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ABBA-1979- VOULEZ VOUS, GREATEST HITS Vol. II. & the MUSIC FOR UNICEF ALBUM

 

"People everywhere, a sense of expectation, hanging in the air!"

ABBA- VOULEZ-VOUS April 1979 Available worldwide on CD

This may be ABBA's most controversial album. No doubt, this is due to the high octane Euro- disco content found in many of the songs on this album. Some people wondered if ABBA were just following a trend rather then setting one. One tends to forget that ABBA was just one of many established artists turning part time to disco and that many of the resulting songs were actually fairly good. (ex. Rolling Stones,Rod Stewart, Paul McCartney...). Like some of those acts -ABBA only injected disco influences into some of their music, and rarely did pure disco tracks.

The jump from THE ALBUM to VOULEZ -VOUS is a particularly jarring one. The two albums seem to have little in common. In a sense, one album is poetry, the other is motion! It's hard to find people who love both of these albums, they appeal to different kinds of people. Yet, both albums are ABBA, both have flaws and strengths.

It was probably a reasonable idea ,in retrospect, for the group that did "Dancing Queen" to try their hand at more dance music. Certainly ,recording dance music was a sound idea commercially and commercial pop music was what ABBA was about. Five songs from VOULEZ-VOUS were hits, (only the 1975 ABBA album had more), so it's clear that ABBA were still in sync with the music scene at this point.

It was not totally clear that ABBA had it in them to make a good dance album, after all, they were some of the whitest yes, the whitest people in the music business. But an act that could make you believe they were Spanish (on "Fernando") was probably capable of anything.

To try to make a more legitimate dance track, they recorded the instrumental backing for Voulez-Vous' title track in Miami at the famous disco studios-Criteria using some of their house musicians . The title track is certainly ABBA's most unabashed disco track. This was the only time that a ABBA studio recording was made outside of Sweden. The rest of the tracks on the album were recorded in Stockholm ,mostly at their new Polar Studios.

The other disco" songs on this album are "If It Wasn't For The Nights""As A Good As New","The King has lost his Crown" and "Lovers Live a Little Longer'. Three other songs have some disco elements but are not really disco. "Does Your Mother Know ""Kisses of Fire" and "Angeleyes".

VOULEZ VOUS has two ballads, one on each side, one great song ("Chiquitita" ,one not so great-"I have A Dream".

VOULEZ-VOUS was the first album with songs written entirely by Andersson-Ulvaeus. All of B&B's previous albums had included help on the lyrics of some songs by Stig Anderson. But by,1979, Stig didn't have time to write lyrics and Bjorn had taken over the onerous task of coming up with words for the songs.

The early troublesome sessions for VOULEZ VOUS in 1978 left a whole pile of songs that were left off the album,amongst them were "Lovelight' which was released as the b-side to "Chiquitita" and the 1978 A side "Summer Night City". Five other songs were stuck in the vault for many years until they appeared on the box set -"Dreamworld", "Just a Notion", "Crying Over You" , "Free As A Bumble Bee" and "Hamlet III".

Abba also performed two never released songs on their 1979 tour (see GH II below). 

1. As Good As New (Andersson-Ulvaeus) 3.32 Lead Vocal Agnetha Recorded March 1979

Vocals-Agnetha Faltskog, Frida Lyngstad ,Guitars-Janne Schaffer, Bass-Rutger Gunnarsson, Drums-Ola Brunkert, Keyboards & Synthesizers-Benny Andersson String Arrangement-Rutger Gunnarsson.

Agnetha sings a juicy lead on "As A Good As New" this albums' opener. I find the classical intro jars too heavily with the rest of the song, but the chorus to the song is catchy. "

2. Voulez-Vous (Andersson-Ulvaeus) 5.11 Lead Vocals Agnetha& Frida Recorded February 1979

Vocals-Agnetha Faltskog & Frida Lyngstad , Guitar-Ish Ledesma, George Terry, Janne Schaffer, Bass-Arnold Paseiro, Drums-Joe Galdo, Piano-Paul Harris , Synthesizers-Benny Andersson Tenor Sax-Halldor Palsson, Johan Stengard ,Trombone-Nils Landgren

To try to make a more legitimate dance track, ABBA recorded most of the instrumental backing for Voulez-Vous''s title track in Criteria Studios in Miami using some of Criteria's house musicians . The title track is certainly ABBA's most unabashed disco track. This was the only time that a ABBA studio recording was made outside of Sweden. The rest of the tracks on the album were recorded in Stockholm ,mostly at their new Polar Studios. This track seems very forced, very labored , and is not one of their better singles..

3. I Have A Dream 4.44(Andersson-Ulvaeus) Lead Vocals Frida Recorded March 1979

Vocals-Agnetha Faltskog, Frida Lyngstad, Bjorn Ulvaeus, Guitars-Janne Schaffer & Bjorn Ulvaeus, Bass-Rutger Gunnarsson, Drums-Ola Brunkert, Keyboards & Synthesizers-Benny Andersson, Choir Vocals-International School of Stockholm Choir.

VOULEZ VOUS has two ballads, one on each side, one great song ,one not so great. "The not so great ballad-"I Have a Dream" ,has an annoying children's choir on it, and the unoriginal lyrics seem a little insincere coming from somebody like Björn who has said that he is an agnostic bordering on being atheist. However , Frida manages to wring some honest emotion out of the song, (especially on the live version) and like "Chiquitita", IHAD has some crisp guitar and piano work.

4. Angeleyes 4.20 (Andersson-Ulvaeus) Lead Vocals- Agnetha, Frida & Bjorn Recorded October 1978

Vocals-Agnetha Faltskog, Frida Lyngstad & Bjorn Ulvaeus, Guitar-Janne Schaffer, Bjorn Ulvaeus, Bass-Mike Watson , Drums-Ola Brunkert, Keyboards & Synthesizers-Benny Andersson, Stringarrangment-Anders Eljas

I like "Angeleyes", a rare three part shared lead vocal between Björn and the girls , it provides a healthy dose of ABBA's trademark "a-ha's ". There is awful of lot high singing on this record...Not perhaps a great record-but a great example of what good background singers Agnetha and Frida were with ABBA, especially in the last round of the chorus....

5. The King Has Lost His Crown 3.30(Andersson-Ulvaeus) Lead Vocal-Frida Recorded August 1978

Vocals-Agnetha Faltskog, Frida Lyngstad, Guitars-Lasse Wellander, Bjorn Ulvaeus Bass-Rutger Gunnarsson, Drums-Rolf Alex , Keyboards & Synthesizers-Benny Andersson, Oboe-Jan Risberg, String arrangment -Anders Eljas

"The King has lost his Crown" is sung by Frida and is a very elegant track with good lyrics. It is a song espeicially suited for Frida's lower vocal register.

6. Does Your Mother Know 3.13 (Andersson-Ulvaeus) Lead Vocal-Bjorn Recorded February 1979

Vocals-Bjorn Ulvaeus, Agnetha Faltskog, Frida Lyngstad Guitar-Lasse Wellander, Bass-Miike Watson, Drums-Ola Brunkert, Keyboards & Synthesizers-Benny Andersson, Tenor Sax-LArs O. Carilsson, Kajtek Wojiechowski

"Does Your Mother Know ", has Björn singing the main lead vocal for the first and only time on a worldwide ABBA single. The lyric for DYMK is cleverer than it seems. It's not every day you hear a song about a older guy being hit on by a younger girl. but even so, I thought it was a poor choice for the first single from the album in a place like the USA.

7. If It Wasn't For The Nights 5.13(Andersson-Ulvaeus) Lead Vocal-Agnetha & Frida Recorded October 1978

Vocals-Agnetha Faltskog, Frida Lyngstad, Guitars-Janne Schaffer, Bjorn Ulvaeus,Bass-Mike Watson Drums-Ola Brunkert, Keyboards & Synthesizers-Benny Andersson, Percussion-Malando Gassama String and Horn arrangment-Anders Eljas

The best of the disco numbers is perhaps the very listenable
"If It Wasn't For The Nights" which nevertheless, seems overly repetitive for an ABBA song, though not for a dance number.

8. Chiquitita 5.26 (Andersson-Ulvaeus) Lead Vocal-Agnetha Recorded December 1978

Vocals-Agnetha Faltskog, Frida Lyngstad Guitar-Lasse Wellander, Bjorn Ulvaeus, Banjo-Bjorn Ulvaeus, Bass-Rutger Gunnarsson, Drums-Ola Brunkert, Keyboards & Synthesizers-Benny Andersson

Yes, as I said before-VOULEZ VOUS has two ballads, one on each side, one great song ,one not so great. The great ballad Chiquitita" does seem a little out of place on this album , but this is clearly one of ABBA's best ballads. "Chiquitita" is powerfully sung, has well executed lyrics, crisp guitar work and uplifting piano work. Listen for the great contrapuntal backing vocals on the chorus and the way the girls prnounce the last Chiquitita.""Chiquitita" is one of the few ABBA singles that tug a little on your heart. The publishing rights to the song were given in to Music for Unicef (1979 was the International Year of the Child) (SEE review of The Music for Unicef Concert) ."Chiquitita" was the biggest hit of the five songs that were hits from the Voulez Vouz .

9. Lovers (Live A Little Longer) 3.28 (Andersson-Ulvaeus) Lead Vocal-Frida Recorded April 1978

Vocals-Agnetha Faltskog, Frida Lyngstad Guitar-Lasse Wellander, Bjorn Ulvaeus, Bass-Rutger Gunnarsson, Drums-Ola Brunkert, Keyboards & Synthesizers-Benny Andersson, Percussion-Malando Gassama String arrangment-Rutger Gunnarsson

Another Frida track-"Lovers Live a Little Longer' is probably sunk by a stupid lyric but it has some great rythems,and a virtuoso backing vocal performance by Agnetha (and Frida).

10. Kisses Of Fire 3.16(Andersson-Ulvaeus) Lead Vocal-Agnetha Recorded February 1979

Vocals-Agnetha Faltskog, Frida Lyngstad Guitar-Lasse Wellander, Bjron Ulvaeus Bass-Rutger Gunnarsson, Drums-Ola Brunkert, Keyboards & Synthesizers-Benny Andersson

I liked "Kisses of Fire" The B-side to DYMK better than DOES OUR MOTHER KNOW" "Kisses of Fire",is also the last song on the VOULEZ VOUS album. "Kisses" has a great intro sung by Aggie and the rest of the song is highly listenable (listen for the part where the girls sing"losing you") but, perhaps ,it lacks the kind of elegance you find on ABBA's classier songs and the cleverness of the sillier numbers.

extra tracks:

11. Summer Night City (Andersson-Ulvaeus) Lead Vocals Bjorn, Agnetha, Frida Recorded May 1978

Lead & Backing Vocals-Agnetha Faltskog Lead &Backing Vocals-Frida Lyngstad
Guitar & Lead & Backing Vocals-Bjorn Ulvaeus
Backing Vocals,Keyboards-Benny Andersson
Lead Guitar-Lasse Wellander
String Arrangement,Bass Guitar-Rutger Gunnarsson
Drums-Ola Brunkert,Rolf Alex, Various Swedes-Strings

A non-album single that was released to help fill the the year and a half gap between albums. That song ."Summer Night City". was a nod in the disco direction , Björn sings along with the girls on it but B&B and Micke Tretow had trouble getting a good mix of the song together, the mix that finally was released left out a elegant introduction.The more observant may notice the seeming repeated use of an obscenity in SNC's chorus towards the end of the song. Bjorn has denied that he is using a bad word."Summer Night City' would not be put on a album till GREATEST HITS II came out. It was released as bonus track for the first time on the 1998 remasters.

12. Lovelight (Andersson-Ulvaeus) Lead Vocals- Agnetha & Frida Recorded April 1978

Lead & Backing Vocals-Agnetha Faltskog Vocals-Frida Lyngstad
Guitar & Backing Vocals-Bjorn Ulvaeus
Keyboards, Backing Vocals -Benny Andersson
Lead Guitar-Lasse Wellander
Bass Guitar-Rutger Gunnarsson
Drums-Ola Brunkert

One of the songs rejected for Voulez-Vous that was released as the b-side to "Chiquitita". The original unedited b-side mix is a cult favorite among some fans. Annoyingly, since it's original B-side release usually a shorter verson has been presented on most CD's..

13. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight ((Andersson-Ulvaeus) Lead Vocals -Agnetha Recorded August 1979

Lead & Backing Vocals-Agnetha Faltskog Backing Vocals-Frida Lyngstad
Guitar & Backing Vocals-Bjorn Ulvaeus
Keyboards & Sythesizers-Benny Andersson
Lead Guitar-Lasse Wellander
Bass Guitar-Rutger Gunnarsson
Drums-Ola Brunkert,Ake Sundqist -percussion,Lars Carlsson, Halldor Passon-Tenor Sax,Christer Danielsson-Bass Trombone

ABBA's sexy & entertaining 1979 Eurodisco single originally recorded for Greatest Hits Vol.2 This was added as bonus track on the 2001 remasters. The song is carried by Benny synth riff. Agnetha is notably great on this, it's seems amazing that those two girls recorded all those varied backing vocals... In 2005 the opening riffs of this song became reborn as a Madonna single called "Hung Up", which brought Bjorn and Benny back to the US and British charts...

OTHER TRACKS RECORDED

The early sessions for VOULEZ VOUS in 1978 left a large group of at least six songs that ending up being left off the album, amongst them were "Lovelight' which was released as the b-side to "Chiquitita". Five other songs were stuck in the vault for about fifteen years until they all appeared on the 1994 box set -the loveley folksy-"Hamlet III" the circusy"Dreamworld", "Just a Notion", and two Bjorn vocals- "Crying Over You" , and "Free As A Bumble Bee" . Also a few songs were worked on in the summer of 1979 after the album was released (see below) .

 

ABBA-Voulez-Vous (Remastered) 2001 CD and limited edition Digipak

Includes liner notes by Carl Magnus Palm and three bonus tracks(two of the three bonus tracks were hit singles). Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! is now here rather than on the Super Trouper remaster. The titles are recentered on the cover. The addition of "Gimme Gimme Gimme" and "Summer Night City" means that there are now seven hits found on this album.

1. As Good As New; 2. Voulez-Vous; 3. I Have A Dream; 4. Angeleyes; 5. The King Has Lost His Crown; 6. Does Your Mother Know; 7. If It Wasn't For The Nights; 8. Chiquitita; 9. Lovers (Live A Little Longer); 10. Kisses Of Fire

extra tracks: 11. Summer Night City; 12. Lovelight; 13. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight (new bonus track)

>
ABBA-Voulez-Vous-Deluxe Edition, Universal, 1CD/IDVD, Planned Release Spring 2010

The Voulez-Vous Deluxe Edition expands the original album with five Voulez-Vous era bonus tracks, as well as a DVD featuring television performances and interviews related to Voulez-Vous. As with the previous deluxe editions, the DVD is more interesting than the CD. The key feature on the DVD is the debut of the entire ABBA in Switzerland TV special.
This reissue is about a year late, but Universal wanted to give priority to the totally new ABBA in Japan DVD.

CD

1. As Good As New
2. Voulez-Vous
3. I Have a Dream
4. Angeleyes
5. The King Has Lost His Crown
6. Does Your Mother Know
7. If It Wasn’t For The Nights
8. Chiquitita
9. Lovers (Live A Little Longer)
10. Kisses Of Fire
11. Summer Night City (Full Length Version) (Bonus)
12. Lovelight (Bonus)
13. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight) (Bonus)
14. Dream World (Bonus)
15. Voulez-Vous (Extended Remix, 1979 US promo) (Bonus)


DVD

1. ABBA In Switzerland (television special, BBC)
2. Chiquitita (Music for UNICEF)
3. I Have A Dream (extended promo)
4. If It Wasn’t For The Nights (Mike Yarwood Christmas Show, BBC)
5. Chiquitita (ABBA Snowtime, BBC)
6. Björn & Benny Interview (Multi-Coloured Swap Shop, BBC)
7. Greatest Hits Vol. 2 Television Commercial I
8. Greatest Hits Vol. 2 Television Commercial II
9. International Sleeve Gallery
 

 Original Track listing for Voulez-Vous

* -Side A-As Good As New

* Voulez Vous

* I Have A Dream

* Angeleyes

* The King has Lost His Crown

* -Side B-

* Does Your Mother Know

* If It Wasn't for the Nights

* Chiquitita

* Lovers (Live a Little Longer)

.* Kisses of Fire

* -other tracks recorded

* Lovelight (B-side)

* Dreamworld

* Free As A Bumble Bee

* Crying Over You

* Hamlet III

* In the Arms of Rosalita (early vers. of Chiquittia)

* Just a Notion

* Summer Night City (non-album a side)

 

Details for Voulez-Vous album

* Swedish release April 1979 #1

* UK release May 1979 #1

* US release June 1979 # 19

* Recorded Polar Studios , Stockholm and Criteria Studios, Miami

* Recorded April 78-March 79

* Produced & written by by Andersson-Ulvaeus

* Cover photo taken at Alexandra's Disco , Stockholm

 

ABBA-Greatest Hits Volume II 1979 Released on Cd but phased out

GREATEST HITS 2 was released to coincide with ABBA's 1979-80 world tour. It was first universally available ABBA compilation -it was released with the same track listing and cover in all the major world record markerts-the only variation being a version released in some territories with Spanish language tracks...

G H II sported a ugly gray album gatefold cover. The cover features one portrait of the group as a whole on the front and individual portraits of the group on the inside gatefold. Frida has a look similiar to Bjorn on the Arrival cover sessions -she looks sleepy and like she doesn't want her picture taken. the other three ABBA members are pictured engaged in sporting pursuits...

Two non-album tracks made their album debuts along with 12 previously released songs that were derived from VOULEZ-VOUS (3 songs); THE ALBUM(5 songs), ARRIVAL (3 songs) and one song from the 1975 ABBA album.

Two songs that would hits from the VOULEZ-VOUS album -"I have A dream" and "VouleZ-Vous" were not to be found on Greatest Hits Volume 2, partly because Greatest Hits 2 was released only about five months after "Voulez-Vous" and they wanted people to still buy "Voulez-Vous". Secondly, "I Have A dream" was not actually released as a single till after GH II came out..

One song ,"I Wonder" from THE ALBUM , seems totally out of place on GHII since it was not a hit anywhere. Nor does it sound like it should ever been a hit single. .Also, it may seem strange that the chronilogically out of place "Rock Me' appeared on here-but that song had been a hit in Australia...

"Summer Night City" a non- album single originally released in Fall 1978 made it's first appearence on a album here. "SNC' was orignally going to be on "Voulez-Vouz' but was left off cos the "Voulez-Vous album was released too long after "SNC" single. . One totally new song was slated to be recorded for GHII and so ABBA went back into the studio in Summer of 1979 to record "Gimme Gimme Gimme" . "Gimme X3" like "As good As New" has a pseudo classical intro. The result is one of ABBA's best disco (or pseudo-disco) songs .The video for the "Gimme X3" was actually filmed in the Polar Recording Studios. "Gimme X3" is the song Madonna memorably sampled in 2005 on the song "Hung Up".

Some other tracks were recorded during the summer of '79 but not released officially. " Under My Sun" was worked on during rehearsels for the 1979 tour .Like many of their unreleased songs 'Under My SUN has an infectious memorable melody but is lyrically awkward because the lyrics were unfinished ., The song was based on a discarded recording that had been ime it had been properly recorded icalled "Rubber Ball Man". which is found on ABBA's box set in a short version. The melody to "Rubber Ball Man "seems so very famiilar. "Lady Bird" and "And the Wind Cries Mary" were two unfinished tracks that never have seen release.

"Sang to Gorel' was a privately issued Swedish language, 12 inch single presented to Polar VP, Mrs. Gorel Hanser on the occasion of
her 30th birthday in June 1979. B&B must have had talent to burn, because the song has a exquisite folksy melody carried by mandolins and a circus music. A&F, B&B , and Stig himself take turns singing in Swedish. This recording has never been officially released./

Concerts on ABBA's 1979 /80 live tour were recorded and filmed for a possible live album.At least two unreleased songs emerged from the tour recordings. Benny's instrumental showcase "Gammal Fabodpsalm" was used as an introduction to the concerts. It proceeded the song "Voulez-Vous".This piece's full title is" Gammal Fabodpsalm Fran Dalarna (Old Pastoral Hymn)",it was written by Oskar Lindberg ,a 20th century composer . It's actually not a very interesting tune.

The other live rarity Agnetha's live solo showcase,"I'm Still Alive ", which was actually co-written by her and was sung solo by her at the piano in concert.(see live section). A shame really that it has never seen release, mainly because there is no studio version of the song.

 

 Details for GH II  * Side A  *Side B  -Tracks recorded Mid/late 1979

 

* Swedish release October 1979 #20

 

* UK release October 1979 # 1

 

* US release November 1979 # 46

 

* Produced by Andersson-Ulvaeus

 *Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!-VOULEZ-VOUS

* Knowing Me, Knowing You-THE ALBUM

* Take A Chance On Me-THE ALBUM

* Money, Money, Money-ARRIVAL

* Rock Me-ABBA

* Eagle-THE ALBUM

* Angeleyes-VOULEZ-VOUS

 * Dancing Queen-ARRIVAL

* Does Your Mother Know-VOULEZ-VOUS

* Chiquitita--VOULEZ-VOUS

* Summer Night City-(first lp appearence)

* I Wonder (Departure)-THE ALBUM

* The Name of the Game-THE ALBUM

* Thank You For The Music-The ALBUM

* -Gimme Gimme Gimme (GH 2)

* Under My Sun (unreleased)

* Rubber Ball Man (rel. on Box Set)

* Sang to Gorel (private issue 12 inch)

* I am Still Alive( unrel. live)

* Gammal Fabodpsalm( unrel live) 

 SINGLES drawn from VOULEZ-VOUS &Greatest Hits Volume II ABBA albumsChiquitita/Lovelight
Does Your Mother Know/Kisses Of Fire
Voulez-Vous/Angeleyes
GimmeX3/The King has Lost His Crown
I Have A Dream/Take A Chance live

Various artists-A gift of song-The Music for Unicef Concert 1979 Lp released in various territories...Long out of print...

ABBA gave the song publishing rights for "Chiquitita "to Unicef (the UN children's agency) . This album was drawn from a special concert given at the UN General Assembly . It was held at the UN building in New York in January 1979. Other artists to perform included the Bee Gees John Denver, Rod Stewart, Donna Summer, Andy Gibb, Olivia Newton-John, Kris Kristoffersson & Rita Coolidge. Elton John was going to perform but was a no show.

The BEE GEES were the chief promoters of the concert along with David Frost and Robert Stigwood . Supposedly it was going to happen every year ,but only a few other songs were given to MUSIC FOR UNICEF.

ABBA lip synched "Chiquitita" for the show, which was certainly a less than gutsy approach but because it was totally new song it was less noticeable. ABBA's "He is Your Brother "was performed by the whole ensamble of acts-but sadly this short bit was not included on the record.

ABBA didn't release "Chiquitita" as a single at
this point in America even though the concert originated in New York and was shown live on American NBC-TV primetime. The American single of "Chiquitita" wasn't released till nine months later. It was one of those many missteps in the American markert that ABBA and their then label-Atlantic made.

The lp features ABBA 's studio recording of "Chiquitita" coupled with the clapping of the
audience. The album was not a big seller and was never released on CD, but "Chiquitita" has raised over one milllion dollars for Unicef, just from the publishing royalites.

SEPTEMBER / THAT'S THE WAY OF THE WORLD - 
    EARTH, WIND & FIRE/ 
I GO FOR YOU - ANDY GIBB
MIMI'S SONG - DONNA SUMMER/
REST YOUR LOVE ON ME -  /
    ANDY GIBB & OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN 
/
CHIQUITITA - ABBA /DO YA THINK I'M SEXY? - ROD STEWART  /
THE KEY - OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN  /
RHYTMES AND REASONS - JOHN DENVER /

FALLEN ANGELS - KRIS KRISTOFFERSON

    & RITA COOLIDGE 
/TOO MUCH HEAVEN - BEE GEES

The album also includes various intros by Gilda Radner, Harry Winkler,David Frost etc.

 

 

To leave the dance floor click here...

 

* ABBA's next album 1980 SUPER TROUPER

* 1986 ABBA LIVE

* HOME- ABBA-THE ALBUMS

Details on ABBA musicians credits sourced from original CD/album liner notes or from THE COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS by Carl Magnus Palm.

 

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