Mamma Mia, here he goes again. ABBA would not have been the band we know without Benny Andersson; it would be ABA. Stages would also be without a unique musical experience known as Chess, and both Mamma Mia! films would be without an executive producer. Sounds like a lot? That is only a sampling of Andersson’s career, so it’s time to play catch up.
Born as Göran Bror Benny Andersson on December 16, 1946, the second ‘B’ in ABBA was exposed to music thanks to his accordion-loving father and grandfather. By six, Andersson was playing on his own, followed four years later by a piano. Andersson did not finish schooling, opting instead to pursue playing at clubs when he was 15.
Benny Andersson stuck to his passion for music
Benny Andersson began with the band Elverkets Spelmanslag then Hep Stag, which gained fame for the song “Cadillac” from 1965. Around that time, he had a fateful meeting with one Björn Ulvaeus; the two had been on the same bill for an outdoor festival, the artist recalled, when Ulvaeus was still with the Hootenanny Singers. Ulvaeus deemed Andersson and his band worth getting to know and invited them to a party just before he was to go off on his national service. While bracing for Eurovision, Andersson then met Anni-Frid Lyngstad while, elsewhere, Ulvaeus met Agnetha Fältskog. The future of ABBA was on the horizon.
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The group became one of the most famous quartets from 1972 to ‘82, but when not working with this iconic group, Andersson got involved with big projects. He and Ulvaeus ended up working with author and lyricist Tim Rice to create the musical Chess; “One Night in Bangkok” gave the artists a top-three hit on the U.S. charts. More international acclaim came with Mamma Mia!, and he and his ABBA peers showed their humorous side with the video “Our Last Video,” where they all made cameo appearances.
Where does Benny from ABBA live?
Today, Benny Andersson calls Stockholm, Sweden home, though it may be something of a base while he goes off and continues with his busy schedule. ABBA’s Voyage album has been called their true last collaboration, though he and Ulvaeus participated in a surprise visit in London to surprise fans. Today, Andersson is still in the music industry working on his own solo career.
He celebrated turning 75 and works now with over a dozen musicians in Benny Anderssons Orkester, which means “Benny Andersson’s orchestra,” often shortened to BAO. In his native Sweden, his music enjoys huge traction and popularity – all five albums and counting, each with a hit single of their own. In fact, “You Are My Man” broke a record by staying on the top of the Svensktoppen chart for 243 weeks. As of 1981, he is married to Mona Nörklit and, though he has struggled with alcoholism in the past, 2011 marked a decade of sobriety for the musician.