It is early September and ABBA has just announced they are going to release an album later this autumn. Two tracks are already available on YouTube. The four ABBAs will go on a virtual tour, visually recreated as their younger selves, with a live backing band.
ABBA has always been very protective of their brand. As far as I know, they only time they have allowed one of their songs to be sampled by another artist was when Madonna used the intro to Gimme A Man After Midnight in Hung Up.
You probably don’t know that the Swedish guitarist Janne Schaffer played on 50 of ABBA’s songs (he is not on the new album though). And you are equally unlikely to know that he has released a number of instrumental solo albums, including Earmeal which was recorded in 1978 with a group of session musicians that included Jeff, Steve, and Mike Porcaro. The album influenced me immensely as a teenager. I had just started to play drums and I hadn’t really been exposed to fusion music of any kind. All the songs are good, and the musicianship is amazing. Here is the opening track, Hot Days And Summer Nights. The flute is played by Björn J:son Lindh.
Electric Banana Band
Janne Schaffer also played in the Electric Banana Band (EBB) which was created as part of a children’s TV program. All the band members were dressed up, and Janne was a zebra! The music is both intelligent and funny although you have understand Swedish in order to fully appreciate it. The album Electric Banana Tajm is available on Spotify, and it contains most of their famous songs.
Here is a live concert from a reunion tour in the late 90s that shows just how tight and well-rehearsed the band is. I am pretty sure it is the incredible Per Lindvall on drums. Go to 40m30s for a groovy Swedish rap! The riff at 42m20s and 43m40s is from one of Janne Schaffer’s solo albums.