Björn Ulvaeus & Benny Andersson – Lycka (1970)

frontcover1Lycka is a 1970 album released by folk/rock duo Björn Ulvaeus & Benny Andersson, who later became the male half of ABBA. Most of the songs feature lead vocals by Björn. The songs show the influence of Brian Wilson, “Ticket to Ride”-era Beatles and traditional Swedish folk music.
Lycka was produced by Björn and Benny with Bengt Bernhag and engineered by Michael B. Tretow. Benny and Björn played on the tracks with two Swiss musicians, drummer John Counz and bassist Gus Horn. Sven-Olof Walldoff was responsible for the orchestral arrangements, and on the 2006 re-release a few bonus tracks were added, notably early recordings with the two-girl half of the future group ABBA on backing vocals, Anni-Frid Lyngstad who was engaged to Benny Andersson and Agnetha Fältskog who was married to Björn Ulvaeus.
Three years later, Ring Ring became the first proper album release of what would become the most famous Swedish pop band ever (though the original album did not use ABBA as the main name of the group).(by wikipedia)
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ABBA emerged from the Swedish music scene in the early 1970’s.
ABBA were a “Supergroup’. In a “Supergroup” each of the group members has had a prior successful recording career. The group name, ABBA is an acronym of the first intials from each of the group members names (A-Agnetha,B-jorn, B-enny,A-nni-frid). That’s why capital letters are used when spelling out ABBA.
Singer-guitarist Björn Ulvaeus and keyboardist Benny Andersson’s
partnership as a recording duo, writing and production team began in late 1969.
As the duo, Björn and Benny, they released one album, LYCKA, and five Swedish singles. The romantic involvement between Björn & Agnetha and Benny & Frida was a key reason why the four would work together both as a group and a solo artists.

The first recording with all four eventual members of ABBA was called “Hej Gamle Man”, it dates from Mid 1970 and was actually a credited to , Björn and Benny as a duo.
Although Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-frid Lyngstad would sing on many of the songs recorded by Björn and Benny , it wasn’t till 1972 that the first single was released with all four of their names on it. That song was “People Need Love” which would be released on ABBA’s RING RING album.

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On stage, the story was slightly different. the four eventual ABBA members first played on stage together in November 1970 as the group FESTFOLK. It did not go well, but they tried performing together again in 1971 and worked together at other concerts between 1970-1972. They can be seen in this incarnation in 1970 doing “California Here I Come”on TV.This clip can be seen on the Super Troupers documentary. The clip is fascinating , but it perfectly illustrates what was wrong with the FESTFOLK approach,. Instead of doing cabaret style/variety show music they needed to be doing original fresh self-written pop songs that featured the girls singing…..this they soon discovered!…

The cross pollination between the future members of ABBA was a common thing in the years before ABBA. Björn produced some of Agnetha’s early 1970’s albums. Benny produced Frida between 1969-1972. During 1969-72 Frida would sing on some Agnetha’s songs and Agnetha sang on some of Frida’s singles. Many of these early efforts can be found on the PA SVENSKA compilation or on the various solo albums

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Björn and Benny-Lycka Fall 1970 Available on Swedish CD Reissued on Cd 1991, 2006
In some ways this is the birth of ABBA.The title means Happiness!
This is a very interesting album. Björn and Benny wrote the music to all of the songs and some of the lyrics. The whole album is sung in Swedish . Björn doing most of the lead vocals, with Benny providing some backing vocals. The original album featured eleven songs.

This album features the first track to have all future members of ABBA on it and this
is the very first album to have all the music written by Björn and Benny.
Acoustic and Electric Guitar feature prominently here, The electric guitar in particular dominates on “Kalles Visa” .This album is a bit more serious in tone than some of the later B&B songs and early ABBA songs that would follow in the early
and mid-Seventies. None of the songs here (even in translation) have a bubble gum lyrics or sound.
“Hej Gamle Man” (Hello Old Man) was released as the single from this album and proved to be successful, though the album was not overly successful. “Hej Gamle Man” features Agnetha and Frida on backing vocals. It was the first song to feature all four members of Abba. “Kara Gamla Sol” is the only song on the album sung by Benny.
More impressive to me is the great acoustic
guitar workout “Liselotte ” (it features lyrics by Agnetha and Björn); The anthemic “Ge Oss En Chans” has some soulful singing and some great organ. A nice little touch can be found at the beginning of “Lilla Du, Lilla Van’ which has Benny’s piano come in at a low volume. As a whole, this album features some of Björn’s best work.
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The stark brown cover is telling. It’s clear that their is seriousness of purpose and intent in these two young man. Benny’s soon-to-be trademark beard puts in it’s first appearence on a album cover (Benny never had a beard on the Hep Stars album covers). Björn looks a little smug but the trademark smile is there. The Swedish flag on the Guitar seems to say ,”We represent Sweden to the world”.
The LYCKA album was recorded in the Summer of 1970. It was Produced by Björn and Benny with Bengt Bernhag and engineered by Michael B.Tretow.

There was supposed to be a followup album released by Björn and Benny but before
it was anywhere near completion , Agnetha and Frida had joined up with Björn and Benny to change the group from a duo to a quartet. (by felpin80.tripod.com)

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Personnel:
Benny Anderson (vocals, keyboards)
John Cúonz (drums)
Gus Horn (bass)
Björn Ulvaeus (vocals, guitar)
+
background vocals (on 07.)
Agnetha Fältskog – Anni-Frid Lyngstad
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Tracklist:
01. Lycka (B. Andersson/Ulvaeus/S.Anderson) 3.07
02. Nånting Är På Väg  2:19
03  Kära Gamla Sol (B. Andersson/Ulvaeus/S.Anderson) 2.27
04. Det Där Med Kärlek (B. Andersson/Ulvaeus/Himmelstrand) 3.02
05. Välkommen In I Gänget (B. Andersson/Ulvaeus/Himmelstrand) 3.10
06. Lilla Du, Lilla Vän (Fugelstad/B. Andersson/Ulvaeus) 2.51
07. Hej Gamle Man! (B. Andersson/Ulvaeus/A.Anderson) 3.22
08. Liselott (Fältskog/B. Andersson/Ulvaeus) 2.59
09. Kalles Visa (B. Andersson/Ulvaeus/Himmelstrand) 2.37
10. Ge Oss En Chans (B. Andersson/Ulvaeus) 3.41
11. Livet Går Sin Gång (B. Andersson/Ulvaeus/S.Anderson) 3.55
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