Available now! Bright Lights Dark Shadows – The Real Story of ABBA, 2014 edition

Bright Lights Dark Shadows - The Real Story Of ABBA (revised and updated 2014 edition)
Bright Lights Dark Shadows – The Real Story Of ABBA (revised and updated 2014 edition)

A completely revised and updated edition of what is widely regarded as the definitive ABBA book, Bright Lights Dark Shadows – The Real Story Of ABBA, by renowned ABBA historian Carl Magnus Palm, is now available.

First published in 2001, Bright Lights Dark Shadows was the first true, full-scale biography ever written about the group. At the time it was described as “an instant classic – a truly great account of the rise and fall of a legendary group and a multiple biography of rare insight”.

A paperback edition was published in 2002, followed by a German language version (Licht und Schatten) in February 2003, with a Russian translation later the same year.

So what’s new for 2014?

Carl Magnus Palm
Carl Magnus Palm

Of the new edition, Carl Magnus Palm told icethesite: “The 2014 edition takes the book bang up to date, to the very latest chapters in the ABBA saga, including the extraordinary events of 2013 with Agnetha’s new album and the opening of ABBA The Museum.

“I even managed to squeeze in a mention of Agnetha’s appearance on Children In Need in the UK, just before the book had to go the printers.

“It was really important to me that the book was as accurate and as compelling as it could possibly be. Without being big-headed, I know for a fact that this is the book most media people turn to when they need to research ABBA’s history, and so it is vital that it lives up to that ‘status’. From my own perspective, I now feel that Bright Lights Dark Shadows – The Real Story Of ABBA is the book that a major pop music phenomenon such as ABBA deserve,” he said.

Divided into four main sections Bright Lights Dark Shadows captures and unravels all sides of ABBA’s complex story and puts it into both a cultural and historical context:

Part I – The Days Before

Beginning with the early days of the four ABBA members, as well as their all-important manager, Stig Anderson, this section details their childhood and pre-ABBA careers. It analyses all their musical influences and gives the reader important background information necessary to understand ABBA’s cultural roots.

Part II – The March To Waterloo

Covers the period 1970-1974, the years during which the four members enjoyed an on-off collaboration that gradually led to the formation of a permanent group.

Part III – The Time Is Right

The main section of the book, details ABBA’s years of worldwide fame from 1974 to 1982, including the ups and downs of their career, the bumpy road that made up the two couples’ married life, the stories behind some of ABBA’s most famous songs, some analysis of their musical development, the dramatic rise and fall of their business interests and more!

Part IV – That’s Our Destiny

The fourth section describes what happened to the four members and Stig Anderson after ABBA split up, including the rift between the group and their manager, and what happened to the fortune they made. It also describes the ABBA revival, and the success of Mamma Mia! the musical.

In 2008 an updated paperback edition was published featuring an additional chapter covering the period 2001-2008, and in August 2011 an audio book was also released. A Kindle version will be made available in the future.

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  • Hmmm. Look, I hate to rain on anyones parade here and Mr Palm is certainly a very talented author. However: Everyone seems to be cashing in on the 40 year anniversary. I have the original book and can be found reading it often, so why not just put out a smaller book of amendments or additions? Now that I would buy, but I cannot see why I should pay full whack for something which I already have. I refuse to pay for the whole thing over again. The original is plenty good enough here.

  • Rich – thank you for your comment. I’d like to point out a few things that maybe you are unaware of:

    Carl Magnus Palm is making very little from this revised edition of Bright Lights Dark Shadows. I know for a fact, that in reality he is losing money due to the four solid months of work put in on the 2014 edition.

    This new edition is a better read than the original, that’s the whole motivation behind CMP revisiting the book. Björn and Benny aren’t the only Swedish perfectionists out there, you know!

    It’s obviously entirely your prerogative as to whether to buy the book or not but by the same token, it’s up to an author of a title as to whether they want to publish “a smaller book of amendments or additions” as you suggest or revisit, revise and revamp their original effort due to wanting it to be the best account of its subject that it can possibly be. Oh, and at the same time, take the opportunity to bring a story that is ever-evolving bang up to date.

  • It’s great that CMP revises it-since this is the definitive ABBA biography. I can think of a few such music books that would benefit from a revision, notably Mark Lewisohn’s, The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, but the publishers just keep reprinting the old book.

  • I’d happily upgrade if it were hardback but according to Amazon it’s only paperback. Is this correct? It’s a fantastic book and the idea of it being upgraded only makes it more worthwhile. I will by buying all the 40th anniversary tie ins! Very excited.

  • From Sky Simone: I love Abba. Their photos have inspired a lot of my photography as has their music.

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