ABBA: The Album
Studio album by
Released12 December 1977 (1977-12-12)
Recorded31 May – November 1977
StudioMarcus, Metronome and Glen Studios, Stockholm and Bohus Studio, Kungälv
GenreProgressive pop
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
Singles from ABBA: The Album
  1. "The Name of the Game"
    Released: 17 October 1977
  2. "Take a Chance on Me"
    Released: January 1978
  3. "Eagle"/"Thank You for the Music"
    Released: May 1978

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 contains 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".[1]

Background and production

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.[2] 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.[3] The "25-minute opus" had storyline about a talented "small-town girl leaving her hometown" on her "quest for stardom",[2] 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".[3]

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

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 LP format once, in the 2008 european reissue.[4]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[5]
The Encyclopedia of Popular Music3/5 stars[6]
NME7/10[7]
Rolling Stonefavorable[8]

The Album received positive reviews from music critics. Bruce Eder from AllMusic website gave the album four out of five stars and wrote that the album marked a "step forward for the group" since they "absorb and assimilate some of the influences around them, particularly the laid-back California sound of Fleetwood Mac (...) as well as some of the attributes of progressive rock" but "without compromising their essential virtues as a pop ensemble".[5] John Rockwell from the Rolling Stone magazine, gave the album a favorable review and wrote that The Album represents an interesting departure from their past formulas like "innocently superficial lyrics, bouncy Europop music, rock energy and amplification, soaring melodies" to a more mature and intelligent record.[8] NME wrote a short review to the album when it turned 30 years old, and wrote that the album "still sounds pleasantly nostalgic" and had "some delicious pop nuggets from their Swedish hatch".[7]

Commercial performance

ABBA: The Album reached No. 1 in many territories. In the UK it debuted at the top and remained there for seven weeks,[9] 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.[1] 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.[10]

Track listing

All tracks written by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus except where noted.[11]

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
  • 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
  • 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" 

Personnel

ABBA

Additional musicians[edit]

Production[edit]

Charts

Certifications and sales

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[32] Platinum 50,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[33] 2× Platinum 200,000^
Czechoslovakia 100,000[34]
Denmark 225,000[35]
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[36] Platinum 57,618[36]
Netherlands (NVPI)[37] Platinum 100,000^
Norway 200,840[38]
Germany (BVMI)[39] Platinum 500,000^
Hong Kong (IFPI Hong Kong)[40] Platinum 20,000*
Japan 300,000[41]
Sweden 753,420[42]
United Kingdom (BPI)[44] Platinum 750,000[43]
United States (RIAA)[46] Platinum 1,300,000[45]

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

References

  1. ^ a b Rees, Dafydd; Crampton, Luke (1991). Guinness Book of Rock Stars. Enfield: Guinness Publishing Ltd. p. 1. ISBN 0-85112-971-4.
  2. ^ a b Palm, Carl Magnus (1 September 2008). Bright Lights Dark Shadows: The Real Story of Abba. ISBN 9781847724199.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ https://www.discogs.com/it/ABBA-The-Album/release/2378144
  5. ^ a b Eder, Bruce. "The Album - ABBA | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 10 November 2020.
  6. ^ Larkin, Colin (2007). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th Concise ed.). United Kingdom: Omnibus Press. p. 31. ISBN 978-1-84609-856-7.
  7. ^ a b "NME Album Reviews – Abba". NME. UK. 23 November 2007. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
  8. ^ a b Rockwell, John (23 March 1978). "ABBA: The Album : Music Reviews". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 14 January 2009. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
  9. ^ "Official Charts Company". www.officialcharts.com. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  10. ^ Oldham, A, Calder, T & Irvin, C: "ABBA: The Name of the Game", page 201. Sidgwick & Jackson, 1995
  11. ^ "Album the-album « ABBA – The Album | Albums | ABBA". Archived from the original on 21 May 2017. Retrieved 8 June 2013.
  12. ^ Palm, Carl Magnus (2005). Abba : the complete guide to their music. London: Omnibus Press. pp. 44–50. ISBN 1-84449-505-1. OCLC 60589495.
  13. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970-1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 10. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  14. ^ "Austriancharts.at – ABBA – The Album" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  15. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 4628a". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  16. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – ABBA – The Album" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  17. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – ABBA – The Album" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  18. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970-2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  19. ^ "Charts.nz – ABBA – The Album". Hung Medien. Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  20. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – ABBA – The Album". Hung Medien. Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  21. ^ a b "Swedishcharts.com – ABBA – The Album". Hung Medien. Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  22. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  23. ^ "ABBA Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  24. ^ "Official IFPI Charts — Top-75 Albums Sales Chart (Combined) — Week: 45/2021". IFPI Greece. Archived from the original on 22 November 2021. Retrieved 29 November 2021.
  25. ^ "Jahreshitparade Alben 1978" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  26. ^ "Top 100 Albums of '78". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  27. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Album 1978" (in Dutch). Dutch Charts. Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  28. ^ "Top 100 Album-Jahrescharts" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  29. ^ "Top Selling Albums of 1978 — The Official New Zealand Music Chart". Recorded Music New Zealand. Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  30. ^ "1970s Albums Chart Archive". everyhit.com. The Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 6 October 2009. Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  31. ^ "Billboard 200 Albums - Year-End". Billboard. Retrieved 12 October 2021.
  32. ^ "CashBox Magazine" (PDF). Billboard. 16 September 1978. p. 50. Retrieved 13 November 2021 – via World Radio History.
  33. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Abba – The Album". Music Canada. Retrieved 28 August 2013.
  34. ^ "Abba The World - Czechoslovakia". Billboard. 8 September 1979. p. ABBA-8.
  35. ^ 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.
  36. ^ a b "Abba" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 28 August 2013.
  37. ^ "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.
  38. ^ Hultin, Randi (8 September 1979). "Abba The World". Billboard.
  39. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Abba; 'The Album')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 28 August 2013.
  40. ^ "IFPIHK Gold Disc Award − 1979". IFPI Hong Kong. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
  41. ^ "ABBA Cracks Japan Mart; Sales Surge". Billboard. 10 March 1979. p. 76.
  42. ^ Schulman, Leif (8 September 1979). "Abba The World". Billboard.
  43. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1985). 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 around 2.5 million
  44. ^ "British album certifications – ABBA – The Album". British Phonographic Industry.
  45. ^ Schulman, Leif (5 May 1979). "ABBA LP Sets Scene For Foreign Touring". Billboard. p. 38. Retrieved 4 November 2020 – via Google books.
  46. ^ "American album certifications – Abba – The Album". Recording Industry Association of America.