““The Bolin Grand, one
of a kind and a great source of inspiration while working in the
recording studio during the ABBA sessions!””
BENNY ANDERSSON OF ABBA
LONDON - It may come as a surprise to many that the iconic piano
that has featured in such timeless ABBA pop classics as “Mamma Mia,”
“Waterloo,” “Money, Money, Money,” and “Dancing Queen” was actually
built for the great American jazz pianist and composer Bill Evans. The
instrument’s creator, innovative Swedish designer Georg Bolin, was
originally a cabinetmaker before becoming a celebrated guitar and piano
craftsman. The Bolin Grand Piano, as it was called, was arguably one of
his most inventive designs. A 1964 New York Times article
refereed to Bill Evans’ “Space-Age piano,” and noted, “the new piano
represents Mr. Bolin’s ultimate desire – to produce an instrument that
gives the pianist the sensation of playing ‘directly on the strings’ as a
In 1967 the piano was purchased by Metronome Studios (now Atlantis
Grammofon) in Stockholm. At the recording studio, at that point the only
professional recording studio of its size in Stockholm, the instrument
came to the attention of Benny Andersson of ABBA. It soon became known
as “The ABBA Grand Piano” and featured on virtually all of their
recordings in the period 1973-77. The piano was showcased on ABBA’s
first five studio releases, placing it at the centre of the musical
output of one of the most commercially successful acts in the history of
popular music. ABBA are estimated to be one of the best-selling music
artists of all time, second only to The Beatles. It is rare for any
ABBA-related material to be sold and this is the first major ABBA piece
to be offered at auction.
ABBA's Dancing Queen piano to go under the hammer in London
he piano used to play the glissando that kicks off ABBA's
disco hit 'Dancing Queen' will be one of the star attractions at a rock
and pop auction at Sotheby's next month where it is expected to sell for
up to $US1.24 million.
The instrument comes with a certificate of
authentication from ABBA co-founder Benny Andersson, who describes it as
"one of a kind and a great source of inspiration".
It was designed by Swedish instrument-maker Georg
Bolin and comes from the collection of Atlantis Grammofon, formerly
known as Metronome Studios, in Stockholm where ABBA recorded the song
released in 1976, Sotheby's said on Thursday.
Bolin's piano was built for the American jazz
pianist and composer Bill Evans, who died in 1980. It was described in
the New York Times in 1964 as a "Space-Age piano" that "gives the
pianist the sensation of playing 'directly on the strings' as a
guitarist would," Sotheby's said.
"The piano itself is an instrument of real
importance and with the added ABBA provenance we expect it will have
worldwide appeal," Philip Errington, Sotheby's Specialist in Books and
Manuscripts, said in a statement. The London sale is scheduled for Sept
Sotheby's said John Lennon's Steinway upright piano,
on which he composed "Imagine", sold for 1.67 million pounds in 2000
while the upright piano in Rick's Cafe in the movie "Casablanca" sold
for $3.4 million in 2014.
For some reason, this particular image has always been stuck in the back
of my mind since the 70's - I remember seeing it again for the first
time as an adult after not seeing, or looking at, ABBA things for a very
long time, and my heart did a little bit of a flutter. I remember so
clearly absolutely loving this picture in the 70's. Apart from the few
film clips, and the Bandstand Special, we saw very few images of ABBA
before the memorabilia market went crazy in this country in late 1976. So, of course, once the memorabilia became available, it was heaven :) All these new images of ABBA ! Pictures of ABBA in other countries,
doing all sorts of things including performing on stage - amazing and
wonderful. For some reason though, among all of this new amazing ABBA
imagery, this picture hit my heart at the time. And when I think about
it, I think it is because it made me believe that one day I could be
that close to ABBA, getting an autograph - this was not just a staged
group shot - this was ABBA walking in a normal street among people and
you could get that close to them ! I reckon that all Aussie kids had
this image of ABBA in their minds when they toured here in 1977. Maybe
that's why we seemed so crazy at the time - we all believed we would be
able to get up close and personal to them. Unfortunately for us though,
there were too many of us, which made that impossible - unlike the
situation in this picture :) Tens of thousands of adoring fans could make walking the streets a little overwhelming I guess lol This picture was used on the Aussie bubblegum cards, which I adored
(and still do) and the card was where I first saw this image - and that
was all it took - one very small picture on a trading card. It always
brings back those wonderful feelings and memories of being a young girl
in Australia at the beginning, and at the height of, ABBAmania in this
country. It was something to behold. I know there are many ABBA fans
around the world - all with their own memories of the beginning of the
love. But I really do feel that nothing could possibly compare to the
love affair Australia had with ABBA in the 1970's - and I feel so
blessed - not only that I was lucky enough to be there for that most
amazing time - but that I was one of those that felt the love - so
deeply that it has continued for 40 years. What an absolutely magical
time it was in my life - the most profound and deeply moving time. Apart
from all the obvious reasons, this is why I am still such a devoted
ABBA fan - because one image can evoke such a range of memories and
emotions that they sometimes make me cry. I am truly lucky.
Scanlens Bubblegum Trading Card
And how perfect that they put this beautiful photo on a t-shirt as well :)
and in 'The Fabulous ABBA' Poster Book - although reversed:
This autumn Frida of ABBA will celebrate her 70th birthday. To honour
this special occasion, Polar Music will release a super limited edition
version of the 1982 album "SOMETHING'S GOING ON" on October 23rd 2015.
The boxed set is strictly limited to 2000 copies and contains liner notes written by Frida, as well as a hand-signed art card!
full contents includes a remastered CD version of "Something's Going
On", a DVD featuring a "Making Of" documentary, promo videos and
interviews from 1982, a signed art card, a 7" single of the song "I Know
There's Something Going On/You Know What I Mean", and a booklet with
liner notes written by Frida.
When first released in September
1982, "Something's Going On" reached number one on the album charts in
Sweden, went Top 5 in Norway and Belgium, as well as going Top 10 in
Australia, Finland, Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands. The
single "I Know There's Something Going On" has sold over 3 million
copies alone since release. The album is produced by Phil Collins.
1. Tell Me It's Over
2. I See Red
3. I Got Something
5. To Turn The Stone
6. I Know There's Something Going On
8. Baby Don't You Cry No More
9. The Way You Do
10. You Know What I Mean
11. Here We'll Stay
12. I Know There's Something Going On (Single Edit)
13. Here we'll stay (solo version)
1. Something's Going On - The Making Of A Record Album [Documentary]
2. I See Red [Promo Video]
3. To Turn The Stone [Promo Video]
4. I Know There's Something Going On [Promo Video]
5. Here We'll Stay [Promo Video]
6. Kanal 3, Interview with Lars-Ragnar Forssberg [Interview]
7. Casablanca, Interview With Helen Benno [Interview]
1. I Know There's Something Going On [A-side]
2. You Know What I Mean [B-side]
Apparently Universal are working on a few projects scheduled for release
around October, in preparation for Fridas' 70th birthday. A vinyl
single edition of "Slowly" (B-side to be confirmed) and a box set
edition of Something's Going On are allegedly on the cards. We'll let
you know more when we have any definite news.
+++ Information +++
A lot of you have been contacting the site
in recent days after seeing on-line stores advertising things such as a
vinyl release of Slowly and a box set edition of Something's Going On.
We cannot tell you much about these items at this stage.
But Frida has confided in us that Universal is putting together something special to mark her 70th birthday later this year.
However we are not allowed to reveal much more at this stage.
But please keep an eye on this site because when there is news that we
can officially release then we will certainly post this for you.