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Biography

Hand-pumped water och outdoor toilets

I was born in 1952 and grew up in a small village named Skrekarhyttan. My parents ran a grocery store, selling everything from freshly ground coffee to horseshoes, nails and petrol from barrels. We lived with outdoor toilets and hand-pumped drinking water all around the year.
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Nora

In 1959 the Wellander family moved to a small town called Nora where I started my musical career playing the recorder and the accordion. Like so many other youngsters, I started to play the guitar the day after The Beatles appeared on the swedish pop programme "Drop In" sometime in 1963. Nora Folkets Park (The Peoples's Park in Nora) was very active during the 60s and offered the possibility to see all the most popular Swedish pop groups live. This, of course, contributed to my growing interest in music. (During the winters, however, opportunities for amusement were far more limited, and testing your reaction time at the bus station or weighing yourself at the train station were among the highlights.) I played with different local bands during the mid 60s, mostly guitar but also bass.
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Peps & Blues Quality

After moving to Örebro in 1968, I got in contact with Blues Quality, a professional band which the year before had ended up third in a pop group competition arranged by the Swedish Radio, a big event in those days. The group had recently started to work togeteher with Linkin' Louisiana Peps, nowadays simply known as Peps, and they were looking for a new guitar player. So, in the summer of '68 I started to make my living as a guitar player in Peps & Blues Quality.
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The Recording Business

Thanks largely to the legendary Swedish drummer and producer Anders Burman I soon got into the recording business and have been working as a session musician since 1969. I have played on more than 1.700 albums according to reports from SAMI, allthough the number of titles is, of course, much higher than that.
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Nature

Blues Quality split up in 1970 and some of us then formed the group Nature, with Mats Ronander as singer and harmonica player. A couple of years later, he also took up the guitar with well-known good result. "Malla" and I have continued to work together from time to time over the years. After Nature split up in 1977, we formed Wellander-Ronander and some years after that also Low Budget Blues Band. Besides working and touring as a stand-alone band Nature also acted as the backing group for other artists such as Pugh Rogefeldt, Ted Gärdestad, Göran Fristorp and Ulf Lundell.
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ABBA

While touring with Ted Gärdestad in 1974, Björn & Benny asked me if I would like to take place in some recording sessions with ABBA. They were quite involved in Ted's career and that's how we first got in contact. This turned out to be the beginning of a long period of cooperation with Björn & Benny, with all the recordings, the huge tours and, later on things like the Chess project. In February 2007 we also recorded a lot of the ABBA songs for the Mamma Mia soundtrack. On ABBA's official website you'll find a short biography of me. Click here to read it!
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Hassles With The Labour Unions

Here's one of many clips with ABBA, this one from "Top of the pops" in December 1976. This one is a bit extra interesting because the speaker is actually misinformed concerning the band playing behind ABBA. Read more about this and various other hassles with the labour unions here!
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Little Mike & The Sweet Soul Music Band

I played with a number of different groups during the 80s, besides Low Budget Blues Band, like Zkiffz, Little Mike & The Sweet Soul Music Band and Stockholm All Stars.
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Running A Restaurant

From the late 80s and until 1998 I spent the summers in the town of Lysekil, situated on the swedish westcoast where I ran a summer restaurant and nightclub together with three other guys, Nikke Ström, Lasse Thulin and Totta Näslund. Besides the managment work I also played with the house band, Totta & Hot 'n' Tots. In addition to Totta we had many other fine guest artists over the years including Ted Gärdestad, Pugh Rogefeldt, Georgie Fame, Tommy Körberg, Mats Ronander, Sanne Salomonsen, Ola Magnell, Papa Dee, Ulf Dageby, Christer Sjögren, Karin Wistrand  and Lotta Engberg just to mention a few. Many other famous bands and artists performed in the club too, like Tower of Power, Robben Ford, Wilmer X, Eldkvarn, Peps, Louise Hoffsten, Clas Yngström, Raj Montana Band, Chris Jagger, Niklas Strömstedt, Nationalteatern, Claes Malmberg, The Spotnicks, Stonefunkers and Thomas Di Leva.
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Povel Ramel and Chess

During those years I also worked with various shows and stage productions, in particular together with Povel Ramel in the shows "Knäpp igen", "Kolla klotet" and later, in the spring of 2000, "Som om inget hade hänt". Many great artists performed in these shows, among others Putte Wickman and Wenche Myhre. We also did quite a few "Chess in concert" around the country, for example in connection with the World Chess Championship in Skellefteå 1989 and the opening ceromony of Eriksbergshallen in Gothenburg 1994.
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Rhapsody in rock, solo career och session work

I joined Robert Wells for some of the earlier "Rhapsody in rock" tours. We performed in the Soviet Union in early 1989, just some months before the breakup of the Soviet Union began. It was very special time and and a bit of a scary experience. I also made a number of appearances as a solist after my solo album releases attracted considerable attention.  I was invited to play one of my own compositions at the opening ceromony of the Globe arena in Stockholm in 1989 which was a great honour for me. As the record business was "still going strong" in those days, there was also lots of session work.
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Musicals and The Eurovision Song Contest

As said earlier, I have worked with quite a few shows and theatrical productions since the late 70s, the most  recent ones being "Kristina från Duvemåla", "Guys & Dolls" och "Chess". However, in December 2002, during the perfomances of "Chess" at Cirkus in Stockholm I developed tinnitus from working in the orchestra pit and since then I have had to avoid that type of work and working environment. I played the guitar in fifteen of Sweden’s national finals in the Eurovision Song Contest, plus the Eurovision Song Contest final in Göteborg in 1985.
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Vikingarna

In the spring of 2004, I joinded Vikingarna, by far the most popular dance band in Sweden. This raised a few eyebrows and surprised quite a few people! For me it was a way to honour my old friend and colleague Lasse Westmann, the bands guitarist, who sadly passed away earlier that year. I had participated on the band's recordings for many years, so it felt natural to join them for their farewell tour. I had a really nice time.
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Albin Hagström's Memorial Award

In 2005, I had the great honour of receiving Albin Hagström's Memorial Award from The Royal Swedish Academy of Music. Naturally, I'm very proud of this achievment.

Click here to read more.

Click here for a few stories associated with Hagström Musik.
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Mamma Mia

As you probably know, the fabulously successful musical "Mamma Mia" was made into film and a film needs music. So in February 2007 we went into the Atlantis Studio in Stockholm to record the backgrounds for the soundtrack. Atlantis is the former Metronome Studio where many ABBA songs were recorded before the Polar Studio was built in 1979. So there was a real feeling of déjà vu when we returned to "the scene of the crime" after 25 years to record ABBA songs again. We were the same core of musicians as on the later ABBA albums; Benny, Rutger Gunnarsson, Per Lindvall and me, now strengthened with the percussion player Jörgen Stenberg.
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Collaborations

Over the years I've had the great pleasure of working with many of Sweden's most popular artists. Besides the ones already mentioned, I've also played with Charlie Norman, Jerry Williams, Magnus Uggla, Siw Malmkvist, Tomas Ledin, Carola, Lill-Babs, Harpo, Tommy Körberg and Lena PH to name just a few. And of course, I mustn’t forget all of my talented musician colleagues either.
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Solo albums

Aside from making records with the different groups that I've played with over the years, I have also recorded a number of solo albums, mainly instrumental. A version of a Swedish classical favourite, "Romans ur Pastoralsvit, opus 19" by Lars-Eric Larsson attracted some attention in the mid 80s. Unusually for instrumental numbers, it actually made the charts as did the recording of "Anthem" from Chess some years later. Maybe to be continued ...? Read more in the discography.
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Christmas With Christer Sjögren

I have in recent years been working more and more from home, with remote guitar overdubs and other studio work but also with web design/webmastering. In terms of live gigs I am a bit restrictive nowadays, as mentioned above. However, during November–December 2011 I once again packed the tour bag and worked with Christer Sjögren’s Christmas show. Aside from Christer himself Pernilla Wahlgren, Gunhild Carlling, a five piece band and a choir took part. In 2012 and 2013 I jumped on the same nice Christmas train again. The same gang except Pernilla, now with Lotta Engberg instead, furthermore with Curt-Erik Holmquist as an extra resource in the band 2012.
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Chess in Concert

In July 2014 we did two performances of "Chess in Concert" at Dalhalla outside Rättvik. Continuation in April 2015 with eight indoor concerts at arenas in some of Sweden's major cities.
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Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

In July 2017 we recorded the soundtrack to the upcoming "Mamma Mia" sequel. The new movie, "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again", is expected to premier in July 2018. The soundtrack features the same musicians as before, except that Mats "Mackan" Englund now plays the bass, i.e. Benny, Per Lindvall, Mats Englund, Lasse Jonsson, Jörgen Stenberg and me.
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The Studio Fox

In 2018 I recieved the Swedish Musicians Union's special prize Studioräven (The Studio Fox). I am of course very proud, honored and glad over that. The prize-giving took place at the legendary music establishment Nalen in Stockholm on the 5th of February. You can read all about it here (in swedish).


A Few Stories Associated With Hagström Musik
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Click on a picture for enlargement

Firstly,  two articles from Nora Stads & Bergslags Tidning about an accordion competition which was held in Nora Folkets Park in 1962. During my "career" as an accordion player I used one made by Hagström.





Click on the picture for enlargement

Secondly, in the mid 60s I played the bass in a local band from Nora called Relaction. The photo was taken 1965 in Lindesberg, another small town quite near to Nora, and I think it was taken for the purpose to make a poster. I played a Hagström bass - the 2B model which actually was a really good instrument. Håkan Stockhaus, on the left, played a Hagström Viking and Kjell Ringström, on the right, played a Höfner. The drummer, Nisse Berg, played a Kingston set.





Click on the picture for enlargement

Thirdly, and some years later, I bought my first Marshall amp in a Hagström store in Örebro. It was the first one they had ever sold so I had to wait a couple of months for delivery. As I was only 15 years old at the time, my father had to act as the buyer and sign the hire-purchase contract. At the time, guitar had become "the thing" so I traded in the old Gösta Bäckström amplifier that I had been using for the bass.


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