Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Joepie, 1979: We never want to miss the Swedish midnight sun!

Stikkan Anderson is notorious in Sweden because of his sharp statements. All Swedes were angry with him when he declared that his compatriots weren't just dumb, but even dumber than they thought. But he isn't thinking about leaving the country. Sentimental reasons are playing a part in that. "We simply love Sweden: the midnight sun, the northern lights, the woods, the Swedish summers," Stig muses.

A long time ago in the sixties, Stig had a hit. His song was translated and recorded in Dutch by country singer Ria Valk. Stig still remembers the Dutch title of the song. 'Howa jenekhhth noejahkth mah mhnei, Rockin' Billy'. Of course he means: 'Hou Je Echt Nog Van Mij, Rockin' Billy'. It even gave him a gold record. It was the start of his first company called Sweden Music, because Stikkan had discovered that the big money was up for grabs. In the sixties, Sweden Music grew into one of the biggest music companies in Sweden. During those years, Stikkan also decided to quit being a teacher. "I learned the whole profession of being a music publisher from someone from Belgium. I owe him a lot. I wouldn't be where I am today without that man."

In 1964 he decided to give other artists a chance. That's how he discovered Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson (not related). In 1971 they were appointed as producers at Sweden Music. The twosome sang as well and they were accompanied on backing vocals by two girls: Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. In 1974 ABBA achieved its international breakthrough. The group only just had the name ABBA by then. And that took some doing. In Uddevalla, there was a canned fish company with the same name and at first the company's manager refused permission to lend their well-known name - all over Sweden - to a couple of musicians. He thought he had the exclusive right to that name. Eventually, the canned fish company gave in. Even today, the company is still the biggest of its kind in Sweden. But ABBA doesn't have any shares in that company. But they do have shares in the bicycle factory Monark. More than one third of the shares is in their hands. One thousand people are working at that company.

Invest-Finans is another investment of the group. That new company is closing lease contracts for expensive machinery compounds for different companies. Only recently, this company landed an order worth 100 million Swedish krona (14 million Dutch guilders). All these activities are administered by Polar Music International: Stikkan owns 25 percent of it and the rest is owned by the ABBA members.
ABBA's studio is famous as well, established in a former, huge sports hall just outside Stockholm center. Once there was a swimming pool in the building. But ABBA rebuilt it into a parking-lot. The studio is of an excellent quality. There's a long waiting list of artists who want to record there. Only recently Led Zeppelin has recorded an album there.

Stikkan Anderson would love to fix the parking problems in front of the head quarters too, but the authorities in Stockholm can't be persuaded. They won't give in, that's why Stikkan parks his car illegally every day, and every day this is costing him 75 Swedish krona (30 Dutch guilders). Today as well, he takes his parking ticket out from under his windshield wiper and gets into his Rolls Royce. In the distance, we can hear the siren of a Swedish police car. It sounds American. Stig is humming along unconsciously. Perhaps a new hit is born...


Monica said...

Well even though he did a lot in helping ABBA achieve success in the end he just became too big for his britches and spoke way out of turn on behalf of the ABBA members. A real shame it ended that way.

Angela said...

He certainly put his foot in it.

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