Filmed: Monday 8 May 1978
Location: The Columbia Studios, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA
Broadcast: See below for detailed info
Release status: See below
Duration: about 40 minutes
Shown in: USA, Sweden, Europe
ABBA were special guests, along with Andy Gibb, on Olivia Newton-John's TV special.
This was during "ABBA Month" in the USA: with magazine articles, full page adverts, the billboard on Sunset Boulevard, radio interviews and Take A Chance On Me storming up the charts.
As Olivia's guests, ABBA were seen by over 30 million American viewers and were part of a hefty promotional push. Click here for a promotional postcard and here for a TV listing page from a magazine.
The songs performed LIVE:
You also see ABBA singing Money Money Money (not LIVE) behind a large glass box where dollar bills are flying down from the top as part of a board game 'skit'.
The 'jam' session with Olivia and Andy Gibb included the following songs:
Finally, they all sing Thank You For The Music (with Olivia and Andy Gibb) as the credits rolled.
Throughout the show are some annoying kids playing out scenes on a school stage pretending to be Olivia, ABBA and Andy Gibb.
This programme has not been included on any officially released video or DVD. However, it was released on Laserdisc in the USA in 1978. It's also been available on a bootleg DVD Blue For You with Musikladen (1976). Note that this is NTSC in format (and I've heard the quality of Musikladen is "OK" and the quality of Olivia! is "fair/bad" - so you have been warned!).
In a Dutch Hitkrant Award interview from November 1978, Olivia Newton-John revealed that there was more footage that had been lostin in editing. In 2011, some new footage emerged which had extra footage that had not been broadcast and in true stereo ie. as they were, not post-production. I wonder if this is what Olivia was referring to - or whether there's more to be found!
Benny said this about the Olivia! show: "It was one of the best shows we've ever done. Olivia was a very lovely, warm person and we all had a lot of fun doing the programme. Of course, we've done the usual quota of TV talk shows in America but this one with Olivia was an important step for us. Besides, presenting our music for large audiences of 30 or 40 million viewers we all sat down for a ten minute rap session which gave the whole thing more intimacy."
Wednesday 17 May 1978, 20:00-20:30, ABC, USA
Saturday 11 November 1978, Sweden
Monday 11 September 1978, 19:20, BBC1 and 19 February 1979, BBC2, UK
Click here for TV listing from The Bastrop County Times - 11 May 1978, p.3 (listing the following week's TV guide)
Click here for a cutting from The Bastrop County Times - 11 May 1978, p.6.
Extra information from Intermezzo Magazine No.34. Thanks to Ian Cole, Petr Mlejnek, Henk, Jozsef and Jun Seo. Extra thanks to Robert Verbeek (RIP), Richard Knight, Philippe Dupont-Mouchet, Jason Swan, Mike Scurr, Luke Rogers, Pepe and Grant Whittingham c/o ABBAMAIL (no longer online).
YouTube links c/o ABBA fan, ABBAinternet OFFICIAL and ArgoWho