Today, while my daughter was at art class in the central city, I made a beeline for Hard Off as on a previous visit there I noticed this album for a paltry 540 yen, including tax.
Actually, there were three copies there for the same price, and all three are in minty condition. I chose this particular one because it came with the original obi (the sash type thing that is on the left side of the cover). Obis are funny things. They are the equivalent of the stickers that are stuck on the plastic wrap on CDs or records that say things like “With the hit single “Hammer Smashed Face” or whatever. Obis though are bigger and have a lot more information. But for reasons I don’t know people do not throw them away, they leave them there and when you buy a used CD you will find the original obi inside the jewel case. According to this site they can add value to the CD or record.
As I said earlier, this is in minty condition. The cover is basically spotless and not faded, the insert which has the lyrics in both English and Japanese is like new, and the vinyl itself looks as though it has never been played. This is typical for used records in Japan, people here just seem to take great care of their records, or they just don’t play them. Or this is old stock which never sold back in the day, and has spent all of it’s life in record bins. Who knows? But, it is in my possession now, and it will be taken care of, and proudly displayed somewhere.
One of the reasons I wanted this was because of the great album cover. Benny, Anni-Frid, Agnetha, and Björn are sitting in the Bell 47 chopper looking kind of pensive, and look splendid in their all-white jumpsuits. Björn has his hand on the control stick, and on the back of the cover we see the chopper flying, so I presume Björn took everyone up for a spin, perhaps explaining the pensiveness. It is an iconic cover.
This is Abba’s fourth album, and back in the day sold like hot cakes. In England alone it sold over 1.6 million records. Other countries where it sold well were Germany, Australia, and Poland. Here in Japan it sold 645,000 records, which beats the U.S. at only 500,000. And of all of their albums it seems to be the best selling one, although their best-of album “Gold” is one of the best selling albums of all-time at 30 million. If each member got one dollar from each album sold they could each buy thirty of those Bell 47 helicopters, and have a bit of change!
The music itself is pure Abba with the most well-known songs being “Dancing Queen”, “Knowing Me, Knowing You”, and “Money Money Money”. The other songs are decent, but almost feel like filler.
A very worthy addition to the vinyl collection.