Björn Ulvaeus

Björn Ulvaeus

Infobox Musical artist
Name = Björn Ulvaeus

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Birth_name = Björn Kristian Ulvaeus
Born = birth date and age|df=yes|1945|04|25
Origin = Stockholm, Sweden
Occupation = Songwriter, Composer, writer, producer
Genre = Folklore, Pop Music
Years_active = 1964 - present
Label = Polar Music
Instrument = Guitar,
Associated_acts = ABBA, Hootenanny Singers

Björn Kristian Ulvaeus, IPA2|bjœ:ɳ ɵlˈve:ɵs, (born April 25, 1945) is a Swedish musician, composer, a former member of the Swedish musical group ABBA (1972-1982), and co-composer of the musicals "Chess", "Kristina från Duvemåla", and "Mamma Mia!". He has recently coproduced the film "Mamma Mia!" with ex-ABBA member and close-friend Benny Andersson.


Early life

Ulvaeus was born in Gothenburg, but as a child he moved with his family to Västervik. Ulvaeus studied business and law at Lund University after doing his military service with stand-up comedian Magnus Holmström.


Prior to gaining international recognition with ABBA, Björn was a member of the Swedish folk/schlager band Hootenanny Singers who had an enormous following in Scandinavia. While on the road in southern Sweden in 1966, they encountered the Hep Stars, and Björn quickly became friends with the group’s keyboard player, Benny Andersson. The two musicians shared the passion of writing, and in the other found a composing partner. Together they composed their first song during their second encounter that same summer: "Isn't It Easy To Say"; a song soon to be recorded by Andersson's group. The two continued teaming up for music, helping out when the other's band were in the recording studio, adding guitar or keyboards respectively to the recordings. During 1968 the two composed a couple of songs together: "A Flower In My Garden", recorded by Hep Stars, and Stig Anderson wrote lyrics for their first 'real' hit "Ljuva Sextiotal", a song submitted for the 1969 Swedish heats for Eurovision Song Contest -but rejected; the song - a cabarét-style ironic song about the 1960s - was recorded by diva Brita Borg. Another hit came in the 1969 hit "Speleman", recorded by Hep Stars.

While filming a nostalgic schlager special for television in March 1969, Björn met eighteen-year-old singer/songwriter Agnetha Fältskog. Benny had met his future spouse 24-year old jazz and schlager vocalist Anni-Frid Lyngstad only weeks before.

Björn Ulvaeus continued recording and touring with Hootenanny Singers to great acclaim while working as in-house producer at Polar Record Company (headed by future manager Stig Andersson), and did so with Benny as new partner. The twosome produced records by other artists, and continued writing songs together. Polar artist Arne Lamberts Swedish version of "A Flower In My Garden" - "Fröken Blåklint" was one of Björn & Bennys first in-house productions. In December 1969 the two recorded the new song "She's My Kind Of Girl", which became their first single as a duo, released in March 1970, giving them a minor hit in Sweden (and by chance a no. 1 hit in Japan two years later).

The Hootenanny Singers entered Svensktoppen - the Swedish radio charts - in 1970 with "Omkring Tiggarn Från Luossa", a cover of an old folk/schlager song, and remained in the charts for 52 consecutive weeks, a record which was held until 1990; the song was produced by Björn and Benny, and had Björn's solo vocal and Benny's piano.

After being a member of ABBA Ulvaeus, together with Andersson, created the musicals "Chess", "Kristina från Duvemåla" (based on "The Emigrants" novels by Swedish writer Vilhelm Moberg), and "Mamma Mia!" (based on ABBA songs).

Together with Andersson, Ulvaeus was nominated for the Drama Desk Award in a category "Outstanding Music" (for the musical "Chess"), and for a Tony Award in a category "Best Orchestrations" (for musical "Mamma Mia!"). Original cast recordings of both musicals were nominated for a Grammy Award. Bjorn also produced the 1984 musical, 'Eating A Snake'.

For the 2004 semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest, staged in Istanbul thirty years after ABBA had won the contest in Brighton, Björn appeared briefly in a special comedy video made for the interval act, entitled "Our Last Video". Each of the four members of the group appeared briefly in cameo roles, as did others such as Cher and Rik Mayall. The video was not included in the official DVD release of the Eurovision Contest, but was issued as a separate DVD release. It was billed as the first time the four had worked together since the group split. In fact, they each filmed their appearances separately.

Ulvaeus also shared with Andersson "The Special International Ivor Novello Award" from 'The British Academy of Composers and Songwriters', "The Music Export Prize" from the Swedish Ministry of Industry and Trade, and "Lifetime Achievement Award" from the Swedish Music Publishers Association (SMFF).

Personal life

On 6 July 1971, Björn married Fältskog; the marriage resulted in two children: Linda (born in 1973), and Christian (born in 1977). In July 1980, Björn and Agnetha divorced, although they both agreed to remain in ABBA. Björn then married music journalist Lena Kallersjö on 6 January 1981. This marriage produced another two daughters: Emma (born in 1982) and Anna (born in 1986).

Ulvaeus and Kallersjö currently live in Stockholm. From 1984 to 1990 they resided in the UK where Ulvaeus founded an IT-business together with his brother.

He is also one of four people (also including Per Gessle) who own NoteHeads, a Swedish company which publishes the music notation program Igor Engraver. [cite web
url =
title = - Corporate
accessdate = 2008-04-29

Ulvaeus is a member of the International Humanist and Ethical Union's Swedish member organisation Humanisterna, and was awarded their annual prize, "Hedenius-priset", in 2006.

Ulvaeus has suffered from severe memory loss and no longer remembers much of his life. He has little memory of being famous and has even turned to hypnotism to try and bring back his memory. [cite web
url =
title = Abba star Bjorn's shock admission: 'I'm battling long-term memory loss'|accessdate = 2008-07-16


External links

* [ Interview in "Humanisten"]

ee also

*List of Swedes in music
*Mamma Mia!

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