The songs of ABBA are reaching new generations of fans, thanks to a second hit musical movie. Bernard Löhr was the engineer who recaptured them!
For a decade or more from 1972 onwards, ABBA were one of the best-selling bands in the world, yet also one of the least cool. Over the years, however, their leaden critical reputation has turned into gold, while ABBA recordings have continued to sell; the band are now among the top 20 best-selling music artists of all time, with an estimated 400 million record sales.
At the end of the ’90s, ABBA’s music was adapted for the stage in the hugely successful musical Mamma Mia! A decade on, the movie version became the UK’s highest-grossing film of 2008, and the soundtrack album went to number one in the UK and the US. Ten years on, ABBA are at it again, with the movie sequel, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. Again, they’ve enjoyed huge box-office success, and the soundtrack album has proved a major worldwide hit, topping the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. To cap it all, ABBA have apparently recorded a couple of new songs, slated for release at the end of this year.
Bernard Löhr has been at the controls for the recording and mixing of all ABBA-related activity during the 21st Century, including the two Mamma Mia! movies and the two forthcoming ABBA songs. This was a role previously fulfilled by engineer and producer Michael B Tretow, who is a living legend in Sweden and was often called “the fifth ABBA member”. However, in 2001 Tretow suffered a stroke and he retired not long afterwards. Following this, ABBA’s main writers and producers, keyboardist Benny Andersson and guitarist Björn Ulvaeus, asked Löhr to take over.
By this time, Löhr had already been handling engineering and mixing duties on Andersson’s and Ulvaeus’s non-ABBA projects for a long time. The fact that he began his studio career back in the 1980s clearly still informs many of his gear choices and working methods today.
“I played guitar in bands from the age of...
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