A longtime band member of ABBA has died: Lasse Wellander, who played guitar on all of the iconic band’s albums and toured with them in the ’70s and ’80s, has died at the age of 70.
The news was announced by the guitarist’s family on his Facebook account.
“It is with indescribable sadness that we have to announce that our beloved Lasse has fallen asleep. Lasse recently fell ill in what turned out to be spread cancer and early on Good Friday he passed away, surrounded by his loved ones.”
“You were an amazing musician and humble as few, but above all you were a wonderful husband, father, brother, uncle and grandfather. Kind, safe, caring and loving… and so much more, that cannot be described in words. A hub in our lives, and it’s unbelievable that we now have to live on without you.”
Wellander was born in 1952 in the village of Skrekarhyttan, Sweden. According to his website bio, he began working in the record industry in 1969 as a guitarist and producer.
In 1974, he was approached by Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson about playing guitar in some of ABBA’s recording sessions. That was the beginning of the longest collaboration of his musical career.
He played guitar on a few tracks including “Intermezzo No. 1,” “Tiger,” and “Knowing Me, Knowing You.”
“I thought it would be big, quite early on,” he told Guitarist Magazine. “Strong songs all the way. Even the simple pop numbers were very high quality.”
While never a full-time member of ABBA, he was part of a “core of musicians” associated with the band from 1974 onward. Benny would write the guitar parts on the piano, but Wellander said there was “a lot of jamming and spreading of ideas and finding out things.”
“I was able to bring my own sounds [to the recording],” he said.
Wellander also participated in all of the band’s tours from 1975 onwards, which he recalled as “hysterical” and “hectic” and compared them to Beatlemania.
ABBA went their separate ways in 1982, but Wellander continued to collaborate with Benny and Björn, appearing in projects like the Chess concept album and the soundtracks to both Mamma Mia! films.
“When I was doing my guitar tracks it felt like the old days.”
After Wellander’s passing, ABBA released a statement praising his contributions to the band.
“Lasse was a dear friend, a fun guy and a superb guitarist,” ABBA said in a statement to CNN. “The importance of his creative input in the recording studio as well as his rock solid guitar work on stage was immense.
“We mourn his tragic and premature death and remember the kind words, the sense of humour, the smiling face, the musical brilliance of the man who played such an integral role in the ABBA story. He will be deeply missed and never forgotten.”
ABBA is one of the most beloved, popular bands of all time, and Lasse Wellander’s guitar tracks are a huge part of what makes their music so enduring and iconic — thank you for the music.
Please share this story in memory of ABBA’s incredible guitarist 💔❤️
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