Questions & answers

August 2011

I am a fan of The Visitors and ABBA's 1982 songs and something I have noticed is the lack of backing vocals by Benny - in fact he didn't seem to do many backing vocals in ABBA's later years at all - it was nearly always Bjorn. I have often wondered if it is Benny as well as Bjorn who is singing the backing vocals in Cassandra at the end of the song. I am also not sure if Benny is also singing the "Aaaahhh" backing vocals in the second and third verses of The Day Before You Came - I can hear Bjorn, but I am not sure of Benny is singing as well. It seems strange that Benny didn't really do many backing vocals.

Matt, UK



I can only assume that Benny did contribute backing vocals. With so many ABBA songs it's very hard to identify individual voices in the backing vocals, with so many overdubs and tweaking of the sound - sometimes the voices don't even sound like any of the ABBA members.


I have the Sound+Vision packaging in the hard plastic case of the “Waterloo 30th Anniversary Edition” CD+DVD set. I understand the set was packaged this way for sale in Europe outside of Sweden. My copy was imported in 2005 by a major New York City music retailer, probably from the UK but possibly from Europe.
On the insert, which reproduces the front and back covers, there are stickers at the bottom (on both sides), with a rather large “G”and “Suitable for General Audiences.” In small print underneath this, there appears “Films, Videos and Publications Classifications Act 1993.” That is not a US convention.
My question is: Do you know if these two stickers were part of the original release, or were they added by a retailer later? It seems unlikely they would have been pasted on the insert by a retailer, but I cannot find any definitive answer as to whether other copies of the non-Sweden “Sound+Vision” release also have these stickers.

Best regards,
Michael, USA



Those stickers are from New Zealand. Any New Zealand film or video release must bear a classification from the New Zealand Office of Film & Literature Classification. So your copy originated in Europe, was imported into New Zealand where the stickers are attached (probably by Universal Music New Zealand), then imported into New York.


For a school project, I would like to know one landmark or superhit song of ABBA from each decade between 1970 and 2010

Mitali, India



ABBA was only active from 1972 to 1982. So if I was going to name an ABBA landmark hit for each decade I was say 'Dancing Queen' for the 1970s and 'The Winner Takes It All' for the 80s.


I'm watching ABBA the movie, and there's a concert sequence, I think the song is Why Did It Have To Be Me... and Anna is not onstage. Anywhere. Costume change? Or did they have songs that featured one or the other vocalist?




ABBA had roughly an equal number of songs with lead solo vocals by both women, Agnetha and Frida. The studio version of 'Why Did It Have To Be Me' actually featured both singing the female part in unison and harmony. But for concert performances Frida sang the part solo, so that Agnetha could take a break for a costume change.


Could it be said that the individual members are wealthy due sales in the Abba Gold/Mamma Mia era rather than the money they had left when the band split? Are all 4 still entitled to royalties or have they sold them?

Dave, Ireland



The business dealing of the ABBA members are quite convoluted, thanks to many business deals in the 1970s to invest the huge amounts of money coming in and to minimize taxes. These are covered in great detail in Carl Magnus Palm's biography Bright Lights Dark Shadows: The Real Story Of ABBA.
All four sold their shares in the Polar Music record company in the 1980s. Frida and Björn also sold off their individual rights in the 80s, but still do receive royalties through those rights holders (or they may have bought them back). All four were quite wealthy after ABBA, certainly wealthy enough to essentially retire in the 80s. The 90s ABBA revival and the Mamma Mia! musical have only added to their wealth.


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