The Soundtrack Of My Life feature gives musicians a chance to talk about their influences and favourite music choices. Benny tells Craig McLean about six records with a very special meaning for him …
The first record I bought …
Elvis Presley, Jailhouse Rock (1957)
In Sweden we did not have commercial radio at the time. But there was this pirate station in the Baltic, Radio Nord. I’m not sure if I heard it there, but people were certainly talking about this guy. And I realised there was something out there that I hadn’t heard before. Especially the flipside, Treat Me Nice, because that starts with a piano thing – I’d started piano a year before.
My introduction to melody …
Mantovani, Film Encores (1957)
For some strange reason when I was 12, 13, I bought this. There was a lot of wonderful music on it: Laura, Limelight, Three Coins in the Fountain. You know what Mantovani is like: strings and tons of reverb. So very not rock’n’roll. I learned all these songs and that brought me into melody-making. The essence of good music to me has always been good melodies.
Memories of my first flat …
Rattviks Spelmanslag, Gardeby Laten (1950)
I was 18 and got a place in Stockholm. In the morning I would get my little portable gramophone and play this. All the villages up north have their own spelmanslag , groups of fiddlers, and Rattviks was one of those towns. I played Gardeby Laten every morning in my new flat to come into a good mood. I was always tuned into fiddle music, the core of Swedish folk.
How all music is linked …
Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares, Sableyalo Mi Agontze (1986)
I was sitting in the car maybe 20 years ago and this song came on the radio. What is this? It’s like sheep! It’s really raw stuff, women singing songs they’ve known since their grandmothers grew up. Folk music from Bulgaria is not exactly the same tone language as Swedish folk but there’s something in it that makes you tick. All folk music is more or less connected.
Proof that pop isn’t dead …
Alanis Morissette, Jagged Little Pill (1995)
I listened to this a lot when it came out, at a time when I wasn’t writing pop songs any more. It was a remembrance of solid golden pop, from a fantastically talented woman with great writing and a great voice, and a very nicely produced album by Glen Ballard. It’s one of the top 10 albums in my life when it comes to pop records, alongside Rumours and Hotel California.
The spirit of Swedish pop …
Robyn, Robyn (2005)
Robyn is a great artist. She was 16 when she started and was straightaway a big star in Sweden. She’s a hip kid, in the middle of whatever is going on, without being a chameleon like Madonna. She still has her own style all the time. We played at the opening of my hotel, the Rival, in Stockholm – I played piano and she sang, on her song O Baby. She has her act together.
- Andersson began playing accordion with his father and grandfather when he was six.
- His group the Hep Stars were one of Sweden’s biggest bands in the 60s.
- The man who wrote the music behind Mamma Mia! is not a fan of records from musicals.
- Andersson has a stable of racehorses in Arundel, Sussex.
- Story of a Heart, the first UK album from the Benny Andersson Band, is released on 6 July.