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1982 was ABBA's final year together as a group. They had originally intended to record a new studio album, like they had done almost every year since they first came together. But as the four members felt the energy run out of the group, they shelved these plans and instead decided to release a double album collection of their singles from 1972 to 1982.
The album contained most of the band's hit singles from their ten years together as recording artists, and included two new tracks: "The Day Before You Came" and "Under Attack". The Singles: The First Ten Years was released on CD in Canada only (no US release) by Atlantic Records in 1987, but was quickly deleted in 1988 when Atlantic's rights to the catalog expired. In 2001, the album was replaced by The Definitive Collection. The Singles: The First Ten Years does not include non-UK singles such as "Honey, Honey", "Eagle" or "When All Is Said and Done", and it also excludes several of ABBA's UK single hits including the 1974 remix of "Ring Ring", "Angeleyes", "Head over Heels", and the 12" single hit "Lay All Your Love on Me". The album features a 3:58 edited version of "The Name of the Game" instead of the full 4:51 version; this edit (which omits the second verse) was released as a promotional single in the USA in 1977 and was mistakenly included on this compilation.
Rolling Stone: "This twenty-three song collection (singles plus two new cuts) confirms what a lucky few in the US have known for some time - ABBA is the greatest pop band of the last ten years. There are more infectious melodies, grabby hooks, and danceable drum beats on one side of this two-disc set than in most artists' entire catalogs... The Singles provides an ideal introduction to this talented and highly influential band".
Los Angeles Times: "Special-merit release... ABBA create seductive, richly emotional records that put openly sentimental melodies against a nagging instrumental tension...The group's best tracks are mini - masterpieces of the pop form."
New Musical Express: "This isn't the entire history of pop over the last ten years, but its documentation of the group who altered the course of pop more than anyone else - anyone - is flawless... It resulted in a seam of unbroken, highly individual pop music that in lifespan terms is still unmatched by any rival..."
The New York Times: "Abba - The Singles" is a testament to the unstoppable power of the catchy tune"