ABBA: The Album

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Not to be confused with ABBA (album).
ABBA: The Album
Studio album by ABBA
Released 12 December 1977 (1977-12-12)
Recorded 31 May – 22 November 1977 (1977-11-22) at Marcus, Metronome and Glen Studios, Stockholm and Bohus Studio, Kungälv
Length 39:54 (Polar LP 1977)
Label Polar
Epic (UK)
Atlantic (US original release)
Producer Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus
ABBA chronology
Arrival
(1976)
ABBA: The Album
(1977)
Voulez-Vous
(1979)
Original UK album cover
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]
NME 7/10[2]
Rolling Stone favorable[3]

ABBA: The Album is the fifth studio album by the Swedish pop group ABBA. It was released in Scandinavia on 12 December 1977 through Polar Music, but due to the massive pre-orders the UK pressing plants were not able to press sufficient copies before Christmas 1977 and so it was not released in the UK until January 1978. The album was released in conjunction with ABBA: The Movie, with several of the songs featured in the film.

The album contained two UK number-one singles, "Take a Chance on Me" and "The Name of the Game", as well as European hits "Eagle" and "Thank You for the Music".

Overview[edit]

The album includes three songs from ABBA's 1977 tour mini-musical "The Girl With the Golden Hair". These songs are "Thank You for the Music", "I Wonder (Departure)" and "I'm a Marionette". Altogether the album contained just nine songs—the least of any ABBA album, but were longer in length than previous albums (opening track "Eagle" runs to nearly six minutes).

ABBA: The Album was a big success, reaching No. 1 in many territories. In the UK it debuted at the top and remained there for seven weeks,[4] ending up as the third biggest selling album of the year (behind the big movie soundtracks Saturday Night Fever and Grease). In the US it became their highest charting album, where during 1978 ABBA undertook a big promotional campaign. Due to the Cold War, Western music was actively discouraged throughout Eastern Europe at the time. In Russia, only 200,000 copies were permitted to be pressed. However, demand within the USSR indicated they could have sold 40 million copies.[5] In Poland the album sold an unprecedented one million copies.

ABBA: The Album was first released on CD in 1984. The album has been reissued in digitally remastered form by PolyGram/Universal Music four times; first in 1997, then in 2001, in 2005 as part of The Complete Studio Recordings box set and again in 2007 as a two disc 'Deluxe Edition'.

Cover artwork[edit]

Polar's official cover featured an entirely white background, and is the basis for current CD versions. However, Epic Records' original UK release of the LP featured a blue background on the front cover, fading to white at the bottom. It also featured a gatefold sleeve. The back cover was altered, incorporating a similar photo of ABBA to that used elsewhere in the world for the inner sleeve, and referencing tracks included in ABBA: The Movie. The inner gatefold was designed to look like an air mail envelope, similar to the style later used for Gracias Por La Música and even had a photo of ABBA incorporated into a stamp in the corner.

This was the first and only time that Epic radically broke away from the standard Polar Music design for an ABBA album. The UK design for ABBA: The Album has only been re-issued on CD format once, as part of a limited edition boxed set released by the Japanese arm of Universal Music in 2004.

Track listing (LP)[edit]

All songs written and composed by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, except where noted[6]

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Eagle"   5:51
2. "Take a Chance on Me"   4:05
3. "One Man, One Woman"   4:25
4. "The Name of the Game" (Andersson, Stig Anderson and Ulvaeus) 4:54
Side two
No. Title Length
1. "Move On" (Andersson, Anderson and Ulvaeus) 4:42
2. "Hole in Your Soul"   3:41
The Girl with the Golden Hair: Three Scenes from a Mini-Musical
No. Title Length
3. "Thank You for the Music"   3:48
4. "I Wonder (Departure)" (Andersson, Anderson and Ulvaeus) 4:33
5. "I'm a Marionette"   3:54
Total length:
39:53

CD version[edit]

No. Title Length
1. "Eagle"   5:51
2. "Take a Chance on Me"   4:05
3. "One Man, One Woman"   4:25
4. "The Name of the Game" (Andersson, Stig Anderson and Ulvaeus) 4:54
5. "Move On" (Andersson, Anderson and Ulvaeus) 4:42
6. "Hole in Your Soul"   3:41
7. "Thank You for the Music"   3:48
8. "I Wonder (Departure)" (Andersson, Anderson and Ulvaeus) 4:33
9. "I'm a Marionette"   3:54
Total length:
39:53

CD re-issues, bonus tracks[edit]

The Album was remastered and reissued in 1997 with no bonus tracks.

The Album was remastered and reissued in 2001 with one bonus track:

The Album was remastered and reissued again in 2005 as part of the The Complete Studio Recordings box set with following bonus tracks:

  • "Al Andar" (Andersson, Anderson, Ulvaeus, Buddy McCluskey, Mary McCluskey) – 4:43
    • Spanish version of "Move On".
  • "Gracias Por La Música" (Andersson, Ulvaeus, B. McCluskey, M. McCluskey) – 3:49
    • Spanish version of "Thank You for the Music".

Tracks 10–11, vocals recorded January 1980. These two songs are from the album Gracias Por La Música (Septima SRLM 1, 23 June 1980).

The Album was reissued again in 2007 (15 October) as a 30th Anniversary of the original release, called the 'Deluxe Edition'. This features the same track listing as the 2005 release along with four additional tracks:

  • "Eagle" (single edit)  – 4:25
  • "Take a Chance on Me" (Live version; alternate mix) – 4:25
    • Originally released as B-side of 1979 single "I Have a Dream"
  • "Thank You for the Music" (Doris Day version) – 4:03
  • "Al Andar" – 4:43
  • "I Wonder (Departure)" (live version) – 4:27
    • Originally released as B-side of 1977 single "The Name of the Game"
  • "Gracias Por La Música" – 3:49

The 'Deluxe Edition' reissue also came along with a bonus DVD with the following clips:

  1. "Eagle"/"Thank You for the Music" (Star Parade, ZDF)
  2. "Take a Chance on Me" (Am Laufenden Band, Radio Bremen)
  3. "The Name of the Game" (ABBA Special, TBS)
  4. "Thank You for the Music" (Mike Yarwood's Christmas Show, BBC)
  5. "Take a Chance on Me" (Star Parade, ZDF)
  6. "ABBA on tour in 1977" (Rapport, SVT)
  7. "Recording ABBA – The Album" (Gomorron Sverige, SVT)
  8. "ABBA in London, February 1978" (Blue Peter, BBC)
  9. "ABBA in America, May 1978" (Rapport, SVT)
  10. "ABBA – The Album Television Commercial I" (UK)
  11. "ABBA – The Album Television Commercial II" (Australia)
  12. International Sleeve Gallery

The Album was reissued once again in 2008 as part of the The Albums box set but without any bonus tracks.

Singles[edit]

  1. "The Name of the Game"/"I Wonder" (live) (October 1977)
  2. "Take a Chance on Me"/"I'm a Marionette" (January 1978)
  3. "One Man, One Woman"/"Eagle" (Edited version) (1978, Taiwan)
  4. "Eagle" (single edit)/"Thank You for the Music" (May 1978)
  5. "Thank You for the Music"/"Eagle" (edited version) (1978, Chile)
  6. "Move On"/"Mamma Mia" (1978, Chile)
  7. "Thank You for the Music"/"Our Last Summer" (1983)

Non-album tracks[edit]

  • "Billy Boy"

An early version of "Take a Chance on Me". A brief excerpt of the track was released in the box set Thank You for the Music.

  • "I Am an A"

A song written for the 1977 Tour with lyrics written by all four, jokingly depicting themselves as A, B, B and A. The song was never considered for a studio version, but parts of the chorus were later reused in "Free as a Bumblebee", and as that song never progressed beyond the demo, the chorus surfaced during the songwriting sessions for the stage musical Chess, as the UK number 1 hit single "I Know Him So Well".

  • "Get On the Carousel"

Another song from the 1977 Tour, written for the mini-musical The Girl with the Golden Hair. The song was considered too weak to progress as a studio recording, but the chorus surfaced as a melody line in "Hole in Your Soul" (the part "...ahaa-, the songs you sing are too romantic..."). "Get On the Carousel" appears in ABBA: The Movie.

  • "Love for Me Is Love Forever"

An early version of "Move On".

  • "Scaramouche"

A demo instrumental recorded during The Album sessions. Some parts surfaced in the recording sessions for Chess and resulted in a melody line in the track "Merano". A brief excerpt of this song was released in the box set Thank You for the Music as part of the ABBA Undeleted section.

Personnel[edit]

Additional musicians

Production

  • Benny Andersson; Björn Ulvaeus – producers, arrangers
  • Michael B. Tretow – engineer
  • Rutger Gunnarsson – string arrangements
  • Rune Söderqvist – design
  • Barry Levine – photography
  • Björn Andersson; Rune Söderqvist – illustrations
  • Jon Astley; Tim Young; Michael B. Tretow – remastering for the 1997 Remasters
  • Jon Astley; Michael B. Tretow – remastering for the 2001 Remasters
  • Henrik Jonsson – remastering for The Complete Studio Recordings box set

Charts[edit]

Album[edit]

Country/Chart (1977–78) Position
Australia 4
Austria[7] 2
Belgium 1
Canada CRIA Chart 7
Canada RPM Chart 8
Finland 2
Germany 2
Japan 9
Mexican International Albums Chart 1
The Netherlands 1
New Zealand 1
Norway[7] 1
Rhodesia 2
Sweden[7] 1
Switzerland 1
UK Albums Chart[8] 1
USA Billboard 200 14

UK chart position by week[edit]

According to The Official Charts Company, the album spent 39 consecutive weeks (and total weeks) in the top 40 from 4 February 1978 to 21 October 1978. It was also the first ABBA album to debut at number one.

Weekly chart positions from 4 February 1978 to 21 October 1978:
1-1-1-1-1-1-1-2-2-2-3-5-5-5-6-5-5-4-5-2-4-5-7-6-9-14-14-15-18-22-27-20-20-20-20-24-38-36

For the first 14 weeks the album charted along with Greatest Hits and Arrival. All three were in the top 15 at the start of March 1978.

Singles[edit]

Singles – UK

Year Single Chart Position
1977 "The Name of the Game" UK Singles Chart 1
1978 "Take a Chance on Me" 1

Singles – Norway

Year Single Chart Position
1977 "The Name of the Game" Norwegian Singles Chart 3
1978 "Take a Chance on Me" 8

Singles – USA and Canada

Year Single Chart Position
1977 "The Name of the Game" Billboard Hot 100 – USA 12
1978 Billboard Adult Contemporary – USA 9
"Take a Chance on Me" Billboard Hot 100 3
Adult Contemporary 9
1977 "The Name of the Game" RPM Singles – Canada 14
RPM Adult Contemporary – Canada 12
CRIA Singles – Canada 15
RPM Singles – Canada 3
RPM Adult Contemporary – Canada 7
CRIA Singles – Canada 7

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Canada (Music Canada)[9] 2× Platinum 200,000^
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[10] 1× Platinum 57,618[10]
Germany (BVMI)[11] Platinum 500,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[12] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[13] Platinum 1,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/r37
  2. ^ "NME Album Reviews – Abba". NME. UK. 23 November 2007. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  3. ^ Rockwell, John (23 March 1978). "ABBA: The Album : Music Reviews". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 14 January 2009. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  4. ^ Official UK Charts - ABBA
  5. ^ Oldham, A, Calder, T & Irvin, C: "ABBA: The Name of the Game", page 201. Sidgwick & Jackson, 1995
  6. ^ http://www.abbasite.com/discography/album/the-album/
  7. ^ a b c "swedishcharts.com". Retrieved 7 July 2009. 
  8. ^ "Number 1 Albums – 1970s". Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 9 February 2008. Retrieved 24 June 2011. 
  9. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Abba – The Album". Music Canada. Retrieved 2013-08-28. 
  10. ^ a b The first web page presents the sales figures, the second presents the certification limits:
  11. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Abba; 'The Album')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 2013-08-28. 
  12. ^ "British album certifications – Abba – The Album". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 2013-08-28.  Enter The Album in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Click Go
  13. ^ "American album certifications – Abba – The Album". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2013-08-28.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
Preceded by
Rumours by Fleetwood Mac
UK Albums Chart number-one album
4 February 1978 – 18 March 1978
Succeeded by
20 Golden Greats
by Buddy Holly and The Crickets