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“This Is ABBA”, Part I – Transcription

This transcription of this radio show was posted by a fan on the former ABBA4ever forum.

  • Part 1

    Ray Moore

    Hello, this is Ray Moore.

    Agnetha

    This is Agnetha.

    Benny

    This is Benny.

    Björn

    This is Björn.

    Frida

    This is Anni-Frid.

    Ray Moore

    And this is ABBA. [Plays Ring Ring]
    Yes Ring Ring from the Album Waterloo and that in fact written for the 1973 Swedish heats of the Eurovision Song Competition and Benny and Björn you also wrote a song for the 1972 entry for the Eurovision from Sweden didn’t you?

    Björn

    Yes, we did and for the 1971 I think for the 1970. [laughs]

    Benny

    Yeah, that’s right.

    Björn

    You have to realise that at that time it was virtually the only thing that could help you get outside the boarders of Sweden. Nobody would listen to a tape from Sweden at that time. If the thing with Waterloo at Brighton wouldn’t have happened I think we could still be writing songs for the contest.

    Benny

    Well, yes.

    Ray Moore

    It was a very peculiar system here in Sweden, wasn’t it – the way the Swedish entry was chosen? You had a panel of experts I believe.

    Benny or Björn

    Ahhh, so called experts you mean.

    Ray Moore

    Was that why you only came third that time?

    Benny

    I don’t know, that’s difficult to say, they change the rules every year, it’s really never the same, The year we won with Waterloo though it was a jury of ordinary people, all around the country.

    Ray Moore

    So the people on the streets were on your side, but not necessarily the panel of experts.

    Björn

    I think so, and the song that we just heard, Ring Ring, that was the biggest seller that year.

    Ray Moore

    Yes, an enormous hit and the English lyrics by Neil Sedaka. How did you persuade Neil to write the English lyrics?

    Björn

    Well, Stig – he was an old friend of Stig’s.

    Ray Moore

    That’s the Manager Stig Anderson.

    Björn

    And we thought it would be a nice gimmick, you know, to have somebody well known writing the lyric, so Stig sent a tape and a letter to Neil and he wrote it together with Phil Cody.

    Ray Moore

    Agnetha, when at the time Ring Ring was recorded you were a little worried yourself, weren’t you?

    Agnetha

    Yes, I was because I was heavily pregnant and I think it was 2 days before the time and everybody was worried about that.

    Björn

    Yeah, the stress and everything, we thought it could happen any second.

    Ray Moore

    And when did it in fact happen, Agnetha?

    Agnetha

    One week after.

    Ray Moore

    [Plays The Name Of The Game]
    Yes, from ABBA The Album The Name Of The Game. Now, the game was pretty tough for all of you in the United Kingdom in the early days, Agnetha and Anni-Frid, can I ask you about that – why do you think the press were so hard on ABBA?

    Frida

    I don’t know, but that’s how they have always been since we started – not only the English but the Swedish as well, I don’t know why, but that’s a fact actually.

    Ray Moore

    What about you, Agnetha, what about reading the press? Do you find that very depressing?

    Agnetha

    No, because we were all very used to it from Sweden. It’s the same everywhere but you get used to
    it.

    Ray Moore

    Why was it so important to you as a group to break through, Anni-Frid, in Britain, I mean it’s a comparatively small compared to say America, why was Britain so important to you?

    Frida

    It was very big for us by that time – it was a big market for us you know coming from Sweden with this little market so it was really a challenge.

    Björn

    And also the home of The Beatles and all those groups – the 60s – we felt there was something special about making it in Britain.

    Ray Moore

    One interesting thing that came out of researching these programmes is that on your Greatest Hits LP there is a song there that I’m very fond of called He Is Your Brother, but that was never released as an A side in Britain, or I think I’m right in saying in the States either, why was that, Benny?

    Benny

    Because that was one of the records we made before 1973, before we entered Eurovision for the first time – the Swedish part – it was our second single and what was happening, it was just never released as a single anywhere else.

    Björn

    There’s a very simple answer to that – nobody wanted it.

    Ray Moore

    We’re going to get it right now. [Plays He Is Your Brother]
    There’s another track from ABBA’s Greatest Hits, He Is Your Brother – Now, Benny and Björn, if I can come back to you for a moment, the sound of ABBA has matured and changed since those early recordings bit it’s still, how can I say, still a very distinctive sound. It’s a naive question how do the two of you go about writing, what is lesson one about writing a hit ABBA song?

    Björn

    We don’t have a formula for one thing, but we work really hard and we have patience I think.

    Ray Moore

    If I can ask you, Benny, what comes first the music or the lyrics.

    Benny

    The music, we always write the music first, we feel both that the music is the most important thing.

    Ray Moore

    Yeah, I think the music you write is always very strong. I notice that all the tracks, on all the albums and singles contain musical surprises, do you think that?

    [All]

    Mmmmm.

    Ray Moore

    A criticism that has been made back in Britain is that the songs are certainly stronger musically than they are lyrically, would you agree with that, is that fair criticism?

    Benny

    Yes.

    Björn

    Especially in the early days – the songs are often simple pop songs and simple pop songs require simple pop lyrics I think, we also try to fit the lyric in with the music rather than the other way round.

    Ray Moore

    I also think listening to your music that you almost use the four voices as extra instruments.
    [Plays The King Has Lost His Crown]

  • Part 2
  • Part 3
  • Part 4

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