The announcement that this Deluxe Edition would include the previously unreleased recording ‘From A Twinkling Star To A Passing Angel (demos)’ – the first release of unheard ABBA music since 1994 – caused quite a sensation in the media, with this exciting piece of news being reported in all corners of the world.
‘From A Twinkling Star To A Passing Angel’ traces the evolution of ‘Like An Angel Passing Through My Room’, the closing track on The Visitors. Back in 1981, this particular song was one of the more challenging tunes during original recording sessions for the album. With the first demos and backing tracks being laid down in May 1981, it wasn’t until several different versions later, in November 1981 – only three weeks before the album reached record shops! – that ABBA finally landed on the version heard on the album.
As the Deluxe Edition of The Visitors was put together, ABBA’s Benny Andersson had the idea that it would be interesting to revisit the various recordings of the song and put together a medley. And this he did in October and November of 2011. The nine-minute medley takes us from the very first demo, with vocals by Björn, to a run-through with Benny on electric piano and Frida on lead vocals, similar to the final version. In between are a demo recording by Frida and Benny (on grand piano) with alternate lyrics entitled ‘Another Morning Without You’; a completely different “disco” attempt, played by a full band and with the final lyrics in place; and a ballad interpretation, also with a full band backing, featuring Frida on lead vocals. “It was fun to put this thing together, just to show what the process can be like,” says Benny Andersson. “It’s an interesting observation on how you labour over things before you reach the final result.”
Elsewhere on The Visitors Deluxe Edition, the original album has been expanded with bonus tracks to include ‘Should I Laugh Or Cry’, recorded during sessions for The Visitors but only used as the B-side of the ‘One Of Us’ single. The Deluxe Edition features a version with a brief count-in, which was originally released on the ‘One Of Us’ single in Great Britain and South Africa. The remaining bonus tracks cover ABBA’s final singles and recording sessions in 1982.
The DVD of this Deluxe Edition opens with two performances from the television special Dick Cavett Meets ABBA, where ABBA previewed two tracks from their forthcoming album: ‘Two For The Price Of One’ and ‘Slipping Through My Fingers’. Another selection from the original broadcast of the TV special is the video for ‘When All Is Said And Done’, which featured an edit that differs slightly from the version heard on the album – this video is included here with its rare original soundtrack in stereo.
Also featured are two lengthy television appearances, which ABBA made as they were promoting their 1982 singles ‘The Day Before You Came’ and ‘Under Attack’, along with the compilation album The Singles – The First Ten Years. The first comes from Great Britain and the second from Sweden, wherein the group also performed ‘Under Attack’. Rounding off the DVD are four vintage commercials for The Visitors and The Singles – The First Ten Years, and a gallery of selected sleeves from the 1981–1982 era.