Sunday, 27 October 2013

Das Freizeit-Magazin, 1978: Benny: this is my life

When Benny was plunking his accordion or his piano in his childhood, it was mostly his own sequence of notes. Already as a little boy he was having fun composing songs and he was successful too. As a seventeen-year-old he tried his luck with the Hep Stars, Sweden's answer to the Beatles, and with these boys he collected eight gold records, four of which were his own songs. Then ABBA came along, and once again it was Benny's task to come up with the melodies for the group, while Björn was responsible for the lyrics. In his private life, Benny is living together with his ABBA colleague Anni-Frid. However, both of his children, Helena and Peter, have been born out of his relationship with Christina, a girlfriend from his Hep Stars days. Since then, Benny's life has changed completely.

Benny is a Sagittarius. He was born on 16 December 1946 in Stockholm. When he was only six years old he tried his hands on the accordion and with a family trio he performed his first small concerts. "I've learned to play the instruments myself," he remembers today, "and I saved up my money to buy a car."

When he was only 13 years old, Benny was a regular guest at a club where young groups performed. Four years later, he persuaded a couple of friends to start playing together as a group. Soon the Hep Stars were the number one group in Sweden.

The engineer's son taught himself how to play the organ too. His sister Eva-Lise remembers: "Benny always sat down at the organ or the piano and simply started playing."

With Brigitta, the hostess of the Gamleby folk park, the Hep Stars always found a listening ear. That's where Benny was able to compose his songs for the group as well. He collected eight gold records together with the boys. But the wrong management led to bankruptcy and the end of the group.

After the Hep Stars broke up, Benny recorded a couple of songs with Björn. They brought in their girlfriends Anni-Frid and Agnetha to do some backing vocals. ABBA was born. But it would take a while before the quartet would see their potential as a group. But then they made their strike: 'Waterloo', the sensational Eurovision victory in 1974 in Brighton.

A comet on the pop scene, that would disappear just like all the others, that's what the international press thought about the Swedish pop group, after their success with 'Waterloo'.

Until today, the collaboration of the quartet has stood the test of time. Benny is the man at the keyboards, who writes the melodies and almost every one of them became a super hit for the quartet.

And once again there are gold records for Benny. Together with the three other ABBA members, he has made it a second time to the top of the ladder of success. After a sold out concert in Hamburg in 1977, the group was presented with four gold discs! For the hit record 'Fernando' and three other albums.

The Hep Stars years were pretty wild for Benny, privately as well. His girldfriend Christina had two of his children. But Maria (picture) was one of his love interests as well. Until he met Anni-Frid.

With the Hep Stars, Benny learned to deal with all the highs and lows of being successful. Then he met Björn Ulvaeus at a party. That's how a long friendship started.

For more than eight years, Benny has been living together with Anni-Frid. "Benny is the best thing that ever happened to me," Frida once confessed. And Benny said sincerely: "We are happy, even without a marriage certificate."

In the past year, the four Swedes tried their luck as show stars and movie actors for the first time. 'The ABBA Story', that's how the show of several hours was called, that the Swedish broadcasting company made together with the world famours stars.

The ABBA film 'ABBA - The Movie' came into being in the summer of 1977 in Australia and it tells the story of a DJ that is dreaming about an encounter with the group. The film came to our cinemas in February.


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