Show Express

Filmed: Thursday 27 November 1980

Location: SVT Studios, Stockholm, Sweden

Broadcast: See below for detailed info

Release status: Released on Super Trouper Deluxe Edition

Duration: Full running time of the show 1:27:06 (ABBA total approximately 15 minutes)

Shown in: Germany

Additional information

In 1968 ZDF Television launched a new music spectacular entitled Star Parade. The James Last Orchestra were resident for the fifty shows produced. 

James Last's Star Parade 'morphed' into Show Express and started in September 1980. In the 90-minute production featuring The James Last Orchestra, national and international stars were featured including some new ideas (TV ballet, news from music and show business, film clips). The series included nine live episodes:

  1.  25 September 1980 Düsseldorf (Philipshalle)
  2.  27 November 1980 Hof (Freiheitshalle)
  3.  12 March 1981 Saarbrücken (Saarlandhalle)
  4.  04 June 1981 Düsseldorf (Philipshalle)
  5.  10 September 1981 Berlin (Deutschlandhalle)
  6.  29 October 1981 Bremen (Stadthalle)
  7.  25 March 1982 Böblingen (Sporthalle)
  8.  09 September 1982 Hof (Freiheitshalle)
  9.  11 November 1982 Saarbrücken (Saarlandhalle)

This appearance on Show Express was recorded in Stockholm after the producers of the show in Germany received kidnap threats.  From Bright Lights, Dark Shadows, "An unspecified member would be kidnapped in conjunction with the group's performance and then held hostage for a ransom. All four members were shocked and frightened. "When that sort of thing becomes a reality it's awful," Björn recalled. "Suddenly it dawns on you that there might be some crazy bastard out there."  Everyone in the group was immediately put under police protection amd advised to stay in Sweden." 

They therefore cancelled the trip to Germany. But Show Express came to them instead after hiring a studio and flying over technicians, crew and even the set from Germany to Stockholm.

ABBA had also planned to visit England in December 1980 to record for The Mike Yarwood Show but sadly the BBC wouldn't go to the same trouble as the German TV crews had for Show Express. France was also planned to host ABBA in a TV special.  Clearly, that didn't happen either.

From Bright Lights, Dark Shadows, "The security company guarding the studios had called in extra personnel to protect the four members. Ten policemen watched all entrances to the building, while dogs searched the premises for bombs. The guests at the studio - around 20 of ABBA's friends - had to pass through three control stations before they were let into the building.  Fortunately the threat was never executed and the protection of the group was gradually relaxed."

The programme's host was Michael Schanze.

Songs performed (to playback) were The Winner Takes It All, Super Trouper and On and On and On.

According to ABBA Magazine No.32, ABBA recorded SIX songs and also did Me and I, Lay All Your Love On Me and The Piper. However it would appear that these extra three songs WOULD have also been performed if the group HAD travelled to West Germany as planned but were NOT recorded for this programme filmed in Stockholm.

There's an (assumed to be a) dress rehearsal clip of On and On and On. It's assumed to be a dress rehearsal because they are wearing the same outfits as that of the broadcast performances but there's a glass of water on Benny's piano and Björn can be seen clearly chewing gum!  It was broadcast on Bälinge byfest (and introduced by Frida) on 26 December 1980 and SVT's Diggiloo showed a short clip (in perfect quality) of this footage on 1 October 2004.

In 2020, a comparison video for On and On and On appeared showing how the rehearsal and broadcast footage differed.

ABBA wore the pink/purple/lilac/burgundy silk suits they had first in the Happy New Year and Felicidad PROMOs; also worn for Stars and that Björn had worn for Aplauso.

The musicians accompanying ABBA for this show were Mats Ronander (guitar), Ola Brunkert (drums) and Rutger Gunnarsson (bass). Why they were needed when they all perform to playback I'll never understand!

Running order:

  1. James Last Orchestra
  2. Bernard ??? - Feel to you 
  3. A La Carte - Ring Me Honey
  4. James Last Orchestra
  5. Dance scene
  6. Peter Maffay - Liebe wird verboten
  7. Peter Maffay - Über sieben Brücken mußt Du gehn
  8. Precious Wilson - We Are On The Race Track
  9. James Last Orchestra
  10. Gérard Lenorman - German version one of his hits
  11. Irena Cara - Fame
  12. James Last Orchestra
  13. ABBA - The Winner Takes It All
  14. ABBA - Super Trouper
  15. ABBA - On and On and On.

Click here for a TV listing from Nieuwe Leidsche Courant - 27 November 1980, p.23.

A brief message for French TV show Sur Son 31 and a performance of Happy New Year were recorded the same day - with Agnetha and Frida changing into their Super Trouper white dresses.

Broadcast information:
LIVE by satellite 19:30-21:00, Thursday 27 November 1980, ZDF, Germany
ABBA Kultnacht on 2 November 2002, ZDF, Germany
Clips from this show were shown on Solid Gold in the USA.

Release information:
This performance has been released on the CD/DVD Super Trouper Deluxe Edition.







Thanks to Alex Jones, Jan Bach, Jos Heselmans, Rudolf Ondrich, Petr Mlejnek, Jozsef, Ian Cole, Steve Layton, Matti Crocker, Mohammed, Jun Seo and Philip Muytjens c/o ABBAtalk. Extra information also from ABBA Magazine No.30 & 32. Extra thanks to
YouTube links c/o mozpiano2 and ABBAFan456

Got any information to add?
Spotted a mistake?
Contact me at