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Swedish music legend has died

Published onsdag 22 mars 2017 kl 09.48
Mia Gerdin: He combined rock and roll with Swedish poetry
(3:20 min)
Sven-Erik Magnusson playing guitar with bandmates.
Sven-Erik Magnusson was one of Sweden's most loved musicians. Credit: Lars Pehrson/Svd/TT

Sven-Erik Magnusson, lead singer of the legendary Swedish band Sven-Ingvars, died in the early hours of Wednesday morning after a long battle with prostate cancer.

Last summer, Magnusson celebrated the 60th anniversary of Sven-Ingvars and was still performing until shortly before his death.

The band came to fame in the 1960s with songs like “Te’ dans mä Karlstatösera” and the Christmas song “Ett litet rött paket”. Sven-Ingvars was so popular that they were the opening act when The Beatles came to Sweden in 1963, at the height of Beatlemania.

Sven-Ingvars straddled the boundaries of rock, folk, pop, and Sweden's own 'dansband' genre. Dansband draws on the styles of rock, folk, and pop but has an underlying beat designed for pair-dancing.

Mia Gerdin, a culture reporter and producer for Swedish Radio, told Radio Sweden that Magnusson had set himself apart from other Swedish rock and roll singers of the 1960s by singing in Swedish, never disguising his Värmland accent. 

From very early on he combined early rock and roll - Elvis was one of his biggest influences - with particularly one very important Swedish poet... And the combination of the two became very popular," said Gerdin.

Magnusson rarely if ever described his music as dansband as he felt it was too narrow of a description. But the band's music was so widely identified with the genre that Sven-Ingvars won the Grammis, the Swedish equivalent of a Grammy, for “Best Dansband of the Year” in 1990.

Thomas Deutgen, one of Swedish Radio’s music reporters, said that in his opinion Sven-Ingvars was Sweden's greatest-ever band, maintaining popularity over 60 years in a way recent acts such as Kent or Håkan Hellström could only hope to rival.

Last year, Sven-Ingvars was inducted into the Swedish Music Hall of Fame.

Magnusson was 74 years old.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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