Stora Popboken Disk 3
(single: Polydor NH 59733, 1967)
After a handful of singles, Steampacket still hadn’t made that big breakthrough, and the group took a new musical direction.
“Viva L’Amour” didn’t suit Mikael Ramel at all, and he didn’t even take part in the recording of it. But he doesn’t have to be embarrassed – at least not on a musical level – about this amazing sample of pure and unadulterated pop music.
All I Want Is My Baby
(single: Platina PA 140, 1967)
A few years after the Shakers split up, singer Tommy Rander had become a patron of sorts in the music business and did his best to hide his past as a pop star. But later he must have realized his mistake, for the Shakers got together again, on a hobby basis, with Rander as initiator...
“All I Want Is My Baby” ended up on Tio i Topp in the spring of 1966, but this recording is a re-release issued a year later. The song has been spiced up with fuzz sound and piano, which makes version number two the better one.
Hey There, Sunbeams
(LP: “SSSS SHANES!” Columbia SSX 1026, 1967)
Instead of being buried away on an album, “Hey There, Sunbeams” could have been the perfect follow-up to “Chris-Craft No. 9.”
In any event, the song was performed in an unforgettable department store scene from the B-movie “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Gothenburg” (and also ended up on the soundtrack), where the Shanes run around in women’s clothes!
Sing With Me
(single: B-side, HB Artist HBS 1007, 1967)
The Mades were some of Solna’s pop greats during the second half of the ‘60s. “Sing With Me” seems to be very much in the style of the Small Faces, but it still sounds okay.
On guitar we have Michael Areklew, who at the beginning of the ‘70s became a member of Blåblus.
Open The Door To Your Heart
(single: B-side, Bill BT 119, 1967)
On “Open The Door To Your Heart”, which was the B-side of “Lemon Tree,” Björn Skifs shows that he is perhaps Sweden’s best soul-singer ever. It’s just a shame that he didn’t get the chance to show that more often.
In any event, the Slam Creepers’ got three songs on Tio i Topp, and when the group disbanded in 1969, Björn Skifs’ career would really begin to take off.
But we’re still waiting for someone to send him to Memphis with a stack of great songs in his suitcase.
I Set A Fire
(single: Columbia DS 2360, 1967)
With their fifth single, “Buckingham Palace,” Science Poption finally got a song on Tio i Topp, even if it happened through a coup. Then Claes Dieden wrote this song, a shoe-in for a Tio i Topp hit. However, “I Set A Fire” just missed making the charts, and shortly after Science Poption split up. But no one could take away their musical abilities.
BELLA AND ME
Whatever Happened To The 7-Day Week
(single: Columbia DB 8243, 1967, only released in England)
Two 17-year-old girls travel to England to work as au pairs. Scarcely six months later they’re in a studio to record their first and only single. Immediately after that, one half of the duo goes back to Sweden, and that’s the last we hear of Bella and Me.
But they probably learned everything but cooking during their months in England.
TOM & MICK
Somebody’s Taken Maria Away
(single: Columbia DS 2361, 1967)
Of course, this song is pretty lightweight, but it was still a big hit, and Tommy Körberg and Mikael Johansson do a good version of Chris Andrew’s song. And you can never go wrong with that Herb Alpert trumpet sound.
“Somebody’s Taken Maria Away” also became one of the biggest Swedish hits of 1967, and the duo had a very successful year before they split up after the summer tour of 1968.
OLA & THE JANGLERS
(single: Gazell C-202, 1967; LP: “Pictures & Sounds,” Gazell GMG-1208, 1967)
You could dismiss “Juliet” as banal and sappy, but you can’t resist the song’s fantastic melody no matter how you try.
Myself, I heard the song for the first time when Ola & The Janglers’ successful film “Ola & Julia” was shown on TV in the mid-1970s. I was convinced that no Swede could have written such a hit song and got a shock when I found out that it was Claes af Geijerstam who wrote “Juliet.”
Again I wonder what would have happened if an English or American artist would have recorded a version of this song.
MIKAEL AND MICHAEL
(single: B-side Knäppupp KN 4599, 1967)
Mikael is Mikael Ramel and Michael is Michael B. Tretow, and you then naturally ask what these two fellows have in common. But the fact is that they had known each other for a couple of years. Both were very interested in recording technique and used to send tape recordings to each other.
In the fall of 1967 they sat down and recorded two songs. Tretow’s “Lovin Enemy” was one of those songs that you write in 10 minutes. But if you really listen to the production and the ‘pa pa-pa’ part, I’m sure you’ll agree that these guys should have continued working together.
Treat Her Like A Lady
(single: Parlophone SD 6011, 1967)
Lesley Gore had recorded the original, but Tages and Henkan took the song and gave it even more of a pop sound. And the group outdid themselves yet again!
Unfortunately, it also was Tages’ last really big hit.
Old Man In New York
(LP: “From The Hounds With Love,” Gazell GMG-1209, 1967; single: B-side Gazell C-209, 1968)
The Hounds became one of the five or six most popular Swedish pop groups after having made their breakthrough with “Sealed With A Kiss” and “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”
On the Hounds’ two albums there are some of their own compositions, which are not too bad. “Old Man In New York” is the best song on the group’s second album.
The Hounds broke up in the fall of 1968, while still at the top. A half-year later the Swedish pop music wave was only a memory.
Coming From The Ground
(single: RCA-Victor FAS 796, 1967)
“Coming From The Ground” was the Lee Kings’ last single, but they were in top form here. The song was written and produced by Hollies members Allan Clarke and Graham Nash. We hear the usual sound that characterized the year 1967.
The NEW GENERATION
Two Faces Have I
(single: Sonet T-7712, 1967; LP: “Happy Days” Sonet SLP-66, 1968)
You might think that this is a simple song and that Peter Holm’s falsetto is just too much. But you could also think that “Two Faces Have I” is a sweet pop song and that the New Generation’s version is considerably better than the Lou Christie original.
Obviously we like the second alternative.
(single: B-side, Parlophone SD-6022, 1968)
For a long time many believed that this was really Tages, but the closest they got to that group was that Göran Lagerberg helped out on this single.
Instead, Darling really consisted of the completely unknown Anders “Henkan” Henriksson and Bengt Palmers, who at the beginning of 1968 got to record two songs.
(single: B-side Sonet T-7735, 1968; LP: “Jack In The Box” Sonet SLP-68, 1968)
Many groups have expressed their admiration for the Jackpots’ vocals, which are to a great degree in that tremendous Beach Boys style.. I think Brian Wilson probably would have liked this number.
The Jackpots’ two albums are full of good material, and on the whole the group must be considered Gothenburg’s next-best pop group. (It’s certainly no surprise that the best group is Tages!)
LEA RIDERS GROUP
Dom Kallar Oss Mods
(single: B-side Philips 350 334 PF, 1968)
Hawkey Franzén and his Lea Riders Group would hardly have spelled commercialism. The group’s five singles are a little bizarre with their mixture of rhythm ‘n blues, country, and hard rock.
“Dom Kallar Oss Mods” was the theme song for a film of the same name, and you can see from the lyrics that Sweden was finally about to lose its innocence.
Love Bring The Night And The Day
(single: Amigo AMS 114, 1968)
One of the members of this unknown group was no less than Lorne de Wolfe, later known from Contact and Hansson de Wolfe United. This single was recorded in a less than state-of-the-art studio in Vaxholm. This was the beginning of what would later become the recording company MNW (Musiknät Vaxholm).
In spite of the less-than-ideal recording conditions, “Love Bring The Night And The Day” still has a mellow, catchy production, with a beautiful horn arrangement that stands out.
Let Love Come Between Us
(single: Columbia DS 2380, 1968)
In 1968 the until then successful group Sleepstones changed their name to Attractions, but this single would only officially be under that name. Bearing in mind that “Let Love Come Between Us” is an unusually successful blend of soul and pop, this song deserved a much better fate.
Most of the band members would, however, go on to much better and brighter times: Ted Åström as an actor, Janne Schaffer as a skillful studio musician and solo performer, and Dennis Wilhelmsson as an artist.
JOHN JULIAN & CURT-GÖRANS
Misery Is Such A Mystery
(single: Columbia DS 2381, 1968)
Curt-Görans’ Band from Eskilstuna would become during the ‘70s one of the more popular dance-bands, but the group was already working in the early ‘60s – with much more rock and pop material. “Misery Is Such A Mystery” is still an example of a great production.
(single: Bill BT 122, 1968)
In spite of winning Sweden’s Radio Pop Band Competition in 1966 and having seven singles, the Slam Creepers’ still hadn’t had a placing on Tio i Topp when 1967 became 1968. “It’s Saturday” sounds like a tailor-made hit and very deservedly became the group’s most successful song.
On their album, however, the Slam Creepers’ continued to pour out their special blend of soul and psychedelic music.
Anna Be Nice
(single: Columbia DS 2388, 1968)
Annaabee-Nox was one of the most popular live bands, but one of the group’s antics it’s better to not mention, unless you think it’s really funny to see one of the band members make his entrance on stage in a baby carriage, dressed in baby clothes, and then pretend to urinate in a pot and pour the contents over another band member. And obviously that is really funny.
On recordings Annaabee-Nox had problems getting a good result. “Anna Be Nice” was certainly not their most commercial attempt, but the suggestive build-up and remarkable production made us choose this song.
Everybody’s Gone Home
(single: Parlophone SD 6031, 1968)
Already as a 19 year old, Mikael Rickfors showed that he had a voice that could swallow time and space.
When Bamboo emerged in 1968, many believed they would take over Swedish pop, but things didn’t really go well for the group on the charts, and the following year the band members went their separate ways.
(single: Parlophone SD 8036, 1968)
With “Fantasy Island” Tages reached in some way a new peak with their pure production. The song just missed Tio i Topp in the summer of 1968 and signaled that the successful pop years were over, even for a group as big as Tages.
(EP: Club Teen RM 5173, 1968)
Les Fleurs from the small town of Åmål in Dalsland was really an instrumental group, but when they made an EP as an advertisement for Trollhätte Glass, a couple of the songs had a vocal component.
And “Souls,” with its tight production, became one of the first hard rock influenced songs in Sweden. However, the group stayed on the right side of that line, and a song that could have been stiff and dull became fresh and bold instead.
If I Had Something
(single: HB Artist HBS 1017, 1968)
There were bets that Ragges, from Luleå, would one day be the new Shanes, but the group had to be content with only making three singles, which didn’t have any great success.
The unique thing about “If I Had Something” is that it was written by Göran Lagerberg from Tages and Anders “Henkan” Henriksson. They both barely remember it today, which means that it was probably leftover Tages material. In spite of that, it is a good pop song – although we will perhaps forget the words!
Still, “If I Had Something” is another example of how drums should sound (or not sound).
OLA & THE JANGLERS
(single: Gazell C-220, 1968; LP: “Let’s Dance!” Gazell GMG-1214, 1968)
Even the popular groups like Hep Stars, Tages, Ola & The Janglers, and the Shanes began to have problems getting onto Tio i Topp in 1968. By the time Ola & The Janglers released “Let’s Dance” in the fall of that year, the group’s previous four records had flopped.
Ola & The Janglers’ energetic version of “Let’s Dance” seemed to fit perfectly with the late 1960s’ rekindled interest in ‘50s rock, and the song even reached the lower rungs of the American charts.
Jack In The Box
(LP: “Jack In The Box” Sonet SLP-68, 1968)
“Jack In The Box” was the title track from the Jackpots’ successful second album. The group became fairly popular in spite of never getting onto Tio i Topp.
At the end of the 1960s even the Jackpots were forced to abandon their pop ambitions and become part of the more lucrative dance-band scene.
(single: B-side Polydor NH 59722, 1968)
Since the singer’s name was Peter Stolt, the group naturally called itself Pete Proud. They made only one single, of which we have chosen the B-side, “Ba-Ba-Da-Da-Oooh,” which was written and produced by former Science Poption member Roger Wallis – although he didn’t really put much work into the lyrics!
“Ba-Ba-Da-Da-Oooh” is, however, a charming pop ditty with a terrific horn arrangement.
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