The most commercially successful pop group of the 1970s, the origins of the Swedish superstars ABBA dated back to 1966, when keyboardist and vocalist Benny Andersson, a onetime member of the popular beat outfit the Hep Stars, first teamed with guitarist and vocalist Bjorn Ulvaeus, the leader of the folk-rock unit the Hootenanny Singers. The two performers began composing songs together and handling session and production work for Polar Music/Union Songs, a publishing company owned by Stig Anderson, himself a prolific songwriter throughout the 1950s and 1960s.
The titles of hits compilations always deal in superlatives: "Greatest," "Best," "Very Best" – but the compilers of this ABBA collection have a special problem justifying the release of yet another such album after the multi-platinum success of 1992's ABBA Gold: Greatest Hits and its 1993 follow-up, More ABBA Gold: More ABBA Hits. (Indeed, the band was never shy about repackaging, issuing a Greatest Hits LP in 1976 as only its third U.S. album, followed by Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 in 1979 and The Singles [The First Ten Years] in 1982.) They have settled on The Definitive Collection and done their best to live up to the name. The 37-track double CD contains "for the first time exclusively collected in one package…
The 2008 nine-disc box Albums is neither the first ABBA multi-disc set nor the first time the pop group's albums have been collected and housed in a box set, but it is the first time a set of their complete recordings has been widely disseminated (such are the perks of being a companion to an international blockbuster) and it's the best of the lot, containing all eight of the group's albums (for the record: Ring Ring, Waterloo, ABBA, Arrival, The Album, Voulez-Vous, Super Trouper, The Visitors), plus a 17-track rarities disc that rounds up non-LP singles (including "Fernando" and "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)"), songs sung in Swedish, and plain oddities like a medley of the American folk songs "Pick a Bale of Cotton," "On Top of Old Smokey," and "Midnight Special."
The most commercially successful pop group of the 1970s, the origins of the Swedish superstars ABBA dated back to 1966, when keyboardist and vocalist Benny Andersson, a onetime member of the popular beat outfit the Hep Stars, first teamed with guitarist and vocalist Bjorn Ulvaeus, the leader of the folk-rock unit the Hootenanny Singers…
"Gold: Greatest Hits" is a compilation album of recordings by Swedish pop group ABBA. Since 1992, Gold has been released several times, most notably in 2008 to coincide with the release of the film Mamma Mia! and most recently in 2014 to mark the group's 40th Anniversary of winning the Eurovision Song Contest. The 40th anniversary edition of ABBA Gold not only will have listeners singing along to the catchy tunes but will leave them sharing the admiration many fellow musicians have expressed for Björn and Benny’s songwriting skills and production talents. For fans of good pop music, this collection is indeed gold.
The initial Polydor Abba CDs released in 1982 were only available in territories where PolyGram had the Abba licence but this was to change in 1983 as Polar entered the CD market. In reality, Polar’s entry into the CD market masked a simple case of outsourcing as PolyGram were simply asked to press up copies of their Abba titles with Polar catalogue numbers and packaging. While PolyGram would continue to supply their local markets with red coated Polydor CDs, Abba’s other European licencees would be sent the ‘Polar’ CDs.
They may have been released later than the first European Abba CDs but the group’s earliest Japanese CD releases are much rarer and more sought after than even the coveted West German redface Polydor CDs. The six titles released by Abba’s then Japanese licencee, Discomate, in early 1984 [The Visitors and Super Trouper have 1983 copyright dates] remained in circulation for a relatively brief period of time before being supplanted by Polydor’s P33P series three years later. By this time, Discomate had either lost its Abba licence or gone bust, depending on what version of events you believe. In any case, the CDs seem to have sold relatively poorly and are rarely seen for sale within the collector’s market – when they do, they generally fetch astronomical amounts by the standards of Abba CDs.