The Visitors (ABBA album)

The Visitors is the eighth studio album by Swedish pop group ABBA and their last before their 35-year hiatus. It was released on 30 November 1981.

The Visitors
Studio album by
Released30 November 1981
Recorded16 March 1981 - 14 November 1981
Polar Studios, Stockholm
Epic (UK)
Atlantic Records (US original release)
ABBA chronology
Super Trouper
The Visitors
The Singles: The First Ten Years
Alternative cover
2001/2012 re-issue. The cover uses a slightly different picture, has been color-corrected and the group's logo and the album name have been enlarged and centered.
Singles from The Visitors
  1. "Slipping Through My Fingers"
    Released: June 1981 (Japan promo)
  2. "One of Us"
    Released: 7 December 1981
  3. "When All Is Said and Done"
    Released: 31 December 1981 (US only)
  4. "Head over Heels"
    Released: 19 March 1982
  5. "The Visitors"
    Released: April 1982 (US only)
Professional ratings
Review scores
The Daily VaultB+[5]

With The Visitors, ABBA took several steps away from the "lighter" pop music they had recorded previously and the album is often regarded as a more complex and mature effort.[6] The opening track, "The Visitors", with its ominous synthesizer sounds and the distinctive lead vocal by Frida, announced a change in musical style. With Benny and Frida going their separate ways, the pain of splitting up was explored yet again in "When All Is Said and Done". The major hit single on the album, "One of Us", also depicted the end of a love story. Elsewhere there were current Cold War themes—highly topical at the time—and further songs of isolation and regret.

The Visitors was one of the first records ever to be recorded and mixed digitally, and was the first in history to be pressed on the new CD format in 1982 (though in terms of commercial release dates, it was predated by the Japanese release of Billy Joel's 52nd Street).[7] The Visitors has been reissued in digitally remastered form three times—first in 1997, then in 2001 and again in 2005 as part of The Complete Studio Recordings box set.

The Visitors Deluxe Edition was released on 23 April 2012. As with previous releases in the Deluxe Edition series, this version of ABBA’s final album offers a DVD of archive material along with CD bonus tracks – including the demo medley "From a Twinkling Star to a Passing Angel", the first previously-unreleased ABBA recordings since 1994.[8]

Recording and release

Recording began on what was to become ABBA's final studio album on 16 March 1981.[9] By this time, tensions in ABBA had heightened. Björn Ulvaeus and Agnetha Fältskog had divorced the previous July, while the band's other couple, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, announced their divorce in February 1981, adding strain to the musical partnership. Ulvaeus mentioned in retrospect that the sessions were troubled, noting, "It could be frosty sometimes." Lyngstad also commented that they were beginning to tire of working together.[10]

The members of ABBA and their personnel have memories of the recording sessions for this album being rather difficult. To begin with, their sound engineer Michael Tretow had to become accustomed to using the new 32-track digital recorder that had been purchased for Polar Music Studios. He said, "Digital recording...cut out all the hiss, but it also meant that sounds were sharply cut off below a certain level. The sound simply became too clean, so I had to find ways of compensating for that." The first three tracks for the album had already been recorded using analogue tape and therefore Tretow had to transfer all subsequent tracks from digital to analogue and back again to avoid a difference in quality.[11]

On its release, The Visitors reached the top of the charts in a number of territories but was not as successful as their previous albums.[12]

The Visitors was released as a Deluxe Edition on 23 April 2012. As with previous releases in the Deluxe Edition series, this version of ABBA's final album offered a DVD of archive material along with a CD featuring the original album (although a different mix of "Head Over Heels" was used) and bonus tracks; one of the bonus tracks included was the demo medley "From a Twinkling Star to a Passing Angel", the first previously unreleased ABBA recordings since 1994.[8] Pitchfork gave it an 8.6 grade, saying "even as the band's commercial star faded and its professional relationships quietly unravelled, they were perfectionists. ABBA's music on The Visitors is more pristine and ambitious than it had ever been, its themes darker, its personal politics more tangled."[13] The Arts Desk: "The Visitors is not their best, but it is their most interesting [album], pointing to where Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson would go next."[14]

Album cover

Rune Söderqvist designed the cover and photographed the group in a room containing Julius Kronberg's painting of Eros. The room is the Atelje Studio in Skansen Park, Stockholm. The group are positioned apart and appear to be waiting solemnly in the shadows.[15][16]

Track listing

All tracks written by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus.

Side one
1."The Visitors"5:49
2."Head over Heels"3:45
3."When All Is Said and Done"3:20
Side two
1."I Let the Music Speak"5:20
2."One of Us"3:55
3."Two for the Price of One"3:36
4."Slipping Through My Fingers"3:51
5."Like an Angel Passing Through My Room"3:25
Total length:37:39


  1. "One of Us"/"Should I Laugh or Cry" (December 1981)
  2. "When All is Said and Done"/"Soldiers" (December 1981)
  3. "Head over Heels"/"The Visitors (Crackin' Up)" (February 1982)
  4. "The Visitors" (single edit)/"Head Over Heels" (March 1982)



Additional personnel

  • Ola Brunkert – drums
  • Rutger Gunnarsson – bass, mandolin
  • Janne Kling – flute and clarinet
  • Per Lindvall – drums (on "Soldiers" and "The Visitors")
  • Åke Sundqvist – percussion
  • Lasse Wellander – acoustic guitar, electric guitar, mandolin


  • Producers: Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus
  • Arrangers: Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus
  • Engineer: Michael B. Tretow
  • Design: Rune Söderqvist
  • Remastered for the 1997 Remasters by Jon Astley and Tim Young with Michael B. Tretow
  • Remastered for the 2001 Remasters by Jon Astley with Michael B. Tretow
  • Remastered for the 2005 Complete Studio Recordings Box Set by Henrik Jonsson


Swish albums chart 1

Certifications and sales

Region CertificationCertified units/sales
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[39] Platinum 66,439[39]
Germany (BVMI)[40] Platinum 500,000^
Hong Kong (IFPI Hong Kong)[41] Gold 10,000*
Japan (Oricon Charts) 128,000[25]
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[42] Gold 50,000
United Kingdom (BPI)[43] Platinum 300,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


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  2. Douglas Wolk. "Blender review". Archived from the original on 4 June 2008. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  3. Pitchfork review
  4. ZackSh33. "ABBA - The Visitors (album review 2) | Sputnikmusic". Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  5. Smith, Michael R. (2019). "The Daily Vault Music Reviews : The Visitors". Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  6. allmusic ((( The Visitors > Overview )))
  7. "Philips celebrates 25th anniversary of the Compact Disc". 16 August 2007. Retrieved 8 January 2012.
  8. ABBA – The Official Site Archived 18 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  9. Magnus Palm, C: "ABBA The Complete Recording sessions", page 106. Century 22 Ltd, 1994
  10. Magnus Palm, C: "Bright Lights, Dark shadows", page 444. Omnibus Press, 2001
  11. Magnus Palm, C: "ABBA The Complete Recording sessions", page 109. Century 22 Ltd, 1994
  12. Magnus Palm, C: "Bright Lights, Dark shadows", page 446. Omnibus Press, 2001
  13. ABBA The Visitors [Deluxe Edition]
  14. Reissue CDs Weekly: Carole King, Abba, Sheena Easton
  15. Magnus Palm, C: "Bright Lights, Dark shadows", page 445. Omnibus Press, 2001
  19. Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  20. " ABBA – The Visitors" (ASP). Hung Medien (in German). Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  21. "RPM: Top Albums/CDs". RPM Canada. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  22. " ABBA – The Visitors" (ASP). Hung Medien (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  23. "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste : ABBA". Archived from the original on 7 May 2013. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  24. "Hit Parade Italia – Gli album più venduti del 1982" (in Italian). Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  25. Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  26. " ABBA – The Visitors" (ASP). Hung Medien. Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  27. " ABBA – The Visitors" (ASP). Hung Medien. VG-lista. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  28. " ABBA – The Visitors" (ASP). Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  29. "Abba | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Retrieved 28 July 2018.
  30. "allmusic ((( The Visitors > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  31. "Album Search: ABBA – The Visitors" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  32. " Scatman John – ABBA – The Visitors" (ASP). Hung Medien (in Dutch). Ultratop. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
  33. "ABBA – The Visitors –" (ASP). Hung Medien (in German). Swiss Music Charts. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
  34. "Official Albums Chart Top 100 | Official Charts Company". Retrieved 28 July 2018.
  35. "Complete UK Year-End Album Charts". Archived from the original on 11 January 2012. Retrieved 2012-01-10.
  36. "Les Albums (CD) de 1982 par InfoDisc" (in French). Archived from the original (PHP) on 14 June 2012. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  37. "Top 100 Albums '82". RPM. 25 December 1982. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
  38. " – Jahreshitparade 1982" (in German). Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 5 November 2012. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  39. "Abba" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  40. "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (ABBA; 'The Visitors')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
  41. "IFPIHK Gold Disc Award − 1983". IFPI Hong Kong. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
  42. Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  43. "British album certifications – ABBA – The Visitors". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 3 March 2013. Select albums in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type The Visitors in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
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