Swedish book by Marie Ledin about Stig Anderson

Marie Ledin, daughter of Stig Anderson, ABBA’s manager and founder of the Polar Music record label, has written a biography of Stig that will be released in Sweden on 15 September. The book gives an account of his life in music and one side of the events that created a huge rift in the ‘ABBA/Polar family’.

My father called Stikkan

My father called Stikkan by Marie Ledin

Stig ‘Stikkan’ Erik Leopold Anderson was born in Hova on January 25, 1931. As well as being ABBA’s manager, he was also a composer, lyricist, publisher and business man. The 60-a-day smoker finally capitulated to illness, bitternerness and alcohol on September 12, 1997, aged 66.

Now, over a decade later, Marie talks of her life with her father and recalls her early memories of his inherent musicality and business savvy and traces his life from jazz lover to pop impressario. 

Anderson was one of the dominant figures behind ABBA, representing their commercial interests and global success through adavantageous record deals that resulted in significant financial remuneration for the group . At the same time, he also managed fund investments and the financial incomes of Polar Music.

In the mid 1980s, however, a considerable part of ABBA’s fortune was documented as lost by mismanagement, bad decision making and poor investments.

Three of the four ABBA members terminated their relationship with Anderson when it was revealed that Anderson had taken an excessive percentage of their profits over the course of many years.

A complaint against Anderson was submitted to the Stockholm District Court in June 1990 by Agnetha Fältskog’s company Agnetha Fältskog Produktion AB, Benny Andersson’s company Mono Music AB, as well as a Dutch company holding Björn Ulvaeus’ rights. Anni-Frid Lyngstad sold all her shares in the Polar Music company in 1982 when she left Sweden.

The dispute was settled out of court in July 1991; the terms of the settlement remain officially undisclosed.

The two first chapters are available to read on the Internet. The first, starts with Stig’s death, and what happened that day, Marie’s very moving feelings about it and her refusal to acknowledge it at first.  There appears to be a very open account of his alcoholism and sad last few years.

Expressen carried an article about the book yesterday and obtained brief quotes from Benny and Björn that suggest that feelings may still run deep about what must be one of the darkest and most unpleasant chapters in ABBA’s history. Expressen states that Marie’s book "reveals" that Benny didn’t want Polar to be sold to a foreign buyer, but that he couldn’t afford to match the sum of 189 million kronor offered by Polygram (interestingly, according to an interview with Thomas Johansson in 2001, the sum was 300 million). When the whole unpaid royalties thing exploded in 1990, Polygram eventually reportedly paid ABBA 5 million kronor in an out-of-court settlement.

"To the end of Stig’s days, his eyes darkened whenever the group was mentioned", says Marie in the book.

"That’s her version of events", says Björn to Expressen. "But I don’t want to make any comment on this before I’ve read the book." Benny doesn’t want to comment at all. "Actually, I’m not interested in what’s written in that book", he says. 

AndersonPocket online

6 thoughts on “Swedish book by Marie Ledin about Stig Anderson”

  1. Part of me really wants to read this book…its as near as we are ever going to come to ever finding out what really happened yet part of me doesnt…remembering back to the time it happened and being aware of how this incredible music machine literally tore itself to pieces and good friendships were destroyed, I think maybe it is better not to know.
    Obviously its a one sided view of events but there isnt going to be anything factual that isnt correct as the Lawyers would have checked it out already but still,..sometimes , like ABBA, some things deserve to be left to lie.
    I have a horrible feeling we may read things about our musical hero’s that might leave a bad taste in our mouths.

  2. Maybe it explains alot and should be a good read.
    Possibly I understand now why Frida recorded Djupa Andetag for Marie’s label and why certain people didn’t attend Stig’s funeral.

  3. I hope the book does get an English version released – whatever happened between Stig and ABBA in the last years there is no doubt he is a major part of the start of the ABBA story and he should be acknowledged for that at the very least. As far as I know no other books have yet explained just what caused the complete breakdown between ABBA and Stig.

    It is strange that even with the divorces most people still think of ABBA as a perfect happy pop group and story – with all ABBA members still very guarded with what they say I wonder if we will ever fully get the behind the scenes ABBA story.(unless Gorel is planning a book someday, as the lynch pin of ABBA and solo admin over all these years she really would have a story to tell)

  4. I never mind this book. In my opinion, Ms Ledin wants "money, money, money". That’s the right time for that.

  5. Wow, so it appears that Benny, rather than Bjorn, was at the heart of the legal proceedings in the 1980s, interesting !

  6. Thank you for these posts , for a long time i did not realise the gravity of this feud between Stig and ABBA. I have met all of these people a handful of times and more over the later years via Mamma mia. I have known Gorel for three decades now, last time we met in Sanfrancisco, I have never discussed Stig because I wasn’t aware of the misgivings, She was so close to Stig and ABBA it would break her heart if she ever tried to write a book entailing this story. Admittedly she would have the best story to tell .The big irony is that the money they were contesting has been matched countless times every month due to the success of Mamma Mia..

Please leave a comment...