Dick Cavett Meets ABBA


Filmed 27-29 April 1981  


Location SVT Studios, Stockholm, Sweden
Broadcast 12 September 1981 in Sweden (SVT, TV1) at 10pm
4 December 1981 in Germany (ZDF) and repeated in April 1982
19 September 1982 in Netherlands (KRO); also 16th November 1993 (MTV)
21 November 1981 in Belgium (BRT)
July 1993 in Germany (3-SAT) and
16 November 1993 in Germany (MTV)
28 July 1983 in France (A2, France)
1982 in Australian, Channel 7 as the programme 'ABBA Today' hosted by Greg Evans and featuring the songs from Dick Cavett Meets ABBA but not the interviews
1982, CBC, Canada
Released "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!"; "Super Trouper"; "Two For The Price of One"; "Slipping Through My Fingers" and "On & On & On" have been officially released on DVD as part of the ABBA - The Complete Studio Recordings* boxed set
This entry is a mess and I know it!  Without full information about all available versions it's hard to update it comprehensively.

The show was co-produced by SVT1, Polar and ZDF.  The show was originally supposed to be filmed in Germany, but instead it was the Swedish Television who got to film it.

After two days of rehearsals starting on 25 April 1981, ABBA recorded their interview with US chat show host Dick Cavett on 27 April 1981 and from 28-29 April 1981 performed songs from Super Trouper live in a "mini-concert".  Originally Dick Clark was supposed to host this programme but he wanted twice as much money as Dick Cavett.  ABBA themselves wanted to have Dick Cavett as a host because Björn said in the Swedish paper: "We thought long and hard and wanted to find someone who could make our 10th anniversary a memorable one. We wanted someone who was fun and the thought came up "Dick Cavett. He is is very skilled and humorous. We wanted a mix of singing and interviews."  The audience in the studio was mostly English-speaking which was demanded by Dick Cavett - that the audience would understand English.  Björn described it as, "A happy conversation, more than just an interview!" Click here for a rehearsal picture.

Depending on which version of the show you have, the "latest single" would have been shown as either "When All Is Said and Done" or "One of Us". The German broadcast featured a different version of the "One of Us" PROMO featuring a different scene. (See "One Of Us" entry). In the US, Cavett was hosting a late night talk show on PBS, but the network did not secure the rights to the special.

ABBA sang Cole Porter's song "Don't Fence Me In" in Swedish and then in English.

The music introducing the programme was Benny & Björn's Fanfare for the Ice Hockey World Championships 1981.

There's a picture of Benny playing an accordion (he was playing "Lotties Schotties") but this was not included in any of the final broadcasts.  During the photo sessions, Dick Cavett took Agnethas Pulse!

Bjorn played acoustic guitar on "Super Trouper", the ending of "Two For The Price Of One", "Me and I", "Thank You For The Music", "Slipping though my Fingers" and "Knowing Me, Knowing You".

Songs performed were:
Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)
Super Trouper
Two For the Price of One
Slipping Through My Fingers
Me and I
On & On & On
Knowing Me, Knowing You
Summer Night City 
Thank You For The Music

Different versions were broadcast in different countries. It was felt that none of them included ALL nine songs but the Canadian version did*.  A DVD release as part of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions in November 2005 included "Gimme Gimme Gimme", "Super Trouper", "Two For the Price of One", "Slipping Through My Fingers" and "On & On & On".  Apparently SVT has 'lost' the remaining four songs: "Me & I", "Summer Night City", "Knowing Me Knowing You" and "Thank You For The Music" even though ZDF have them ("Summer Night City" and "Gimme Gimme Gimme!" was used in their Kultnacht programme around 2002/3 but were both shortened versions of the songs performed on the original Cavett programme.  Björn filmed a different introduction especially for the German version.

According to a photo in the book "From ABBA to Mamma Mia!" by Carl Magnus Palm and Anders Hanser, "Andante, Andante" was included in the set list (in Björn's handwriting) although there's no hard evidence that it was actually performed or recorded.

Backing musicians were:-
Lasse Wellander, Mats Ronander and Björn Ulvaeus on guitars
Ola Brunkert on drums
Rutger Gunnarsson on bass
Benny Andersson and Anders Eljas on keyboards and
Åke Sundqvist on percussion

Backing vocals provided by: Tomas Ledin, Lisa Öhman & Lena Ericsson:-
Björn on Dick Cavett:
Frida on Dick Cavett:
Agnetha on Dick Cavett:
Gunnar Nilars (Producer) on Dick Cavett:

Dick Cavett was wearing boots he borrowed from Björn!  Frida asked Dick Cavett to try to pronounce "777" in Swedish (sjuhundrasjuttiosju).


  1. 52 mins - long interview, clips from ABBA The Movie and ABBA in Concert, video of WAISAD and live performances.
  2. German version

Canadian version, CBC Television called "ABBA in Concert"
Running order:
Intro clips of ABBA: The Movie and “ABBA in Concert” (1979)
One of Us (promo video)
When All Is Said & Done (promo version)
Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!
Super Trouper
Two for the Price of One
Slipping Through My Fingers
Me & I
Knowing Me, Knowing You
Summer Night City
The Day Before You Came (video)
Thank You For The Music
On & On & On.

It was an hour long programme, and the interview was expurgated.

On one version, (the German one?) Björn introduced the members of ABBA:

They recorded the nine songs onto 24 track tape and Michael B Tretow reduced them down to one track for television.

Personally, I've never liked this programme.  None of them look happy and the live performances are generally poor with them all appearing stiff and unrelaxed.  Michael B Tretow once told me in an interview that the lack of movement in this programme was because they wanted to get the best live recording possible.

The programme was sold to 2 English TV companies: London Weekend Television (LWT) and Southern.

Norway may have been a test country for this programme as they had a 2 hour (or 2 part) show. The first show was the interview and a few live songs. The second show was broadcast a few days later and had all 9 songs and both the videos to "When All is Said & Done" and "One of Us" with no interviews.
UPDATE (Feb 2010) from Norwegian fan: This is not 100% correct - The only version shown was the one with the long interview, "When All is Said and Done" video and the 5 live songs. The other version that you refer to where they show both "One of Us" and "When All Is Said and Done" with the 9 live songs was shown on Swedish Television. The confusion may have occurred while in parts of Norway they could watch Swedish television and therefore might think that they saw it on Norwegian television. I have the recording of the Swedish version and I know this since it has Swedish subtitles. And also Norwegian television was not very ABBA friendly at the time and it is highly unlikely that they would have bothered to show two almost identical ABBA shows, nor to actually pay for it as they didn't have that much money in those days.....

"Dick Cavett Meets ABBA" was not part of the American Dick Cavett talk show series, but a stand alone programme filmed and produced by SVT in Sweden.

* All 9 of these Dick Cavett performances are featured in the "In Performance" DVD release (not an officially released Universal product but an independent - and pretty awful - release).  So how come this unofficial release from Classic Rock Productions (and their various subsidiaries) could include all performances and Universal couldn't include them on ABBA - The Complete Studio Recordings? - because what ZDF, the only TV company that seemed to be able to find the other four songs, provided to Universal Music was apparently unsuitable for converting to DVD.  (Note: what they PROVIDED might not necessarily be the same as what they've broadcast several times in recent years, a subtle distinction that no one seems to have noticed.)  Whereas Classic Rock Productions which have released Music In Review, In Performance, etc, seem happy enough to use home recorded VHS tapes for some of their content.

One version of the programme has a competition of who can get the most applause when being introduced and Frida encourages the audience to clap loudly .. this version is not currently available on YouTube but I know it exists because I've seen it!

                               German Version

                                                                                                                                                       including Don't Fence Me In


              Part 1 of 2 (which version?)                                   Part 2 of 2 (which version?)

        Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! & Summer Night City                                            Super Trouper                      Two For the Price of One 

            Slipping Through My Fingers                                                  Me and I                                    On & On & On
                  Knowing Me, Knowing You                  Thank You For The Music       

Watch Out For  
Transcript Björn's German introduction:

German: "Guten Abend. Ich spreche nur ein bisschen Deutsch, aber ich möchte Sie und alle unsere Freunde in Deutschland im Namen von Benny, Anni-Frid und Agnetha ganz persönlich und herzlich begrüßen. Nach Super Trouper - und ich denke, dass viele von Ihnen kennen diesen Titel -" (right German would be: "und ich denke, dass viele von ihnen diesen Titel kennen"), "möchten wir Ihnen nun einen neuen Titel vorstellen: Two For The Price Of One. Dankeschön."

English: "Good evening. I only speak a little German but I want to greet you and all our friends in Germany completely and heartily on behalf of Benny, Anni-Frid and Agnetha. After Super Trouper - and I think that most of you know this song - we want to introduce a new title: Two For The Price Of One. Thanks."
Pictures Click on image for a larger view (or to view more pictures of a song):-

Related Links The Bootleg Files - Dick Cavett Meets ABBA;  
Credits Thanks to Jos Heselmans, Paul Burt, Robin Andersson and Ian Cole c/o ABBAMAIL and "From ABBA to Mamma Mia!" for information. Info also from ABBA Magazines No.37 & 38 and International ABBA Magazine No. 8.
Extra thanks to abba4ever forum; Michel Evers, Julian Körner, Rudolf Ondrich, Per Kristian Brændø, Rudolf Ondrich, Julian D, Philipp Manderscheid, Jozsef, Petr Mlejnek, Danny Guyon, Alexandre Carvalho, Graeme Dempsey and Ola Sivertsen. Picture of Benny and accordion from Maggott's ABBA Gallery.
YouTube clips c/o sannasonja, virgisa, matilda1719, morsayo, abba0440, Gland66, Ljus85, , thepiperchile and LUVABBA1974; Stephen Layton;