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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 1 December 2000
Being a fan of Abba since Brighton 1974, when they blazed onto the international scene, I`ve read everything about them that I could get hold of. Nothing compares, for me, with the book that I have just read. "Abba The Book" by Jean-Marie Potiez. Its the most comprehensive and in-depth study of Swedens supergroup yet. I cannot praise it enough. Jean-Marie an out and out Abba fan himself has left no stone unturned. Years of research into Swedens archives, many conversations with friends of, and those who worked with them throughout their reign having taken place, the book is an exercise in detail. Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny and Anni-Frid each have a chapter as does Abba`s manager Stig Anderson, who was of course their friend and co writer of many of their massive hits. The book then chapters Abba`s progress from 1969 to 1982, an in-depth diary style account, many pages have comment from Band members on matters of the time. Later chapters imform us of what Swedens fab four are up too now. "Abba the Book" is packed from cover to cover with the most fantastic photographs, many in colour, that I have ever seen of them, from backstage at Brighton, those two stunning Scandinavian girls in their "Waterloo" costumes to what must be family album pics of Bjorn and Agnetha(Complete with pigtails) with their new baby on their laps. pics of Benny and Anni-Frid at home as well of course. This book is a photo album,a diary, a text book and a complete story. If you are a fan of Abba its an absolute MUST.A large hardback printed on quality paper I recommend it!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 13 December 2000
Jean-Marie Potiez has produced a wonderful book. The fantastic photos (many of which have not previously been published) are worth the price of the book alone. The photos must have been very carefully selected: they are all, unfailingly, flattering and the band never look less than achingly glamorous. The informative and enjoyable commentary, pieced together from a mind-boggling number of interviews, is clearly a labour of love and there are many surprisingly revealing and poignant quotes. Particularly sweet (and, ultimately, sad, given the couple's subsequent history) is Frida's statement that the best thing that ever happened to her was Benny, not ABBA. The history of the ultimate pop group is traced on a year-by-year basis, from the mid 1960s, following the pre-ABBA careers of each member, through the romantic encounters, to the Eurovision win, to the will-we-ever-have-another-hit? tension, to (phew!) world domination. Every step is lavishly illustrated with great photos. ABBA's story reads like a film script - humble beginnings, beautiful people in love, amazing talent, runaway success leading to a heartbreaking denoument. There is even a 'where are they now?' epilogue. This book wipes the floor with Potiez's video documentary of the band ("Thank you ABBA"). While it will certainly be a treasured luxury for ABBA's huge army of fans, this excellent book will also be of interest to anybody with an interest in perfect pop.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 2 January 2001
Hands down the best book available on ABBA. It's meticulously chronologically detailed (similar to the recent Beatles Anthology) and is a great read from start to finish. It contains the best quality photos I've seen of the group, printed on high quality paper. Beware, though: it does contain much information that the average ABBA fan will already know, and the individual members contribute little new in the way of personal insight or experience. The individuals comprising ABBA, unlike the Beatles, will remain an enigma; the first truly postmodern supergroup.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Abba remain hugely popular in Britain and many other countries more than twenty years after they disbanded. This book is not an in-depth study of the different personalities and their difficulties, but it gives plenty of information about the members of Abba and their manager, including their lives before and after Abba. And (at least in my hardcover edition) there are pictures - plenty of them.
Regarding the four members of Abba, three of them (Benny, Bjorn and Agnetha) were born and raised in Sweden, all apparently having fairly normal childhoods, only their musical talent setting them apart from others. All three became hugely successful in the Swedish pop charts, Agnetha as a solo singer, Benny and Bjorn as members of separate groups.

The odd one out was Anni-Frid, better known as Frida. She was born in Norway as the illegitimate child of a German father and Norwegian mother. Frida was mainly raised by her grandmother, who took her to Sweden, where her mother joined them but died of illness a few months later, aged just 21. Frida also found it much harder than the others to achieve success in music, but she did eventually have some big Swedish hits of her own.

The author presents the main years (1969 to 1982) on a year-by-year basis, explaining the different events that occurred in each year - records, tours, TV, their personal lives - in a semi-diary format.

As far as the music is concerned, the story is quite complicated and not always easy to follow, but that is no fault of the author. Before they became Abba, they were four separate acts, each with their own careers and signed to different record companies. Once they came together as Abba, different things were happening in Japan, Australia, Germany, Sweden and elsewhere with different records - even before 1974. That was the year that Abba won Eurovision and charted for the first time in Britain and America.

There have been many books on Abba and will surely be many more. Despite being a huge Abba fan, this is the first I've read. If you're only going to have one book on Abba, it might as well be this one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 4 October 2000
This is the perfect book for any true ABBA fan or even just for those with a passing interest in the group. It has loads of glossy pictures including some that have never been seen before and it manages to avoid the scandalous rumours about the group that have been made up to sell other books recently. It is definitely worth a look, if only for a look at the extensive ABBA trivia it contains. All in all, a very impresssive title.
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