Musikladen Extra (The Best of ABBA)

Filmed: late January 1976 (over 2 days)

Location: Bremen, Germany

Broadcast: 31st March 1976 on NDR, Germany

Release status: See below

Shown in: Germany

Additional information

Musikladen = Music Store

Musikladen was a Radio Bremen production, broadcast on ARD from 13 December 1972 until 29 November 1984 and contained 90 episodes.

Programme 27

This TV show (also mostly known as Musikladen Extra but also The Peter Frankenfeld Show; ABBA in Europe (in Australia); and ABBA at The Beat Club (in the UK), featured the songs:

  1. Waterloo
  2. Honey Honey
  3. Tropical Loveland
  4. SOS (the performance filmed in 1975)
    SOS had been recorded in 1975 and inserted into the programme. 
  5. Rock Me
  6. Dancing Queen
    The outro of Dancing Queen sounds different to the released version. It seems to be a few seconds longer and you hear the almost bare instruments a bit better.
  7. Mamma Mia
    Mamma Mia
    also sounded a bit different compared to the released version. In the special it sounds like the drums are more noticeable (having a tougher, dry, punchier sound).
  8. I've Been Waiting For You
  9. Fernando
    The mix for Fernando is a different mix from the version released on record. The differences are most noticeable in the instrumental spaces between lines of the chorus - the chime-like keyboards and guitar strums are much 'hotter' in the mix and it sounds a little "Christmassy".
    Note that they performed Fernando twice.  In one version, the girls are standing together the whole time in the centre of the screen but in the other version, they are standing apart while Björn and Benny are seated together in the centre of the screen on their guitars.  The second version is a mix of both performances but it cannot be uploaded due to copyright grounds from Studio Hamburg.
  10. So Long (complete with dance routine later used on the 1977 tour and featured in ABBA - The Movie)

The opening of the programme featured a few lines of Ring Ring (Swedish version).

There was also a brief interview with the group interspersed with the songs. Benny sounded very Swedish here.

The programme was directed and produced by Michael Leckebusch.

Mamma Mia and Fernando only were first shown on a regular Musikladen programme on 6 March 1976 (episode 25). The full programme Musikladen Extra included all the songs.

Pictures from the performances from Musikladen Extra were featured heavily on the cover of the album The Very Best of ABBA released in Germany, Austria and The Netherlands.

The Australian version called, ABBA In Europe was 'hosted' by Johnny Farnham (later to be known as John Farnham who had a big hit with You're The Voice) who topped and tailed the show. Fernando and Rock Me were repeated at the end of the show because they were apparently his favourite songs. The programme was so popular it was repeated not long afterwards. The promo trailers for the show included the announcement that it included the then unreleased song Dancing Queen. Most of the clips were re-packaged a few months later as ABBA In Sweden but this time interspersed with interview footage and topped and tailed with the performance of Money Money Money from ABBA-dabba-dooo!!

According to newspaper reports from the time, this programme was sold to over thirty countries.

German TV special - Thank you For the Music (25 Jahre ABBA), 1999
This programme, broadcast in 1999, showed some interesting differences in some of the Musikladen Extra clips.

  1. Waterloo - If you've always found the Waterloo performance annoying because of the flashing lights, then there is evidence that a version without the flashing lights does exist - as per the opening credits of the German broadcast of Thank you For the Music (25 Jahre ABBA).
  2. Tropical LovelandThank You For The Music (25 Jahre ABBA) showed a slightly extended version of Tropical Loveland where Frida was messing about at the end of the song and they all put down their microphones and walk off the stage. Unfortunately, this version is blocked by YouTube.
  3. Dancing Queen - One eagle-eyed fan has spotted a different version. The version featured in the original The Best of ABBA (Musikladen Extra) shows the reflection of ABBA in the floor. However, in the German TV Special Thank you For the Music (25 Jahre ABBA), a version was broadcast where the Musikladen logo is on the floor insteadYou can compare the two versions together here.


Other differences/versions (NOTE: different versions are not always available on YouTube)

  1. I've Been Waiting For You - This different edit has materialised on YouTube with a cold start (you see them standing waiting for the music to start and Frida moves her left arm whilst preparing for the song to start) together with other camera angles and no red kaleidoscope effects, although much of it is still the same as the original. At the end, notice Agnetha turns around full circle and you get wonderful shots of the back of her head! Thanks so much to Erik Liebstaedter and SADL00KINM00N for the link. This was NOT part of the German TV Special Thank you For the Music (25 Jahre ABBA) - so where does it come from?
    You can compare the two versions together here.
  2. Fernando -
    1. Version 1 (where they mess about at the end and there's extra Frida close-ups), the girls are standing together for the whole clip (B, A, A, B)
    2. Version 2, there is a mix of the girls standing apart (A, B, B, A) and together.

It would seem that Radio Bremen (for Musikladen) must have kept all alternative clips and even rehearsal clips (the Mamma Mia clip centered on Agnetha is a rehearsal clip of her close ups. Undoubtedly the same exists for Frida, and possibly Benny and Björn too).  Each performance must have been rehearsed and filmed and let's hope more of this footage becomes available over ime.

In October 2021, an incredible out-take of Agnetha and Frida discussing the steps for the dance for So Long and an apparent dress rehearsal of Mamma Mia with the camera mostly focussed on Agnetha), appeared on Instagram.


Broadcast Information

  • 31st March 1976 on NDR, Germany (and again 21st August 1976 on ARD, Germany)
  • June 1976 in Sweden
  • 9 October 1977 on BBC1, UK (between 16:53-17:29pm)
  • 23 June 1976, Channel 7, Australia under the title "ABBA in Europe" and was sponsored by SANYO
  • 2000, N3, Germany.
  • 7 April, 2005 at 6am, Uhr, Germany
  • Fernando was broadcast on German TV channel NDR (Norddeutscher Rundfunk, the local channel of the ARD/ZDF for the north of Germany) on Das große Wunschkonzert (The Big Musical Request Programme). The ratio was cut to 16:9 and it was the original alternative mix on the soundtrack.
    27 December 2013, Germany
  • Sunday 5 September 1976, 20:00, TVE2, Spain entitled "Tele-Show". 

Release Information
Dancing Queen has been released officially on the Arrival Deluxe Edition

This Musikladen programme was released by ARD in August 2010 on their 1972-1976 Best of DVD box set of 10 DVDs (there were three available at 99.95 Euros each or 249 Euros for all three). The box set 1 included a 44-page booklet with liner notes and information about each episode and also includes some pictures. For episodes 20 and 25 there are a few lines about ABBA while for episode 27 they explain how the Double LP The Very Best Of ABBA, ABBA's Greatest Hits came about. However, since November 2010, these boxes (including Box 2: 1976-1980 incl. Chiquitita (1979) and Box 3: 1981-1984 incl. solo performances) are no longer available because of copyright issues between the ARD and "a music company". According ABBA Intermezzo, in December 2010, "We have heard that fans are discussing whether it could be Universal objecting to the release of the Musikladen DVDs featuring ABBA performances. Unfortunately we can't tell you which record company is taking action against the release, but we can 100% confirm you that it's not because of the ABBA performances. A permission for this has been granted long ago."

All is not lost however, as Musikladen are now making clips available on their own YouTube channel.

  1. Waterloo - the only time Agnetha wore her hair in plaits for a TV performance
  2. Waterloo, Tropical Loveland, Rock Me and the interview - The only times Frida and Agnetha wore those dark blue denim jumpsuits
  3. Honey Honey - the only time Frida and Agnetha wore the blue satin suits without the jackets
  4. Interview - Agnetha having a little giggle with Frida like a naughty school girl!
  5. Rock Me - Frida and Benny messing about together at the piano
  6. Dancing Queen - you can see the edges of the backdrop which they are performing in front of - and see the studio beyond it in certain shots
  7. Fernando - Frida is wearing her Frida Ensam dress while Agnetha is wearing the 'gypsy dress' for its first appearance.
  8. So Long - Frida's enthusiastic dancing!

Interview 1:
Björn: Well, I don't think there's really prescription. You just have to be very, very careful so that you don't copy the hit before. Like, say we would have copied Waterloo. Then we would have been finished in one or two years.
Benny: That's very American, I think. There's a lot of groups or artists copying their first hit, knowing that they're following, I mean, the spin-off. Coming after that will still sell their record, whatever it is. So they try to make it as similar as possible. I think that's very dangerous.
Björn: You have to change all the time.

Interview 2: 
Benny: What's yours?
Frida: If you're asking me? Yes. I like to sing, naturally. Of course I do. And I like very much to dance. And to be on stage.
Interviewer: And Benny?
Benny: Well, it's different because, I think, the most inspiring thing about all this, we are doing, is that to be in it from the beginning. From the song, from the melody. And the recording, the arrangement. The production. Even the marketing. As we are doing. Then followed it up with being on stage. The promotion and all that. That's fantastic.
Interviewer: How about you two?
Agnetha: I like the recording very much. And sometimes to stand on a stage. But not always.
Björn: And for me, I think, I agree with Benny. It's fascinating to have total control. So that every phase of it. You're in it.

Interview 3:
Frida: Benny and I are engaged. And Björn and Anna are married.
Interviewer: And where do you live?
ABBA: Stockholm.
Interviewer: In Stockholm. Close to each other? In the same house?
Frida: No, no
Benny: Not the same house.
Agnetha: Gottseidank. ("Thank God" in German)
Björn: We share a flat. One room and a kitchen. (Everybody laughs)

Interview 4:
Interviewer: Where do you get the ideas from?
Björn: We just sit down and work. As far as writing is concerned. We sit down with piano and guitar and we start working.
Interviewer: But what does it start with. With the text or with music?
Benny: With the music. Always with the music.
Interviewer: Always with the music. And who writes the music?
Frida: Björn and Benny writes the music.
Interviewer: And who writes the text?
Frida: It's our manager called Stikkan Anderson.
Interviewer: And what do the girls do in this whole thing?
Agnetha: Nothing. (Everybody laughs)
Benny: They do the rest.
Interviewer: They do the rest. They do the singing but how about arrangements?
Benny: Well, some of the vocal arrangements and all that in the studio, yes. We work very close together.
Interviewer: How does the choreography?
Frida: We have a teacher. He is called Graham Tainton. He has been working with us since we started the group.


Out-take clip
(translated from Swedish by P M I)
Benny: Now you have to get on, they are waiting for us
Frida/Agnetha: Yes, yes
Frida: But it looks better to take it two times …
Agnetha: But it doesn't feel…we havent done that.. no
Frida: Are you sure about that? To me it feels good to...
Agnetha: …to do that. One, two, one two, one, two (trying out the steps)
Agnetha: Let´s just go for it
Frida: It doesn't matter.
Frida: Could we have some powder? Hello!
Agnetha: Damn, it's difficult.
Frida: it's ridiculous, such things like…it has been
Björn: Yes, but it is like that. Things that you have been knowing how to do damn well
Agnetha: One, two, one, two, one, two…and then another time. No, Frida not eight times there.
Frida: Yes it is...Yes I now eight, I remember that.
Agnetha: But we give a damn about it, we will do different, it doesm't matter.
Frida: No.
Frida: They are horrifyingly hot these shoes.
Agnetha: OK!
Björn: But six times then
Frida: Six times?
Benny: What?
Frida: What did you say?
Björn: In the beginning
Frida: Yes, we did that - did we do it to early now? Must we wait four hours more…
Björn: Haha
Agnetha: Can I put down my mic here?
Frida: Yes!
Agnetha: Like this?
Björn: Put it on the piano instead.
Frida: No, it,s better to put it behind because we starts from there.
Frida: Yes, yes


Lyrics available on the Official ABBA site

Blue Denim - Waterloo, Tropical Loveland, Rock Me
Blue satin suits (Agnetha and Frida without jackets for the only time - Honey Honey), Mamma Mia
Velvet jumpsuit - Dancing Queen, So Long
Frida Ensam dress - Frida - Fernando, Ive Been Waiting For You
Gypsy dress - Agnetha - Fernando, Ive Been Waiting For You
Casual - Benny & Björn - Fernando, Ive Been Waiting For You, Tropical Loveland (Benny only)
Leopard jacket - Benny - Waterloo

Thanks to Phillipe Elan, Pawel Ruczko, Kym Casanova, Petri Kaasalainen, Maria Nicholas, Jose Luis Juarez, Joachim, Philip Muytjens, Harold Hanlon, Henk, Walter Veldman, Markus, Ronnie Mehlis, Martin Borus, Jozsef, Erik Liebstaedter, Jun Seo, Jason Swan, Guido, Karen Danzilio, Sam Shervz, Ian Cole and Robert Verbeek (RIP), Richard Knight, Luke Rogers, Grant Whittingham and Ken Griffin c/o ABBAMAIL (no longer online). Huge thanks to Aaron Evans, Henk Jansen, Dustin and Karin Angeleyes and more thanks to Dionne Kennedy, Pascale Ranson and Roxanne Dickson c/o ABBA Village and Regina Grafunder at Intermezzo.
YouTube links c/o Best Musickaleidoscope2020Su YeeJunyor AbbaSchlagerfan 58EngelaugeKurt Brady

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