ABBA’s Bjorn Ulvaeus goes country in birthday tribute to collaborator

ABBA member Bjorn Ulvaeus has slipped on a stetson and donned some cowboy boots and dropped a catchy slice of country music called Hey Grand Ol’ Man.

The song was recorded as a birthday message to ABBA collaborator Tomas Ledin, who just turned 70 and celebrated his 50th anniversary in the music business. Levin is a big star in Sweden and his birthday celebrations included a concert that was broadcast on Swedish television.

Bjorn Ulvaeus couldn’t make it to the show, so instead he sent a fun video that celebrates getting a little bit older.

The tune was originally recorded by Ulvaeus and ABBA bandmate Benny Andersson back in 1970. It appeared on a Swedish album the pair made three years before they formed ABBA.

The song was originally recorded in Swedish as Hej gamle man! and appeared on the album Lycka. The album featured all four future members of ABBA with Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Agnetha Fältskog providing backing vocals. The duo also recorded a version of the song in German.

Fifty two years later Bjorn has returned to the song and written new English lyrics, and he makes fun of the ageing process and included references to ABBA’s unexpected return last year.

“I recommend an avatar to say forever young.” Bjorn sings, refencing ABBA’s upcoming live experience that opens in London in a few months time.

Since the clip aired on Swedish television and was shared online, fans have been calling for the song to be officially released. There’s no news yet if that will happen, but the official video has been posted online.

The concert was quite a party and even Sweden’s King Gustav and Queen Siliva were seen rocking out at the event

Thomas Ledin was signed to ABBA’s own record label Polar music and joined the band on their final tour in 1979. He performed his song Not Bad At All as part of the show. He can also be seen in the video for Super Trooper.

Ledin represented Sweden at Eurovision in 1980, and after ABBA stop recording he collaborated with the different members of the band. He released a duet with Agnetha, and wrote songs for both Agnetha and Frida’s solo albums.

Over the decades he’s been one of Sweden’s top selling artists, and 2019 his songs were turned into a Jukebox Musical film. Since 1983 Ledin has been married to his wife Marie, the daughter of ABBA’s manager Stig Anderson, who also helped write many of their early hits.

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