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Ted Gärdestad

Ted Gärdestad
Cover for the CD "Sol, vind och vatten: Det bästa"
Background information
Birth name Ted Arnbjörn Gärdestad
Born (1956-02-18)18 February 1956
Origin Sollentuna, Sweden
Died 22 June 1997(1997-06-22) (aged 41)

Ted Gärdestad (Swedish pronunciation: ), internationally known as Ted Gardestad, Ted Gaerdestad or just Ted (born Ted Arnbjörn Gärdestad, 18 February 1956 – 22 June 1997 in Sollentuna, Sweden), was a Swedish singer, songwriter and musician.


  • Early career 1
  • International career 2
  • Adulthood 3
  • Later career 4
  • Ted's legacy 5
  • Caramba 6
  • Discography 7
    • Singles 7.1
    • Studio albums 7.2
    • Compilation albums 7.3
  • Filmography 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10

Early career

Ted was born to Arne and Margit Gärdestad in 1956 and grew up in Sollentuna Municipality, Stockholm County. He was the youngest of three siblings, he had two older brothers; Kjell (1944–2000) and Kenneth (b. 1948).

Ted was only 15 years of age when he and his eight year older brother Kenneth Gärdestad decided to knock on the door of

Preceded by
Björn Skifs
with "Det blir alltid värre framåt natten"
Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest
Succeeded by
Tomas Ledin
with "Just nu!"
  • Official home page, The Ted Gärdestad Society
  • Blue Virgin Isles, A page of Ted Gärdestad in english
  • Jag Vill Ha En Egen Måne - Boken Om Ted Gärdestad, Kenneth Gärdestad & Keijo Liimatainen, Forum Sweden 2005. ISBN 91-37-12733-0.
  • Ted Gärdestad och musiken, Kenneth Gärdestad, Ehrlingförlagen Sweden 2005. ISBN 91-85662-04-6.
  • Topplistan: The Official Swedish Single & Album Charts, Wille Wendt, Premium Publishing 1993, ISBN 91-971894-2-1.
  • (Swedish), chart positions 1972-1994
  • (Swedish) Swedish charts, album chart positions 1976 -
  • Liner notes Greatest Hits, Michael B. Tretow, Anderson Records 1999.
  • (Swedish)
  • (Swedish)
  • Detailed discography,
  •, filmography
  • Ted Gärdestad discography,
  • Caramba discography,
  • Ted Gärdestad discography,
  • Ted Gärdestad & Annica Boller discography,
  • Caramba discography,
  • Ted Gärdestad biography and discography,

External links

  1. ^ Gärdestad, Kenneth & Liimatainen, Keijo: (2005) Jag vill ha en egen måne - Boken om Ted Gärdestad, pages 11-29
  2. ^ Gärdestad, Kenneth & Liimatainen, Keijo: (2005) Jag vill ha en egen måne - Boken om Ted Gärdestad, page 32
  3. ^ Gärdestad, Kenneth & Liimatainen, Keijo: (2005) Jag vill ha en egen måne - Boken om Ted Gärdestad, pages 43-73
  4. ^ Gärdestad, Kenneth & Liimatainen, Keijo: (2005) Jag vill ha en egen måne - Boken om Ted Gärdestad, pages 74-83
  5. ^ Gärdestad, Kenneth & Liimatainen, Keijo: (2005) Jag vill ha en egen måne - Boken om Ted Gärdestad, pages 74-84
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Steffen Hung. "Swedish Charts Portal". Retrieved 2014-07-17. 
  7. ^ Gärdestad, Kenneth & Liimatainen, Keijo: (2005) Jag vill ha en egen måne - Boken om Ted Gärdestad, pages 85-99
  8. ^ Gärdestad, Kenneth & Liimatainen, Keijo: Jag vill ha en egen måne - Boken om Ted Gärdestad(2005), pages 100-114
  9. ^ Gärdestad, Kenneth & Liimatainen, Keijo: (2005) Jag Vill Ha En Egen Måne - Boken Om Ted Gärdestad, pages 116
  10. ^ Gärdestad, Kenneth & Liimatainen, Keijo: (2005) Jag vill ha en egen måne - Boken om Ted Gärdestad, pages 115-119
  11. ^ Gärdestad, Kenneth & Liimatainen, Keijo: (2005) Jag vill ha en egen måne - Boken om Ted Gärdestad, pages 120-126
  12. ^ Gärdestad, Kenneth & Liimatainen, Keijo: (2005) Jag Vill Ha En Egen Måne - Boken Om Ted Gärdestad, pages 140-149
  13. ^ Gärdestad, Kenneth & Liimatainen, Keijo: (2005) Jag Vill Ha En Egen Måne - Boken Om Ted Gärdestad, pages 150-153
  14. ^ Gärdestad, Kenneth & Liimatainen, Keijo: (2005) Jag Vill Ha En Egen Måne - Boken Om Ted Gärdestad, pages 182-184
  15. ^ Gärdestad, Kenneth & Liimatainen, Keijo: (2005) Jag vill ha en egen måne - Boken om Ted Gärdestad, pages 155-157
  16. ^ [6]
  17. ^ [7]
  18. ^ Gärdestad, Kenneth & Liimatainen, Keijo: (2005) Jag vill ha en egen måne - Boken om Ted Gärdestad, pages 158-163
  19. ^ Gärdestad, Kenneth & Liimatainen, Keijo: (2005) Jag vill ha en egen måne - Boken om Ted Gärdestad, pages 163-173
  20. ^ Gärdestad, Kenneth & Liimatainen, Keijo: (2005) Jag vill ha en egen måne - Boken om Ted Gärdestad, page 208
  21. ^ Gärdestad, Kenneth & Liimatainen, Keijo: (2005) Jag vill ha en egen måne - Boken om Ted Gärdestad, pages 180-194
  22. ^ a b "Teds väg mot självmord | Nöje | Expressen". 2005-08-31. Retrieved 2014-07-17. 
  23. ^ "Psykosen som blev Teds död | Nyheter | Expressen". Retrieved 2014-07-17. 
  24. ^ Gärdestad, Kenneth & Liimatainen, Keijo: (2005) Jag Vill Ha En Egen Måne - Boken Om Ted Gärdestad, pages 193-194
  25. ^ Gärdestad, Kenneth & Liimatainen, Keijo: (2005) Jag vill ha en egen måne - Boken om Ted Gärdestad, pages 194-195
  26. ^ [8]
  27. ^ [9]
  28. ^ "Ted Gärdestad-Galan med stipendieutdelningen på Liseberg, Göteborg 20/6". Retrieved 2014-07-17. 
  29. ^ "Stjänspäckad hyllning till Ted Gärdestad | Musik | Expressen". Retrieved 2014-07-17. 
  30. ^ Gärdestad, Kenneth & Liimatainen, Keijo: (2005) Jag vill ha en egen måne - Boken om Ted Gärdestad, pages 197-231,
  31. ^ "Oasisbasist hyllar Ted Gärdestad | Kultur | SvD" (in Svenska). 2006-10-10. Retrieved 2014-07-17. 
  32. ^ [10]
  33. ^ "Helt Nära Dig - Samlade Album by Ted Gärdestad (Compilation): Reviews, Ratings, Credits, Song list". Rate Your Music. Retrieved 2014-07-17. 
  34. ^ Steffen Hung. "Ted Gärdestad - Helt nära dig - Samlade album". Retrieved 2014-07-17. 
  35. ^ "Det här är Så mycket bättre - Så mycket bättre". Retrieved 2014-07-17. 
  36. ^ Steffen Hung. "Ted Gärdestad - Så mycket bättre". Retrieved 2014-07-17. 
  37. ^ Steffen Hung. "Caramba - Hubba Hubba Zoot-Zoot". Retrieved 2014-07-17. 


  • 1966 - En småstad vid seklets början (Translated: A Small Town at the Turn of the Century. TV advent calendar.)
  • 1970 - Story of a Woman (Italian title: Storia di una donna. Director: Leonardo Bercovici.)
  • 1973 - Stenansiktet (English title: The Stone Face. Director: Jan Halldoff.)


  • Spotlight, Sonet SPCD-32, 1989
  • Ted Gärdestad Collection, Polar Music/PolyGram 511 969-2, 1992
  • Kalendarium 1972-93, Polar Music/PolyGram 519 052-2, 1993
  • Svenska Popfavoriter, Karussell/PolyGram 552 270-2, 1996
  • Solregn (4-CD box set), Polar Music/Universal Music 543 985-2, 2001
  • Droppar Av Solregn (selected tracks from Solregn), Polar Music/Universal Music 549 881-2, 2001
  • 15 Klassiker 1972-1981, Polar Music/Universal Music 018 405-2, 2002
  • Sol, Vind Och Vatten - Det Bästa (2-CD set), Polar Music/Universal Music 986 647-5, 2004
  • 18 Ballader, Polar Music/Universal Music 987105-0, 2005
  • För Kärlekens Skull (3-CD box set), Polar Music/Universal Music, 060251734772-0 2007
  • Helt Nära Dig - Samlade Album (8-CD box set), Polar Music/Universal Music 06025270733-0, 2009
  • 4 CD Original Album (Undringar, Ted, Upptåg & Franska Kort), Universal Music 06025276545-0, 2011

Compilation albums

Studio albums

  • "Hela världen runt" / "Sommarlängtan", Polar Music POS 1146, 1971
  • "Jag vill ha en egen måne" / "När du kommer", Polar Music POS 1155, 1972
  • "Oh, vilken härlig da'" / "Sol vind och vatten", Polar Music POS 1170, 1973
  • "Kaliforniens guld" / "Ramanagaram", Polar Music POS 1174, 1973
  • "Come Give Me Love" / "Skolsång", Polar Music POS 1177, 1973
  • "Gonna Make You My Angel" ("Jag ska fånga en ängel") / "Can't Stop the Train", Epic Records EPC S 3126 (West Germany & UK), 1974
  • "Rockin' 'n' Reelin'" (Swedish version) / "Gonna Make You My Angel" Polar Music POS 1201, 1975
  • "Rockin' 'n' Reelin'" (English version) / "Gonna Make You My Angel", Polar Music POS 1202, 1975
  • "Take Me Back to Hollywood" / "Back in the Business", Epic Records SEPC 6976 (UK), Polydor Records 2001 843 (West Germany & The Netherlands), RCA Records 103 271 (Australia), 1978
  • "Love, You're Makin' All the Fools" / "Puddle of Pain", Polar Music POS 1243, Polydor Records 2001 891 (West Germany, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria), Discomate DSP-130 (Japan), 1978
  • "Love, You're Makin' All the Fools" / "Love Lies Free", Epic Records SEPC 7477 (UK), 1978
  • "Love, You're Makin' All the Fools" / "505 to Casablanca" RCA Records 103 395 (Australia), 1978
  • "Satellit" (Swedish version) / "Blue Virgin Isles", Polar Music POS 1247, 1979
  • "Satellite" (English version) / "Blue Virgin Isles", Polar Music POS 1248, Epic Records SEPC 7243 (UK), Polydor Records 2001 865 (The Netherlands), Carnaby (Spain), Polydor Records 2001 868 (Portugal), Carrere Records/Bagad 49476 (France), Durium DE 361 (Italy), Pan-Vox POS 1248 (Greece), Discomate DSP-128 (Japan), 1979
  • "Satellite" / "Back in the Business", Polydor Records 2001 868 (West Germany, Switzerland, Austria), 1979
  • "Låt solen värma dig" (duet with Annica Boller) / "Back in the Business", Polar Music POS 1261, 1980
  • "Don't Treat Me This Way" / "Mindblower" ("Stormvarning"), Polydor Records 2002 003 (The Netherlands), 1980
  • "How Do You Wanna Make Love" / "It's You", Polydor Records 2002 063 (Portugal), 1980
  • "Låt kärleken slå rot" / "Mindblower", Polar Music POS 1275, 1981
  • "Hubba Hubba Zoot Zoot" / "Donna Maya" (as Caramba), Trash Records TRAS 1, Epic EPC A1644 (UK), Toledo/Intercord Records 112 532 (West Germany), 1981
  • "Hubba Hubba Zoot Zoot" / "Donna Maya" (as Caramba), RKM/Disques Vogue 310923, 12" single (France), Durium Records DEX 13018, 12" single, white vinyl (Italy), 1981
  • "Hare Christmes" / "Ali Baba" (as Caramba), Trash Records TRAS 2, 1981
  • "Lycka" (duet with Harpo) / "Trubaduren" (Harpo) / "Himmel" (Harpo), Warner Music CD 9031-77723-2, 1992
  • "För kärlekens skull" / "Låt kärleken slå rot", Polar Music/PolyGram CD 865 552 - 2, 1993
  • "För kärlekens skull" / "Låt kärleken slå rot", Polar Music/PolyGram 7" 865 552-7, 1993
  • "Himlen är oskyldigt blå" / "Satellit" / "Låt kärleken slå rot", Polar Music/Polygram CD, 1993
  • "Ge en sol" / "Lyckliga dagar", Polar Music/PolyGram CD 855 382-2, 1994
  • "Om du ville ha mig" / "Jag bygger ett torn", Polar Music/PolyGram CD 851 314-2, 1994
  • "Hon är kvinnan" / "Ruva min själ", Polar Music/PolyGram CD 853 818-2, 1995
  • "Himlen är oskyldigt blå", Polar Music/Universal Music CD Polar Music/PolyGram 571 971-2, 1997
  • "I'd Rather Write a Symphony" (Radio Edit) / "Lyckliga dagar", CD Polar Music/Universal Music CD 855 383-2, 2001



In 1981 Ted and ABBA sound engineer Michael B. Tretow had a surprise hit single with the novelty track "Hubba Hubba Zoot Zoot" in Sweden, released under the anonymous group moniker Caramba on the equally anonymous record label Trash Records (#1 June 1981, 26 weeks on the singles chart). The liner notes to Tretow's 1999 CD compilation Greatest Hits carry the following dedication: "This album is dedicated to Ted Gärdestad, who should be here now, rolling on the floor in paroxysms of laughter as usual." [37]


Also in 2010, the track "Så mycket bättre" from Ted's debut album Undringar was covered by the Swedish stars Lars Berghagen, Thomas Di Leva, Plura Jonsson of Eldkvarn, Barbro Lill-Babs Svensson, Petter, Christer Sandelin and Petra 'September' Marklund and used as the theme tune to a top rated reality TV show of the same name.[35] This not only resulted in renewed interest in Ted's back catalogue, but also his original recording of the song entering the digital singles chart in Sweden in October 2010 - almost four decades after its first release.[36]

In June 2009 Universal Music, the company that now owns the rights to the Polar Music back catalogue, released an 8-CD box set entitled Helt Nära Dig - Samlade Album (Quite Close to You - Collected Albums). The 91 track box set includes all six of Gärdestad's Swedish language albums, Undringar, Ted, Upptåg, Franska Kort, Stormvarning and Äntligen på väg, as well as the Blue Virgin Isles album in its entirety. The eighth disc features selected tracks from Gärdestad's second English language album I'd Rather Write a Symphony and non-album singles like "Rockin' 'n' Reelin'" (Swedish version only), "Himlen är oskyldigt blå" and "För kärlekens skull". The box set reached #34 on the Swedish albums chart in July 2009 and re-entered the chart a full year later, in July 2010, and then reached #12.[33][34]

On 16 October 2006 Kenneth Gärdestad received a special award from SKAP, The Swedish Society of Popular Music Composers, for his "outstanding contributions to Swedish performing arts as a lyricist", in memory of his brother Ted.[32]

In 2006 British bassist Andy Bell - of Oasis fame - at the time living in Sweden and a great admiror of Gärdestad's work, took part in the annual tribute concert held in Stockholm. [31]

Also in 2005, as mentioned above, Ted's brother Kenneth wrote a biography about Ted's life called Jag vill ha en egen måne, named after Ted's breakthrough single. The book gives a detailed account of the brothers' childhood, Ted's rise to fame as a teenager, the following years of teen mania and media attention, the pressure of constantly touring and recording, and Ted's difficulties in finding an identity out of the limelight as an adult in the early 1980s. The book also describes the Gärdestad family's constant struggle with Swedish psychiatry during the last years of Ted's life; that he didn't receive the treatment he was entitled to, that Ted's condition and the obvious symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia - in the last stages severe delusions and hallucinations, Ted constantly hearing voices in his head and grave Per Ragnar and Jan Waldecranz, guitarists Janne Schaffer and Staffan Astner, singer Harpo, TV personalities Bengt Bedrup and Tommy Engstrand, pianist Robert Wells, sound engineers Michael B. Tretow and Lennart Östlund, photographer Barry Levine, hockey player Mats Ulander, American pianist and composer Mike Melvoin, as well as his former girlfriend and the mother to his two children, actress Ann Zacharias.[30]

In 2005, a musical based around Ted's songs opened in Stockholm called Sol, vind och vatten.

Also in 2004 an album called Fånga En Ängel - En hyllning till Ted Gärdestad (Catch An Angel - A tribute to Ted Gärdestad) was released, featuring contemporary Swedish artists such as Håkan Hellström, Helen Sjöholm, Patrik Isaksson, Viktoria Tolstoy, Mikael Rickfors, Fredrik Kempe, Fame, Lisa Miskovsky, Brolle, Åsa Jinder and Josefin Nilsson of Ainbusk interpreting some of Ted's best loved songs. The album was released on the Anderson Records label, run by the late Stig Anderson's daughter Marie Ledin. Both country singer and fellow Eurovision contestant Jill Johnson's acoustic version of Ted's 1973 Melodifestivalen entry "Oh vilken härlig dag" and Helen Sjöholm's recording of "Come Give Me Love" became sizeable radio hits and were also issued as singles.[6]

In 2004 an all-star line-up of Swedish artists headed by Janne Schaffer and including performers as diverse as Mats Ronander, Björn J:son Lindh, Jennifer Brown and rapper Dogge Doggelito performed a ten-minute medley of Gärdestad's best-known songs as the interval act of that year's Melodifestivalen, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Ted winning the contest with "Satellit". [29]

Some fifteen years after Ted's passing his music is more popular than ever in his native Sweden. Many of his songs such as "För kärlekens skull", "Sol vind och vatten", "Satellit", "Låt kärleken slå rot", "Jag vill ha en egen måne", "Himlen är oskyldigt blå" and "Eiffeltornet" feature on compilations and have been covered by a wide range of other artists and are now considered modern Swedish pop classics. Ted's original studio albums still sell well, as do best of compilations such as 2001's Droppar av solregn which reached #2 and spent 47 weeks on the Swedish albums chart and the 2004 2-CD set Sol vind och vatten - Det bästa (see above), which peaked at #3 and charted for no less than 60 consecutive weeks.[6]

In 2001 both Michael B. Tretow and Kenneth Gärdestad personally took part in the production of the 4-CD box set Solregn (Sunshowers), a comprehensive career retrospective of 71 tracks, including two previously unreleased recordings, "I'd Rather Write a Symphony" and "Nobody Loves You Now", from the Stormvarning/I'd Rather Write a Symphony sessions. The album closes with Janne Schaffer's instrumental interpretation of "Jag vill ha en egen måne", first performed at Ted's funeral and recorded especially for the box set.[6]

In 2000 "Jag vill ha en egen måne", "Så mycket bättre" and "Come Give Me Love" were featured in Swedish film director Lukas Moodysson's comedy drama Tillsammans (international title: Together).

A scholarship was set up in Ted's name in 1997 to promote unsigned singer/songwriters and is awarded annually along with a tribute concert.[25] [26][27][28]

Ted's legacy

The only colleagues from Ted's musical career attending his funeral were Janne Schaffer, Björn J:son Lindh, Michael B. Tretow, Barbro 'Lill-Babs' Svensson and Agnetha Fältskog.[24]

Since Ted's passing his brother Kenneth has spoken frankly, both in the press and later also in a book, about Ted's mental health problems during the last decade of his life. In the biography Jag vill ha en egen måne, published eight years after Ted's death, Kenneth revealed that his brother had fought against anxiety ever since his late teens and that he had become convinced that Ted as an adult had suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, if not caused, clearly aggravated by the indoctrination during his time with the Bhagwan cult and what can only be described as the witch hunt by the press and the subsequent public persecution of an innocent man incapable of defending himself, following the murder of Olof Palme and the Lasermannen case. In the book Janne Schaffer mentions an especially horrific and sadly also significative incident describing the trauma that Ted, and also his family and friends, was experiencing in the late 1980s. The event took place as Schaffer attended a dinner party with a large number of Swedish dignitaries, including leading politicians and statesmen and representatives of the diplomatic corps, as well as the then chief editor of Sweden's largest daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter, himself a both respected and highly influential man in Swedish society, who in front of all the prominent guests blurted out: " - You know that it's your pal Ted Gärdestad who murdered Olof Palme don't you?!"; Schaffer immediately left the dinner party.[20] In the book Kenneth Gärdestad also points out that Ted never received the proper diagnosis of his condition during his lifetime, nor the medical or psychotherapeutic treatment that could have saved his life.[21][22][22][23]

The following year, Ted released a full-length album of new material on the Polar label with the title Äntligen på väg (Finally on My Way), produced by longtime friend Janne Schaffer. The album included contributions from ABBA drummer Per Lindvall, Björn J:son Lindh, Gladys del Pilar and Marie Bergman among other renowned Swedish musicians and spawned a series of singles like "Ge en sol" ("Give a Sun"), "Om du ville ha mig" ("If You Wanted Me"), "I min radio" ("On My Radio") and "Hon är kvinnan" ("She's the Woman") entering the Svensktoppen chart. The lyrics were light, harmonious and hopeful and it seemed as if Ted's future was looking brighter than in a very long time; his name was finally cleared, he remarried and he was back to doing what he loved most of all - making music. He made several TV appearances promoting the Äntligen på väg album, including an unplugged concert on TV channel ZTV, and he toured extensively all through 1994, 1995 and 1996. The news on 23 June 1997 that Ted at the age of 41 suddenly had decided to end his life by jumping in front of a train therefore came as a shock to the entire nation.[6][19]

In 1993, the compilation album Kalendarium 1972-93, promoted by a sold-out summer tour in the Swedish folkparks, was a tremendous success, as was Ted's very first composition in twelve years, "För kärlekens skull" ("For Love's Sake"), which topped the Svensktoppen chart.[16] The Kalendarium collection also included a Swedish language re-recording of the title track from the overlooked Blue Virgin Isles album, "Himlen är oskyldigt blå" ("The Sky is Innocently Blue"), which fifteen years after its original release became another Svensktoppen hit, and now counts as one of his best-known songs.[17] In early 1994 Kalendarium 1972-93 was awarded a platinum disc. All of Ted's albums from the 1970s and early 1980s, with the exception of Blue Virgin Isles, were re-released on CD by Polar and a generation of Swedes who grew up listening to his music now re-discovered and re-evaluated his back catalogue as adults, and his body of work has since come to be regarded as a national treasure of the same importance as those of Evert Taube, Carl Michael Bellman and Cornelis Vreeswijk - both by fans and Swedish music critics.[6][18]

In the early 1990s, Ted was briefly coaxed out of retirement by his friend and fellow Swedish pop star Harpo. Ted joined Harpo on a concert tour and made a few guest appearances and in 1992, they released the duet "Lycka" ("Happiness") as a single. The song passed fairly unnoticed but this became the starting point to Ted's return to music. In the spring of that same year Gärdestad embarked on his very first tour since 1978 and played a series of dates with Plura Johnsson, Tove Naess, Totta Näslund and Dan Hylander and received overall positive reviews from the press.[15]

Later career

Shortly after Ted's return to Sweden in 1986 something happened that would affect the entire nation as a whole as well as having tragic effects on Gärdestad personally; Olof Palme, the Swedish Prime Minister, was murdered. Ted was wrongly mentioned in the Swedish media as the 33-year-old, a suspect in the investigation of the assassination, an accusation that naturally hit him hard. Although Gärdestad was not even in the country when the murder was committed but on vacation in Greece and despite the fact that he was never questioned by the Swedish police or under any sort of suspicion by the authorities at any time the speculations and rumours were to follow him and his family for the rest of the 1980s. A few years later he was again the victim of vicious rumours as he was accused of being the so-called Lasermannen, a bank robber and serial killer and again it was groundless rumours with no foundation in fact, proven when the real perpetrator of the crimes was caught. This however clearly took its toll on the sensitive and already unstable former star. The lines between Ted's worst fears and now sometimes also delusions and reality began to blur. The once so creative and outgoing Gärdestad withdrew even further within himself and went into a deep depression.[13][14]

Having left the music business Ted had a brief and unsuccessful stint at acting and shortly thereafter began exploring meditation and Eastern religions. For a period of time he was involved with the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh movement, widely considered as a cult and he publicly renounced his earlier life. In an interview with Swedish paper Aftonbladet in the summer of 1983 he declared that he no longer wanted to be addressed as "Ted Gärdestad", his name was now Swami Sangit Upasani. Like all Bhagwan disciples he only wore clothes in a specific shade of orange. During this time he began distancing himself from his friends in the music business and also his own family. His involvement in the sect and the teachings of the Bhagwan gradually took over his life and his personality dramatically changed. In June 1983, just one month before his second child with his then girlfriend actress Ann Zacharias was born, he unexpectedly left his family and friends and moved to the cult's headquarters in Oregon, USA. Only three years later, after the Bhagwan, also known as Osho, was convicted for immigration fraud, tax evasion, embezzlement of his disciples' funds and bioterror attacks on the citizens of The Dalles and subsequently deported from the USA, Ted's family finally managed to persuade him to move back to Sweden. At this time, severe mental health problems became more and more apparent.[12]


After an unsuccessful return to Melodifestivalen in 1980 with "Låt solen värma dig" ("Let the Sun Warm You") with then girlfriend Annica Boller and disappointing sales of his 1981 album Stormvarning (#31, 2 weeks), internationally released as I'd Rather Write a Symphony on the Polydor label in a few countries and equally overlooked, Ted dropped out of the music scene - at the age of 25.[6][11]

In early 1979, Ted and Kenneth had a fourth attempt at Melodifestivalen and this time they won with the song "Satellit", a mid-tempo rock track whose arrangement bore more than a few resemblances to Toto's 1978 hit "Hold the Line". The similarities caused some speculation in the Swedish media of plagiarism and even disqualification from the contest. The connection between the two songs was that producer Janne Schaffer had heard four of the future Toto members, Steve Porcaro, Jeff Porcaro, David Hungate and Steve Lukather, experimenting with a guitar and bass riff during the Blue Virgin Isles sessions in Los Angeles which eventually evolved into "Hold the Line". Schaffer was inspired by what he had heard when he wrote the arrangement for "Satellit", but at that point neither "Hold the Line" nor Toto's debut eponymous album had been released, and as Jeff Porcaro himself told Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet in February 1979: " - No, it's not a rip-off, Ted didn't steal our song. Those piano triplets and that bass and guitar line go back to the 1950s and the fact that we both have happened to use variations on the same theme in our songs right now is purely coincidental." [9] Consequently, Ted represented Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest held in Jerusalem in March 1979, and after having competed four times in the pre-selections before winning and his personal connections with ABBA, who had won the contest with "Waterloo" five years earlier and gone on to international fame and success, the hopes and expectations were naturally high. Unfortunately, the song scored a disappointing total of eight points and finished seventeenth out of nineteen participating entries, making it Sweden's then second lowest placing in the contest ever. The Swedish language single still became another Top 10 hit back home in Sweden and today "Satellit" counts as one of Ted's signature tunes. The English language version of the track however never charted, and neither did the re-issue of the Blue Virgin Isles album which included both versions, making it clear that Ted's Scandinavian audiences favoured his Swedish-language material.[6][10]

Stig Anderson still could see international potential for Ted, and since the Polar Music economy at this stage only could be equalled to that of Volvo, Ted and brother Kenneth travelled to Hollywood, California in the autumn of 1977 to record Ted's first English language album Blue Virgin Isles. The 'west coast rock' orientated album featured contributions from an impressive number of famous American and English musicians, among them Jeff Porcaro, Steve Porcaro, Jim Keltner, David Hungate, Jay Graydon, Lee Ritenour, Steve Lukather, Fred Tackett, James Newton Howard, Dr. John and John Mayall, many of them Ted's personal heroes. The Blue Virgin Isles album was released worldwide in the autumn of 1978 on the Epic Records label, accompanied by the singles "Take Me Back To Hollywood", an English version of "Chapeau-Clacque", and "Love, You're Making All The Fools". Despite the no-expenses-spared production and the big push to launch Ted, even with some promotional appearances alongside ABBA, his Swedish success did not translate internationally and in Sweden the album peaked at #29 and only spent one week on the chart. Some thirty years later after its original release, Blue Virgin Isles still remains the only Ted Gärdestad studio album not to have been re-released to CD by Polar Music/PolyGram/Universal Music.[6][8]

International career

By 1977 Ted was however faced with a dilemma common to many a child star and teen idol, both before and after him; as he grew up and became more mature - so did his audiences. The time of teen mania and screaming crowds in the folkparks was beginning to fade away and his record label was also presented with another problem. The Polar in-house producers Björn and Benny, who had played such an important part in Ted's early success both as arrangers and musicians were now busy writing, producing and promoting ABBA and could understandably no longer give Ted or other Polar artists like Svenne & Lotta and Lena Andersson their full attention. 1975 had only resulted in one single being released, the Melodifestivalen entry "Rockin' 'n' Reelin'". 1976 had seen the release of the album Franska Kort (French Cards - a fairly innocent type of late 19th century pornography), only partly recorded with Björn and Benny and co-produced by Michael B. Tretow and Janne Schaffer. The album did provide further hits like "Angela", "Chapeau-Claque" (French for top hat), "När showen är slut" ("When the Show is Over") and "Klöversnoa", a novelty folk dance parody with both Benny Andersson and Ted playing accordion, but it peaked at #3, making it the first Ted Gärdestad album not to top the Swedish charts, and it dropped out of the listing after 22 weeks, a moderate success compared to his previous releases. The year of 1977 saw ABBA and also most of the Polar Music crew including musicians and sound engineers on their first world tour, making ABBA: The Movie and recording The Album - as an indirect consequence no Ted Gärdestad album was released that year.[6][7]

By 1975, Ted had become a big star in Sweden, with his boyish good looks he was prominently featured in teen magazines like Starlet, Mitt Livs Novell and Poster, his love life and teenage romances were even covered by the national dailies, he had his own fan club, all his albums had gone gold and had also sold well in the rest of Scandinavia, besides Björn Benny, Agnetha & Anni-Frid/ABBA and Anni-Frid Lyngstad he was the Polar Music label's best-selling artist. Stig Anderson had plans to launch him internationally and Ted recorded both Swedish and English versions of "Rockin' 'n' Reelin'" as well as an English version of an earlier hit, "Jag ska fånga en ängel" ("I'm Going to Catch An Angel"), with the title "Gonna Make You My Angel", the latter with lyrics by Gary Osborne; neither were a significant hit. Australian pop singer Mark Holden did however have a major success in Australia with "Jag ska fånga en ängel" under the title "I Wanna Make You My Lady" in 1976.[5][6]

Lyrically the songs reflected the world of an average young teenager, no longer a child but not yet an adult, and his personal development; the dreams, hopes and desires as well as the fears and frustrations, infatuation and rejection ("När du kommer", "Räcker jag till"), existential ponderings ("Universum", "Snurra du min värld", "Gitarren och jag") alongside typical adolescent fantasies and daydreams of historical figures like the vikings ("Viking"), "Buffalo Bill", Goliath ("Goliat från Gat") or becoming a super hero like The Phantom ("Fantomen"), and naturally, as with most teenagers, also playful hints at an increased interest in the opposite sex. His Melodifestivalen entry "Oh vilken härlig dag" for instance includes phrases like "I snuck down to the lake, to spy on you when you went skinnydipping" and "I ran naked in the blazing sun" and most importantly "And I could see what you're hiding under your skirt"; a line that was considered particularly risqué when sung by a seventeen-year-old boy in the pre-selections for the Eurovision Song Contest in the year of 1973. Despite the fact that all lyrics were the work of Ted's eight year older brother Kenneth and not Ted himself they were specifically written to reflect Ted's personality and his world, and the feelings of a teenager, not those of his older brother. Just like Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus during the ABBA era, Ted usually wrote "pidgin" English demo lyrics when he composed his songs and it was subsequently Kenneth's task to translate them into Swedish while staying true to Ted's original idea for a particular song. Kenneth spent a considerable amount of time getting the words exactly as Ted wanted them, with the right number of syllables to the bar, rhymes and alliterations emphasizing the rhythm of the music, and then also with the specific language of a boy in his teens, occasionally including slang expressions. Just like sound engineer Michael B. Tretow, Ted was also known for his prankish sense of humour, he was a big fan of Monty Python's Flying Circus and loved practical jokes, which also is reflected in the lyrics in the form of clever puns, word play, and double entendres. Kenneth's skills as a lyricist paradoxally resulted in the fact that some of Ted's audiences, in the 1970s and even to the present day, were under the impression that he wrote both the music and all lyrics, which Kenneth since has revealed that he only took as a sign that he had done Ted's music justice and the best compliment that he could get.

Musically Ted's songs combined the heritage of the Scandinavian acoustic and narrative 'visa' tradition with influences from the Anglosaxon singer-songwriter wave of the late 1960s and early 1970s, but his repertoire also includes a wide variety of genre exercises including pastiches of swing, jazz, ragtime, boogie-woogie, reggae, country and western, French chanson, Swedish folkmusic as well as contemporary English and American pop, rock, soul and R&B. Like most musicians and songwriters of their generation, both brothers were also big fans of The Beatles and they were particularly influenced by the fact that John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote their own material and played it themselves, a commonplace today, but revolutionary for the time. The early Swedish albums with Gärdestad all also contain one or two English-language tracks, usually slightly rougher and rockier than the rest of the material and many of them featuring Janne Schaffer on electric guitars.

In February 1973, Ted entered Melodifestivalen, the competition to select the Swedish entry for the Eurovision Song Contest. The song "Oh, vilken härlig dag" ("Oh What a Lovely Day") came equal fourth. A quartet at the time known as Björn & Benny, Agnetha & Anni-Frid finished third with a song called "Ring Ring (Bara du slog en signal)". Ted had another attempt in 1975 with the song "Rockin' 'n' Reelin'", Svenne & Lotta placed third with "Bang en boomerang", and Ted finished seventh but the song became another hit single on the important radio charts Svensktoppen, Heta Högen and Kvällstoppen. Ted and brother Kenneth returned to Melodifestivalen in 1977 with the song "Det bästa som finns" ("The Best of All"), but that time they employed another Polar Music labelmate, Lena Andersson, to perform the song which finished 8th out of 10 entries, and Ted himself never recorded the track.[4]

Ted released his first single, the gospel-influenced "Hela världen runt" ("All Over the World"), in late 1971 but it was the follow-up, the acoustic ballad "Jag vill ha en egen måne" ("I Want a Moon of My Own"), a song he had written at the age of twelve, that got him noticed by the Swedish public and almost overnight he became the country's first proper teen idol. Benny and Björn produced Ted's debut album Undringar (translated as Wonderings), released on the Polar Music label in early 1972, and Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad also provided backing vocals. All four members of ABBA continued to work with Ted in different capacities throughout the 1970s, his albums Undringar (1972), Ted (1973), Upptåg (1974) and Franska Kort (1976) are of particular interest to fans of the band since they were produced with the same recording and production techniques, engineers (Michael B. Tretow) and musicians as contemporary ABBA recordings.[3]


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