ABBA: The Book

Press Reviews

May 2004


December 2000

Christmas 2000
Thanks to Greg Hartney and Ian Cole


November 2000



No. 255

November 2000

(excerpt from the article)

Two heavyweight tomes devoted to the flared foursome, both of which lavish unrestrained praise on their subjects - there are few nasty revelations here - and score big points for heaviness, glossiness and sheer coffee-tableness...

From ABBA To Mamma Mia...

ABBA: The Book is less glamorous, but more informative. It includes informative biogs of the band before ABBA - superb haircut, Björn - and ends in 1982, apart from a brief "Where Are They Now?" section. The layout is simple and useful, with chapters for each year, and although the pictures lack the gloss of exclusivity of the first book, they're amusing enough, with plenty of magazine and record covers. The overall impression is one of extreme devotion on the part of the author - he's clearly a genuine fan.

The verdict? Well, for starters, not even the most devoted fan will need both of these as they're so similar. But - and it's a big but - your choice of book will rest on what you want from it. The Official Book is more photo-driven and less informative; it also 'feels' official, with all the airbrushed gloss that implies. ABBA: The Book is more a labour of love - less visual and more useful for reference.

The winner takes it all? Naah - at these prices, more like money money money (sorry).

Joel McIver



October 2000
  Herald Sun (Australia)
28 October 2000
Many thanks to Greg Hartney

(excerpt from the double page article)

“...Jean-Marie Potiez spent five years on his magnum opus, ABBA: The Book, not just digging through the yellowed newsprint of many nations (including the Herald Sun’s predecessor, The Sun) but also schmoozing out of Anni-Frid, Benny, Björn, Agnetha and their manager, Stig Anderson, ABBA’s day-by-day diaries and the most astonishing collection of rare photographs...
Potiez’s tenacity fills in a great many gaps. He even pinpoints when ABBA became an entity - the second week of 1970...
Stig acquiesced. “The only problem was that Abba is the name of the largest brand of canned herring in Sweden,” he grumbled.
As it turned out, the rest of the world didn’t know that, or care, and Potiez has the diaries to prove it, re-creating the global ABBA phenomenon day by mighty day until they disappeared into the smoke-machine smoke for the last time on November 11, 1982.
It seems ABBA’s French fans had it bad, though of course much later than, and not nearly as bad as we had it here. But I want to hear it from Potiez himself. I want to know his sufferings, his yearnings, his furtive spray-painting silver of his platform shoes. I call his number in Paris repeatedly, but he eludes me.
So I turn to the back flap of ABBA: The Book and scrutinise his photo. How old is he? Mid-30s? A very susceptible age for an ABBA-induced relapse.”

Alison Barclay


Rencontres & signatures

ABBA - The Book
le 26 octobre au Centre culturel suédois




Le Monde (France)
26 Octobre 2000

Si le mot "Waterloo" vous donne une folle envie de danser, rendez-vous allègrement au Centre culturel suédois. Jean-Marie Potiez, auteur de "la biographie la plus complète d'ABBA jamais publiée", y présentera son ouvrage - qu'il a mis plus de cinq ans à écrire, en épluchant minutieusement la carrière de chacun des membres du groupe légendaire-, ainsi qu'un documentaire, des photographies, et des objets leur ayant appartenu.

 The Pink Paper (UK)

Abba dabba do (06 October 2000)

ABBA: The Book billed as the definitive history of the band, is a lavish coffee table volume filled with more fan facts than any fan could hope for. It follows the entire story of the Swedish pop phenomenon years before their Eurovision breakthrough, to their eventual retirement in 1983. World tours are documented and a complete discography is supplied. The group had nine number one singles in the UK alone and have sold a staggering 350 million records worldwide, second only to the Beatles.
Tina Turner is quoted as saying “ABBA were pop music in its purest form; my favourite is Dancing Queen.” Legions of gay fans have agreed with her and songs like Gimme Gimme Gimme and Voulez-Vous are also surefire gay dancefloor fillers. Andy Bell’s fantastic medley of ABBA hits in the mid 90s brought them to the attention of a younger audience, and recent tributes have included the soundtrack from Muriel’s Wedding, and the West End smash hit musical Mamma Mia, an ABBA-fest from start to finish.
Despite the plethora of information on Sweden’s fab four in Jean-Marie Potiez’s book, the real delight is in the photography. Rumoured to have been dressed by Sweden’s premier gay costume designer, they commit crimes of fashion on page after page. Thrill to their sequinned excesses as you scoff your waffles.

Abba The Book / Jean-Marie Potiez

French music journalist Potiez is something of an authority on Abba, having made the documentary Thank You Abba in 1994, and now compiling this meticulously detailed chronology of the Swedish swingers' career. Packed with colour photographs showcasing nearly 20 years' worth of audacious fashion decisions made by Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Agnetha Fältskog. Potiez's tome is impressive in terms of its encyclopaedic trawl: from the1974 Eurovision winner Waterloo to lovelorn swansong album The Visitors in 1982, with every mega-hi, recording session, and "boring" tour (Björn's single controversial statement) dissected at length. **
Lynsey Hanley

September 24, 2000

(excerpt from the double page article)

 Now, nearly two decades after the group broke up, we still can't get enough of them, as ABBA: The Book proves. Our fascination with the second greatest foursome in pop music is as strong now as it has ever been.
Virginia Blackburn