(Re-heated and partly updated from 7/19/09 – view the original post here)
In the late 80s Stock, Aitken and Waterman were the production house that everyone wanted to work with, and if they couldn’t work with them they’d settle for some cheap carbon copy of it. Much like Sweden’s following the Lady Gaga sound at the moment, we weren’t late on copying S/A/W’s sound. Most notably we got our own production house in the form of Norell, Oson & Bard consisting of producers Tim Norell, Ola Håkansson and, of course, Alexander Bard that later became famous for his work with Army of Lovers and BWO.
While they did evolve much more than Stock, Aitken and Waterman ever did, they pretty much just followed whatever trend that was en vogue at the moment, providing a cheaper alternative for Swedish artists that couldn’t afford the real thing. Despite clear influences, they still managed to create some of the best pop tracks that Sweden’s ever churned out. Here’s a few of my favourites:
Lili & Susie – Oh Mama (SWE #1)
Most younger scandipoppers probably first noticed the sister duo Lili & Susie with their recent comeback in Melodifestivalen, but the blondes are probably best known for causing a minor outrage in the late 80s with their skimpy outfits and catchy songs. For some reason they decided to prominently feature their backing singer Anki Bagger in the video for “Oh Mama”, why I’m not sure. I almost think they were trying to fool people that they were some sort of Swedish Bananarama. Anyway, more on Anki later…
Secret Service – I’m So I’m So I’m So (In Love With You) (SWE #DNC)
Ola Håkansson’s own band that peaked in Sweden in the late 70/early 80s, but kept going into the late 80s due to success the old Soviet Union. I’m not sure about the later claim as it sounds suspiciously like Alexander Bard’s claim that BWO is huge in Eastern Europe, but since when was Wikipedia ever wrong? The song itself is a fine piece of catchy late 80s pop that Jason Donovan would’ve killed for.
Anki Bagger – Where Were You Last Night (SWE #13, NL #72)
Initially, Where Were You Last Night was largely forgotten until 2004 when a Finnish metal band called Nightwish decided to do a cover of it. The Nightwish cover, of course, was terrible, but it did seem to bring some relevance to Anki’s version again. I think this is an example of how N/O/B were at least a bit more versatile than S/A/W who were pretty much churning out the same songs again and again at this point.
Troll – Jimmy Dean (SWE #1)
A true case of One Hit Wonderitis, Troll pretty much seemed to disappear from the public eye after their huge smash hit “Jimmy Dean”. I honestly don’t know much about what Troll did after, or even before “Jimmy Dean” but at least they left a mark on Swedish pop culture before fucking off to the pop dumper.
Kajsa – Angel Eye (SWE #28)
Kajsa (Mellgren) was a television presenter/model turned singer – essentially the 90s version of a reality star trying to have a pop career. “Angel Eye” is, to my knowledge, her only release as a solo singer and despite having an album ready to go, it was never released. The tune itself is a typical mid-nineties floor filler designed for less-talented singers. Also note that the video was done by a young Jonas Åkerlund before Madonna dug her fangs into him!
Despite the fact that I think Alexander Bard is a complete cunt, I can’t help to wonder what they would sound like if they reunited today – would it be a complete disaster like The Sheila’s or could they actually adapt to today’s pop sound? I guess we’ll never know and perhaps that’s good all things considered…
To be continued in the future per request.