Perhaps more than any other Greatest Hits compilation, Abba Gold has come to define a band's career on one disk. More than that, its release in 1992 heralded the critical rehabilitation of a group which had, since its demise a decade earlier, become little more than a memory of trashy costumes and cheesy tunes to many people. Here, Elisabeth Vincentelli charts the circumstances surrounding the birth of Abba Gold, looks at the impact it had on the music world, and tells the stories behind some of the greatest pop songs ever recorded.
About the Author
Elisabeth Vincentelli is music editor of Time Out New York. She has also written for the Village Voice, Rolling Stone, and Entertainment Weekly among many other publications. She grew up in France and has loved Abba since watching them triumph at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
It's true that Elisabeth Vincentelli's introduction to Gold is occasionally a bit self-conscious: It amuses me that so many people admit their fondness for this band as some kind of "guilty pleasure". I mean that's a lot of guilt when a group has sold some 375 million copies. (Yeah that's Universal Music's official count.) That aside, Vincentelli's respect for the extreme craft of Ulvaeus and Andersson's music, arrangements and production shines though on every page and her analysis of what makes many of these songs so enduring is refreshing. As many times as I've heard Dancing Queen, for example, I'd never thought about how daring it is for a pop song to launch with a glissando then move directly into the chorus. She also gives attention to the significance of this album in essentially launching the revival of a band many had forgotten by 1990. Arguably without Gold, which has never left the British pop chart in almost 20 years, there would have been no Mamma Mia! musical and no induction for ABBA into the Rock Hall of Fame in 2010.