ABBA: The Album

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ABBA: The Album
ABBA - The Album (Polar).jpg
Studio album by
Released12 December 1977 (1977-12-12)
Recorded31 May – November 1977
StudioMarcus, Metronome and Glen Studios, Stockholm and Bohus Studio, Kungälv
GenreArt rock[1]
Length40:01 (Polar LP 1977)
LabelPolar
Epic (UK)
Atlantic (US original release)
Producer
ABBA chronology
Arrival
(1976)
ABBA: The Album
(1977)
Voulez-Vous
(1979)
Original UK album cover
Abba-the-album-front.jpg
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[2]
NME7/10[3]
Rolling Stonefavorable[4]

ABBA: The Album (also known as simply 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. Altogether the album contained nine songs.

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".[5]

Overview[edit]

The album includes three songs from ABBA's 1977 tour mini-musical The Girl with the Golden Hair performed during each of their European and Australian shows in 1977. Andersson and Ulvaeus wanted to offer more than "a run through of their hits and assorted album tracks" for their concerts.[6] Although the songs received a "less-than-tumultuous" reception during the first performances of the mini-musical, three of the tracks ("Thank You for the Music", "I Wonder (Departure)" and "I'm a Marionette") were included on the new album. A fourth song written for the musical, "Get on the Carousel", was rewritten as the up-tempo track "Hole in Your Soul" with "a substantial part of the melody [being] incorporated into [its] middle eight". Parts of "Get on the Carousel" appeared in ABBA: The Movie.[7] The "25-minute opus" had storyline about a talented "small-town girl leaving her hometown" on her "quest for stardom",[6] with each song representing a different part of her personality. Fältskog and Lyngstad shared the lead-role and wore matching blonde wigs and costumes "for optimum dramatic effect".[7]

ABBA: The Album reached No. 1 in many territories. In the UK it debuted at the top and remained there for seven weeks,[8] ending up as the third biggest selling album of the year (behind the movie soundtrack LPs of Saturday Night Fever and Grease). In the US it became their highest charting album, where during 1978 ABBA undertook a big promotional campaign.[5] Due to the Cold War, Western music was actively discouraged throughout Eastern Europe at the time. Despite this, ABBA: The Album sold an unprecedented one million copies in Poland in 1977, exhausting the country's entire allocation of foreign currency. In Russia, only 200,000 copies were permitted to be pressed; however, demand within the USSR indicated they could have sold 40 million copies.[9]

ABBA: The Album was first released on CD in 1984. The album has been reissued in the format by PolyGram (later 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'.

On 3 November 2017, the album was released as a double vinyl mastered at Abbey Road Studios using half speed mastering.

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[edit]

All tracks written by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus except where noted.[10]

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Eagle" 5:51
2."Take a Chance on Me" 4:05
3."One Man, One Woman" 4:33
4."The Name of the Game"
4:54
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Move On"
  • Andersson
  • Anderson
  • Ulvaeus
4:42
2."Hole in Your Soul" 3:41
The Girl with the Golden Hair: Three Scenes From a Mini-Musical
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
3."Thank You for the Music" 3:48
4."I Wonder (Departure)"
  • Andersson
  • Anderson
  • Ulvaeus
4:33
5."I'm a Marionette" 3:54
Total length:40:01
CD edition
No.TitleLength
1."Eagle"5:50
2."Take a Chance on Me"4:07
3."One Man, One Woman"4:34
4."The Name of the Game"4:54
5."Move On"4:43
6."Hole in Your Soul"3:41
7."Thank You for the Music"3:50
8."I Wonder (Departure)"4:34
9."I'm a Marionette"4:09
Total length:40:22
2001 CD edition bonus track
No.TitleLength
10."Thank You for the Music" (Doris Day version)4:03
The Complete Studio Recordings bonus tracks
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
10."Al Andar" (Spanish version of Move On)
  • Andersson
  • Anderson
  • Ulvaeus
  • Buddy McCluskey
  • Mary McCluskey
4:43
11."Gracias por la música" (Spanish version of Thank You for the Music)
  • Andersson
  • Anderson
  • Ulvaeus
  • B. McCluskey
  • M. McCluskey
3:49
2007 deluxe edition (The Watershed Album) bonus tracks
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
10."Eagle" (single edit) 4:25
11."Take a Chance on Me" (live version; alternate mix) 4:25
12."Thank You for the Music" (Doris Day version) 4:03
13."Al Andar" (Spanish version of Move On)
  • Andersson
  • Anderson
  • Ulvaeus
  • B. McCluskey
  • M. McCluskey
4:43
14."I Wonder (Departure)" (live version)
  • Andersson
  • Anderson
  • Ulvaeus
4:27
15."Gracias por la música" (Spanish version of Thank You for the Music)
  • Andersson
  • Anderson
  • Ulvaeus
  • B. McCluskey
  • M. McCluskey
3:49
2007 deluxe edition DVD
No.TitleLength
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" 

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)

Personnel[edit]

ABBA

Additional musicians[edit]

  • Ola Brunkert – drums
  • Lars O. Carlsson – flute, saxophone
  • Malando Gassama – percussion
  • Rutger Gunnarsson – bass
  • Roger Palm – drums (on "Take a Chance on Me", "One Man, One Woman", and "Thank You For the Music")
  • Janne Schaffer – lead guitar (on "Eagle")
  • Lasse Wellander – lead guitar, rhythm guitar

Production[edit]

  • Benny Andersson – producer, arranger
  • Björn Ulvaeus – producer, arranger
  • Michael B. Tretow – engineer
  • Rutger Gunnarsson – string arrangements
  • Rune Söderqvist – design
  • Barry Levine – photography
  • Björn Andersson – illustrations
  • Rune Söderqvist – illustrations
  • Jon Astley – remastering (1997 re-issue, 2001 re-issue)
  • Tim Young – remastering (1997 re-issue)
  • Michael B. Tretow – remastering (1997 re-issue, 2001 re-issue)
  • Henrik Jonsson – remastering (The Complete Studio Recordings box set)

Charts[edit]

Album[edit]

Country/Chart (1977–78) Position
Australia[12][13] 4
Austria[14] 2
Belgium[15] 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[16] 1
Norway[17] 1
Rhodesia 2
Sweden[14] 1
Switzerland 1
UK Albums Chart[18] 1
USA Billboard 200[19] 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 and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[20] 2× Platinum 200,000^
Czechoslovakia 100,000[21]
Denmark 225,000[22]
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[23] Platinum 57,618[23]
Netherlands (NVPI)[24] Platinum 100,000^
Norway 200,840[25]
Germany (BVMI)[26] Platinum 500,000^
Hong Kong (IFPI Hong Kong)[27] Platinum 20,000*
Japan 300,000[28]
Sweden 753,420[29]
United Kingdom (BPI)[31] Platinum 750,000[30]
United States (RIAA)[33] Platinum 1,300,000[32]

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

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sheffield, Rob (11 August 2018). "The 25 Best ABBA Songs, Ranked". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 10 November 2020.
  2. ^ Eder, Bruce. "The Album - ABBA | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 10 November 2020.
  3. ^ "NME Album Reviews – Abba". NME. UK. 23 November 2007. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
  4. ^ Rockwell, John (23 March 1978). "ABBA: The Album : Music Reviews". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 14 January 2009. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
  5. ^ a b Rees, Dafydd; Crampton, Luke (1991). Guinness Book of Rock Stars. Enfield: Guinness Publishing Ltd. p. 1. ISBN 0-85112-971-4.
  6. ^ a b Palm, Carl Magnus (1 September 2008). Bright Lights Dark Shadows: The Real Story of Abba. ISBN 9781847724199.
  7. ^ a b Tesch, Christopher Patrick ; editor: Matthew (2008). ABBA : let the music speak : an armchair guide to the musical soundscape of the Swedish supergroup (1st ed.). Fairfield Gardens, Qld.: Christopher J N Patrick. pp. 43–45. ISBN 9780646496764.
  8. ^ "Official Charts Company". www.officialcharts.com. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  9. ^ Oldham, A, Calder, T & Irvin, C: "ABBA: The Name of the Game", page 201. Sidgwick & Jackson, 1995
  10. ^ "Album the-album « ABBA – The Album | Albums | ABBA". Archived from the original on 21 May 2017. Retrieved 8 June 2013.
  11. ^ http://www.abbaomnibus.net/songs/whosings.htm
  12. ^ David Kent (2006). Australian Charts Book 1993—2005. Australian Chart Book Pty Ltd, Turramurra, N.S.W. ISBN 978-0-646-45889-2.
  13. ^ "Australian Charts > ABBA". australian-charts.com Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 November 2020.
  14. ^ a b "swedishcharts.com". Retrieved 7 July 2009.
  15. ^ "Ultra Top - Belgian Charts". Ultra Top. Retrieved 4 November 2020.
  16. ^ "New Zealand Charts > ABBA". Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 November 2020.
  17. ^ "Norwegian Charts > ABBA" (in Norwegian). norwegiancharts.com Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 November 2020.
  18. ^ "Number 1 Albums – 1970s". Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 9 February 2008. Retrieved 24 June 2011.
  19. ^ "Billboard 200: ABBA Albums". Billboard magazine. Retrieved 4 November 2020.
  20. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Abba – The Album". Music Canada. Retrieved 28 August 2013.
  21. ^ "Abba The World - Czechoslovakia". Billboard. 8 September 1979. p. ABBA-8.
  22. ^ Orsted, Knud (3 June 1978). "Sales in Denmark Hit New High At $64 Mil; Imports Bite Reduced" (PDF). Billboard. p. 98 – via American Radio History.
  23. ^ a b "Abba" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 28 August 2013.
  24. ^ "Dutch album certifications – ABBA – The Album" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Retrieved 5 August 2018. Enter The Album in the "Artiest of titel" box.
  25. ^ Hultin, Randi (8 September 1979). "Abba The World". Billboard.
  26. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Abba; 'The Album')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 28 August 2013.
  27. ^ "IFPIHK Gold Disc Award − 1979". IFPI Hong Kong. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
  28. ^ "ABBA Cracks Japan Mart; Sales Surge". Billboard. 10 March 1979. p. 76.
  29. ^ Schulman, Leif (8 September 1979). "Abba The World". Billboard.
  30. ^ Murrells, Joseph. Million selling records from the 1900s to the 1980s : an illustrated directory. Arco Pub. p. 451. ISBN 0668064595. This album was an instant No 1 in Britain sold £1,000,000 worth immediately. It went on to at least 750,000 copies sold by the end of the year. With worldwide sales , the tally is estimated at arround 2.5 million
  31. ^ "British album certifications – ABBA – The Album". British Phonographic Industry.
  32. ^ Schulman, Leif (5 May 1929). "ABBA LP Sets Scene For Foreign Touring". Billboard (magazine). p. 38. Retrieved 4 November 2020 – via Google books.
  33. ^ "American album certifications – Abba – The Album". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.