Sunday, 6 December 2009

Hitkrant, October 1977: ABBA’s quiet guy - Music is in Benny’s blood!

Benny in the limelight for a change. A cover and an article from Dutch magazine Hitkrant, October 1977.
Every member of ABBA has something that makes him or her stand out. With Benny Andersson, it’s not always that obvious. After all, he is a quiet and rather inconspicuous young man. But Benny has a secret weapon and his life partner Anni-Frid reveals what it is: “Benny is the ideal man, because he has so much charm and a sense of humour. That’s why every woman is falling for him.”

Benny looks a little reserved on hearing these words, but he still confirms: “Yes, that’s actually true. During the period that I was playing with the Hep Stars, I could indeed get as many girls as I wanted; at the time, I thought that was awesome. But now, Anni-Frid can get as many men as she wants to. We’re even!!”

Benny was born in Stockholm on December 16, 1946 and he actually listened to music already from his cradle: his parents made music and his grandfather taught him the basic principles. When he was six years old, he got his first accordion When he was seven, he already started performing together with his parents. Actually, he never had any real music lessons, but music is in Benny’s blood!

Until he turned seventeen, he kept performing together with his parents and in the meantime he had met Christina Grönvall, a girl that he fell hopelessly in love with. When Benny was fifteen years old, the couple got engaged. But their marriage deteriorated later on. It was dissolved and the two children, Helen and Peter, stayed with Christina.

When Benny was playing with the group Elverkets Spelmanslag, the then fairly well-known band the Hep Stars came to see them one evening. Coincidentally, the Stars were looking for a keyboard player and in 1964, Benny joined the group. That’s when everything started: the Swedish media tagged them as the Swedish Beatles. They achieved their major breakthrough with a song called ‘Cadillac’: the Hep Stars were famous.
But financially, everything was one big mess: paying taxes, no one had ever heard of such a thing. It has been very difficult for a couple of years and also during the ABBA-period Benny has had to bend over backwards to pay off all kinds of back debts, all the more because Benny attributes very little value to money and easily gives away hundreds of Dutch guilders when he thinks that someone needs it. Stig Anderson hasn’t been able to completely break this habit.

The rest is history: in 1966, Benny met his later ABBA-partner Björn and with that, the foundation was laid for one of the most famous pop groups that music has ever known. This leaves Benny rather unaffected, a friendly young man who prefers to spend his time sitting on his island and composing. But who still has his secret weapon!


Karen said...

I agree totally with Frida: Benny was/is very charming and funny. His sweet, calm and understanding way always attracted me; besides, of course, his great talent!
So, he could not fail to be the second ABBA member, of which I like best, after Frida.

Very nice article!

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