Filmed: Thursday 19 December 1974
Location: Granada Studios, Manchester, England
Broadcast: Wednesday 25 December 1974, ITV (Granada), UK
Release status: This programme has not been included on any officially released video or DVD
Shown in: UK
This music series contained 60 episodes and ended on 28th August 1975. Only SIX episodes exist from 1974 out of the 20 or so episodes produced that year and only 15 out of the whole series. The programme was renamed Rock On With 45 during 1975. There's some confusion over the real name of the the programme before it was renamed Rock On With 45 with suggestions that it was either 45 or Kid Jensen's 45. I'm going with 45 as per the title (first) image above.
Presented by Canadian DJ David 'Kid' Jensen (in one of his first UK TV programmes) and DJ Emperor Rosko, the pictures above look like ABBA performed So Long (based on movement and outfits). According to Swedish newspaper Kvällsposten dated 20 December 1974, they did indeed perform So Long (thanks to Carl Magnus Palm for that confirmation).
Unfortunately, the episode that ABBA appeared on of 45 appears to have been wiped from the Granada archives.
Showaddywaddy were guests on the programme broadcast on 26 September 1974 from this series. They performed in front of a similar (metallic frame) set as ABBA so there is a hint of the colours if nothing else. The Sweet were also guests in November 1974 with the similar metallic frame set.
According to a website detailing 45 episodes, there are no listings that ABBA appeared on 45. Granada TV archives has no surviving documentation and the TV Times listings don't mention who was in the missing editions. Those editions, including the ones broadcast at Christmas 1974 and 2 January 1975 have been wiped and no longer 'officially' exist (they may still be available in a private collection however). The website does not suggest that ABBA featured on the programme broadcast on 25 December 1974 but this photo with ABBA next to the Bay City Rollers would appear to contradict that theory, since the Bay City Rollers are listed as appearing on that episode.
Another photo shows the Bay City Rollers, ABBA and Queen in the same photo (the Bay City Rollers are in the choir-boy outfits, ABBA are in the middle and Queen are on the far-right of the picture with Roger Taylor on the far right next to John Deacon. The guy in the dark glasses next to John Deacon is rock guitarist and songwriter Russ Ballard. Right behind Russ Ballard peering over his head is Brian May and a closer inspection of the photo reveals that the little face visible between Russ Ballard and John Deacon is Freddie Mercury - you can just about see half of his face. Russ Ballard would go on to write I Know There’s Something Going On which Frida recorded in 1982.
I have attempted to identify the performers in the picture here!
I think given the proof in the pictures featured on this site, ABBA absolutely did appear on 45.
The other guests on this episode:
One ABBA fan remembers that Queen were on just after ABBA.
The Queen connection
Before the 'cast' photo emerged, there was quite a bit of investigation work that went on between fans and it all centered around a photo of ABBA in front of what looked like Roger Taylor's drum-kit. That would made sense of Björn's comments in ABBA - The Book p.114, "One day we were in Manchester for ITV with the group Queen. Their (Queen's) performance, using their tape, was magnificent, but ours was very average."
Clarification of the filming date
It was originally presumed this was filmed on 25 November but it has been pointed out that:
So it seems that 45 and Top of the Pops were filmed on the same very busy day - but did they start in Manchester or end in Manchester?
I emailed David Jensen to see if he himself remembered ABBA appearing on his show and if there was anything at all he could remember about it, but never got a response (this was several years ago now).
Thanks to Dean Morrison, Ken Griffin, Jozsef, Evelyn Nuyens, Petri Kaasalainen and Carl Magnus Palm. Thanks also to Danny Bradley and Richard Knight c/o ABBATalk. Extra special thanks to Michael Price for the picture proving the filming date. Thank you too to Terry Malloy for his memory!
Super special thanks to Evelyn Nuyens for the performance pictures and filming date.