Ring Ring was first released in Sweden on March 26, 1973. Recording sessions began in March 1972 and continued until March 1973.
The Ring Ring album shows ABBA coming together. At the time of its original release the group wasn't even called ABBA, but used the name Björn & Benny, Agnetha & Frida. When the first song to appear on the album was recorded - 'People Need Love' in the spring of 1972 - the group was just one of many projects the four members were involved in. Only after the title track, 'Ring Ring', became a hit, did the four decide to go on working together as a permanent group.
Waterloo was first released in Sweden on March 4, 1974. Recording sessions began in September 1973 and continued until February 1974.
Sessions for what was to become the Waterloo album were well under way when Björn, Benny and Stig Anderson were invited to submit an entry to the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest. The song they came up with was, of course, 'Waterloo'.
This second ABBA album was the first to really show the group as a unified entity - indeed, it was the first album to be released under the new group name. Apart from 'Waterloo' the album spawned a hit in 'Honey, Honey'.
The ABBA album was the group's third collection, and was arguably where they finally came into their own. With hits like 'Mamma Mia' and 'SOS', the multi-layered 1970s take on early 1960s pop idioms showed ABBA as a group with a unique sound and approach.
It was with the hits from this album - which also included 'I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do' - that ABBA first made a considerable impact in Australia. 'Mamma Mia' occupied the top position for no less than 10 weeks!
Greatest Hits was first released in Sweden on November 17, 1975.
This compilation album was rush-released to counter expected import sales of similar collections released by licencees in Europe. The tracks, taken from ABBA’s first three albums, had all been single sides somewhere in the world. The song ’Fernando’ was added when Greatest Hits was released in certain countries during the first few months of 1976.
The bizarre cover painting on the Swedish release was made by artist Hans Arnold. It was originally awarded as a prize from a magazine where ABBA were voted Artists Of The Year. The group liked it so much that they used it for the gatefold sleeve of the album.
In 2006, Greatest Hits was reissued on CD in a miniature replica gatefold sleeve, featuring the original Swedish cover.
Arrival was first released in Sweden on October 11, 1976
ABBA's fourth album featured some of their biggest hits: 'Dancing Queen', 'Money, Money, Money' and 'Knowing Me, Knowing You'. The album sessions also spawned 'Fernando' which was only released as a separate single in most parts of the world, although it was included on Arrival in Australia and New Zealand.
This was the album where ABBA pushed their classic, direct pop style to the limit. The album could be classified as the group's "exam paper" in the school of International Pop. On Arrival, almost every track could have been a hit single.
ABBA - The Album was first released in Sweden on December 12, 1977. Recording sessions began in May 1977 and continued until November 1977.
On their fifth album, ABBA showed a new sense of ambition: longer tracks, more complex structures, and lyrics that aspired to be more than just words that fitted the melody.
Alongside hit singles like 'The Name Of The Game' and 'Take A Chance On Me', the album offered three songs from ABBA's mini-musical, The Girl With The Golden Hair. One of them was 'Thank You For The Music', one of ABBA's most well-known songs but actually never a big hit single.
ABBA - The Album was issued in conjunction with the cinema release ABBA - The Movie. Several of the songs on the album were also featured in the film.
Greatest Hits Vol. 2 was first released in Sweden on October 29, 1979.
A round-up of ABBA’s hits since their first compilation album – released in 1975 – Greatest Hits Vol. 2 also contained the brand new single, ’Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)’. One or two tracks on the album had been hits in just a few territories: ’Rock Me’, for instance, was a Top Five hit in Australia and New Zealand only.
Greatest Hits Vol. 2 was released to coincide with ABBA’s tour of North America and Europe, taking place between September and November, 1979.
Voulez-Vous was first released in Sweden on April 23, 1979. Recording sessions began in March 1978 and continued until March 1979.
When ABBA’s sixth album was recorded, the popular music world was in the midst of a disco craze. This certainly left its mark on Voulez-Vous, which was characterized by dance beats and rhythmic inflections. As if to emphasize this tendency, the title track was recorded at Criteria Studios in Miami, Florida, USA, where The Bee Gees made their disco-era records.
Other hits on the album included ’Chiquitita’, ’Does Your Mother Know’, ’Angeleyes’ and ’I Have A Dream’.
Gracias Por La Música was first released in Sweden on June 23, 1980.
To facilitate a breakthrough in South America, ABBA recorded Spanish-language versions of Chiquitita and I Have A Dream in 1979. These tracks were both released as singles and went on to become big hits. Encouraged by this success, the group decided to record a complete album of Spanish versions of selected songs: some familiar hits, plus tracks that were thought to have a Latin flavour, such as ’Move On’ and ’Hasta Mañana’.
Björn and Benny were actually not involved in the production, which was completed in January 1980. Instead, Agnetha, Frida and sound engineer Michael B. Tretow took it upon themselves to overdub the new vocals on existing backing tracks.
The songs on Gracias Por La Música are currently available on the compilation album ABBA Oro.
Note: The Spanish version of Dancing Queen was originally entitled Reina Danzante, but was retitled La Reina Del Baile when ABBA Oro was released.
Super Trouper was first released in Sweden on November 3, 1980. Recording sessions began in February 1980 and continued until October 1980.
On the seventh ABBA album, the group presented themselves as a more overtly mature group. The previous year's divorce between Björn and Agnetha was explored in 'The Winner Takes It All', and the members' lives in Stockholm high society circles coloured the lyrics for 'On And On And On'.
Other well-known songs on the album include the hit single title track, as well as the electro-dance of 'Lay All Your Love On Me'.
The Visitors was first released in Sweden on November 30, 1981. Recording sessions began in March 1981 and continued until November 1981.
ABBA's eighth and final album was their very bleakest, but has emerged as a favourite among many of the group's hardcore fans. With Benny and Frida going their separate ways, the pain of splitting up was explored yet again in 'When All Is Said And Done'.
The major hit single on the album, 'One Of Us', also depicted the end of a love story. Elsewhere there were current cold war themes - highly topical at the time - and further songs of isolation and regret.
The Singles – The First Ten Years was first released in Sweden on November 8, 1982.
1982 was ABBA’s final year together as a group. They had originally intended to record a new studio album, like they had done almost every year since they first came together. But as the four members felt the energy run out of the group, they shelved these plans and instead decided to put out a double album collection of their singles from 1973 to 1982. Two brand new single A-sides were included on the album – ’The Day Before You Came’ and ’Under Attack’ – along with several of ABBA’s biggest hits.
ABBA Live was first released in Sweden on August 18, 1986.
A live album was something that many ABBA fans had demanded for several years. ABBA themselves had toyed with the idea on a couple of occasions, but always decided against it.
Finally, four years after the members went their separate ways, a live collection was released after all. The tracks on the album were mostly taken from ABBA’s concerts at Wembley Arena in London in November 1979, with a few additional songs taken from the tour of Australia in March 1977 and the Dick Cavett Meets ABBA television special, taped in April 1981.
ABBA Live is currently unavailable.
ABBA Gold was first released on September 21, 1992.
With more than 31 million sales worldwide, ABBA Gold has emerged as the group's all-time greatest success. The 19 track collection of hits was put together after ABBA manager Stig Anderson had sold his group of companies, including the record label Polar Music. The buyer was PolyGram, which itself was bought by Universal Music at the end of the 1990s.
In 1999 the album was remastered and reissued with new liner notes to coincide with the 25th anniversary of ABBA's victory in the Eurovision Song Contest with 'Waterloo'.
On the 10th Anniversary of the release of ABBA Gold, in 2002 the album was reissued with a revised booklet and updated liner notes.
In 2008 the CD is reissued again in a so-called super jewel case, with updated liner notes and with remastered sound.
More ABBA Gold was first released in Sweden on June 1, 1993.
After the successful ABBA Gold compilation had stormed up the charts upon release in September 1992, it was decided that a companion collection should be issued. More ABBA Gold contains some hits that didn’t fit on ABBA Gold – ’Summer Night City’, ’I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do’ and ’Angeleyes’ to name a few – along with a selection of popular tracks. One bonus surprise was the inclusion of the previously unreleased recording, ’I Am The City’, dating back to ABBA’s final recording sessions in 1982.
Notes: The track I Am The City was previously unreleased; recording began in May 1982 at Polar Music Studios.
The version of Lovelight that was originally included on More ABBA Gold was an edit, which differed from the version released as a single B-side in 1979. However, that original single version of Lovelight has since been reinstated on the CD.
In 2008 More ABBA Gold is reissued in a so-called super jewel case, with updated liner notes and with remastered sound.
Box sets have become a common way of celebrating an artist’s career, usually featuring a selection of hits, other familiar songs, a few rarities, plus a number of unreleased recordings. This is exactly what ABBA’s 4-CD collection, Thank You For The Music, offered. For instance, every ABBA single B-side not included on any of the group’s albums were featured on the box set, many appearing on CD for the first time.
Among the previously unreleased tracks were an alternate version of ’Thank You For The Music’, the song ’Dream World’ – dating back to the Voulez-Vous sessions – and the Super Trouper outtake, ’Put On Your White Sombrero’. The 23-minute medley ’ABBA Undeleted’ featured snippets of other unissued recordings.
In 2008 the Thank You For The Music box set is reissued in downsized packaging with a revised booklet, although the disc contents remain exactly the same as the original release.