How ABBA Channeled Deep Purple and the Beach Boys
The guitarist who appeared on more than half of ABBA’s classic-era songs says rock bands like Deep Purple and the Beach Boys were an inspiration during those early sessions.
“There are three that come to mind,” Janne Schaffer tells Guitar World. “‘Rock’n Roll Band,’ ‘Watch Out’ and ‘King Kong Song,’ which are from the first and second albums. If you listen to them, you can hear a lot of heavy rock guitars in there. We’d been listening to Deep Purple and similar things.”
Schaffer’s work is heard on 50 of the 98 songs released during ABBA's 10-year classic era from 1972 until 1982. He said the musicians “had a lot of fun in the studio, trying different things out.” He said he also “helped a little bit with the arrangement for ‘Waterloo,’ which was fantastic. I saw the whole thing starting and growing, and immediately knew it would be something special.”
Responding to the suggestion that “Waterloo” was a glam rock song, Schaffer admitted: “I have no idea if the members listened to glam rock, to be honest. But we listened to a lot of the Beach Boys. Everyone knew that Brian Wilson was a great songwriter.” Elsewhere, he said “‘As Good As New,’ for example, had some influence from the Bee Gees, even though it’s musically different.”
Schaffer, who continues making music, said he still has the guitar he used for the “Waterloo” session. “I’ve had to hide that instrument because it’s so valuable now!” Asked about of ABBA’s surprise 2021 album Voyage, he added: “It was always good music, and the new songs sound great. I think the comeback will be a huge success.”