The compact disc celebrated its 25th birthday last week. That's an eternity in technology years. In case you were wondering, the first CD to come off the press was ABBA's "The Visitors" — off a Philips assembly line in Germany on Aug. 17, 1982, to usher in a fruitful new age of the music industry.
The disc was art directed by Rune Soderqvist. The following is a short biography for Soderqvist from the official ABBA website:
Rune Söderqvist was born in 1935. After working in the advertising business for a number of years, by the 1970s he had his own design studio. He started working with ABBA in late 1975, designing the original Swedish sleeve for their Greatest Hits album.
The following year he invented the famous ABBA logo with the backwards B. Rune’s thinking was that each B (Björn and Benny) should be turned towards each A (Agnetha and Anni-Frid) since they were two couples. Rune went on to design every subsequent album sleeve for ABBA, from Arrival in 1976 until the posthumous ABBA Live ten years later.
The title Arrival was suggested by Rune’s common-law wife at the time, Lillebil Ankarcrona. The sleeve for Super Trouper featured ABBA surrounded by dressed-up friends and acquaintances, as well as real circus performers. For The Visitors, Rune’s sleeve concept was to think of the ”visitors” as angels, which led to the group posing in front of a painting of an angel.
Rune was also the visual architect behind ABBA’s tour of Europe and