Books about ABBA and related subjects

ABBA biographies, musical examinations and pictorial surveys

Reader reviews

published November 23, 2014

When I published the thoroughly revised and updated edition of my biography, Bright Lights Dark Shadows - The Real Story Of ABBA, I was very happy with the outcome. However, I found that I struggled a bit in explaining to people who'd already read the original edition of the book, published in 2001, why they would enjoy reading the updated version. Which is a shame, as I think the book is much, much better now, what with the impoved prose and structure, and the new bits of information scattered throughout the book

So, I thought: Why not ask those who read the updated version what arguments they would use to convince someone who was uncertain whether to read the book again or not. Here are some of the replies I received.

I'm an Abba fan since 1979 (at the age of 9) and collected everything (from music to posters, articles etc.) from then on. This to say, that I know quite a bit of the ABBA history, or at least I thought so!

I read the first edition of Bright Lights Darks Shadows when it came out. I was surprised to discover how many things I didn't know of.

When the second version came out, I wondered what added value this new edition could possibly have, if any. I was surprised by the addition of extra information. Not only things that happened after the publication of the first version, but also during the ABBA years. For instance, I was especially amazed by the mentioning of Krishnamurti in the revised edition as an inspiration for Frida by the end of the late seventies. I've read some of his books, after a recommendation by a friend with no connection to ABBA whatsoever. For this reason alone the revised version proved it's added value to me. But more examples are available, I'm sure.

In general you can say that even when you think you know everything of the ABBA history, this book proves you wrong! It's a great read (the book reads like a novel) and has many details. I'm sure I'll read it again. In short, it's a must have for every ABBA fan.

(Helena Buckinx)

I definitely think you should read the 2014 version of Bright Lights Dark Shadows because it takes the reader through the ABBA journey more logically and clearly than ever before. You end up with a much clearer understanding of what brought the group together, how they operated, and the forces that, quite naturally, dissolved the group as the 1980s progressed.

(Gary Collins)

With the passing of time, so much more information can be unearthed as facts come to light and errors corrected. Surely an updated version of anything is always better than an outdated one?

(Gareth Jones)

This updated version is indeed that: up to date with added info that surfaced since 2001 and all things ABBA right up until now. I truly enjoyed the read. It also made clear that the ABBA years were not easy nor uncomplicated.

(Ron Steens)

Facts have been checked and prose has been cleaned up. Really, the English language is much better now. I much prefer this updated version.

(Mark Coel)

I am about half way through the updated version and am finding it a much richer reading experience - I feel the updated version is more rounded and full of those little extras of information that makes the story more fulfilling - I am learning so much more about the characters that make up the story - all four members and Stig come across more vividly and human as a result - the first version of the book was a revelation to me - the updated version even more so!!

(Maria Martignetti)

I'm currently reading the updated edition (about to start chapter 31). It is such an engaging book, I've really struggled to put it down but have forced myself to take my time reading it just so I can absorb as much information as possible, it is so incredibly detailed. That is a reason alone to re-read this book, it's impossible to take everything in the first time. Plus if it was the original edition you last read, you will not only come across information that may not have sunk in before, but also benefit from the new details that have been added in this revised edition.

(Grant Robinson)

I'm at the Stig chapter, not long started it, and am enjoying the indepthness of it; I got the original, but needed this, as it has been updated throughout, not just last few years.

(William Wilson)

There wasn't much wrong with the original! Well researched, detailed & authorative. This is the same, with the addition of new info that has come to light since the original was written. A must read!

(Adam Bell)

If you have enjoyed the "Deluxe" series of the ABBA back catalogue then it is only natural you will be intrigued & impressed by this Deluxe and updated edition of "Bright Lights - Dark Shadows" .

(Philip Walkley)

I'd never read the 2001 version but a good friend got me the latest one as a gift for my 50th last year. I loved it! It ignited my love for Abba and taught me so much to place it all together from my years in the 70s when I was a crazy fan who loved them. This book brought it all back and hence why I am on ABBA Facebook groups now. I did not want the book to end and look forward to future editions.

(Ray Morrison)

Just as ABBA continually improved on perfection, so to does Carl Magnus Palm, with his fully updated 2001 biography of the supergroup. Re-structured with even more new information, the author succeeds in not only telling the story of their active years in even more amazing new detail, but manages to bring the story right up to 2014 and explore why the group and it's individuals can be regarded as even more successful today then in their heyday. A must read as we end this special 40th anniversary celebratory year.

(David Kinsella)

I think you should read the 2014 version of Bright Lights Dark Shadows because it is quite simply the best ABBA biography ever written. The book offers an exceptionally in-depth look at ABBA and the updated 2014 edition is even better than its predecessor.

(Robert Verbeek)

I think you should read the 2014 version of Bright Lights Dark Shadows because the definitive account of the lives and workings of ABBA now offers even more insight. If you think you learned a lot from previous editions, this one is going to beef up your ABBA knowledge more than you would ever expect. Think of it as a deluxe edition with really good bonus material.

(Jack Lovejoy)

I think you should read the 2014 version of Bright Lights Dark Shadows because this book tells the real story: how it all started from the beginning to the end. It tells the story about Agnetha, Frida, Björn and Benny before ABBA and after, it tells about their relationship and divorce. It's was so emotional for me and it brought tears in my eyes. You all should read this book, it's definitely worth it.

(Lena Osbourne)

I think you should read the 2014 version of "Bright Lights, Dark Shadows" because the real story of Abba is still unfolding. This updated edition has had a Michael B Tretow-like sparkle added to it with its refined wording and invaluable snippets of information from the definitive expert on Abba. Fans can always rely on Carl to provide up to the minute details of our favourite group and if you want to keep ahead this is a must buy.

(Steve Markham)

Abba: I have followed this band's musically career since 1974 onwards. Unlike so many mega success bands the group have always protected their private lives in such a way that there was never any complete biography with any credibility at all through out their heydays. Until Bright Lights saw the light of day... in 2001.

This may have a lot to do with the fact that they are four Swedes, however those unanswered questions about the band, the music, the relationships, and the amazing collaboration of four artists had to be answered - I felt.

My first read of edition 1 back in 2001, was like seeing the best movie ever- As with all great movies you want to see it again maybe even remastered with delected scenes.

This is how I found the new edition of Bright Lights a must fan read.

(Steve Humphreys)

I think you should read the 2014 version of Bright Lights Dark Shadows because...if you think you know everything there is to know about ABBA, this will prove to you that you don't! It's detailed, interesting, involved and told in a chatty and friendly manner. It seems 'lighter' in manner than the original, leading to a much easier read. This very morning, the final page, p.575, brought me to tears.

(Sara Russell)

Bright Lights Dark Shadows - The Real Story Of ABBA by Carl Magnus Palm

Bright Lights Dark Shadows - The Real Story Of ABBA. Revised and updated edition published by Omnibus Press, January 30, 2014. English language. 600 pp. Paperback. ISBN: 1783053593.