Lasse Wellander, the guitarist for ABBA, and the hidden story behind their remarkable comeback.
Lasse Wellander, a Swedish guitarist, was traveling in his automobile when his phone rang in the spring of 2017.
It was ABBA’s Benny Andersson. “Can you come to the recording studio because I think we’re going to make one or two songs with the old band,” Lasse recalls. I didn’t understand what he was saying at first. Then I realized he was referring to ABBA!” Lasse, a long-time “ABBA member” who performed on most of their songs and on all of their major tours, last worked with them in 1981 on The Visitors, their final album.
He never anticipated Benny, Bjorn Ulvaeus, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, and Agnetha Faltskog to reunite, as did millions of other admirers. Their sound engineer, Michael Tretow, noted how the “atmosphere” had become sadder during those recording sessions, especially because Benny and Frida, as well as Bjorn and Agnetha, had separated.
“When we recorded The Visitors, the mood was a little different than previously, for natural reasons,” Lasse recalls. Although the two couples were divorced, they remained close friends. However, you could tell that it was all coming to an end. So it didn’t surprise me when they decided to take a break before splitting the group. Of course, it was depressing, but it was in the air.” Lasse, now 69 years old, arrived at RMV Studios on the island of Skeppsholmen in Stockholm after receiving Benny’s phone call and realized he was about to become a part of history. ABBA was making a comeback.
I Still Have Faith In You and Don’t Shut Me Down were the only two tunes on which he was asked to play guitar. It was to be the Eurovision winners’ first new song since 1982, to go along with their ambitious ABBA Voyage exhibition, which launches in London next year and features avatars of the band members.
When they started playing the demos back to him, Lasse couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “When I first heard the songs, I thought, ‘Wow, this is ABBA,'” he adds. It sounded exactly like ABBA.” Everyone, however, was required to keep the recording a secret. They were under strong orders not to tell anyone that ABBA had rejoined, despite the fact that Dancing Queen, Mamma Mia, and SOS had all become global blockbusters.
“I am fine,” Lasse says. “Brinkwire Summary News.”