The Visitors


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The Visitors
ABBA studio album

Publication
(s)

November 30, 1981

Label (s) Polar Music (LP)

Universal International (CD)

Format (s)

LP, MC, CD

Genre (s)

pop

Title (number)

9/13/16

running time

37'39 ″ (LP and original CD)

occupation
  • Bass : Rutger Gunnarsson

production

Benny Andersson & Björn Ulvaeus

Studio (s)

Polar Music Studios, Stockholm
Sound engineer: Michael B. Tretow

chronology
Super Trouper
(1980)
The Visitors The Singles - The First Ten Years
(1982)
Single release
4th December 1981 One of Us
5th February 1982 Head over heels

The Visitors is the eighth and final studio album by the Swedish pop group ABBA . It was first released in Sweden on November 30, 1981. The recordings in the studio lasted from March to November 1981. Around the same time as the LP, One of Us was released as a single and became the group's last international chart success, while the subsequent single Head over Heels flopped. The Visitors was also the first published audio CD in music history and was presented on August 17, 1982.

Compared to ABBA's previous albums, this one has some musical peculiarities that were previously rarely used in the group's productions. The two ABBA singers Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad sang together not a single piece on the entire LP . The lead vocals in each of the nine songs were split between one of the two. In addition, many elements that had previously been characteristic of the group's music were replaced with new ones. The lyrics deal with separation, the pain of parting and the fear of war.

Emergence

Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus began composing for a new studio album in February 1981. The divorce of the two ABBA members Andersson and Lyngstad, which was publicly announced on February 12, 1981, overshadowed the work within the band. The recordings for three new pieces began on March 16, 1981 at Polar Music Studios in Stockholm. Among them was When All Is Said And Done, a pop ballad whose lyrics are about a broken relationship and should refer to the separation of Lyngstad and Andersson. Accordingly, Lyngstad took over the lead vocals and let the emotional aspects flow into her vocal performance, which were given in view of her private situation at the time.

Also Slipping Through My Fingers was one of the first three-rehearsed songs. Ulvaeus came up with the idea for the text after watching his daughter Linda go to school. It is about the mixed feelings of parents when their children grow up and the loneliness and nostalgia associated with it. Here Agnetha Fältskog took over the lead vocals and later said that the song "felt very real". A symbolic setting of the kitchen and breakfast table that appear in the lyrics of the song is now in the ABBA Museum on Djurgården in Stockholm.

Another song, the basic tracks of which were recorded in March 1981, was Two for the Price of One , in which Ulvaeus took over the lead vocals for a change. He later said that the song could have been a hit despite the trivial lyrics if Fältskog and Lyngstad had sung the lead vocals. Around the same time, the previous analog recording device in the recording studio was replaced by a digital one with 32 tracks. Between April 27 and 29, 1981, Slipping Through My Fingers and Two for the Price of One were recorded live for the Dick Cavett Meets ABBA television special , along with performances of some older ABBA songs.

On May 26th, a first attempt was made to record Like an Angel Passing Through My Room . This first demo version had the working title Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and was sung by Ulvaeus. Another alternative to the same melody came up with Another Morning Without You , where Lyngstad sang solo. Until the end of the recording sessions, other variants with different instrumentations and lead vocals were tried out. A version that included both ABBA singers was later discarded and replaced by a version in which Lyngstad sings completely alone. For the Deluxe Edition of the album, a nine-minute medley was put together in 2012 , which documents the creation of Like an Angel Passing Through My Room over several alternative versions.

On September 2, 1981, I Let the Music Speak and Head over Heels began recording . The musicians had problems especially with the latter. Since the new digital studio technology worked very precisely, sound engineer Michael B. Tretow could only experiment moderately with delaying and shifting the tracks, which made the recordings appear “drier” and “colder”. Despite the catchy melody and the sophisticated arrangement, Head over Heels seemed “frozen”, but is still one of the livelier and happier songs on the album. Meanwhile, I Let the Music Speak testified once again to the ambitions of the two composers to write a musical. At the same time, Should I Laugh or Cry was produced, which later did not appear on the album's track list because it was considered "not consistent enough". Instead, it was released as a B-side in December 1981.

On October 15, 1981, the recordings with Soldiers, One of Us and the album's eponymous song The Visitors came to an end. The text of the former dealt with the fear of war and the fear of a possible new fascist movement in connection with the Cold War . One of Us was again about the aftermath of a broken relationship and began on October 21st. The piece was later removed from the album as the first single and became the group's last international hit. The theme song was recorded from October 22, 1981. The text by The Visitors is about surveillance and visits by the security police to dissidents in the Soviet Union. In mid-November the recording and post-production of all songs were finished.

Album cover

The album cover was designed by Rune Söderqvist together with the photographer Lars Larsson. Söderqvist depicted the group in the cold, unheated studio of the painter Julius Kronberg in the Skansen open-air museum , Stockholm. In the background there was a large painting by Julius Kronberg depicting the Greek god Eros . For the first time, the cover no longer showed the group as a community, but instead showed each member individually. This gloomy mood within the group was reflected both in the melodies and in the lyrics of many of the songs. According to The Making of The Visitors , the cover is also the result of a certain exhaustion due to years of being together as a group.

Track list

Original LP

Page 1:

  1. The Visitors (Crackin 'Up)
  2. Head over heels
  3. When All Is Said and Done
  4. Soldiers

Page 2:

  1. I let the music speak
  2. One of Us
  3. Two for the Price of One
  4. Slipping Through My Fingers
  5. Like an Angel Passing Through My Room

Bonus title (CD edition)

  1. Should I Laugh or Cry
  2. The Day Before You Came
  3. Cassandra
  4. Under attack

Deluxe Edition (2012)

  1. You Owe Me One
  2. I am the city
  3. From a Twinkling Star to a Passing Angel (Demo Medley)

Chart successes

album

year title Top ranking, total weeks, awardChart placementsChart placements
(Year, title, rankings, weeks, awards, notes)
Remarks
DE DE AT AT CH CH UK UK US US SE SETemplate: chart table / maintenance / charts non-existent
1981 The Visitors DE1
platinum
platinum

(31 weeks)DE
AT3 (18 weeks)
AT
CH93 (1 week)
CH
UK1
platinum
platinum

(22 weeks)UK
US29 (17 weeks)
US
SE1 (16 weeks)
SE
First published: November 30, 1981
Chart entry in CH only in 2012

gray hatching : no chart data available for this year

Singles

year Title
album
Top ranking, total weeks, awardChart placementsChart placements
(Year, title, album , rankings, weeks, awards, notes)
Remarks
DE DE AT AT CH CH UK UK US US SE SE
1981 One of Us
The Visitors
DE1 (22 weeks)
DE
AT3 (12 weeks)
AT
CH3 (7 weeks)
CH
UK3
gold
gold

(10 weeks)UK
- SE13 (2 weeks)
SE
First published: December 4, 1981
1982 When All Is Said and Done
The Visitors
- - - - US27 (14 weeks)
US
-
First published: December 1981
Head over Heels / The Visitors
The Visitors
DE19 (12 weeks)
DE
AT8 (2 weeks)
AT
- UK25 (7 weeks)
UK
US63 (8 weeks)
US
-
First published: February 5, 1982

swell

Individual evidence

  • Carl Magnus Palm: Light and Shadow. ABBA - The real story. Bosworth Edition, 2006, paperback edition, 638 pages. ISBN 3-86543-100-3
  1. p. 508
  2. p. 509
  3. a b p. 512
  4. a b p. 513
  5. p. 516
  1. p. 80ff.
  2. a b c p. 82
  3. a b p. 83f.
  4. a b p. 81
  • Jan Gradvall, Petter Karlsson: ABBA - The whole story in 600 pictures. G + J NG Buchgesellschaft mbH, Hamburg 2014, 400 pages. ISBN 978-3-86690-404-0
  1. p. 356
  2. p. 346
  1. ABBA The Visitors , audio CD 2001, text accompanying the CD
  2. www.welt.de Music from the Blu-ray Disc: More data, better sound (article from October 25, 2010)
  3. www.stern.de ( Memento of the original dated February 11, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. CD celebrates its birthday: 25 years and a bit quiet (article from August 17, 2007) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.stern.de
  4. Carl Magnus Palm: Abba - Story and songs compact. Bosworth Music GmbH, Berlin 2007, page 77f
  5. a b Carl Magnus Palm: The final phase - The Making of The Visitors (English) ABBA The Visitors Deluxe Edition, Polar Music International AB, 2012, text accompanying the edition, p. 8, p. 20
  6. ABBA the Site, the official Website - The Making of The Visitors ( Memento of the original from October 28, 2006 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.abbasite.com
  7. a b ABBA - The Worldwide Chart Lists ( Memento of the original from April 6, 2012 on WebCite ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / home.zipworld.com.au