ABBA The Movie
In 2005 ABBA The Movie finally was released on DVD. There also is a Limited Edition with a second DVD including the very interesting interview ABBA - The Movie: Looking Back. Lasse Hallström, Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus are interviewed by Carl Magnus Palm and tell some stories and memories. Included are some scenes of the preparations in Stockholm before the tour (a longer clip with such material later was compiled for the ABBAWorld exhibition in Australia).
The Movie also is available on Blu-Ray which features the same content as the Limited Edition DVD, but has improved picture quality. So if you have a player, just go for the Blu-Ray for the best experience.
According to the interview all Australian concerts were filmed with five cameras each, one steadycam on stage and four cameras on tripods. However, most of the material filmed on the first show in Sydney was damaged by water.
Filming originally was intended for a 16 mm (TV) documentation. Extensive corrections and overdubs were added to the audio recordings later in studio.
Their voices would disappear from the microphones because they couldn’t possibly concentrate on singing when they were so busy putting on a show,” remembers Michael Tretow. “They were jumping up and down and dancing and it was raining and whatnot, so it was hard to get a good sound.” Says Agnetha, “When you’re doing concerts, you’re supposed to reproduce the sound of the records in the best way possible, and at the same time try to perform something that looks like dancing – I found that difficult.”
Work on doctoring the recordings, i.e. redoing vocal and instrumental parts that weren’t quite as perfect as ABBA wanted them to be, may have begun as early as April; the recordings also had to be prepared for multi-
channel cinema screenings. Since all the songs in the movie have Marcus Music track sheets, this would indicate that most of the overdubs were made in that studio. Metronome Studio’s booking calendar shows that Polar used the studio on 15 March, along with a notation that Michael Tretow is “back from Australia”, so perhaps he started preparatory work then. Final mixing of the live recordings seems to have taken place in September (see 11–18/19 September).
Additional overdubs were recorded at Europa Film Studios and Bohus Studio. Hopefully there will be a raw as possible release of the audio material one day.
Songs included (most are incomplete though)
There is some surviving documentation from 1977 indicating where and when most of the songs featured in the film were recorded. The original documents feature information from the film’s post-production crew on recording location and length required for each song. There are also notes for most of the additional songs, in Michael Tretow’s handwriting. Assuming these documents are accurate, the following list features the recording location and date for all surviving mix tapes, with song titles followed by duration of actual performance (notably, none of the songs recorded during the five indoor concerts in Perth were used for the soundtrack, possibly because the outdoor shows in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide recorded better, without the sound bouncing off the walls and similar problems). All songs are complete and in stereo except where otherwise noted (some of the songs have only survived as mono mixes, although they must have been mixed in stereo at the time)
- Hole In Your Soul (studio, titles)
- Tiger (live) – recorded in Adelaide, March 8
Björn, Benny and Frida dominate vocally, while Agnetha is virtually inaudible, again suggesting
that vocal work was done at Bohus Studio.
- SOS (live) – recorded in Adelaide, March 8
- Money, Money, Money (live) – recorded in Sydney, March 4
- He Is Your Brother (live) – recorded in Sydney, March 3
Agnetha is barely audible at all. This suggests that some work was done on the lead vocals at Bohus Studio, when Agnetha wasn’t present.
- Intermezzo no 1 (live) – recorded in Sydney, March 4
- Waterloo (live) – recorded in Sydney, March 4
- Mamma Mia (live)
- Johan på snippen (live)
- Polkan går (live)
- Rock Me (live) – recorded in Sydney, March 4
- I’ve Been Waiting For You (live) – recorded in Adelaide, March 8
- The Name Of The Game (studio)
- Ring Ring (fans)
- Why Did It Have To Be Me (live) – recorded in Sydney, March 3
- When I Kissed The Teacher (live) – recorded in Adelaide, March 8
- Get On The Carousel (live) – recorded in Adelaide, March 8
- I’m A Marionette (live)
- Fernando (live) – recorded in Melbourne, March 5
- Dancing Queen (live) – recorded in Melbourne, March 5
- So Long (live) – recorded in Adelaide, March 8
- Eagle (studio)
- Thank You For The Music (studio)
As for the songs mixed for the ABBA – The Movie soundtrack, a number of tapes have survived in the archives. Since most of the songs were not heard in complete versions in the film, this is also reflected in the work done on the songs in the studio: if only a certain section of a particular song were to be used in the movie, then ABBA would sometimes only fine-tune and correct vocal and instrumental parts for that section. In other words, the live versions of songs mixed for the film are not always complete.