Thursday, 2 December 2010

Bravo, 1981: Benny: he was already engaged at the age of 15!

He was a jump starter: in the area of music – and in the area of love as well.
Benny Goran Bror Andersson (that’s his full name) was born in Stockholm on December 16, 1946 and he grew up in Grimsta, in the western part of the city. When he was six years old, he got his first music instrument as a present, an accordion. His father and his grandfather – enthusiastic musicians themselves – taught him the first tricks and practised with him every day.
That’s how Benny already got acquainted with music at a very young age. Through the years, this developed into a dedicated passion. Still today, Benny can’t walk past any instrument, without stopping and trying it out. He is a born musician.
On his tenth birthday, Benny got a piano. Already a couple of years later, people could admire him as a gifted young piano player in the Stockholm bar ‘Youth Garden’.
In this music bar, Benny met his first big love as well. It was the amateur singer Christina Grönvall, who Benny accompanied on the piano. Soon, the twosome was inseparable and ultimately they got engaged, when they were both 15 years old. Although they were never married, two children were born from this relationship: Peter, now 18 years old and Helen (16).
After his first assignment with the completely unknown group Elverkets Spelmanslag, Benny ended up with the Hep Stars in 1964, as their keyboard player. One year later, he had his first big success in the television programme Drop In with the song ‘Cadillac’. This melody shot to number one on the Swedish charts.

But the anticipated subsequent success failed to materialize, although Benny was writing songs for his group industriously. The business side of the group started deteriorating, on top of that there were enormous tax debts. In 1967, the Hep Stars disbanded permanently.
Not long after that, Benny took his first step towards ABBA. He met Björn Ulvaeus. They wrote their first melodies in an office of a paper factory, where Björn’s father worked and in 1969, they performed together.
One year earlier, Benny had met his future wife Frida Lyngstad. They first met during a radio broadcast; sparks were flying immediately. But it wasn’t until 1978 that they got married in all secrecy in the church of Lidingö in Stockholm. They were inseparable and very happy for almost thirteen years. That’s why the announcement of their divorce came as a shock, both to the fans and their close acquaintances.
The divorce was dealt with rather smoothly. Benny came home one day in their mansion and told Frida that he had met another woman. It was the 38-year-old Mona Nörklit, who had been working at the Swedish broadcasting company up till then.
“Still, Frida and I have remained good friends,” says Benny, “not least because of our joint work with ABBA. We have a good rapport, she respects me and I respect her. We talk a lot about music. And we see each other very often because of the children. They shouldn’t suffer from our divorce.”


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