COLUMN  >  JUST LIKE WHAT?

Just like what? | 16 december 2003

One of the most discussed subjects in ABBA fandom is Just Like That. This ABBA track was recorded in 1982 and it has never been officially released in full. Back in 1982 the group decided that the song was not strong enough, so it remained in the vaults.

Maybe the track was discovered by fans on a cassette that was stolen from Björns car or maybe ABBA threw it quite literally in the garbage which was "investigated" by fans waiting outside the Polar studio. Nobody can tell for sure, but during the mid-eighties the song started circulating on audio cassettes. These were swapped or bought by fans for quite substantial sums of money. Looking back it may sound ridiculous, but remember that there was no internet and no CD-R yet.

Of course the sound of the cassettes detoriated with every copy that was made. Nowadays, a copy of a copy of a copy of a CD-track still has the exact same quality. But when you do that with cassettes and substandard sound equipment, soon you have more tape hiss than music.

I believe that this is part of the reason why the below-average ABBA track Just Like That is such an important song for a lot of hardcore ABBA fans. The song is a legend and a myth. Everybody with musical taste that ever hears a tape recording of the song will understand that it's simply mediocre ABBA. It's not even half as good as The Day Before You Came. ABBA WERE right when they dumped it.

Recently many fans have signed a petition to get the song released in full. More than 1000 people signed it, which of course is absolutely nothing compared to the millions of people that bought ABBA Gold.

The idea of the petition was that if lots of fans sign it, Björn and Benny will "give in" and release it in full. I am sorry to disappoint these fans, but I fear that they NEVER will. Only when under pressure they decided to release the Undeleted medley on the Thank you for the music box set. Universal would LOVE to release Just Like That, but B&B simply won't let them.

And I think that it is a wise decision from the boys. What would happen if they will release it? Fans will buy it and then they want more of the same vaults. So then they want Under My Sun and (God forbid) Rikky Rock'n Roller in full.

And even if we could all here the full track in superb stereo, it won't stop ABBA fans from complaining and moaning. That's the nature of the beast.

Does that mean that I want the track to remain in the vault? Nope. I'm an ABBA fan too, so I did sign the petition. Because "I want it all". No matter how bad the sound quality, no matter how demo-sounding, I want everything. Preferably in a Beatles Anthology like boxed set.
         

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