacation. Release JLT!

  • I think it’s a very good idea to release the Essential Collection on blu-ray?

  • It’s a sad fact that music DVDs don’t sell anymore. Music Blu-ray even less so.

  • Well put the restored videos in HD on YouTube then, maybe they are there already??

  • Same old videos to milk the public of their money I have must better Abba performances from Spanish, Polish, British, Danish, Swedish & German TV.
    Don’t waste your cash on this folks!

  • What the most important is, are the songs all digitally remastered? It is a shame that it is not mentioned by the credits: only: CD MASTERED BY: Masters of Audio.
    And what does that mean?

  • Anyone know if this DVD has the “random” option that the definitive DVD had? (i.e. tracks play randomly – which I thought was really good, but rare for a music DVD)

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