ABBA CRS Excerpt 01 – 1973 - Carl Magnus Palm. Excerpt 01 1973.pdfBenny Andersson (keyboards),...
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Transcript of ABBA CRS Excerpt 01 – 1973 - Carl Magnus Palm. Excerpt 01 1973.pdfBenny Andersson (keyboards),...
the complete recording sessions
197310 JanuaryMetronome Studio. Recording Ring Ring.
17 JanuaryMetronome Studio. Mixing Ring Ring (Klocklt); Ring Ring (Zedaka).
Benny Andersson (keyboards), Janne Schaffer (guitar), Rutger Gunnarsson (bass), Ola Brunkert (drums).
FOR THE 1973 EDITION of Melodifestivalen, the Swedish selection for the Euro-vision Song Contest, Sveriges Radio (the equivalent of Great Britains BBC) decided that only professional composers would be invited to contribute songs. In order to decide on a suitable list of song writers, they asked a number of record industry people to make a list of ten songwriters or songwriting teams each, whom they thought would be able to come up with a competitive tune. Among those finally chosen were the team of Bjrn, Benny and Stig Anderson; they had proved their viability by finishing third with Sj det med en sng (Say It With A Song) as performed by Lena Andersson in the 1972 Melodifes-tivalen, a song that was by far the biggest hit of all the entries that year. Their participation was announced by the newspapers in November 1972, and, in late December, it was reported that Bjrn & Benny, Agnetha & Anni-Frid would per-form the Andersson/Anderson/Ulvaeus contribution.
It was a perfect opportunity: not only would they gain exposure on prime-time television in their home-country, but if they won the selection they would get a chance to perform their song in front of hundreds of millions of viewers all over Europe. Indeed, after the past few years largely fruitless attempts at getting Bjrn and Bennys music heard abroad, Stig Anderson had concluded that Euro-vision would be their best bet for making an international impact. Certainly, there had recently been the odd promising opening here and there the release of Shes My Kind Of Girl and subsequent singles in Japan; People Need Love being issued in France, New Zealand, the United States and West Germany but that decisive breakthrough still eluded them. If they could connect directly
i feel like i win when i lose 1973
with an audience, they thought, they would be able to bypass conventional music business wisdom and prove that, despite being Swedish, they were able to write, produce and perform hits for an international market.
On the weekend of 67 January 1973, Bjrn, Benny and Stig Anderson went out to the island of Viggs to try to write the perfect song. Of course, Bjrn and Benny wrote the melody on their own, but after that it was Stigs task to come up with a catchy title and Swedish lyrics. With at least 1,000 lyrics under his belt at this stage of his career, Stig was well aware that he needed to keep it simple: he was writing for an international audience and then there was no use in trying to come up with convoluted lyrical concepts he needed a catchy title to match the catchy tune. He was probably familiar with the success of American late Sixties bubblegum hits such as The Archies Sugar, Sugar and Ohio Express Yummy Yummy Yummy, or more recent British hits such as Funny, Funny and Co-Co, both by The Sweet, noting how effective it could be if you repeated a word twice or even three times in the chorus. On that January day, seated by the kitchen table in the Viggs house, the title must have come to him very soon after hear-ing Bjrn and Bennys finished tune: Started writing lyrics for Eurovision song
Bjrn, Benny and Michael Tretow hard at work in the control room of the Metronome Studio. This was where ABBA recorded their very first single, People Need Love, created the embryonic ABBA sound with Ring Ring, and made the majority of their recordings for the first half of their career.
the complete recording sessions
Ring-Ring, he wrote in his diary entry for 7 January. B+B took the boat home in the evening. (Note: If Stigs diary has been quoted accurately in his daughter Maries book about her father, Bjrn and Benny couldnt have been present during the backing vocals overdub session for Ted Grdestads album on 7 January [see above], as they would still have been at Viggs at the time.)
All four ABBA members, and Stig, had entered or tried to enter Melod-ifestivalen before, with mixed results (see sidebar). Upon finishing Ring Ring, however, the team knew that they had something with great potential on their hands. When we had reached the last note of that song, we knew that it was the best thing wed ever written, said Bjrn and Benny in an interview a few months later.
The Metronome studio was promptly booked for 10 January and the night before, Bjrn, Benny and Michael Tretow met up at Michaels place an apartment located only a short walk from the recording studio and discussed the best way to record the song. Michael, always keen to try new recording methods, had read a recently published book about legendary producer Phil Spector (Out Of His Head: The Sound Of Phil Spector by Richard Williams), which was the first time he was able to confirm his theories about the secrets behind Spectors record-ing techniques. On classic hits such as Be My Baby, Then He Kissed Me, Da Doo Ron Ron, Youve Lost That Lovin Feelin and River Deep Mountain High, the book revealed, Spector had used three guitars instead of one, three pianos instead of one, three basses instead of one, and so on, with each particular instrument playing the exact same part and blending into his famous wall of sound, rendering individ-ual instrumental contributions almost impossible to separate. That explained why it sounded like five guitars, Michael would later recall, it was because Spector really did use five guitars.
Bjrn and Benny, who were long time fans of Spector, agreed that they should try this approach when recording Ring Ring. With fate decreeing that Michael had come across the Phil Spector book at this particular point in time, he points out that it was just a coincidence that [we tried this recording method on] Ring Ring, although it was
Legendary record producer Phil Spector was the inspiration behind the Ring Ring sound. The top picture shows the biog-raphy where Michael Tretow discovered the truth about Spectors recording methods. The two albums feature some of his most famous early Sixties productions for acts such as The Ronettes, The Crystals and Darlene Love.
i feel like i win when i lose 1973
understood that it had to be an up-tempo song. However, there was no budget for bringing a Spectorian number of musicians into the studio, so they would have to let the musicians record their parts twice instead, in the hope of achiev-ing the same effect.
Recently Michael had also been staying late at Metronome Studio, experiment-ing with the tape machines on his own. While recording himself playing the electric guitar and then overdubbing the exact same part, he discovered that another way to deepen the sound was to alter the speed when doing the over-dub, in fact making the second part just slightly out of tune. It sounded like the worlds biggest guitar, Michael would recall. It was like stepping inside of a five feet high guitar. He decided that he would try this approach when they recorded the second overdub on the Ring Ring backing track, although he didnt tell Bjrn and Benny about it. I changed iton the sly, he remembered. It was a risky thing to do considering the expense of the musicians and studio time that would be wasted if it failed. But Michaels risk-taking paid off in a way that per-haps even he hadnt dared imagine. It was like the roof was caving in, Bjrn and Benny were ecstatic. And I can still remember the chills and how the hair stood up on my arms. It really was something else.
Changing the speed during the recording of vocal and/or instrumental parts was an effect that would be used on and off during ABBAs recording career, although with all the sounds blending into each other in the groups soundscape its often impossible to determine when the effect has been used. Ring Ring may be an exception, however, with close listening revealing vocal parts on the choruses that sound almost like cartoon mice, particularly on the Swedish version.
Another typical ABBA feature, introduced on this record and also borrowed from Phil Spector, was the handling of the lead vocals. Rather than being the focal point of the recording, they were almost buried in the mix, more or less treated as just another sound ingredient. So unusual was this approach to recording that when the single was released, Polar received complaints from Sveriges Radio, who insisted that there must be something wrong with the mix.
In all likelihood, considering the time and effort that was spent perfecting the backing track, the Swedish vocals were not recorded at the 10 January session. The group probably didnt return to Metronome Studio until 17 January after
the complete recording sessions
all, Polar usually only had access to Metronome on Wednesdays, and both 10 and 17 January were Wednesdays. At any rate, the Swedish version was mixed on 17 January; presumably the working day started with the recording of the vocals, after which Agnetha and Frida left for home, while Bjrn, Benny and Michael remained at the studio and did the mixing.
On the tape box containing the finished mixes, the title of the song is given as Ring Ring (Klocklt), the title within brackets translating as Bell Song. Although this suggests that Klocklt was the working title of the song, this was not the case since the Ring Ring title already existed when the song was brought to the studio. Instead, Klocklt was probably jotted down on the tape box just for fun, being a humorous reference to Kalle Sndare (Charlie The Transmitter), a comedian who was a favourite for all four ABBA members as well as the session musicians and many others in the groups