Film 93 – A For ABBA – ABBA in Concert – Kate Bush: Wow – Top of the Pops – tape 55

An older tape in numerical terms, but in fact a much later set of recordings, as first on this tape is Film 93 with reviews of

There’s a location report on Kenneth Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 7th June 1993 – 23:15

In the next episode, Barry reviews

He also previews

Tom Brook reports about the summer movies, including Jurassic Park and the less successful The Last Action Hero. Also, Sliver which tries to bring “a feminine perspective to female masturbation” according to Brook.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 14th June 1993 – 22:20

After this, we have A For ABBA, in which John Peel looks at the timeless appeal of Sweden’s greatest pop group.

John Peel

With contributions from the great and good of the music industry, like Tim Rice

Tim Rice

Ian McCulloch of Echo and the Bunnymen

Ian McCulloch

Eddi Reader

Eddi Reader

Elvis Costello

Elvis Costello

Ray Davies of the Kinks

Ray Davies

Pete Waterman, record producer, in being complimentary about their music: “It was almost like Muzak. It was perfect.”

Pete Waterman

Roy Wood of Wizzard,

Roy Wood

Philip Hauenstein of the Royal College of Music wrote his doctoral dissertation on “Compositional Procedure in the songs of ABBA”

Philip Hauenstein

In among all the musicians, we keep hearing from Lowri Turner, fashion editor for the Evening Standard, who frankly as nothing useful to say about music, so all she does is criticise the way the group looks, and in particular is quite vile about Frida. “Everyone wanted to be Agnetha.”

That might be projection.

Lowri Turner

I don’t remember this animated version of ‘Money Money Money’ at all. Did they have an animated series, like the Osmonds and the Jackson 5 did?

ABBA the animated series

This programme does produce a lot of interesting appearances or the group, not just Top of the Pops or their videos. Here they are talking to Lesley Judd on Blue Peter.

ABBA on Blue Peter

And on the Mike Yarwood show. Mike is doing Larry Grayson and making Dancing Queen jokes

ABBA on the Mike Yarwood Show

BBC Genome: BBC One – 20th July 1993 – 21:30

After this, we go to later that same evening for ABBA in Concert. This is a recording of one of their concerts at Wembley Arena. But the beginning is some behind the scenes of them travelling across America. I guess, because they only played one location in the UK, there wasn’t much footage of them travelling across the UK.

I went to one of their Wembley concerts. My big sister was a colossal ABBA fan, getting the fan club magazines and everything, so when the concerts came around, she really wanted to go. But at the time she was only just 16, and my parents didn’t want her to go on her own. So I was the lucky beneficiary, only 15 myself, of having to chaperone her at Wembley. Of course, I really liked ABBA too, so I was delighted, and that’s how ABBA were my first live music gig.

This concert film has always been a little disappointing to me, because after all the behind the scenes stuff (which, frankly, we’d seen before in ABBA The Movie) they launched straight into Voulez Vous, missing out the opening of the show, which still stays with me. I couldn’t remember the exact music that was played, but the concert opened with an instrumental, and (as I recall) the stage surrounded by blue curtains. The music plays for a minute or so, and then there was a particular modulation or chord change,  the lights went up brighter and the curtains opened to reveal the band. That particular moment has always stayed with me, so I was delighted when they finally released a complete live album a couple of years ago, which opened with exactly this piece of music, and it was exactly as I had remembered it. It’s strange how these things stay with you, even though you only see or hear it once. Our youthful memories can be so powerful.

ABBA at Wembley

There’s a moment in this film where they’re rehearsing a children’s choir to accompany the band in I Have A Dream, and they’re singing really high and very off key. The film cuts to Bjorn looking very serious. “Try singing an octave down” suggests their teacher.

Try it an octave lower

BBC Genome: BBC One – 21st July 1993 – 00:10

After this, there’s a segment from a UK Gold repeat of Top of the Pops. It’s Kate Bush singing ‘Wow’.

Kate Bush

Then, a bit of Jilted John singing Jilted John

Jilted John

Then, the monstrous Jimmy Savile introduces M singing Pop Music

M singing Pop Music

Then more Kate Bush, and Wuthering Heights. All these seem to come from different episodes on UK Gold.

Kate Bush Wuthering Heights

This performance sounds like it was one of those re-recording by the Top of the Pops orchestra. It’s definitely not the single. She might also be singing it live.

There’s another Savile sighting before the Boomtown Rats do I don’t Like Mondays. Another song I love, possibly because it’s another stringly piano-led song with a great string section.

Boomtown Rats

Then the end of an episode featuring The Buggles, and after that the recording stops.


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