The Encyclopedia of Swedish Progressive Music 1967-1979

From Psychedelic Experiments to Political Propaganda

Tobias Petterson



This former singer and guitarist of Solen Skiner went solo in 1978. Playing on his first single were Arne Arvidsson (guitar), Stefan Ahlgren (guitar), Elsie Petrén (saxophone), Robert Liljegren (bass) and former bandmate Sven Bjärhall (keyboards). Both songs display Nahrendorf's unique blend of sinister laid-back rock with thoughtful Swedish-language lyrics, totally unlike the music he made with his former band. Christer Nahrendorf went on to form the band Looping, which released a single in 1980 and then made a second solo single two years later. He also co-wrote several songs on Dennis Pettersson's 1976 album Motalapromenaden.

1978Sju minuter kvar / En existensiell blues (S)Musiklaget MLS4★★2
Titles up to 1979



See also Compilations

Narren was formed in 1965 and was the first free theatre group in Sweden. Led by director Hans Hellberg, they were first based at Gröna Lund in Stockholm and then moved their home base to Skärholmen. They toured a lot, including a stint in Cuba. All the recordings are folk oriented, sometimes with a Latin flavour. The Swedish-language lyrics were mostly about the working class. Narren collaborated with Dario Fo's Italian theatre group La Commune for several years and on Valparaiso -70 they worked together with Atacama's Francisco Roca, who provided Spanish vocals and a genuine South American feel. Among the musicians guesting on the other albums were Tore Berger (Blå Tåget), Thord Bengtsson (Arbete & Fritid), Sam Ellison (Jason's Fleece), Nikke Ström (Nynningen) and Hasse Bruniusson (Samla Mammas Manna). Many Narren members went on to join other theatre groups like Nationalteatern, Musikteatergruppen Oktober, Bella Ciao, Musikteatergruppen Ariel and Tältprojektet. Narren finally folded in 1981.

1972Inte slutet, bara börjanMNW 27P★★2
1974Diretta da Dario Fo* (EP) (Italian release)Narren-La Commune NAR/1★★2
1974Narrens lustspelNarren 74★★2
1975Valparaiso -70**Narren 75 LP2★★2
* split EP with La Commune
** with Francisco Roca



See also Compilations

This free theatre group was formed in Malmö in late 1969, when Gorillateatern split into two separate groups - the others eventually became Dalateatern. From the beginning rock music played an important part of their plays. Anders Melander was the only musician among the original six members and had to teach the others how to play. He was the former leader of 60's group Bread, which released two singles on the Philips label. Soon, another member of that band, Pale Olofsson, joined to help out. Nationalteatern moved their home base to Gothenburg in the summer of 1970 and started performing plays aimed at a youth audience with music written by Melander and Ulf Dageby, who joined the following year. Their first album, Ta del som ett löfte..., did not attract much attention when it was released in 1972, but later became a minor classic. It is a primitive mixture of garage rock and folk music with captivating Swedish-language lyrics. Like all Nationalteatern records, the songs are mostly about the plight of the Swedish working class. The second album, Livet är en fest, was recorded in 1974 and is one of the major albums of the Movement, featuring songs like "Bengen Trålar", "Jack The Ripper", "Hanna från Arlöv" and the classic title track. Melander, who still wrote most of the songs, left during the post-production of the album and Dageby was now solely in charge of the musical direction. Next up was a double album for children, Kåldolmar och kalsipper. It tells an allegorical story about the fascist regime in Greece and became a favorite among children that grew up in left-wing families. Nationalteatern then instigated the mammoth Tältprojektet tour and album. They also did several joint productions with the great musicians of Nynningen: One resluted in the album Vi kommer att leva igen, another in the classic Doin' the omoralisk schlagerfestival compilation EP. Eventually, Nynningen members Totta Näslund, Nikke Ström, Bertil Goldberg and Bernt Andersson all ended up in Nationalteatern, with guitarist Bengan Blomgren signing on for the reunion tours later on. Another well-received rock album followed, Barn av vår tid, before it was time for another giant project, the crime story rock opera Rockormen. Up to this point all albums had contained music from their plays, but in 1980 the rock band became independent from the theatre group and was now known as Nationalteat-erns Rockorkester. They made two more albums, Rövarkungens ö and Luffarrock, before breaking up in the autumn of 1981. Ulf Dageby made a few solo albums, but mostly wrote music for films and TV while Näslund, Andersson and Ström concentrated on their former hobby project, Totta's Bluesband. The Nationalteatern theatre group still continued to produce plays, however, and released the album Peter Pan in 1987. They finally folded at the end of 1993.

1972Ta det som ett löfte...MNW 28P★★★★★5
1974Livet är en festMNW 46P★★2
1976Kåldolmar och kalsipperMNW 64P★★★3
1977Vi kommer att leva igen*Nacksving 031-08★★★3
1978Kolla kolla / Ingelas sång (S)Nacksving PRS2★★★3
1978Barn av vår tidNacksving 031-16★★2
1978Kamrater, Bodenarbetare! / Rädda varven** (S)Nacksving 45-01★★2
1979RockormenNacksving 031-20★★2
Titles up to 1979
* as Nynningen & Nationalteatern
** split single with Björn Afzelius


After backing Mike Castle on his 1970 Kaliyuga Express album, Peps Persson left the Örebro band Blues Quality along with two other members. The others brought in 16 year-old harmonica ace Mats Ronander as the new singer and continued as Nature. They hooked up with Pugh, who produced their début album and released it on the Gump label. The music is blues-oriented acid rock in the highest echelon and features lyrics both in Swedish and English. Nature also collaborated with Pugh on two acclaimed singles, the last of which featured Fläsket Brinner drummer "Kapten" Dahlbäck. On the second album, Earth-mover, Thomas Rydberg (Life) had taken over the drum stool. Claes af Geijerstam produced the album and the music was more straightforward English language rock, with some progressive tracks, including the impressive instrumental "Mystery Brew". Björn J:son Lindh played on several songs and the album also spawned two singles. Nature toured extensively with both Pugh and pop singer Ted Gärdestad before becoming the backing band for budding Swedish rock icon Ulf Lundell. They appeared on his live album Natten hade varit mild och öm before finally breaking up in 1977. The following year Wellander & Ronander released a rock album for Polar and also toured the world with labelmates ABBA. In the 80's the pair teamed up in the hobby project Low Budget Blues Band. By now Mats Ronander had a successful solo career going and Lasse Wellander was the busiest studio guitarist in the country.

1972NatureGump 3★★★★★★★★8
1972En gång tog jag tåget bort / Karneval* (S)Metronome J 27.110★★★★4
1972Slavsång / Lejon* (S)Metronome J 27.120★★★★★5
1974This Wheel Is On Fire / Meeting (S)Sonet T-7921★★★★4
1974Going Home / Summer In The City (S)Sonet T-7926★★★3
1974EarthmoverSonet SLP-2501★★★★★5
* with Pugh



This highly collectable album features a young Roger Pontare singing symphonic rock. He was going by the last name Johansson at the time and had not yet developed the unique dress style known from his later Eurovision Song Contest appearances. Nebulosa's privately pressed album features long instrumental passages and Swedish-language lyrics about the situation in Hungary, Kacsó's home country. The band broke up in 1979.

1977NebulosaPark Studio NB1★★★★★★★★8


Formerly known as Västkustteamet, this Christian band released the Sing Out My Soul album in late 1969. The obvious highlight is the psychedelic "He Is There". Two tracks from the album were later released as a single, but subsequent releases contains fairly straight Christian music. Singer Pelle Karlsson had great solo success in 1975 with "Han är min sång och min glädje", while Anders Kjellberg was also in Vatten, Soffgruppen and Mount Everest.

1969Sing Out My SoulHemmets Harold LP348★★★★★★6
1970I Surrender All / I Recommend (S)Hemmets Harold FM3020★★2
Titles up to 1970


Not only the communist parties released political Swedish language music through their affiliated labels. The biggest political party in Sweden, Socialdemokraterna, launched A-Disc with the same purpose. Famous actress Monica Nielsen had first recorded already in 1954. 23 years later she released an album of workers' anthems together with Tommy Körberg (Solar Plexus) and a host of session men, including Janne Schaffer, Björn J:son Lindh, Ulf Adåker (Egba) and Pekka Pohjola (Made In Sweden), with arrangements by bassist Georg Riedel. The second album was recorded together with troubadour Björn Arahb and members of Myglarna and featured songs by legendary politician and poet Ture Nerman (1886-1969). Monica Nielsen is the mother of famous actress Petra Nielsen.

1977... med hjärtat fyllt av trots - Arbetarrörelsens kampsånger*A-Disc BS770314★1
1979Sjunger Ture Nerman**A-Disc BS791009★1
Discopraphy begins in 1977.
* with Tommy Körberg
** with Björn Arahb


This Sollentuna band was formed in 1963 and released two soul-influenced singles for the Bill label in 1968. What merits their inclusion here is their third and last single "Welcome To The USA" written by future MNW honcho Roger Wallis. It's a pop song featuring political anti-USA lyrics in English, which was quite unusual at the time.

1970Welcome To The USA / To Me, To Me, To Me (S)CBS 4826★1
Discography only shows the third and last single.


Ann Sofi Nilsson was in the embryonic Contact and in the musical Hår before joining Fria Proteatern. Her solo album features Swedish-language versions of working class songs, written mostly by Mikis Theodorakis and Bertolt Brecht. The album was released on Oktober, a label connected to the communist party SKP, and she participated in the Sveriges Kommunistiska Parti project on the same label. Ann-Sofi Nilsson released her second album in 1995.

1977En vinterdag / Solidaritetssång* (S)Oktober OSS603★★2
1977När kommer dagenOktober OSLP521★★2
Titles up to 1979
* split single with Lilia Röda Stjärnan



See also Compilations

The influential NJA-gruppen was a theatre ensemble that evolved from the pop icons Mascots. They bid farewell to their fans at their last concert on Midsummer's Eve 1969, before driving the tour bus to Luleå in northern Sweden to produce a play about the steel workers at Norrbottens Järnverk Aktiebolag (NJA). The transformation of these musically trained pop stars into left-wing revolutionaries would not have been unique if their music had not taken a similar turn. Their former Beatles-style arrangements were replaced with primitive folk tunes and overtly political messages. Their album features songs from the plays "Nils Johan Andersson m.fl." and "Blågul Atom". Musically, the standout track is the folk psych of "Kvasten". Hör upp allt folk was quite successful and has been re-released several times. NJA-gruppen changed their name to Fria Proteatern in 1971 and released six more albums.

1970Hör upp allt folkMNW 2P★★★3


This duo came from the Stockholm suburb Vällingby and released a Swedish-language album on their own Petcla label. Musicians included violinist Jonas Lindgren (Berits Halsband) and bassist Hasse Larsson, who later played with anybody from Monica Zetterlund to Bill"s Boogie Band. Peter Wartin went on to form the band Baron Bult while Claes Nordenskiöld recorded a demo with guitarist Rickard Rolf (November) and brought it with him on a trip to the USA. There he hooked up with Fleetwood Mac producer Keith Olsen, who actually recorded an album with Nordenskiöld in Los Angeles. In the end CBS, who had proposed a deal, decided not to release the album and it remains in the can.

1978Claes Nordenskiöld & Peter WartinPETCLA LP7801★★★3


This singer/songwriter recored this pop single featuring political Swedish lyrics on the B-side with fat guitars, courtesy of Dag Matsson and Peter Olsson. Björn J:son Lindh and Håkan Thanger (Vildkaktus) also contributed to the single. Both songs were later included on Nordstrom's 1980 album Ensam och fri.

1978Dot kommer nya tider/ Salongsbolsjeviken (S)Wax SWS1001★★2
Titles up to 1979


This is a folk album in the vein of Turid and Lena Ekman with mellow songs relying heavily on Stina's vibrato-filled voice. Playing on the album are Richard Nordstrom (guitar, flute), Marta Molinger (guitar, recorder) and Peter Ersson (nyckelharpa). The latter also played with Folkvind and Opponer. Stina Nordstrom had made a children's record already as a ten year-old and released two more solo albums in the 80's. She also contributed to Tom Zacharias' Till frukost album in 1984.

1978Skugga i din pupillAlternativ ALP-10★★★★4
Titles up to 1979



Kjerstin Norén was a former member of feminist band Röda Bönor, which also included Mona Eklund. The album contains Swedish translations of Italian folk tunes as well as self-penned political songs. 80's star Dan Hylander (Raj Montana Band) guested on the album on guitar. Lindström, Larsdotter and Hultén were all members of Husmoderns Bröst. In 1981 Kjerstin Norén released the album Några här, några där together with Jan Haminarlund.

1979Sånger om Anne-Marie och andra häxorAmalthea AM8★★2


The son of the legendary Charlie Norman, Sweden's king of boogie-woogie piano, Lennie Norman started his career as bass player with 60's band Road Workers, along with future members of Harambee. He then joined his father's trio, which also included American drummer Ronnie Gardiner. For his solo album Lennie Norman and Gardiner were joined by guitarists Torsten Nordwall and Rune Fuhren. The latter was a veteran of 50's rock'n'roll band Rock Ragge & his Four Comets and had also recorded a country album with Norman in 1975 as The Couggies. Transport features a mix of progressive cuts, more jazzy things and mainstream rock, all sung by Lennie in English. The highlights are the almost psychedelic funk of "Haven't Got A Mother", the talk box sounds of "Get Out" and the heavy guitars of "Street Roller". Lennie Norman continued to play in his father's trio, but in 1989 changed gears to become one of Sweden's leading stand-up comedians.

1978TransportGMP GLP7816★★★3



See also Compilations

This band came from Luleå in northern Sweden and was formed by former Contact singer Ted Ström. He quit prior to the release of the second album although he wrote most songs on both albums. The music is a mix of boogie, blues and country rock in a thoughtful and structured way with Swedish-language lyrics that have strong left-wing themes. Still, the standout tracks are Bo Sundberg's progressive instrumentals "Flugornas herre" and "Puttes barn" from the first album. Rosén, Sundberg, Jonsson, Rinander and Ask were also members of Anton Swedbergs Swängjäng.

1975Drömmarnas världManifest MAN003★★★3
1977JärnetManifest MAN008★★★3



See also Compilations

This traditional folk band was formed in Luleå in 1974 when former Hemkört members Alatalo, Segerström and Olofsson had moved back up north after completing their studies in Uppsala. The intent of Norrlåtar was to make unknown traditional music from the very north of Sweden available to the public. On the first album they collaborated with old-time folk musicians Vifast Björklund, Hjalmar Sandberg, Lars Pirak and Svante Lindkvist. By the time of the third album they started incorporating original material. Magnus Sjögren left the band in 1980, while Björn Sjöö (Rekyl) and "Lalle" Omberg signed on four years later. Norrlåtar by now also included electric instruments in their line-up. They are still going strong and have made live more albums and toured all around the world. Hans Alatalo has for many years been a producer for Swedish radio. All of the original members also played in Anton Swedbergs Swängjäng.

1975Folkmusik från NorrbottenManifest MAN 002★★2
1976Meikäläisiä - Folk som viManifest MAN 006★★2
1978Urminnes hävdManifest MAN 013★★2
Titles up to 1979


When future Thin Lizzy guitarist Snowy White left Vällingby band Train in the autumn of 1969 to return to the UK, the others brought in Richard Rolf as a replacement and changed their name to November. Their classic début, En ny tid är här, was produced by Roger Wallis and is one of the most important albums in Swedish rock history. When released in June 1970, it was still questionable for rock bands to sing in Swedish. This super heavy power trio changed all that and spawned countless imitators. Pugh may have laid most of the groundwork with his first album almost a year earlier but this was the watershed. The second album, 2:a november, was even heavier and featured better production by former Made In Sweden guitarist Jojje Wadenius. However, the album didn't match the strong sales of the début. For some reason two songs from the first album, "Mount Everest" and "Ta ett steg i sagans land", were then released as a single with English vocals for the international market instead of using material from their brand new LP. When they did tour England, the audience actually preferred to hear the songs in Swedish - even though they didn't understand a word. The third and final album, 6:e november, was produced by American Sam Charters. It was a more progressive affair, but still featured the trademark heavy November style. Unfortunately, it sold even less and the band played their last gig on New Years Eve 1972. Christer Stålbrandt then formed Saga and Richard Rolf eventually ended up in Jajja Band. Drummer Björn Inge formed the progressive band Energy and is nowadays a motorcycle racing commentator on the Eurosport TV-channel. In 1993 the CD Live, featuring radio recordings from 1970-1971, was released by the Mellotronen label.

1970Mount Everest / Cinderella* (S)Sonet T-7805★★★★★5
1970En ny tid är härSonet SLP-2509★★★★★★6
19712:a novemberSonet SLP-2520★★★★★★★7
1971Men mitt hjärta ska vara gjort av sten / Mouchkta (S)Sonet T-7840★★★★★★6
1971Mount Everest / Nobody's Hand to Hold (S)Sonet T-7842★★★★★★★7
1971Mount Everest / Nobody's Hand to Hold (French release) (S)Stateside 006-92842★★★★★★★★★9
1971Nobody's Hand to Hold / Mount Everest (Japanese release) (SISonet UP-298-N★★★★★★★★★9
1971Tillbaks till Stockholm / Sista resan (S)Sonet T-7853★★★★★★6
19726:e novemberSonet SLP-2530★★★★★★★7
1970Cinderella (EP)Juke Box JSEP 5601★★★3
* early copies featured misprinted labels stating "Sekunder" as the B-side.



See also Compilations

Nynningen was formed in Gothenburg in 1970 by Tomas Forssell and Bertil Goldberg, initially as the duo Bertil och Tomas. The first album delivers energetic Swedish-language folk-rock with a left-wing message. Most songs are written by Forssell and Christer Öhman and the album is generally considered a classic within the Movement. The late singer Totta Näslund joined in time for the follow-up, För full hals, a theme album with Swedish translations of Russian revolutionary poet Vladimir Majakovskij (1893-1930). It's their most well-known album and features a more electric sound. The third album, 1974, featured music from their play "De hängdas revolution" and songs associated with the dock workers' strike in Gothenburg in 1969-1970. It was their most finely molded album, blending elements of progressive folk-rock and blues. Forssell then left for a solo career and Näslund joined Nationalteatern. He was replaced by Sam Westerberg for Äntligen en ny dag, which also included two instrumental jazz-rock tracks. Nynningen then collaborated with Nationalteatern on projects like the Doin' the omoralisk schlagerfestival compilation EP and the album Vi kommer att leva igen, a play about native Americans. Both bands were also in Tältprojektet. Nynningen disbanded soon after and most members ended up in Nationalteatern, with the exception of Gyllenstig, who joined Motvind. The successful 80's act Totta's Bluesband was more or less a reformed Nynningen in disguise.

1972Man mognar med årenMNW 29P★★★★4
1973För full halsMNW 38P★★★3
19741974MNW 45P★★★3
1976Äntligen en ny dagNacksving 031-4★★2
1977Vi kommer att leva igen*Nacksving 031-8★★★3
* with Nationalteatern