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Wellander, Lasse (18 June 1952–7th April 2023)

Guitarist from Skrikarhyttan, Sweden who was a member of Blues Quality, which morphed into the group, Nature.  They released a self-titled album in 1972 and Earth Mover in 1974, as well as backing Ted Gardestad on a pair of tours.

Lasse’s career as a session musician had already begun—he had appeared on Bernt Staf’s 1970 album, Nar Dimman Lattar—when he was tapped by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus to do some recording with ABBA.  A couple of early recordings on which he appeared were “Crazy World” and “Intermezzo No. 1”, which were included on their eponymous 1975 album.  He would continue to record and tour with them, as well as juggling solo and studio work, until their 1982 breakup.

This is evidenced by the albums he was credited with in the 1970s:  ABBA’s Arrival,  ABBA:  The Album, and Voulez-Vous; his own solo debut, Electrocuted; Frida Ensam’s self-titled 1975 album; and, Wellander & Ronander, with Mats Ronander, in 1978.  He also toured with ABBA frequently from 1975 through 1980.

The new decade opened with more ABBA albums, Super Trouper in 1980 and The Visitors in 1981.  Thank You for the Music hit the shelves in 1983.  The group broke up but Lasse continued to collaborate with individual members:  He played guitar on Agnetha Faltskog’s solo album, Wrap Your Arms Around Me, in 1983, and the 1984 recording of Chess, a musical by Benny, Bjorn, and Tim Rice.  One of the vocalists on that album, Elaine Page, utilized Lasse’s services on her 1985 LP, Love Hurts.

Lasse released a pair of albums in the 1980s:  Full Hand went to #31 on the Swedish charts in 1985; Tweed reached #36.  He also contributed his guitar licks to the Visitors’ 1987 effort, Attention.

In 1990, he issued another solo LP, Poker-Face, and played guitar on Carola’s Much More and the soundtrack of the television mini-series, Fiendens Fiende.  He released Fran Rickfors till Peterson-Berger in 1992 and scored a big hit with his cover of “Anthem” from Chess.  It made the cut on the various-artists anthology, Absolute Relax.  In 1993, he appeared on Josefin Nilsson’s LP, Shapes.  He performed Chess in Concert in 1994, this time with the Swedish cast.  In 1995, his song “Selina” was included in the film, Bert – Den siste oskulden.  He also appeared on Richard Clayderman’s Scandinavian Collection in 1997 and Robert Wells’ Rhapsody in Rock in 1999.

He reunited with Agnetha Faltskog on her 2004 solo album, My Colouring Book.  In 2004, he went on the dance band Vikingarna’s farewell tour, replacing the late Lasse Westmann, and he toured with the ABBA tribute group Waterloo in 2005.  That same year he was presented with the Albin Hagstrom Memorial Award from the Royal Swedish Academy of Music.

In 2008, he appeared on the soundtracks of Mamma Mia! and Sa som I Himmelen and played guitar on “Nothing’s Missing (For Once in My Life) by on their album, Party Around the World.  In the new millennium, he  also toured with The Original ABBA Orchestra and performed on Magnus Strandvik’s album, Emotional Mechanism.

In 2018 his work as a session musician was recognised when he was awarded the Swedish Musicians’ Union’s Special Prize.

He died of cancer in April 2023 when e was 70 years old.

ABBA recordings
Elaine (Benny Andersson/Bjorn Ulvaeus)
Atlantic 3776 ST-A-39221-SP (US 45)
I’m a Marionette (Benny Andersson/Bjorn Ulvaeus)
Atlantic 3457, ST-A-34606-RI (US 45)