The strange case of Gracias Por La Musica
By 1989 almost all of Abba’s original albums and official compilations had been released on CD in Europe with the exception of Greatest Hits and Gracias Por La Musica.
This situation was to change, however, with one of the oddest and least well-documented European Abba CD releases of the 1980s: RCA’s Spanish CD version of Gracias Por La Musica.
Nothing concrete is known about the background to the release, which only came to light twenty years after its appearance in 1989.
The pressing can be easily identified by the presence of the text “cantan en español” on the front and the unsubtle RCA branding all over the rest of the packaging.
Gracias Por La Musica (RCA, 1989): note the added text on the cover
The unmistakable back cover of the 1989 RCA edition.
It is likely, however, that the title was probably chosen because it was one of the few albums that RCA could not simply import through Polar.
It is also probable that its availability was severely limited by PolyGram’s takeover of Abba’s label Polar in1990, which brought a swift end to RCA’s distribution of Abba product.
Interestingly, the back cover of the CD contains standard copyright information that could be applied to the entire Abba back catalogue, raising the possibility that RCA may have been considering its own CD reissue programme before PolyGram took Polar over.
Like most 1980s European RCA CDs, Gracias Por La Musica used the label’s standard pattern
Unlike the lavish packaging afforded to Polydor’s release of the album in Japan in 1986, the RCA version of Gracias Por La Musica only featured a limited four-page booklet. Even then, one of its pages was blank.
The mastering was, for obvious reasons, completely different to Polydor’s Japanese version. The RCA version was louder and packed a greater punch but at the expense of a little additional tape noise.
Its value cannot be determined at this time but if it is as rare as the documented but elusive CBS CD issue of the same album from 1990, it could be worth around €150 to collectors.
First issued: 1989 Reissue: None. Deleted: 1990