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Bright Lights Dark Shadows: The Real Story of "Abba": The Real Story of "Abba" Paperback – 9 Jun 2008

4.1 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 600 pages
  • Publisher: Omnibus Press; 3rd Revised edition edition (9 Jun. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847724191
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847724199
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 3.3 x 19.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 933,814 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


Compelling and incredibly detailed...essential reading. MOJOA powerful, moving read. THE TIMES

From the Author

Bright Lights, Dark Shadows – The Real Story Of ABBA is my fourth book about ABBA. Admittedly, a fair number of books about the group have been published over the years, even if the market hasn’t exactly been flooded with them. Still, the inevitable question is: how does this volume differ from my previous efforts and those of others?

I believe Bright Lights, Dark Shadows is the first true, full-scale biography ever written about ABBA. At least, it’s certainly my first attempt to achieve anything along those lines. My first book about the group, ABBA – The Complete Recording Sessions, was a chronological account of the group's songwriting and recording work. Människorna och musiken (The People And The Music) was basically a Swedish, reworked version of The Complete Recording Sessions with some biographical detail added. From ABBA To Mamma Mia!, finally, was a collection of Anders Hanser's photographs of the group with my commentary text.

Bright Lights, Dark Shadows is a biography that begins with the childhoods and early days of all four ABBA members, as well as their all-important manager, Stig Anderson. Then follows an account of the members' pre-ABBA careers and Stig's rise to national fame and notoriety. This first section is called "The Days Before". In fact, these early days before all four ABBA members got together and started their tentative collaboration in the early 1970s take up quite a substantial part of the book.

Boring? Think again. Even though I already knew a lot about the four ABBA members' history before they formed the group, during the course of writing the book I was astounded at discovering and uncovering all the drama that occurred long before anyone outside Sweden knew who ABBA were. I also feel that this will give the reader important background information necessary to understand ABBA's cultural roots. And it does explain many of their later actions and decisions, during their years at the top, such as their reluctance to tour.

The book then continues with a somewhat shorter section, entitled "The March To Waterloo". This covers the period 1970–1974, ie the years when the four members had an on-off collaboration which gradually led to the formation of a permanent group.

Then comes the main section of the book, "The Time Is Right", which details ABBA's years of worldwide fame from 1974 to 1982. This is where you will find the ups and downs of their career, the bumpy road that made up the two couples' married life, the stories behind some of ABBA's most famous songs – including some analysis of their musical development – as well as the dramatic development of their business interests. And much more! Again, believe it or not, I found the ABBA story to be much more riveting than even I as an author had expected.

I should like to point out, however, that although Bright Lights, Dark Shadows doesn't flinch from some of the more distressing moments of the ABBA saga, the book is not a muckraker. Certain biography writers tend to put their subjects "on trial", with the intention of proving that they are ultimately deeply flawed, unattractive people. This was never my intention with this book, and I don't believe that's the impression anyone will take with them after reaching the last page.

The final section, "That's Our Destiny", aims to describe what happened to the four members and Stig Anderson after ABBA split up, including the rift between the group and their manager. It also describes the current ABBA revival, taking the story bang up to date with the success of the Mamma Mia! musical.

The book took me a full year to write, and this is not counting all the ABBA research that I've had ongoing since the early 1990s. I was working every single day between April 2000 and April 2001 before I finally submitted the manuscript. After further editing and additions I ended up with close to 240,000 words, which in this case translates as a 554 page book.

So is there anything new in this book for the diehard fan? Of course there is, it would be pointless otherwise. However, Bright Lights, Dark Shadows is also meant to be enjoyed by the general public. Therefore, some stories and events depicted in the book will be familiar to the most ardent fan. That should hopefully not detract from the new information that is in there.

On the subject of pictures: a couple of truly rare pictures have been included, which surely must be unseen by at least 99% of ABBA fans. But there are also some fairly familiar pictures, which are needed to properly illustrate the events depicted in the book. This book, then, is mainly about the text: the ABBA story. All pictures are in black and white, printed on four 8-page inserts.

I hope you will enjoy Bright Lights, Dark Shadows! --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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on 25 June 2008
Format: Paperback
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on 4 January 2002
Format: Hardcover
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on 19 July 2013
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
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on 5 October 2001
Format: Hardcover
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