THE GIRLS WANT THE BOYS! SWEDISH BEAT GIRLS 1964-1970.

THE GIRLS WANT THE BOYS! SWEDISH BEAT GIRLS 1964-1970.

Over the last few years, Ace International’s Beat Girls’ compilation series, has proved to be on the most popular series released by Ace Records. That is no surprise, as the compilers have travelled far and wide in search of the creme de la creme of music from the sixties’ Beat Girls.

Previous sojourns have found the Ace International team pitch up in Japan, before heading to Europe, for crate-digging expeditions in Italy and France. This time though, the destination was Sweden, which has a rich musical heritage. 

That’s as true today, as it was when the twenty-four tracks on The Girls Want The Boys! Swedish Beat Girls 1964-1970 were recorded. These twenty-four tracks were recorded by eighteen artists. This includes Agnetha Fältskog, Eleanor Bodel, Lena Junoff, Doris, Mona Wessman, Britt Bergstrom, Sunnygirls, MAK Les Soeurs, Suzie and Susanne Wigforss. They’re part of The Girls Want The Boys! Swedish Beat Girls 1964-1970, which was recently released by Ace International, an imprint of Ace Records. It’s a welcome addition to what’s a long running and successful series.

Abba are, without doubt, one of Sweden’s most successful musical exports. So it’s fitting that a song from one of the future members of Abba, Agnetha Fältskog opens The Girls Want The Boys! Swedish Beat Girls 1964-1970. 

Back in 1969, Agnetha Fältskog was about to release her sophomore album Agnetha Fältskog Volume 2 on the Cupol label. It had been produced by her boyfriend,  Björn Ulvaeus, who would also go on to find fame and fortune with Abba. One of the songs on the album was Ge Dej Till Tals, which  was originally  written by Alan Hawshaw and Ray Cameron as Show Some Patience. For Agnetha Fältskog’s cover version, Bo-Göran Edling wrote the Swedish lyrics.  Agnetha Fältskog delivers an emotive vocal, against an impressive orchestral arrangement and harmonies. It’s a fusion of easy listening and pop that provides the perfect backdrop for the vocal talents of Agnetha Fältskog.

Just like  Agnetha Fältskog, Anni-Frid Lyngstad was embarking upon a solo career in 1969. She had just released Sa Synd Du Maste Ga (It Hurts To Say Goodbye) as a single on Columbia. This was a cover of a song penned by Arnold Goland and Jack Gold, which was produced by her partner Benny Anderson. Together, the two future members of Abba are responsible for a breathy, beautiful and timeless slice of Euro beat.

It was in 1968 that Eleanor Bodel’s recording career began. Previously, she had been working in a boutique owned by Lelle Hegland, the bassist of the Hep Stars. That was until he realised that Eleanor Bodel could sing. This lead to Lelle Hegland introducing Eleanor Bodel to songwriter Bengt Palmers. Soon, Eleanor Bodel was well on her way to becoming one of the stars of the Swedish pop music. 

Eleanor Bodel went on to enjoy four hit singles between 1968 and 1969. This included a number one single with One Way Ticket in 1969. Later in 1969, Eleanor Bodel released her debut album, One Way Ticket on Olga Records. It featured the pounding sixties pop of The Girls Want The Boys, and To Love Somebody Is To Hurt Somebody. It’s a heartfelt, orchestrated ballad that shows another side to Eleanor Bodel. She was a versatile and talented singer. Despite this, and enjoying a successful career, Eleanor Bodel decided to turn her back on music in 1971, to concentrate on her studies.

After a period as lead singer of The Strangers and The Plums, Doris embarked upon a solo career in the late sixties. By 1970, Doris had released a string of singles and was about to release her sophomore album Did You Give The World Some Love Today, Baby on the Odeon label. It was produced by Håkan Sterner, and featured Don’t, one of the highlights of the album. Doris unleashes a vocal powerhouse on this jazzy dance track.Despite its undoubted quality, Don’t was relegated to the B-Side of the 1970 single Did You Give The World Some Love Today, Baby. Don’t which would later go on to become a favourite among dancers and DJs.

Bella and Me was a short-lived combo featuring Anna-Bella Munter And Gunnel Sandgren. They were staying in London when they came to the attention of Mike Bradley, who was Tom Jones’ assistant manager. Mike Bradley and Ralph Murphy co-produced Bella and Me’s one and only single Whatever Happened To The 7-Day Week? It was released on Columbia in 1967. Tucked away on the B-Side was Help Me Break This Habit. It’s dreamy and melodic pop song, with a stomping Motown beat that injects a degree of urgency into this hidden gem.

The Plums were one of the groups  Doris Svensson was a member of, before she embarked upon a solo career. They only recorded a few singles, including Benny Law. Although this carefully crafted and catchy song failed to replicate the commercial success of Mama Didn’t Lie, it’s certainly melodic and memorable.

Britta Bergström was only sixteen when her recording career began in 1965. Over the next five years, she was a prolific artist, releasing around forty singles. This included her cover of You Really Have Started Something. It was cowritten by John Carter and Ken Lewis of The Ivy League, and released as a single by Britt Bergstrom on Piccadilly in 1966. It’s a timeless song, and one of the finest moments of Britt Bergstrom’s solo career. Sadly, just four years later, Britt Bergstrom retired in 1970, aged just twenty-one. 

Given Anni-Frid Lyngstad’s contribution to Swedish music, it’s fitting that she features twice on The Girls Want The Boys! Swedish Beat Girls 1964-1970.  Her second contribution is her 1970 single Dar Du Gar Lamnar Karleken Spar, which was released on Columbia. It’s another cover version, but is a song that many people will be familiar with, Edison Lighthouse’s Where My Rosemary Grows. Anni-Frid Lyngstad combines easy listening and pop, on what’s a memorable cover of a pop classic.

In 1970, Agnetha Fältskog returned with her third album Som Jag Är. Again, the album was produced by Björn Ulvaeus, and was released on the Cuplol label. One of the songs on the album was Spela Var Sang (Play Our Song), which was a cover of Petula Clark’s Melody Man that Agnetha Fältskog had written Swedish lyrics to.  It’s best described as a fusion of Schlanger and pop with an arrangement the briefly heads in the direction of rock courtesy of the rocky guitars. 

Although Maria Catharina Martina Pereboom, a.k.a. Suzie, was born in Tilburg, in the Netherlands in 1946, she moved to Sweden in 1960. By then, Suzie’s musical career was well underway. She had joined The Nicholls Family as a teenager, and performed with them across Europe. During her travels, Suzie became multilingual, and fluent in eight languages. This would serve Suzie well well, when  she embarked upon a solo career in 1963, The seventeen year old’s debut single Johnny Loves Me gave Suzie a hit single in Sweden. A year later, Suzie released in Sweden was Det Far Ej Hända Igen. It was released on the Sonet label in 1964. It’s a hook-laden slice of sixties pop that was one of over fifty singles Suzie released between 1963 and 1976.

When Maritza’s career began in the sixties, she was a pop singer. It was only in  the seventies that Maritza decided to change direction, and record jazz and folk. This change of direction paid off, and Maritza went on to enjoy a long and successful career. Om Bara Du Gav En Vink which was released on Decca in 1969, is a reminder of Maritza’s pop years. Maritza delivers an impassioned vocal against a lush, orchestrated arrangement. For those familiar with Maritza’s later work, this will show another side to a talented and versatile vocalist.

Closing The Girls Want The Boys! Swedish Beat Girls 1964-1970  is Susanne Wigforss’ jazzy cover of Sommartid (Summertime). It was released by the Euphoric label in 1968, and is a quite beautiful rework of a familiar and oft-covered song. Susanne Wigforss succeeds where many have failed, in bringing something new to Summertime. It’s a quite beautiful way to close The Girls Want The Boys! Swedish Beat Girls 1964-1970.

The recently released The Girls Want The Boys! Swedish Beat Girls 1964-1970 is a welcome addition to the Beat Girls’ series. It was compiled by Mick Patrick, and released by Ace International, an imprint of Ace Records. This is another of Ace Records’ longest running and most successful compilation series. They seem to have the Midas touch when it comes to compilations.

That’s no surprise. Great care and attention goes into each and every compilation. The Girls Want The Boys! Swedish Beat Girls 1964-1970 is no different. It features a mixture of familiar faces and new names. Two of the biggest names were Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad in their pre-Abba days. However, they’re just two of the eighteen artists who contributed twenty-four tracks to The Girls Want The Boys! Swedish Beat Girls 1964-1970. Other include Eleanor Bodel, Lena Junoff, Doris, Mona Wessman, Britt Bergstrom, Sunnygirls, MAK Les Soeurs, Suzie and Susanne Wigforss. They were some of the most successful Swedish Beat Girls between 1964 and 1970. 

As the seventies dawned, some artists went on to greater things, Other artists, including Eleanor Bodel, decided to turn their back on music. She had enjoyed her short, but successful musical career, but decided to return to her studies. Some artists had no option, as their career stalled or ground to a halt. For some artists, including Bella and Me, recording a single hadn’t been something they planned to do. A chance meeting resulted in them recording their one and only single Whatever Happened To The 7-Day Week. They never recorded another single, and their recording career amounts to just the one single. By contrast, Britta Bergström and Suzie were truly prolific artists. They’re among the contributors to The Girls Want The Boys! Swedish Beat Girls 1964-1970. This is Ace International’s first retrospective of the Swedish Beat. Let’s hope it’s not the last.  Hopefully, compiler Mick Patrick is already planning a followup to The Girls Want The Boys! Swedish Beat Girls 1964-1970, which is a welcome addition to the Beat Girls series. 

THE GIRLS WANT THE BOYS! SWEDISH BEAT GIRLS 1964-1970.

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