Second-hand vinyl: Abba goes dark and moody..

Today is Vinyl Record Day (in the US), marking the anniversary of Edison’s invention of the phonogram.  So it’s quite apt that I have spent the past week listening to my latest second-hand purchase: Abba’s The Visitors.

Abba: The Visitors via


I have written here about my personal wish list when browsing through second-hand records. But as well as Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumours’, later Beatles albums (yes I know I’d be v lucky!) and early 80s electronic, I have also been looking out for Abba’s final album,’The Visitors’.

As a child of the seventies I know every Abba song off by heart. As well as inheriting their Greatest Hits album from my parents, I’ve also picked up ‘Arrival’ and, more recently,’Super Trouper’ (£2, charity shop).

This year I started to listen to their final album, ‘The Visitors’, on Spotify (I’m sure there’s a post here: Digital v Vinyl) and really began to appreciate it. With a nod to the  breakups and emotional turmoil that lay behind the making of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumours’, this album was written after Benny and Frida, the other couple, had split up. You only have to listen to ‘When All is Said and Done’ and ‘One of Us’ to understand the inspiration between these more mature ‘break up’ songs.

But my favourite is the Cold War thriller that is ‘The Visitors’. The narrator hears the doorbell and knows that ‘they’ have come to take her away: “come to take me, come to break me, and yet it isn’t unexpected.” It’s all quite John Le Carre and Smileys People.  1981 was in the middle of Cold War tensions (Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, 1980 Moscow Olympics boycott, Thatcher and Reagan in power and the very realistic threat of nuclear war). This dark, un-Abba song with its early 80s electronic beat is a far cry from the pop-friendly ‘Dancing Queen’ or ‘Voulez Vous’, but probably a more realistic vision of the time. Even the dark, shadowy (and downright moody) front cover depicts a significant point in Abba’s final chapter.

Nonetheless, I was over the moon to find a good copy in a local charity shop at the weekend. For just £3 it came still partly wrapped in plastic. Although the title track is slightly scratched it’s still in good condition and I have really enjoyed listening to it and getting all dark and moody…



New Year: Old Vinyl

Tonight we are taking part in what has become a New Year’s Eve tradition for us: going to a friend’s house in the village, eating, drinking, and dancing….to our vinyl collection.

record player

For the past three years we’ve transported the record player to their house and bought along a wide selection of LPs and singles. Some of our friends have contributed their own collections too.

This New Year’s Eve we have a few more records to add, having picked up some bargains from charity shops in Bath, Bristol and Kent.

charity shop vinyl

(l-r: The Bangles, Haircut 100, Style Council and – a Tears for Fears classic: The Hurting)

I also bought this album for purely sentimental reasons as Wet Wet Wet were the first band I ever saw live and I played this LP non stop when I was 15!

second-hand vinyl: Wet Wet Wet

My husband has done a couple of local DJing slots and I bought him this carrying box for his birthday this year:

Vinyl carrying case

Stuffed with some of our favourite records, ready for a good night:

vinyl carrying box

Finally I will be really looking forward to playing this LP tonight, which we picked up in Bristol last month for £2.

second-hand vinyl finds


Nothing says ‘New Year’s Eve Party for the over 40s’ then a good Abba album. We already have these ones:

But I’m particularly looking forward to playing their New Year’s hit: Happy New Year which, when you listen to the lyrics, is actually quite depressing. As a kid I was always intrigued by the lines:

It’s the end of a decade

In another ten years time

Who can say

What we’ll find

What likes waiting

Down the line

In the end of Eighty-Nine

I remember how futuristic that sounded at the time.

Next year I’m determined to add to my second-hand vinyl collection with Abba’s last album, the melancholic The Visitors. I will still also be looking for Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors and would love to get hold of Tapestry by Carole King and Rio by Duran Duran. However as vinyl prices rise (across the road from where we picked up our £2 Abba LP another charity shop was selling albums for £10) this may become harder.

Wherever you are I hope you have a great New Year’s Eve and wish you all the best for 2016 xxx