page updated 29 May 2004
Recent additions denoted by
In October the new compilation ABBA Gold - Greatest Hits was released, featuring nineteen of ABBAs best known songs . The Australian version is unique as it included the songs I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, Ring Ring and Rock Me . All tracks had been digitally remastered in Sweden by Michael B. Tretow, Bj�rn and Bennys long time recording engineer. Several songs were slightly edited versions. A similarly titled video compilation was released simultaneously, featuring the same tracks as overseas releases of the album and video . ABBA Gold was a huge success, with sales reported to be over 700,000 copies, and surprisingly with critics who belatedly acknowledged ABBAs genius and long-term success. It was both ABBAs first number 1 album since 1976, and their first number 1 video in Australia. Two years later ABBA Gold again entered the album chart, peaking at number 2.
Though not given general release in Australia, some shops had available import copies of three UK singles released in 1992/93 in association with ABBA Gold: Dancing Queen/Lay All Your Love On Me/The Day Before You Came/Eagle (Polydor 863 573-2); Voulez-Vous/Summer Night City/Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!/I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do (Polydor 863 901-2); and Thank You For The Music/Happy New Year/The Way Old Friends Do (Polydor 867 213-2).
ABBA Gold was soon followed by another video release, Live in Concert, featuring the television documentary of the 1979 tour of North America and Europe, and contained many ABBA hits performed live at Wembley Arena in London, plus behind the scenes footage of the US leg of the tour. More interesting (lazy?) spelling on the cover, with the track Chicquitita listed, while I Have A Dream was not omitted completely. This was another number 1 video hit .
The success of ABBA Gold prompted PolyGram to release another compilation, More ABBA Gold - More ABBA Hits in July 1993 . This album featured nineteen further well-known ABBA songs, including a previously unreleased remix of Lovelight and edited versions of Eagle and The Visitors, plus the bonus of an unreleased song recorded in 1982, I Am the City . An accompanying video was also released in September, containing the remaining ABBA film clips not featured on ABBA Gold except Ring Ring, plus the bonus of a previously unseen clip for Thats Me, which looks strangely unfinished . The soundtracks to the two Gold videos were redubbed from the digitally remastered album tracks, therefore obliterating alternate mixes of When I Kissed The Teacher and When All Is Said And Done, and losing the extra verse in On And On And On (the reedited version of On And On And On on the video is very strange). The CD only reached number 65, while the video hit number 3.
PolyGrams budget label Karussell re-released the Waterloo CD in 1993, featuring the same modified cover art and track listing as the previous Polydor CD. In April 1994 copies of the Karussell Waterloo CD were available only through the Melbourne-based Australian ABBA Fan Club with a new insert commemorating the 20th anniversary of ABBA winning the Eurovision Song Contest. The prefix AAFC was added to the catalogue number on this commemorative insert.
Also in 1993, Reader's Digest, in association with PolyGram, released another ABBA set, titled The ABBA Collection . This four CD set (also available on cassette) featured 80 ABBA songs, including all their hit singles and the majority of their album tracks, with a couple of hard-to-get B sides to boot. This set was only available by mail order from Reader's Digest Australia, though the same collection was also available through the magazine in Europe.
1994 saw the release of the soundtrack albums to the Australian movies The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (Mother/Polydor 516937-2) and Muriels Wedding (Polydor 52 7493-2), both by PolyGram. Priscilla featured Mamma Mia, while Muriel featured Dancing Queen, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do and Waterloo, plus several orchestral arrangements of Dancing Queen. A second Priscilla soundtrack album (Mother/Polydor 5271152) featured an instrumental recording of Fernando, accompanied by some film dialogue.
In November 1994 PolyGram finally released what every ABBA fan had been impatiently awaiting for many years: the four CD box set Thank You For The Music. The first three CDs contained a wide selection of fifty-two songs, with all single A-sides and many B-sides plus well-known album tracks, including the previously unreleased full length version of Summer Night City, and several B-sides previously unavailable on CD in Australia. Several other songs were slightly edited versions. The fourth CD was an ABBA fans dream, containing many unreleased tracks including Put On Your White Sombrero and Dream World, plus rare B-sides never before available on CD (some had never been released in Australia at all) and foreign language recordings. It also featured a 23 minute assembled medley, ABBA Undeleted, of studio rehearsals, variations of well-known songs plus excerpts of several legendary unreleased songs including Just A Notion and Just Like That. Achieving healthy sales for such an expensive item, it reached number 76 on the album chart.
Simultaneously PolyGram released a new video tribute Thank You ABBA, featuring excerpts from many ABBA film clips, plus solo tracks from the years before ABBA and several clips from The Movie . The video also featured new interviews with Stig Anderson, ABBAs Manager; Michael B. Tretow, their long-time recording engineer; Rune S�derqvist, the art director who designed most of ABBAs album covers (and the classic logo); Owe Sandstr�m, who designed many of ABBAs stage outfits in the Seventies; plus many ABBA fans from numerous countries. Thank You ABBA was another number 1 video hit. For the full story about the creation of this documentary visit ABBA - Another Site by Jean-Marie Potiez.
In late 1995/early 1996 PolyGram made available the simply titled ABBA 3 CD Box Set. This new box contained the previously released CDs Voulez-Vous, Super Trouper and Arrival (listed on the cover in that order), with the album front covers and track listings reproduced on the outside of the box. This box set was available only for a short period in a limited number of areas. A convenient way for the long-time fan or newer convert to collect what could arguably be described as ABBAs three most popular albums.
In March 1996 PolyGram re-released the ten Spanish songs originally featured on Gracias Por La Musica, under the new title ABBA Oro - Grandes Exitos (Gold - Greatest Hits). This album was originally released in Spanish-speaking territories in late 1992, in packaging to match the other ABBA Gold compilations. The order of the songs was changed considerably from the original running order, and several songs were retitled. Unfortunately the other five songs ABBA recorded in Spanish were not added to this compilation, and have yet to be released in full in Australia (see the section on Songs never released in Australia for further details).
Showing signs of attempting to get more than their moneys worth out of their investment, PolyGrams budget label Karussell released another compilation CD in August 1996. The Music Still Goes On contained a collection of a few hit singles plus some lesser known album tracks, though it did not include any songs that had not already appeared on CD. Additionally several of the songs had already appeared on the two Gold compilations. This CD was repackaged by the Sanity chain of music stores as part of their in-house Collection Series. An interview picture CD also appeared in shops at around the same time, containing interviews with ABBA in the Seventies, an interview with Bj�rn in the Eighties, plus a 120 page booklet. This CD was part of an ongoing series of interview CDs released by the English label .
September 1996 saw the "limited edition" re-release by PolyGram worldwide of the two ABBA Gold videos, under the new title ABBA Forever Gold, as a budget-priced single full length video cassette. In December the accompanying CDs were finally released, as a double CD package with new booklet. Curiously the ABBA Gold CD featured the same track listing as the original overseas release, not the previous Australian variation. A limited edition boxed package of this compilation also included a bonus CD single, featuring Put On Your White Sombrero and Dream World (both unreleased until Thank You For The Music in 1994) and Dame! Dame! Dame! from Gracias Por La Musica/ABBA Oro . Unfortunately the CD was not released at a budget price, and fans were forced to pay full price again for this package. The artwork was similar to the previous Gold compilations, though this time with a golden background with stamped gold lettering.
In February 1997 PolyGram released yet another compilation CD, ABBA Master Series. This eighteen track CD contained many of ABBAs album tracks and some songs that had been singles, but again nothing that had not previously appeared on CD. Again this compilation included songs that had appeared on the previous Gold compilations. This was one of a series of issues of popular PolyGram artists.
In May 1997 PolyGram released "The ABBA Remasters", re-releasing the eight original ABBA albums: Ring Ring, Waterloo, ABBA, Arrival, The Album, Voulez-Vous, Super Trouper and The Visitors, plus ABBA Live. As the title of the series suggests, the albums had all been digitally remastered, plus several of the CDs had bonus tracks. All CDs had new liner notes, written by John Tobler, who had previously written the liner notes for the ABBA Gold series. Unfortunately, the artwork was not the original album artwork, rather the same as the previously released PolyGram CDs, and several spelling errors appeared in the track listings and song lyrics. Additionally, some of the bonus tracks could have been placed on more appropriate albums (for example, Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! on Voulez-Vous, rather than Super Trouper), the five extra tracks on the original ABBA CD remain, and the 1982 edited version of The Name Of The Game appeared on The Album. Though some of these errors have since been corrected, these releases have been criticised by ABBA fans worldwide. Initial pressings were imported from Germany, but later Australian made pressings of some, if not all of The Remasters were available.
In September 1997 yet another PolyGram reissue series was released. This series, called Double Up, featured 2 popular CDs in a slimline double case for a budget price for a range of PolyGram's artists. The inevitable ABBA Double Up issue featured the Remastered versions of the CDs ABBA and Arrival, with liner notes detailing the history of the albums and singles released.
October 1998 saw the release of yet another compilation CD, Love Stories . This 17 track CD features songs that are described in the booklet as songs that "tell a [love] story of some kind". Included are several hit singles plus many popular album tracks, and thankfully the full versions of 'The Name Of The Game' and 'Eagle'. The liner notes were once again written by John Tobler (hopefully the last time he will be doing so for an ABBA release!), and includes the lyrics to all the songs. A sticker on the front advises that the songs were "all remastered in 24 bit from the original master tapes".
� 1997, 1998, 2000 by Ian Cole, Sydney Australia