A Pivotal Year
After the relative inactivity of 1983, the first six months of 1984 saw the release of three more of Abba’s original albums on CD: Arrival, The Album and Voulez-Vous.
By this stage, Abba’s popularity seems to have been waning as there was far less effort put into these releases than previous ones, which had all (except Greatest Hits Vol 2) appeared with extended booklets and were broadly faithful to the original album packaging designs.
In two cases, Arrival and Voulez-Vous, the catalogue numbers were printed prominently on the front covers in a rather intrusive fashion.
The three titles were also notable as they were the final Abba albums to be issued in coated Polar and Polydor versions. In Autumn 1984, PolyGram abandoned the use of coatings in favour of printing directly onto the disc’s surface, leading to major changes in disc designs.
Polydor’s changed completely to the familiar orange and black ringed design which is still used today on many of the label’s older releases, as can be seen below.
Polydor’s 1984 CD design facelift, which is still used on some releases today
European Abba discs with the Polydor ringed design are practically worthless because they were pressed up in vast quantities up until 1997. The exceptions are The Singles and Greatest Hits Vol 2, which were deleted in the early 1990s to clear the way for Abba Gold. They are typically worth a maximum of €20 each.
Unlike Polydor, Polar’s design didn’t receive much of a facelift: the discs, barring the absence of a coating and few minor typographical differences, look similar to earlier coated versions.
Polar’s redesign was merely a refinement of its previous design
Because they were phased out in the late 1980s, they remain uncommon and typically fetch a little less than their coated Polar counterparts. The three CDs issued in 1984 were the last Abba releases to appear on CD until 1986.