When the single "People Need Love" was released in 1972, it was intended as a one-off collaboration between three successful Swedish pop entities: female singers Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad and songwriting/producing duo Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson. The single was credited simply to "Björn & Benny, Agnetha & Anni-Frid," with no intentions of further capitalizing on the partnership. But the success of the song - a Top 20 hit in their native Sweden - led to an album's worth of sessions, released throughout parts of Europe in 1973 as Ring Ring. The title track, a Swedish chart-topper, was a sensation in several languages, including German, Spanish and English (with lyrics penned by Neil Sedaka and Phil Cody). When the group reconvened for their second album Waterloo - the title track of which was a worldwide smash and the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest for 1974 - they were, once and for all, a group named ABBA. Now, Ring Ring is being celebrated with an array of 50th anniversary vinyl editions from Polar Music and Universal due on May 19.
The centerpiece of the campaign is a box set containing five 7-inch singles. Each has an A-side from the Ring Ring album plus a unique B-side. Each of the five singles is pressed on a different color of vinyl (transparent red, transparent yellow, white, blue, and red); they're all housed in a box with a lift-off lid. The picture sleeves draw on images from this period of ABBA's career. The singles are:
- He Is Your Brother/Santa Rosa (Polar POS 1168, 1972)
- People Need Love/Merry-Go-Round (Polar POS 1156, 1972)
- Ring Ring (English Version)/She's My Kind of Girl (Polar POS 1172, 1973)
- Ring Ring (Swedish Version)/Ah, vilka tider (Polar POS 1171, 1973)
- Love Isn't Easy (But It Sure Is Hard Enough)/I Am Just a Girl (Polar POS 1176, 1973)
All five singles will also be released individually.
If that's not enough from ABBA's early days, the Ring Ring album is being reissued in its original 12-song Scandinavian sequence on double 180-gram vinyl housed in a gatefold sleeve with an OBI and a certificate of authenticity. Miles Showell has half-speed-mastered the album at Abbey Road.
ABBA's groundbreaking theatrical Voyage continues to play in London, while further stagings are planned for other venues around the world. Ready to look back at Ring Ring? All formats are due from Polar and Universal on May 19 and are available for order now at the official ABBA Online Store.