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"In Focus": how the clips of the cult pop group "ABBA" were created

In the 1970s, few other artists could match ABBA in releasing music videos (or "promotional videos," as they were then known). These entertaining and, judging by the number of views on YouTube, quite successful mini-movies give us a reason to look at the history of ABBA in a new way ...

How ABBA videos were created: history and interesting facts

Formed early 1970s, over time Swedish ABBA pop quartet became truly cult ... The group is considered one of the greatest in history: "ABBA" never stopped topping the charts from 1974 to 1983, given that the team broke up in 1982... It was ABBA that brought their homeland the first victory at Eurovision, performing a delightful anthem in 1974 "Waterloo." (which is still popular to this day!) The worldwide circulation of the group is estimated at staggering 150 million copies! No wonder the band is the 3rd best selling singles performer in the UK... The quartet's rich repertoire includes dozens of excellent songs, many of which have become big hits! But… what about music videos? Don't they deserve special attention?

Why ABBA made so many videos

ABBA Group
ABBA Group

In the 1970s few other artists could compare with ABBA for the release of music videos (or "promo clips"as they were then called). These are fascinating and, judging by the number of views on YouTube, rather successful mini-movies give us a reason to look at the history of ABBA in a new way ...

When the music lovers entered into the 21st century, there were quite a few pop music fans who never encountered the fact that the current single of the artist was not accompanied by a music video ... And what can we talk about if TV channels such as MTVhave been around for so long! However ... at the peak of fame ABBA, in the 1970s years, very few artists filmed "promo clips". Yes, it may seem strange (especially today), but it is true. Initially, the fashion for clips came aboutt The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, and later picked up ABBA, David Bowie, Queen and others... But let's not digress from the topic. So why "ABBA" filmed so many clips?

For four Swedes, video clips have been an integral part of their career since their international breakthrough! Beginning with "Waterloo.", they made promo clips for almost every single they released, as well as some tracks that were never singles! What is the reason? This was partly because the group wanted to travel as little as possible - the members ABBA it was easier to do just a few big tours. They just discovered at some point that television was the best and most effective way for them to reach their audience...

Focus Master Lasse Hallström

Lasse Hallström
Lasse Hallström

The person whom ABBA chosen to help create the promo clips, there was a young director named Lasse Hallström. His first clips "Waterloo" and "Ring Ring" were filmed in 1974 year. Both of them were quite simple and contained direct performances of two songs.

But a year later, Hallstrom received an order to create clips for four songs from ABBA's third album of the same name ... In these mini-movies - "Mamma Mia", "SOS", "Bang-A-Boomerang" and "I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do" Hallström was a bit more ambitious, introducing the visual elements that defined the style ABBA.

For example, he found that the four members of a band could easily be regrouped into different combinations of pairs, to a poignant effect...

"Charm in simplicity"

ABBA Group. Photo: Benny Anderson
ABBA Group. Photo: Benny Anderson

When clips from the third album ABBA played an important role in the success of the group in Australia, there was no point in looking back: from now on, commercials will become an important marketing tool for the Swedish pop quartet ... However, this did not mean that they were popular, they were filmed with any generous budget. Sometimes it took a strictly limited amount of time to shoot: sometimes two videos were shot in one day, which seems simply incredible! Fortunately, Lasse Hallström, who has been filming clips for television under similar conditions since the 1960s, knew how to overcome these obstacles: each time he managed to create something simple, but eye-catching for viewers ... For example, in the video "The Day Before You Came" was shown beautiful Stockholm Ersta Bridge

And the video for the song "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)" was filmed in a studio in Stockholm. Simple, concise, but it turned out really attractive - it is curious to watch the idols recording another timeless hit ...

Favorite and most unfortunate work ...

ABBA
ABBA

Today the only clip ABBA, which Hallström really dissatisfied, Fernando 1976 years, which scored, by the way, more than 100 million views on YouTube!

“They are sitting by the fire and playing the guitar, and behind them is some kind of “starry sky,” the director noted. "It's too arbitrary..."

However, more alive "Money, Money, Money", released later that year, stands out as Hallström's favorite in his work with ABBA!

“It totally matched the lyrics and the music!” he mused. “I have always enjoyed editing my work in a way that matches the music, to emphasize the rhythm and message of the music, to provide musical support, not just to tell a story…”

Subtle visualization

ABBA
ABBA

As an aspiring filmmaker and storyteller, Lasse Hallström I have often found that the best approach is to give ABBA songs a visual base that closely matches their meaning and sound. For example, where there was a dance beat (in songs such as "Dancing Queen" and "Voulez-Vous"), the group filmed in a disco setting. When the lyrical theme was loneliness and grief (as in "The Winner Takes It All" and "When All Is Said and Done"), Agnetha and Frida played the role of single women ...

Partly video clips ABBA - it is also something like a sightseeing tour of Sweden, especially its capital, Stockholm! Some of the buildings in which filming took place (these include a club from "Dancing Queen" and studio from "Gimma!") no longer exists. In the clips of the group, many picturesque places in the open air are also presented ... Vivid examples are the island of Djurgården and the Orsta bridges in "Bang-A-Boomerang" and "The Day Before You Come?". In the clip "Head Over Heels" we can see several scenes from the very center of Stockholm…

Go down to the western coast of Sweden, to the city of Marstrand, and you will find yourself in the location "The Winner Takes It All"!

History of recent clips...

ABBA Band. 80-е
ABBA Band. 80-е

Lasse Hallström was a regular video director ABBA before the beginning 1982 of the year. During this time, he also made a 1977 feature film about the group. When he made his first music video for ABBA, his very first film release was just around the corner, and by the time he and the band parted ways, he was firmly established as one of the most successful directors in Sweden! IN 1985 the premiere of his film took place "My Dog Life", and the international success of this picture led to a prolific career for Lasse in Hollywood.

The last two clips ABBA, "The Day Before You Came" and "Under Attack", were created by the team represented by Kjell Sundvall and Kjell Andersson, both of whom also had successful careers as filmmakers in Sweden.

These last works were released in 1982, when videos became an important marketing tool in the entire music business, and even ABBA was spending a little more money on their mini-movies (although filming for both videos was still time-limited...)

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