Date of Release : 12 December, 1977 - Polar POLS 282
The Album LP The Album Photo
2.Take A Chance On Me
3.One Man, One Woman
4.The Name Of The Game
2.Hole In Your Soul
3."The Girl With The Golden Hair": 3 scenes from a mini-musical: Thank You For The Music I Wonder I'm A Marionette
Mastertapes of the 'The Album' album
Recording sessions for The Album from 21 May 1977 - 10 November 1977:
The Name Of The Game (working title: A Bit Of Myself):
Backing track on May 31,1977 (Marcus Music Studio).
Sax and flute overdubs on July 19, 1977 (Marcus Music Studio).
Mixing between 12 and 16 September 1977 (Bohun Studio, Kungälv).
ABBA at their absolute best. The song rested on a sunny Californian laid-back chug-along rhythm, tightened-up by ABBA's icy Scandinavian sensibilities, whyle a 'Penny Lane-style synthesized piccolo trumpet added a whiff of late SIxties Britpop to the mix. The different sections of the song made perfect use of Agnetha and Frida's voices as musical instruments: they each had their own parts, but also drifted in and out of joint sequences - magically harmonised - in an ususually compelling way. 'The Name Of The Game' far transcended its Los Angeles inspirations. In fact, the song didn't sound like anything else on the music scene at the time. (taken from the book Bright Lights Dark Shadows by Carl Magnus Palm)
A pregnant Agnetha
Eagle (working titles: High High and The Eagle):
Backing track on June 1, 1977 (Marcus Music Studio).
More work on the backing track on June 2, 1977 (Marcus Music Studio).
Overdubs on October 10, 1977 (Marcus Music Studio).
The majestic 'Eagle' had some heavy metal patterns in its chords structure, although again, most of those strokes were camouflaged by ABBA's pop inflections. Björn found the inspiration for the lyrics in the Richard Bach novel Jonathan Livingston Seagull. "I was trying to capture the sense of freedom and euphoria that I got from reading that book", he said. 'Eagle' also meant a chance to hear Agnetha and Frida sing together throughout a whole song, an arrangement hat had been important to the group's early succes, but which would in fact occur on only a handful of songs after this album.(taken from the book Bright Lights Dark Shadows by Carl Magnus Palm)
Thank You For The Music:
Backing track on June 2, 1977. (known as the Doris Day version). (Marcus Music Studio) The group attempted a studio recording of this mini-musical song. They removed themselves slightly from the loose cabaret mood of the live version, arriving at an arrangement characterised by a slight ragtime feel. Agnetha put in a solid, Doris Day-inspired lead vocal performance and the whole group added backing vocals. This was as far as the recording got, however: it was still not the right way to present the song, and the track was shelved. (taken from the book Bright Lights Dark Shadows by Carl Magnus Palm)
2nd backing track on July 21, 1977 (Glen Studio) They decided to start all over again. Today, the group finally hit upon the arrangement and feel that were right for the song. Mixing on November 7, 1977.
One Man, One Woman (working title: Sjömansvisa):
Backing track on July 18, 1977 (Marcus Studio).
String overdubs on November 9, 1977 (Marcus Studio).
Mixing on November 10, 1977 (Marcus Studio).
'One Man, One Woman' seemed to be the first time that Björn lyrics clearly emanated from his own life experience: an honest report on where he and his wife were at. The opening lines, "No smiles, not a single word at the breakfast table," carried a potency like nothing else ABBA had ever written before. Without diminishing Björn's talent for writing simple and direct hit song lyrics, 'One Man, One Woman' was the first time that his words sounded truly genuine, He was emerging as the master of the art of describing life as it is, facing up the realities of everyday problems, as opposed to the rock myth of escaping form the dullness of a small-town existence. (taken from the book Bright Lights Dark Shadows by Carl Magnus Palm)
I'm A Marionette:
Backing track on 19 July 1977. (Marcus Music Studio)
2nd backing track on 1 August 1977. (Marcus Music Studio) String overdubs on 9 November 1977 (Marcus Music Studio)
Mixing on 10 November 1977. (Marcus Music Studio)
After the tour had ended, this song was the subject of some controversy. Swedish singer Harpo of 'Moviestar' fame, accused ABBA of utilising his idea of the song. For the past few years Harpo had been working on an as yet unrecorded musical of his own, entitled 'The Story of Peter Blue'. The project included a song called 'I' m A Marionette,', which the singer sometimes performed duirng his stage shows. There were some difficulties getting the mini-musical songs to sound right, which is slightly surprising, considering that they had been performed live on the tour, and would then have a set arrangement. There obviously was room for improvement, however. The second backing track of August 1, ended up on 'The Album'. (taken from the book The Complete Recording Sessions by Carl Magnus Palm)
I Wonder (Departure):
Backing track on 2 August 1977. (Marcus Music Studio)
Horn and string overdubs on 8 September 1977. (Europa Film Studios)
Hole In Your Soul (working titles: High On Your Love and Rock'n Roll): Backing track on 3 August 1977. (Marcus Music Studio)
Mixing on 1 November 1977. (unknown studio)
It is doubtful whether as weak as 'Get On The Carousel' from the mini-musical had ever been seriously considered for inclusion on 'The Album'. In any case, this day's recording session made sure that it would now definitely be scrapped, since its chorus had been pinched for the brigde in what was to become 'Hole In Your Soul' (Incidentally, some of the names mentioned in this song's lyrics were references to real people - 'Jerry', for instance, was apparently a nod to Jerry Greenberg, head of Atlantic Records, who released ABBA's records in the United States). (taken from the book The Complete Recording Sessions by Carl Magnus Palm)
Take A Chance On Me (working title: Billy Boy):
Backing track on 3 August 1977 (Billy Boy version). (Marcus Music Studio) This backing track recording featured a a guitar riff that would not be heard in the final verson. 2nd backing track (The Album version) on 15 August 1977 (Marcus Music Studio). At some stage, it had been decided that the 'Billy Boy' backing track recorded on 3rd August did not have the right feel, and so on this day a new version was recorded.
Bass, drum and tambourine overdubs for the Billy Boy version on 17 August 1977 (Marcus Music Studio). Mixing between 12 - 16 September 1977. (Bohun Studio, Kungälv)
Bass overdubs for The Album version on 24 October 1977. (Metronome Studio)
Mixing on 1 November 1977 (unkown studio).
Subsequently, Björn would come up with the right lyrics, proving that he certainly had not become a stranger to catchy pop lyrics, but arriving at them in a most unusual way, while out on a jogging round. "With 'Take A Chance On Me', I started out with a combination of consonant sounds going round in my head, 't-k-ch, t-k-ch, t-k-ch, which I felt were really rhythmic and sounded great. Then I had to find words that contained those sounds, and eventually I landed on 'take a chance' and simply added 'on me' to that. Once I have settled upon a hookline, I start thinking "what does this mean, is there a story in there somewhere?, and then I build the rest of the lyrics around that line." In this case, the result was an irresistibly catchy pop classic that pounded it's way into the ears of the listener. The final proof of its endurance came, of course, in 1992 when the Erasure cover topped the UK singles charts. (taken from the book The Complete Recording Sessions by Carl Magnus Palm)
Move On (working titles: Yippee Yay, Big John, Joanne and Love For Me Is Love Forever):
Backing track on 4 August 1977 (Marcus Music Studio).
Guitar, bass and steel guitar overdubs on 8 August 1977 (Marcus Music Studio).
Overdubs on 10 October 1977 (Marcus Music Studio).
If ABBA could spend several hours on finding the right way to arrange a song, they were also prepared to try many different lyrical ideas in order to find the one that best fitted the mood of the finished backing track. The song that on this day was known simply as 'Yippee Yay' would be subject to no less than three different themes before Stig Anderson came up the the title 'Move On'. The first of these to be tried out was 'Big John', those words being sung in a deep, dark voice inspired by Jimmy Dean's 1961 hit 'Big Bad John'. It would only be a matter of days before this idea was abandoned, however. On August 8, ABBA had discarded the 'Big John' them, supplanting it with the new working title 'Joanne'. A country music flavour was probably aimed for in this version, since this day saw not only guitar and bass overdub, but also a steel guitar overdub that was eventually left out of the final mix. (taken from the book The Complete Recording Sessions by Carl Magnus Palm)
ABBA at the Marcus Music Studio:
Pictures of the Marcus Music Studio Stockholm in 1977. Source: http://www.marcus-music.co.uk/
Worldwide single releases with tracks from this LP:
17 October 1977: The Name Of The Game - I Wonder (live). Polar POS 1234.
1977: The Name Of The Game - I Wonder (live). Atlantic 3449 (U.S.)
December 1977: Flexidisc 'Live 1977' Fernando, Rock Me, Why Did It Have To Be Me, Money Money, Money, Waterloo with snippets from the 1977 tour.
January 1978: Take A Chance On Me - I'm A Marionette. Polar POS 1235.
1978: Take A Chance On Me - I'm A Marionette. Atlantic 3457 (U.S.)
1978: Take A Chance On Me (test pressing) Atlantic 3457
May 1978: Eagle - Thank You For The Music. Polar POS 1237.
1977: Eagle - One Man, One Woman (Taiwan).
1980: Thank You For The Music - Eagle (Japan).
Promotion film clips:
June/July 1977: The Name Of The Game (The Movie version).
June/July 1977: Eagle (The Movie version, in elevator).
June/July 1977: Thank You For The Music (The Movie version, in studio).
September 1977?: The Name Of The Game.