ABBA’s ‘Twinkling Star’ Takes Flight

by: Diego Martínez

April 3, 2012

Hardcore ABBA fans screamed with joy when reps of the legendary Swedish supergroup announced that an unreleased song would see the light of day as part of the tracklist for the Deluxe Edition of their 1981 swansong “The Visitors,” due out April 23rd. It came as a surprise for everyone, as it’s the first time since 1994 that Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny and Frida have allowed any unfinished tune to leave the confort zone of Polar Music’s vaults.

The song, titled “From A Twinkling Star To A Passing Angel” is actually a 8-minute medley of demos that trace the evolution of the piece that eventually became “Like An Angel Passing Through My Room,” the closing track for “The Visitors” and perhaps the most minimalistic and eerie recording credited to the once happily and bubbly pop demigods of the 1970s. ‘From A Twinkling Star’ recieved its world premiere recently on BBC Radio 2 and for all it’s worth, it shows how the making of ‘Like An Angel’ was truly challenging in the midst of somewhat frosty sessions (the group entered the studio just a month after Benny and Frida’s divorce).

The demos comprise a rework of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” led by Bjorn, followed by a run-through with Benny on electric piano and Frida on lead vocals, similar to the final version. In between are a recording by Frida and Benny on grand piano with alternate lyrics entitled “Another Morning Without You”; a “Disco” attempt in the vain as “Lay All Your Love On Me” (from “Super Trouper”) with the final lyrics in place; a ballad interpreation with full band and orchestra; an use of Vocoder effect on Frida’s vocals and finally an outtake of the familiar album tune.

When asked about the medley last year, Benny Andersson said, “It was fun to put this thing together, just to show what the process can be like. It’s an interesting observation on how you labour over things before you reach the final result.” Listen to an average-quality clip of “From A Twinkling Star To A Passing Angel” while awaiting patiently for the Deluxe Edition of “The Visitors,” which will also include other bonus tracks and a DVD chockfull of videos, TV appearances, vintage commercials and a sleeve photo gallery. As an ABBA fan and music lover in general, what more could you ever want?


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