Benny Andersson’s biography

Göran Bror Benny Andersson was born December 16, 1946 in Stockholm, and spent much of his youth in the suburb of Vällingby. Music entered Benny’s life when he was very young. At the age of six he got his first accordion and started playing together with his father Gösta and his grandfather Efraim.

Benny also learned how to play the piano. He became a member of The Hep Stars in October 1964. The following year the band achieved their breakthrough and quickly became Sweden’s number one pop group of the 1960s.

In 1966, Benny had a chance meeting with Björn Ulvaeus, himself a member of the folk group the Hootenanny Singers. They hit it off and wrote their first song together, ’Isn’t It Easy To Say’.

In August 1969, Benny left The Hep Stars after a turbulent few years of financial problems and musical differences. Instead, he intensified his working relationship with Björn. The pair was writing songs for other artists and also started recording as a duo.

Around the same time Benny met Anni-Frid ”Frida” Lyngstad and got engaged to her – they were eventually married in 1978. In November 1970, Benny, Frida and Björn staged a cabaret show together with Björn’s fiancée, Agnetha Fältskog.

In 1972, the first ABBA record was released, and Benny was occupied by his work with the group for the following decade. In 1983 he started working on the musical Chess together with Björn and lyricist Tim Rice. A concept album was released in the autumn of 1984, and in May 1986 the musical opened in London’s West End. In 1988 Chess received its Broadway première. A reworked version of the musical opened in Stockholm, Sweden in 2002.

By 1990, Björn and Benny had decided to write a new musical, based on the Emigrants novel series by Swedish author Vilhelm Moberg. The musical Kristina från Duvemål (Kristina From Duvemåla) opened in October 1995. The show ran for three and a half years at various theatres in the Swedish cities of Malmö, Gothenburg and Stockholm.

Parallel with this, Benny has released three Swedish solo albums. While Björn Ulvaeus has been heavily involved in the ABBA musical ’Mamma Mia!’, Benny has kept his commitment on a lower level. He has instead been busy composing songs for the stage, the cinema and even an official Swedish hymn. In 2001 and 2002 he has enjoyed success with Benny Anderssons orkester (“The Benny Andersson Orchestra”), topping the Swedish album charts and performing a select number of concerts in Sweden and abroad.

Written by Carl Magnus Palm for ABBA – The Site 2002