Introduction to European compilations
As Abba’s star waned during the 1980s, the group’s record labels around the world became increasingly willing to repackage the group’s catalogue in various ways and licence out their material to budget labels as they sought to maximise their returns amid diminishing interest in the group’s music.
Nobody took repackaging as seriously as Abba’s European record labels, which from 1984 onwards produced a steady stream of compilations or allowed others to do so.
These compilations ranged from the straightforward to the bizarre, with a few compilations featuring rarities and alternate edits which even now are still hard to obtain on CD.
Quality control varied wildly between labels and compilations: some boasted sound quality superior to Polar’s CD releases of the Abba catalogue while others sounded dreadful.
This was particularly the case in Britain, where Abba’s licencee CBS had essentially given up on the group as a commercial prospect and seemed willing to sub-licence its masters out to anyone.
Due to the sheer number of compilations issued in Europe between 1984 and 1989, this section is split alphabetically. But, for those with limited patience, there’s a quick start guide to a handful of the ‘essential compilations’ out there.