Listen to From A Twinkling Star To A Passing Angel as played on BBC Radio 2

Zoe Ball got an exclusive when standing in on The Ken Bruce Show on BBC Radio 2 this morning with the first airing of ABBA’s From A Twinkling Star To A Passing Angel.

For those that can access the BBC iPlayer, you can find the programme here for the next 7 days:

The track comes at about 1hr 40 mins and 35 secs in.


  • wow, so interesting to hear the progress of a track, what an honour and gift from B&B.

  • So tempted to listen to it, but am going to try and wait until I have the CD. I know I have moments of weakness, though, so I don’t know if I will be able to hold on!!

  • beautiful/interesting ….wonderful!I could go on!!!!

  • I can see why Benny wanted to downplay the worldwide press ‘semi-hysteria’ that the announcement of an unreleased ABBA track caused (certain quarters of the Australian press had it pegged as a new ABBA single, I believe) as it really isn’t anything mindblowing.

    However for me, an ABBA nut for nigh-on thirty years, this demo medley is worth the cost of The Visitors on its own and it’s fascinating to see how they struggled to find a suitable arrangement before settling on what was the best choice by the sounds of it.

    I mean, the up-tempo version is interesting and it’s nice to hear Agnetha on it but it wasn’t as good and as rounded and as intimately sublime as the final Like An Angel Passing Through My Room in my opinion.

  • Well I had to listen to it…. did not want to wait …. you never know what’s around the corner 🙂 It is very interesting to hear how they tried so many different ways. Lovely to hear both girls together but in the end they certainly found the most beautiful and haunting arrangement and that’s the one on the album. I always wondered why Agnetha did not have a part in the final chorus section if you like of the song. But anyway was great to hear all these versions and great it got radio play. Looking forward to this CD 🙂

  • Some amazing clips – I love Bjorn’s dummy lyric and Friday to piano backing but the uptempo version is wonderful in its own right although I can see how it wouldn’t have fitted the mood of The Visitors, it feels closer to Just Like That. I’d love to hear it in full!!

  • Thanks for posting Ice. It really works as a demonstration of how they toiled to get a tune to final version. I hope the general media accept that this was the purpose and understand about Bjoorns use of dummy lyrics.

    I had been worried that one of the versions might have been better than the finished one but its obvious now that the best version was chosen.

  • For some reason I don’t find these demo medleys as interesting as I thought I would. It’s fascinating to hear the evolution of the song and it’s interesting to see how B&B would try anything to get the ‘feel’ right but I still would have preferred it if they had simply included a full alternative take (especially if it had been the uptempo version). To me the medley is a bit like sitting down to your favourite meal and then having someone snatch the dish away from you just when you’re enjoying it, only to replace it with another dish. And another, and another. But then I suppose B&B are Swedish so it’s going to be a bit of a Smörgåsbord isn’t it?

  • I really didn’t have any expectations before hearing this demo. I was not expecting anything that would be able to be played as a single on today’s radio. Seems all the hype when this news came out was interpreted as a new song to release. Benny and Bjorn told us it was just to show the progression of how their song writing worked. And that’s what this demo shows. As with any group, when you hear demos of hit songs, the final version is always usually the wisest pick. Here, it’s the same thing. It’s interesting to hear the dummy lyrics and the different instrumentals. Seems like they tried everything conceivable and the best choice was what they settled on. Also interesting is the mood of the song. Even in the beginning sessions, there was a sad, sleepy, gloominess to the song. Although the final version is a little lighter, the sadness seems to still be there. All in all, I liked it. Glad they offered it with the release of the anniversary of The Visitors.

  • Listened to it and pleased to be adding it to my vast collection. However, completely baffled as to why Benny and Björn deem this track (which i hasten to add is (in my opinion) the weakest on the Visitors album) good enough to be released yet ‘Just Like That’ (which is vastly superior) is not. I don’t quite get it if I’m honest.

  • Listening to this reminded me of when I was a teenager and the thrill I got of listening to a new Abba song. Okay so maybe not completely new but it still had the same thrill.

    I actually think that the song would have been better released with Agnetha singing some part of it.

  • What a treat, this song had a very long gestation as those who have Carl Magnus Palm’s excellent ‘The Complete Recording Sessions’ know. This makes it ideal to show the progression of a song and shows how much effort ABBA placed into their recordings. Reminds me of the Beatles Anthology idea where early demos that progressed were traced throught to their final recordings. Ah, an Abba Anthology on the same lines …

    By the way, thanks to Radio Two and Zoe ball too for playing this and not just part of it, surely the longest Abba ‘song’ ever played on British radio!

  • I absolutely love the up tempo version in the middle with the harmonies and the symphonic sounding version with Agnetha, I have always really like the sound of Benny and Bjorn’s voices as an integral part of the ABBA sound so I also like the introduction to.

    It must have been very tempting for Benny and Bjorn to build the final track on the album up to a symphonic ending, but also very brave to resist this temptation and go for the simple exquisite refinement Of the finished version.

    I have to say I would have liked the up-tempo versions and the Agnetha version on the original album Combined with the original version as one track that builds up , but I let the music speak was the long symphonic song of side two, so they rightly decided to end with the simple melancholic and very classical sophistication of An angel passing through may room with its profoundly deep resonating ambiance that makes you feel that Frida actually sang the song on her own in the middle of the night at the back of the big oak panelled room on the cover. .

  • You can also listen to it on YouTube here –

  • thank you for letting us know about this-it was fascinating and I really enjoyed this although I have never really liked this song much as it was so stripped down. Hearing the demos has made me think again. This really is an excellent and intellectual site.

    I bought my first album in 1976 at the age of 10! Obsessed isnt a fair description.I saw them live, loaned images to the box set and book then met Frida. Its still exciting and web sites like yours keeps u going!!!

  • Well, everything is fine, and yes, it’s worth buying the upcoming CD. Nevertheless, talking about a “precious gift by B&B” is somehow paradox. Yes, we appreciate the fact that they open the archives to give something exciting to the fans. But the other side of the coin is “what” they present. If one wants to experience the creation of a song as being heard here then we don’t have to expect something sensational. This piece is absolutely beautiful but it is not moving. (Don’t want to start any discussion on JLT again!). But if Benny says that there is absolutely nothing more in the can to be released, which is his right to do so, then I ask myself why this demo at all? Don’t get me wrong, I’m absolutely happy – but – apart from ABBA’s right as artists to decide on their heritage – I will never understand the way B&B think about releases of any ABBA-material, since other bands (e.g. The Beatles) are definetly as protective as ABBA and give insight in so much material, which is a real blessing for true fans. But B&B? So the hype is too much if it comes to just a rather unspectacular demo. I wonder if this is a strategy to keep the ABBA fire burning. It seems to work very well, anyway.

  • Thank you, Benny: I can understand why he wanted to let us listen to these demos: simply unique!
    At the time of these recording sessions, we know Benny and Frida had just split up after twelve years, and Benny was already living with his new woman, Mona, who was pregnant with their son Ludvig -yet the two of them worked close together to get this song right. That’s professional, and that’s devotion to their craft. Listening to Fridas voice in some of these tapes gives shivers down my spine: her vocals are raw and emotional, perhaps better than many released recordings when it comes to colouring…
    The finished album version is stellar: Bennys synth is more than what you hear at first – its chords builds up to a crescendo, supporting the reflective lyrics in a perfect way. Frida is not so emotional as in some of the demos, but her vocal is pitch on, and her diction is clear.
    Noone has been able to do it better, although respected singers like Anne Sofie von Otter and Sissel have tried (I will not mention Madonnas awful demo).

    I am in awe and truly grateful to Benny, who opened up new doors to ‘The Visitors’ by presenting us with a ‘work-in-progress’ of this under estimated song (rather than releasing ‘Just Like That’, who, to my humble opinion does not fit into the ‘Visitors’ -I’d rather hope for a future “1982 Recordings” album).

    Having been an ABBA fan from their early start, their last album was also to me a step forward: in 1981 I was 17 and my musical taste was developing: I was deeply admiring the mood of the album -and Fridas vocals in particular. She was leading the opening track, she was delivering the -to me- only old-fashioned ABBA hit in ‘When All Is Said And Done’ -she was acting out a musical story in ‘I Let The Music Speak’ -and she was giving me a feeling that something came to an end with the poetic and moody closing track.

    I was sure the foursome wanted to express something with the album cover (little did I know the photo session was a cold and short get-together, and hurriedly finished), as so much of the lyrics could be reflected in that particular room.

    Now, upon listening to these demo snippets 30 years after, it is the Cover Photo that comes to my mind, and an image of Benny and Frida working late in the studio. The last ‘tape’ is of course too raw to make it to the Master Tape, but boy do I feel close to the ‘source’ of this song 🙂

    Thanks, Benny, and thanks Frida

  • Thanks for the link! I like the first version with Björn. Tambourin is a bit too loud. But they should have worked more on this version maybe with Frida and add a real chorus. It has the deepest spirit and athmosphere. The album “aria” version is a bit boring without drama, neither is it a pop song. It feels incomplete and powerless. Though I like the string and oboe arrangement and the moog ticking.

  • Im with rob. Going to do my best to resist til I get the cd…wonder if I’ll make it! My stories on other attempts at waiting to listen to tracks are documented elsewhere on this site. But from what I read I may not be blown away by it, but not disappointed to have a “new” abba track either. On the countdown. (but oh no! May be away on a study course the week of release in Birmingham so can’t have my wee planned night to myself with the wine and the buildup listening to the album first then the new track! Aaarggghhh!)

  • Like an angel passing through my room may very well be my most favorite song on the album. I can still recall picking up the album in 1981, and looking at the cover. Seemed to be quite different than the rest, and I had suspected that the compositions were going to be a big change for the group. I also felt that it would be the last. Today, thirty years later, I still listen to this album on a regular basis. It was great hearing the voices again with a slightly different twist on an old theme. Brought back memories. I would have to agree with the other comments of the version that ended up on the record was the best version. Interesting process of how the song evolved, however. Has been a busy last few years of the band with being inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame, and I am glad that they are finally getting the recognition that they have deserved in the states for a number of years. Even though people are tired of hearing it (I am sure particularly the band members themselves), this would have been a great venue to finally let go of that much talked about track that everyone would like with the re-release of the last album, and at that point would be able to call it good! Thanks for all the great songs!

  • Couldn’t resist it! I was going to until I read Bronx’s comment ‘you never know what’s around the corner’…And that, so coinicidentally, sits too well with my current state of mind….
    I have known two or three dark times in my life. The first was during the ages of eleven to seventeen (1973 – 1979) when family life was pretty bad, and the third time is now. I’m facing losing my business and home, and the worry of how I’ll manage to look after my two Jack Russell’s. It may sound a bit cliche – but none the less true….. I was a quiet child, who’s only escape was music. I played the piano. I was awful at reading music and used to get by, just about, by remebering how the weekly piece had been played to me by my music teacher at my lesson.

    I would go home and start practising straight away, so as to catch most of the memory from hearing it.

    Then, one day, somebody lent me Abba’s Greatest Hits Vol 1, just after it was released, I think. It’s not an overstatement to say my life was transformed.
    One of the most amazing things to happen was, the immediate draw I felt to play these songs on the piano. I will never know how it happened, but suddenly I went from someone who had a piano, and had to have piano lessons, to someone who played the piano. They made me sound (and fell) so good.

    Something about those songs, I don’t know whether it is the way they are constructed, or whether because the sheer emotion they convey, takes you somewhere in a way no other music can (take me , anyway), or whether it is the absolute uniqueness in the individual voices of the girls PLUS the equally uniqueness of the combined sound they have, whatever it is, touched and continues to touch me in a way no other music can. Even now, when one of their songs comes on the radio, i get such a thrill go through me and I have to listen, completely.

    Back to today. It’s been a tough few years, busness – wise. Yesterday was the second meeting I had, where I had to discuss the possibility of losing everything.
    I have, to decide whether I think I can trade through the coming days and weeks until I can sell my business, on the one hand, and on the other, whether I call it a day now, and wait to see what, and when, I have to lose.The bailiffs etc….

    I ‘ve been worried sick, for the past two or three weeks – even got an article featuring me, in the Guardian, along with a video clip, on-line. I thought I was holding it all together, until this morning.

    I went on to Ice’s sight JUST to see if there was anything new, as I always do. And there was the Zoe Ball story. I felt a physical jolt. I read the comments above, and until I read Bronx’s, I also thought I could hold out until the CD was realeased. Then I read his comment. The minute, I heard those beautiful voices again, just when I am in the darkest place, singing something ‘new’, I lost it. Am still losing it. I never thought I’d ever be lucky enough to hear something from them I’d never heard before, again. I was contemplating something awful yesterday. But as Bronx so rightly said, ‘you never know what’s around the corner….’ Four people who have never met me, and don’t even know I exist, have saved my life. Twice. ‘Thank you’ seems a bit of a shortchange…..

  • Russell, EVERYTHING you say strikes a chord (no pun intended!) I agree. Things may change in life, but the most important thing is physical and mental health so focus on these. I’ve been there, and despair from time to time, but Abba’s music has always been a salvation of mine as well.
    I have now only listen to a very small part of the track (up to the fantastic first change – oh that piano sound Benny!!!. But then switched off. really must wait for the CD, but it did whet my appetite even more!

  • I’ve heard the demo.
    And what a disappointment!
    World-wide announcement about a new ABBA-recording.
    It’s nice to hear it, and l have always been a big ABBA-fan, but now l don’t think it was worth all the fuss.
    Maybe, because l didn’t like the original song anyway.
    Why didn’t they come with an official version of ‘Just like that’ or ‘Get in the caroussel’ ?

  • Cheers, Colinthebruce. Looking forward to the 23rd and the comments here.
    Very best wishes,


  • Don´t know who you are. Don´t know if you are there or -even- exist. We get counted, summed up and become part of statistical numbers.
    Some of we, get to type here and share our likes, dislikes, demands, advice, questions, suggestions. Some like Russel and John, find here a little spot that it is going to possibly be the only place to share their very intimate feelings tantalizing life changing experiences…
    I read your words and gradually find a landscape, a vision of people moved, differently yes; some close and deeply touched, some far like uninvited critics over the next play, all inadvertently part of the swing.
    It’s like… all along I thought it was just music, Ok. great music, that somehow became my own personal place so many times. But now on a rising sight becomes a real movement. In front of my eyes, people is sharing that was changed or is doing it right now. I cannot avoid summing forums, blogs and reviews into a new vision in which we become part of this evolving tune.

    Suddenly all this merges together with what was going on inside the person at the keys, the person with the voice, all them trying… reveals that in that room at 1981, inside every one… was at the same time timelessly being also part of what was lived out here by hundred or thousands of us people.
    …No wonder something as such has been passing thru.

    Thank you to each One of us.

  • Is this what the fuss is all about? I have never liked the original very much. Agnetha is not present and that’s a mistake. Like hearing singing the girls together but hey it was so long ago.

  • Marieke, l agree totally

  • This is a gift to true ABBA fans, but no one else. I think that it would have been much wiser to have included it on the CD quietly, but (and I know this will sound strange) to have saved any hype for the day JLT is released – or at the very least a complete Just a Notion or Rikky Rock’n Roller.

    I say it will sound strange because the waiting for the true unreleased gem was going to seem like the all time climax (please pardon the metaphor, but that truly is the best way to describe the building excitement of a long awaited release), and now it feels like ABBA has already used that opportunity. Does this make any sense?

    Do we even know if full ABBA versions of Just a Notion or Rikky Rock’n’ Roller exist in the vaults?

  • David: according to The Complete Recording Sessions, both demos ‘Just A Notion’ and ‘Ricky Rock’n Roller’ excist in full recordings in the ‘vaults’. But do you really believe they are worth hearing more of? The latter was released by swedish singer Gerry Williams : -and, well, isn’t really a good composition, although ABBAs own demo ‘sounds’ good? ‘Notion’ did not make it beyond the demo tape either, and, as much as I appreciate the demo, I assume there’s not more on that tape which would impress.

    And, as much as I love hearing the bootleg versions of ‘Just Like That’, with Agnethas solo in the verses, I come to the same conclusion as Björn and Benny: this is not good enough.
    The saxophone does not fit with the lyrics, and the lyrics themselves are surely still demo lyrics not being completed.
    The choruses, as heard in ‘Undeleted’, has something to work on too – catchy, classic ABBA wall of sound -but the sad lyrics does not fit: I’m not impressed with Karin and Anders’ version of the chorus’ in their version either, but I believe Björn and Benny probably were closer to where ABBA should have taken the song in this take on it.
    But Benny was right in not releasing the 1982 demo in 1994, and instead saving the ‘When The Waves Roll Out To Sea’ version for the swedish staging of Chess: the song finally sounds complete with the beautiful lyrics about Natascha in ‘Gløm Mig Om Du Kan’ (if only that pair of lyrics would be translated into english!).

    But, concerning ‘The Visitors’; I’m really happy we got a demo from the 1981 recording sessions rather than the 1982 ones 🙂

  • @ Russ : hang in there mate ! All will be okay … when all is said and done !

  • Cheers Mark. The only reason I chose to comment here about my personnal situation, is the impact that the medley demo had on me at that exact point in time. I was in a bad way, when I found the Radio 2 article and link here. It couldn’t have come at a more crucial time for me. It really jolted me, lifted me. I am still having to deal with scary stuff, but I believe that that demo moment was one of those ‘turn right, not left’ moments in life.

    Thanks again mate.


  • Well I went to the HMV shop today and they didn’t have it,
    They seemed to think it wasn’t coming out yet,

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