8 Aug 2010
Obscure Inspirations #2
ABBA, anyone? In this case you're most likely familiar with the group, but if all you've heard or remember is "Dancing Queen", you are not that familiar with the minds behind it. Even in their most middle-of-the-road hits, there are lots of clever and often eclectic stuff tucked away inside. Not to mention the odd, bold diversion from the mainstream as in the epic, semi-psychedelic "Eagle" above.
Oh, by the way: On the improvisational / effects guitar — Janne Schaffer. (And Lasse Wellander on the lead. He's not too shabby, either.) Schaffer played on about 50 of the ABBA tracks.
When the group split up, the songwriters (Andersson/Ulvaeus) went on to paint on an even broader canvas in a couple of musicals: "Chess" and "Kristina from Duvemåla". Even on their earliest albums, you can hear that that kind of development was kind of inevitable.
(No, "Mamma Mia" does not count - that's just a rehash of old hits!)
Finally, we mustn't forget that Benny Andersson was one of the very few owners of a Yamaha GX1, the largest and most expensive synth ever made. The list went something like: Keith Emerson (Emerson, Lake & Palmer), John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), Stevie Wonder (2 of them!), Benny Andersson, Jürgen Fritz (Triumvirat), Rick van der Linden (Ekseption), and pretty much noone else. Only about 6 were ever sold, although some of the above changed hands a couple of times...
(Looking at it these days, you'd think some of them would have been recycled as props for a Star Trek movie!)