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Monday, 9 December 2013

ABBA The official Photo Book - Fan Club Article

The Official ABBA International Fan Club magazine article!

Below is an article from the December issue of the Official ABBA International Fan Club magazine.
For the first time ever, a major authorised photo book on the entire career of ABBA is to be published. All four members of ABBA have contributed picture commentaries and have produced a joint preface. In addition, many pictures are shown for the first time.
“We discovered so many unseen images when doing the research! It’s been a treasure-trove,” says Bengt Wanselius, picture editor of ABBA The Official Photo Book.
He sifted through almost a quarter of a million images to select the best. Many of them had never been seen before, not even by the ABBA members themselves.
“The time with ABBA was so intense that it’s hard to remember everything. These pictures have brought back a lot of memories; the book is a wonderful mixture of classic photographs as well as images I’m really seeing for the first time. This is the closest I will ever get to having a photo album!” says Björn after going through the layout of ABBA The Official Photo Book.
Writer Jan Gradvall, an award-winning Swedish music journalist, says that the pictures worked as keys to the past.
“At the outset, both Björn and Benny said they had forgotten so much but, when I showed them the pictures, they started to recall things,” he says.
Gradvall interviewed the members of ABBA and transcribed their delighted comments on the pictures.
“I thought I knew all about ABBA, but many of these stories were completely new to me, for example the story of when Björn lost the ring right after becoming engaged to Agnetha,” says Gradvall.
The story of ABBA traces the rise to global stardom of four dedicated musicians, faced overnight with almost unprecedented adulation. The book captures the joy and hysteria of one of pop history’s greatest episodes. The text is important, but the main impact is in the photographs — more than 600 pictures on 400 pages in the format of a massive LP.
“We originally planned it to be smaller but, when we found so many extraordinary pictures, it started to grow,” says Patric Leo, the book’s designer.
Leo has worked with Benny for several years, designing the covers of many of the records released by Benny’s Mono Music label. He says he wanted the book to be elegant in a classical way and explains:
“ABBA is one of the greatest bands ever, and the pictures are extraordinary. The setting for the images had to be perfect.”
Rare and previously unseen pictures were found in many places, for example Polar Music has a vault at a secret location somewhere in Stockholm where access was always extremely limited; Bengt Wanselius was the first outside picture editor to have even entered the vault. Other pictures were discovered in the archives of newspapers and magazines.
The early ones were not even filed under ABBA because, for the first year or two, the group did not even have a name. Creating the book has been a huge undertaking. Seven people worked for a year on research, text, editing and layout. The bookshop edition will be published in April 2014 to coincide with the anniversary of ABBA’s international breakthrough, winning the Eurovision Song Contest in Brighton on April 6, 1974. Interest is enormous from all over the world.
Many different language editions are planned: English, Swedish, German, Spanish, Dutch and Norwegian for starters. Pre-ordering is already open for the Super Trouper Limited Collectors’ Edition, in a handsome bespoke presentation box, dispatched at the beginning of March. The individually numbered edition is limited to 5,000 copies world-wide and signed by the author. Included is a high quality numbered photographic print – a rare alternative shot from the cover shoot for Super Trouper, size 21 X 30 cm, perfect for framing as the ultimate ABBA memento.
“This is actually the best picture from that photo session, but it didn’t fit the square format of a LP. It was taken by Lasse Larsson, and I have heard that he was really fond of this particular shot,” says picture editor Bengt Wanselius.
The limited edition has a special extra section of 40 pages with images from live concerts from ABBA’s entire career with the main focus on the early years. Also included is a DVD documentary, ABBA IN PICTURES – The Photographers’ Stories, specially produced for the limited edition.
“We have interviewed all the important photographers, for example Anders Hanser, Ola Lager and Bubi Heilemann. Görel Hanser talks for Bengt Malmqvist who is no longer with us, and Lasse Hallström comments on the making of the videos,” says Tobias Annerhult, the director of the documentary.
As an extra sweetener, the Super Trouper Edition includes a section listing all the dedicated fans who are making this limited edition possible. This means that if you order before December 31, your name will be inscribed in the Super Trouper edition that only is available through www.pledgemusic.com while the regular version will be available from the Fan Club Shop, in English, German and Dutch.
“The fans are individuals, each with a very personal relationship to ABBA and their music. By offering those who pre-order the book the opportunity to have their names inscribed, we’re giving ABBA fans if not a face but at least a name,” says Creative Director Jeppe Wikström, the driving force behind the book.
The first four copies of the Super Trouper Edition, with the inscribed list of fans, are reserved for the group members. Agnetha, Frida, Björn and Benny will be ceremoniously presented with their copies immediately on publication. It is a rare event, with fans and stars equally delighted over the content of a book, promising international success.
Simon Hohn


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