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J. Hughes "realistcritic77" (Manchester, UK)

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Abba: Bright Lights Dark Shadows (Updated edition)
Abba: Bright Lights Dark Shadows (Updated edition)
by Carl Magnus Palm
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Book About ABBA Ever..., 17 Aug 2014
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I've read many books about ABBA. Mr Palm's book is by far the best of them. It gives a real insight into
the pre & post ABBA lives & careers of the four members. And about ABBA as a group it gives a great
many details that will be interesting & new to a great many Fans. I cannot recommend the book highly
enough. Some of the details are baffling. Such as why Epic Records chose to re-issue 'Ring Ring' in
the UK, after 'Waterloo' had been a No.1 Hit. ('Ring Ring' had already flopped here in October 1973).
The 1974 reissue, (which was also a remix), only reached No.32. At the same time 'Honey Honey'
was covered by the male/female duo Sweet Dreams, & they took it into the Top 10 - at No.10. ABBA
would easily have taken it into the UK Top 10, & Epic should have rushed it out, to compete with
the Sweet Dreams version. Instead ABBA's original version never got a UK release. A huge mistake.
ABBA did not have another UK Top 10 Hit until 'SOS' reached No.6 in the 2nd half of 1975. The book
also explains how Atlantic Records did a huge ABBA promotion, in the USA, in early 1978, with ABBA
themselves going over to do TV etc.. It created much interest in them there, & 'Take A Chance On Me'
reached No.3 & 'The Album' became their highest charting USA Studio Album & that reached No.14.
Yet, the rest of 1978 saw Atlantic not bother to promote ABBA in the USA at all. There were no
further USA Singles in 1978, even though 'Eagle' & 'Summer Night City' were big Hits in much of
Europe. Epic Records chose not to release 'Eagle' in the UK or Ireland. It would easily have been
a Top 5 Hit in both countries. Instead there was just a long gap between 'Take A Chance On Me'
& 'Summer Night City'. Another inexplicable decision by Epic Records. The book is full of trivia,
with a lot of of facts & figures. A terrific & informative book. Extremely well written too.

Missing 411-The Devil's in the Detail
Missing 411-The Devil's in the Detail
by David Paulides
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Disturbing But Fascinating Book, 10 Aug 2014
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I've now bought & read all 4 books by Mr Paulides about 'Missing' people. I find them most disturbing & unnerving. My heart sinks when the person is a little child. You read on - hoping that they were found alive. (If they were found at all). I find his books to be fascinating & addictive. Something very odd is 'taking' many of the victims. The patterns in many of the disappearances are too close for them not to be linked in some way. It may be 'Big Foot' that is taking some of the people, but I do not believe that they can be blamed for all of them. Something much more sinister & dark than 'Big Foot' is going on. We may never find out what it is. I hope that David publishes more 411 books, as I cannot recommend them enough to anyone who likes to read about strange phenomena. Even people who like to read about 'True Crime' will find these books hard to put down, once they start to read of case after case of the unfortunates who have mysteriously gone missing.

Top 10 of Everything 2015
Top 10 of Everything 2015
by Paul Terry
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £4.99

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beware! This Is The USA Edition, 10 Aug 2014
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Warning! - Although this Edition of the book is excellently laid out & entertaining to read, it is not the usual UK aimed version. It is the USA version. This means that several of the Lists are based solely on what has happened in the USA. No-where is this more obvious that on Page 168, where we get a List of the Top 10 Biggest Selling Artists Ever. (Music Artists). In 1st place is Garth Brooks, who means very little in the UK & Europe over-all. He's only big in Ireland, & that is a tiny Sales Market. He's sold over 134 Million Albums in the USA, but only about 5 Million in the rest of the World! The book gives him 69,424,000 USA Sales as it is only counting from 1991 to 2013. Metallica are in 3rd place, then we have George Strait in 6th, Tim McGraw in 8th, & Alan Jackson in 9th. None of those Artists would be anywhere near the Top 10 if it were based on UK or Global Sales. Page 169 gives us the Top 10 Biggest Selling Albums Ever, (since 1991), & Metallica are in 1st place with 'Metallica' - 15,948,000. Again it is just a USA List, & it has no relevance to the UK or the World. I just wish that Amazon would tell us if the edition of the book that they are selling is based on USA Facts & Feats & Sales etc. There is another 2015 edition of the book published on 2nd September. It has a totally different cover. Will it be merely a soft back edition of this USA book, or will it be the UK edition that I've been collecting for Years? An edition where we get details of the biggest ever Singles & Albums & Artists in the UK, (& World), & the same for Films etc.

Dreamboats And Miniskirts: Summer In The City
Dreamboats And Miniskirts: Summer In The City
Price: £8.00

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent selection of 1960's Hits, 22 July 2014
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An excellent selection of 1960's Hits. It even has the full version of 'Hang On Sloopy'
by The McCoys. Until now, I did not realise that the 1965 Single, (UK No.5/USA No.1),
was edited. A verse was removed. But, the longer version is included on this Double CD.
As far as I know, it is the first time that any UK Compilation has included the longer
version of that Hit. So that was a bonus, & a big surprise.

ABBA: All The Top 40 Hits
ABBA: All The Top 40 Hits
by Craig Halstead
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.22

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Have Book For All ABBA Fans, 12 May 2014
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It is an excellent Book. I bought several copies - for myself & friends.
There are details of every ABBA Hit Worldwide - Singles & Albums.
Plus their Hits before ABBA, (pre-1972), & their Hits after ABBA. You
also get photos of all of those Hits, & details of their B-Sides. As well
as how many No.1 Weeks ABBA etc. had in each Country. At the back
of the Book a Points System has been used to reveal ABBA's biggest
Singles & Albums Worldwide. With their Solo Hits included - where
they scored enough. You also get the full Track Lists of every ABBA
Album, & their Albums outside ABBA. I cannot recommend the Book
highly enough.

ABBA: The Singles [VINYL]
ABBA: The Singles [VINYL]
Price: £202.18

4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Nice - But Flawed, 12 May 2014
This review is from: ABBA: The Singles [VINYL] (Vinyl)
This 40 Singles Box Set is very attractive, but it is flawed. An effort should have been made not to repeat any of the Tracks, even if it meant deviating from the A & B Side 'Theme' at times. For example, 'Watch Out' is in twice. It is quite silly that 'Does Your Mother Know' has been used as the B-Side of 'Estoy Sonando', (Single 29), when it was only the B-Side of that Single in Argentina. It means that the Set also has it as the A-Side of Single 27. 'Estoy Sonando' should have either 'As Good As New' or 'Conociendome, Conociendote' ('Knowing Me Knowing You' - in Spanish), as they were its B-Sides elsewhere. Either would have added an extra Track to the Set - rather than having a duplicated Track on Singles 27 & 29. As the Set is very expensive, an effort should have been made to ensure that no Track was in it more than once. Hence why the Set is not as good as it should have been. I give it 5 Stars for the quality of the Music in it.

Abba Gold Anniversary Edition
Abba Gold Anniversary Edition
Price: £12.99

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disk 3 Should Have Been Stronger....., 10 April 2014
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Disk 3 in this 3 CD 'Set' is of ABBA B-Sides. Strangely, nowhere in the sleeve notes, or on the 'Case' does it say which ABBA Singles they were the B-Sides of. So, to the casual buyer, they will not have a clue about the origin of each B-Side. Now to the actual B-Sides themselves - several of those chosen are very weak. In fact 'She's My Kind Of Girl' is not even by ABBA. It is a 1970 Song by Benny & Bjorn, that is nothing to do with ABBA. Agnetha & Frida are not even on it. (It is like adding an old Ringo Starr song to a Beatles Compilation!). But because it was the B-Side of the English language 'Ring Ring' in Sweden, (1973), it has ended up on 'Gold'. Other weak B-sides on CD3 are 'I Am Just A Girl', 'King Kong Song', 'Medley', 'Crazy World', & 'Man In The Middle'. ABBA had far stronger B-Sides, which should have been chosen instead. Such as 'Tiger', (B of 'Dancing Queen' in Japan), 'If It Wasn't For The Nights', (B of 'Super Trouper' in Japan), 'As Good As New', (B of the Spanish 'I Have A Dream' - 'Estoy Sonando' - in Spain & France), & 'Bang-A-Boomerang', (B of 'SOS' in France). How those 4 could be left off, & feeble rubbish like the B-Sides I've mentioned got to be included, is anyone's guess. The fact that about 13 or 14 of the 20 Tracks on CD3 are quite good, seems to be luck rather than judgement. As to how this 3 CD 'Set' will fare in the UK. Well its Sales & Chart Positions will not be allowed to be added to previous Editions of Gold. This is because the Gold & More Gold Disks have been on sale on their own in the past. It has to be counted as an entirely 'New' ABBA Compilation. It does not look like it is going to be much of a Hit in the UK. The fact that around 5,130,000 UK people have the 'Gold' Disk in it, seems to be stopping many people buying it. The reason why there is no 'Åh vilka tider' & 'You Owe Me One' on Disk 3 is simple - Benny & Bjorn greatly dislike those 2 ABBA B-Sides, & they would not allow Universal to include them. Benny & Bjorn still have the final say on what can & cannot be included on ABBA releases. We are now in the rather silly position of Benny & Bjorn not allowing 'The Fans' to have the complete 'Just Like That', on the grounds that it is not good enough - but they OK'd 'King Kong Song', 'Man In The Middle', & 'Crazy World', to go on CD 3 of 'Gold'! It is all rather illogical, & extremely regrettable. I give the 3 Disk 'Set' 5 Stars, for the bulk of the Tracks, which are excellent & worthwhile.

More ABBA Gold
More ABBA Gold
Price: £3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Now Part Of The 3 CD ABBA Gold '40th Anniversary' Edition, 3 April 2014
This review is from: More ABBA Gold (Audio CD)
It works out better to ignore both More ABBA Gold & ABBA Gold at the moment. Both Disks are included in the 3 CD ABBA Gold '40th Anniversary Edition' which is out on Monday 7th April. You also get a 3rd Disk in that, of 20 ABBA B-Sides, & at least 13 of them are very good indeed - The Piper, Elaine, Kisses Of Fire, Andante Andante, & Soldiers etc.

Gold: Greatest Hits
Gold: Greatest Hits
Offered by Sent2u
Price: £11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Buy The Forthcoming 3 Disk Anniversary Edition Instead!, 23 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Gold: Greatest Hits (Audio CD)
Rather than paying £11.99 for this 1 Disk - 19 Track original Edition of ABBA Gold, why not see sense & buy the forthcoming ABBA Gold Anniversary Edition for the cheaper price of £11.50? It is released on April 7th. It has 3 Disks - the original 19 Track Gold, as well as the 20 Track 'More ABBA Gold'. Disk 3 has 20 ABBA B-Sides on it. Several of which are excellent ABBA Tracks - I've Been Waiting For You, Kisses Of Fire, Elaine, The Piper, Soldiers etc. So you get 3 Disks in the April 7th Gold, with a total of 59 ABBA Songs on them. And it costs 49p less than the 1 Disk, 19 Track original ABBA Gold. I'm going to buy several copies of the 3 Disk Anniversary Edition to give as gifts to friends. It is available for Pre-Order now.....

Ring Ring
Ring Ring
Price: £6.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not ABBA's Best Album By Far...., 22 Oct 2013
This review is from: Ring Ring (Audio CD)
I've always regarded 'Ring Ring' as ABBA's weakest Studio Album. Having said
that, it has some great Tracks, including the Title Track. The Swedish version
of 'Ring Ring' was one of only 3 Swedish No.1 Singles for ABBA. The other 2
were 'Dancing Queen', & 'Summer Night City'. This was because ABBA chose not
to release a lot of their Global Hits in Sweden. 'Åh Vilka Tider' is not added
as a Bonus Track, for one simple reason - Benny & Bjorn don't like it, so they
said they did not want it on this 'Deluxe' Album. We will have to see if ABBA
can come up with something more exciting, for the 40th Anniversary of their
1974 Eurovision Win, in 2014. (For a start - we've not had a brand New ABBA
Single since 'Under Attack', in late 1982).

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