November 21st, 1964, Swedish
youngsters have all placed themselves in front of the radios to listen
to the weekly Top TenE Between all English and American pop songs they
could suddenly hear a SwenglishEvoice, repeating the lyrics Sleep Little
GirlEto a mediocre accompaniment. If this sounded corny and square, it
was nothing compared to the bands' name -TagesE
This was one of the first times, a Swedish pop band really succeeded inbeating their foreign colleagues. From this point on, two things happened to Swedish pop. First, the era of teenage hysteria , and second, all other musicians had something new to hate. They thought that the musical quality of the band stood in a stoneage state, and that the Tages only popular just because they were so cute. Tommy 17, Danne 17, Göran 17, Anders 17, and Freddie 19,never realized what they had done.
In October 1968, Tages released their 17th single under the name of the Tages.(excluding the
Platina-records released during the Parlophone-time)
For a few years they have been the critics favourites, but the Swedish pop wave is about to fade and I Read You Like An Open BookEwould be the last record under the name theTages.
In two years,
Tages went from being absolute beginners to beeing the leading name on
the Swedish pop music scene. They could be fully compared to the British
or American bands of the time. When the Tages quit, the oldest member had
just reached 21. An age when most musicians don't even had a record contract
yet! And it still feels fantastic that a group who won the local pop music
contest, The Beatles of the West coastEjust by being cute and having
long hair (that is what all expertsEsaid who visited the contest) and
made their debut with Sleep Litte GirlE a couple of months later, had
developed into something so big that can not be described within this limited
space.Tages developed very rapidly because of the media's negative comments
of their cutenessEso they began to practice very hard, and they did put
a lot of time into composing new songs. The Tages were also very lucky
to meet the
professional producer Anders HenkanEHenriksson. They also realized that Göran Lagerberg was a very good singer as well as composer.
No one would know all of this as they took their first staggering steps as Alberts SkifflegroupE In spite of their name, they were trying to find an even more stupid name, and they began to try to find it among the members second names. Danne Larssons´ second name was Tage, and so was Tages Skifflegroup born.
Accoustic music was
on it´s way out, so Tages Skifflegroup turned electric, and the name
was simply to the Tages. Göran Lagerberg now played the bass, and
after a lot of searching they found Freddie Skantze who was a few years
older, but as he was such a good drummer, nobody minded about his age.
It wasn't just the Beatles´ breakthrough that influenced the Tages´
In 1963, Göteborg was visited by The American Folk Song FestivalE where not so well known names like Howlin´ Wolf and Lightnin´ Hopkins appeared. This impressed the Tages a lot, and they immediately began to look for blues records with the original artists. This meant that the Tages had the most advanced repertoire compared to other Swedish bands. With every single that was put out, the
Tages went one good step ahead.
Chuck Berry said about The One For YouEThe best record I´ve heard in Sweden. These Gothenburgers are definately the best band in Sweden. They have feeling, musicality and humour. If these guys would come to England, they would be an instant success. They would be placed right under the Beatles and the Stones. Welcome!E
Tages realized early on that the look of a pop band was very important. In the beginning of 1966 they cut their hair and changed their style. They had suede clothing and colourful shirts made. (There are wonderful pictures to be found in old Swedish pop magazines of the newETages)
In early 1966, Sweden was beginning felt too small, and in March a British tour was set.
When the Tages set our for the tour they expected all to be settled, but were shocked when they realized that this was not the case. They had to stay aboard the boat, and then had to go back home again.
But the Tages didn´t give up, and kept on working to getting better and better. Their first album, TagesEwhich was released in late -65, was a good start, but there were almost only cover tracks on this first album. The second album wasn´t released until summer 1966. Then the Tages recorded another three albums during a period of 18 months. Surely a great exploit They also made a recording for the fanclub members, live at SkansenE( an open air arena in Stockolm) which was released in only 2 (two) copies.
One of the Tages most rockin' songs, The man you´ll be looking forEonly was found as a supplement in the Swedish music magazine BildjournalenEnbsp; But it was released in Norway as an ordinary single (B-side: Leaving HereE HMV AL-6137)
Some of the tracks on the StudioEalbum were recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London and Tages included a couple of folk musicians on a few songs. Tages were pioneers in Sweden, mixing pop- and folk music. And even better, the album included some psychedelic masterpieces like EShe´s A ManEand ESeeing With LoveEThe popularity of the Tages continued during 1966 and 1967, and they kept on experimenting at all levels. During the summer tour in 1967, the Tages used a psychedelic lightshow, and the stage and props were all in black and the bands´ clothes were all white. This gave an amazing effect, and during the light summer nights, the colours were reversed so the band members appeared in black clothes.
Tages were proud of being the leading band in Sweden at the time, and Tommy Blom said in an interview in Bildjournalen, 1967, EThere is nothing worse than dancebandsE singing about love and faith in a cute accent.....I prefer to make less money singing real pop musicE
The fading popularity of the Swedish pop groups in the late 1967, made it so that not even the Tages could keep up the high popularity, but they kept on recording great singles in 1968 with masterpieces like Fantasy IslandEand tried once more to make it in England (Tages had made a minor tour in the British countryside).
The Tages had got the song Halcyon
DaysEfrom the British group The Herd but when it came time to go into
the studio to make the recording, the British producer preffered Göran
Lagerbergs´ voice, instead of Tommy Bloms´. This, combined
with other circumstances made Tommy Blom leave the band. There were
rumors circulating in media that he was to to be replaced by, either
Björn Skifs of the Slamcreepers or Mikael Rickfors from Bamboo but
the Tages went on as a quartet. Tommy Blom made a few singles
in Swedish. The Tages appeared on Tony Blackburns´ radio show and
tried once again to make it with the song, Halcyon DaysE, but this
time there wasn't any success in the efforts in trying to capture a new
Tages tried once again to conquer the world, now with the new name BlondE but in 1970 there was a definite farewellEfor Tages.
All the members of Tages can surely be proud of what they did during these three years. From EDon´t Turn Your BackEthrough I´ll Read You Like An Open BookEthere were three magic years when they made more classic hits than any other Swedish band.
Göran Lagerberg (vocals/bass), Anders Töpel (guitar/vocals), Danne Larsson (now Bexér)(guitar/vocals), Lasse Svensson (drummer), Anders Nordh (guitar), Mats Landahl (electric organ/vocals), Björn Linder (guitar).
In the fall of 1968 Tommy Blom had left the group Tages and England. The investment in his latest single, Halcyon Days,Ehad failed, largely because the record company was on the brink of financial ruin. Tages did not give up, however. In the spring of 1969 they made a final attempt. The group received a substantial advance of $50,000 from Philips and began to record the album Lilac YearsEin England. By the time the record was ready for distribution, Tages had changed their name to the much more international name Blond.E
Unfortunately, the Swedish version was released with a dreadful-looking album cover, and when the record was distributed in the U.S.A. some months later, they had replaced it with a much more presentable and appealing photo of the group. In the new photo appeared also the new members, Anders Nordh and Björn Linder. However, during the time before distribution of the record, both Anders Töpel and Danne Larsson had left the group.
In the U.S.A. the record company made a last, desperate attempt to promote Blond, with the help of a full-page ad in Billboard magazine. In the ad you could read, among other things, about the new pop group from the people who gave us free love, meatballs, and Bergman filmsEand how Sweden is no longer neutral; now theres Blond!Enbsp; At Philips, however, Blond found that the record was not well promoted, and in the summer of 1970 the group finally disbanded. Six months earlier Göran Lagerberg had written and produced The Ballad of the Boy,Eparts 1 & 2E(Philips 6062 006/CBS 4541), which was released by Örjan (Ramberg), with Lagerberg, Björn Linder, and Lasse Svensson as backup.
The trio of Lagerberg, Linder, and Svensson spent their studio time working hard and helped out, among others, the group Pillow on their recording of Oh, Carol.Enbsp; There was also a nice recording made in June of 1970, when the group Sommarfilosoferna (Summer Philosophers) did a Swedish version of In the SummertimeEthat was called På en SommardagE(On a Summer Day) (Mercury 6062 009). Göran Lagerberg, Lasse Sevensson, Björn Töpel, och Björn Linder worked on that recording.
After Blond split up in the summer of 1970, Linder joined Svenne & Lotta as guitarist. He continued as a studio musician and also worked with several bands. Among the more interesting of these was the fairly unknown supergroup Marsfolket (which had the record Schyssta rattarE, whose members were Björn Skits, Claes av Geijerstam, Janne Schaffer, Bo Haggström, and Ola Brunkert. Not a bad lineup; right?
Göran Lagerberg became a studio musician and a member in groups like Kebnekaise and Egba. In 1990 he made a comeback as a member of Grymlings.
translated by H.Mcneill
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