It Was Thirty Years Ago Today | 20 August 2012

Today, 20 August 2012, marks the thirtieth anniversary of ABBA's final recording. And what a recording it was: their monumental swansong The Day Before You Came!

When people ask me to name my favourite ABBA song, I tell them that it is The Day Before You Came. Not Dancing Queen, The Winner Takes It All, Mamma Mia or other brilliant ABBA tracks. Nope. TDBYC is their ultimate recording.

And why? It must be the combination of the haunting synthesizer, Agnetha's dramatic voice, the superb lyrics and the operatic vocals by Frida. It's pure magic that lasts for almost six minutes.

Ever since the release of the song I've been hooked. I never understood why the single wasn't the commercial success it should have been. I've played it a million times on my headphones and my loudspeakers. First on 7"single, then from the better sounding 12"single and from 1984 onwards I've been playing it from CD.

There are many different sounding CD versions of the song: the original one can be found on the double CD The Singles. Later versions come from the dozens of officially remastered albums. Strangely enough, the original 1984 edition of the CD The Singles (on Polydor) is by far the most superior version. It has a crystal clear and mindboggling sound that has never been bettered. Some people prefer the 1994 Thank You For The Music box set version, but that sounds a bit too harsh for me.

I had high hopes when I read that The Visitors Deluxe Edition would not suffer from the loudness wars that went on and on when remastering CDs. But it's just not good enough on the latest from the Deluxe releases. Though it doesn't sound bad, the original The Singles CD version is still a lot better.

Everything that was released later was worse: too much bass or too much treble, not enough dynamic range, too much compression, et cetera. So if you want this song in perfect quality I strongly recommend buying the original 2 CD set of The Singles. It's sheer heaven in your CD player

picture belonging to column It Was Thirty Years Ago Today

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The birth of a myth
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