David Myhr - Soundshine

David Myhr awarded with the 2018 Municipality of Piteå Culture Prize (Piteå Kommuns Kulturpris 2018)

Posted: December 6th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: post | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on David Myhr awarded with the 2018 Municipality of Piteå Culture Prize (Piteå Kommuns Kulturpris 2018)

Wow! That was unexpected! And what an incredible honour! As I sing on the new album’s title song I “keep waiting for my lucky day…”. Maybe this is the one? Or at least one of them? 🙂


Today I was awarded with the 2018 Municipality of Piteå Culture Prize (Piteå Kommuns Kulturpris). According to the municipality’s press release it is “offered to a person who is professionally active in the field of culture. The person should be a profile and well-known ambassador of Piteå,  and should be (or have been) resident as well as active in Piteå, or started his/her cultural practice in the municipality”.

This puts me in extremely good company with earlier awardees like comedians Ronny Eriksson and Lasse Eriksson, singer Anna-Lotta Larsson, actor Lennart Jähkel,  writer Liza Marklund, painter Sture Berglund as well as fellow rock’n’rollers (and friends) like for example KG Johansson, Bo Sundström (Bo Kaspers Orkester), Andreas Mattsson (Popsicle), Nicolai Dunger, John Eriksson (Peter Bjorn and John). And also my two colleagues Erik Westberg and Petter Sundkvist.

In the motivation, written on the diploma I was handed, it says:

(Swedish) David Myhr är en artist och låtskrivare som slog igenom i det Piteåbaserade bandet The Merrymakers på 90-talet. Yrkesmässigt är han knuten till LTU men har numera sin bas i Stockhom. Parallelt med arbetet som universitetslektor i låtskrivande, musikproduktion och branschkunskap har han en artistkarriär och är i år aktuell med sitt andra soloalbum. David har även gjort sig känd för sina djupa kunskaper om gruppen The Beatles och uppträder ibland som en levande Beatles-jukebox. Att påstå att han är lite Here, There and Everywhere är ingen överdrift. David tilldelas stipendiet för sitt mångåriga engagemang och arbete i musikens tjänst, både yrkesmässigt och privat, samt som en uppmuntran för sitt fortsatta musikskapande.

(English) David Myhr is an artist and songwriter who had his break-through with the Piteå based band The Merrymakers in the 90’s. Professionally, he is linked to Luleå University of Technology but nowadays he is based in Stockhom. Parallelly with his work as a senior lecturer in songwriting, music production and music business knowledge, he has an artist career and currently has released his second solo album. David has also become known for his deep knowledge of the The Beatles and sometimes appears as “the living Beatles jukebox”. To say he is a little Here, There and Everywhere is no exaggeration. David is awarded the award for his long-term commitment and work in the service of music, both professionally and privately, as well as encouraging his continued creation of music”.

See and hear the chair of the committe at PIteå Kommun who choose the awardees (Kultur- och Fritidsnämnden),  Ann-Katrin Sämfors, read the motivation and deliver the prize in the low quality video clip (in Swedish) below:


I grew up in PIteå and I lived the first half of my life there. I have only very fond memories from those days and I still have a very strong bond to my former home town. My musical journey started in Piteå in bands like 2nd Hand B Band and Ant-Mansson who later became The Merrymakers. I moved to Stockholm at 24 and have spent the same amount of years there as I did in Piteå (so now you can easily calculate my age!). I still come back a lot to Piteå. Me and my brothers and our families have kept our parent’s (and our childhood’s) summer house in Svartnäs, Rosvik. And I also still have my “day-job” (900 km from home!) as a senior lecturer at the local university (The School of Music at Luleå University of Technologysee my staff profile here).

I am determined to do my best to spend the award of 25,000 SEK not only to cover “black (economic) holes” from the cost of making Lucky Day (get the album here!!!) but to instead put them in a little jar to spend on future music making. However, during the ceremony my iPhone X fell to the floor so it’s possible I’ll have to spend almost half of the sum in order to fix my phone, thereby supporting Apple instead. Well well… you gain some, you lose some. That will soon be forgotten!  But the support and and recognition from my home town is something I will remember for life and which I am very grateful and proud. Thank you very much Piteå Kommun!


Here’s a link to an interview I made about receiving the prize (in Swedish) from LTU’s web page.

And a link to an article in the local paper Piteå-Tidningen.


Ann-Katrin Sämfors, chair of the Kultur- och fritidsnämnd, Peter Arffman, member of the committe (and ex-Merrymaker!), David Myhr, and Mikael Andersson (co-writer of the new book about Ripp-Rock).

David Myhr and ex-Merrymaker Peter Arffman who sat in the committee that awarded David Myhr with the culture prize. One can only hope that he was the one of those who voted for and not against. 🙂

Anders Nyström, Piteå Kommun, David Myhr, and Ann-Katrin Sämfors, Piteå Kommun


David Myhr solo acoustic live at Musslan, Stockholm, Wednesday Sep 19

Posted: September 17th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: post | Comments Off on David Myhr solo acoustic live at Musslan, Stockholm, Wednesday Sep 19

DAVID MYHR LIVE (solo/akustiskt) på festvåningen på WASAHOF/MUSSLAN!

David Myhr ger intim akustisk konsert i festvåningen på Wasahof/Musslan med ett knippe låtar både från solokarriären men också från åren med The Merrymakers samt ett par väl valda covers.

Dörrarna öppnas kl 19.
På scen 20.00.

OBS! Endast 40 platser!
Skaffa biljett NU!

Förköp biljett (100:-):
Swish 123 546 84 26
(Monogram Recordings AB)

David Myhr var på 90-talet frontman i The Merrymakers – ett band som sprudlade av melodier och stämsång och som sålde över 100,000 album bara i Japan. Solodebuten Soundshine kom 2012, EP:n Record Collection 2014 och 2016 kom låten ”Spellbound” (känd från Ulf Malmros-filmen Flykten till Framtiden).

Nya albumet Lucky Day med låtar som P4-favoriterna ”Jealous Sun”, ”The Perfect Place” och sommarsingeln ”My Negative Friend” är inspelat i Nashville med producenterna Brad Jones (Josh Rouse, Jill Sobule) och Andreas Dahlbäck (Anna Ternheim, Ulf Lundell, Bo Kaspers Orkester).

Sedan releasen har David (förutom releasepartyt på Bar Brooklyn/Debaser) uppträtt i Spanien och USA.


Facebook event här:



Åldersgräns: 18 år

Albumet LUCKY DAY finns att beställa både på CD (med fyra bonusspår!) samt LP här:

Lucky Day promotional tour of Spain

Posted: May 30th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: post | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Lucky Day promotional tour of Spain

Hello everyone!

My new album Lucky Day has been out for twelve days and I’m overwhelmed by the positive response I’ve been receiving so far!

I am very excited to hereby announce a promotional tour of Spain that will take place this week!


Here is the tour schedule that I’ve copied from my bandsintown page:

Facebook Event for Saturday afternoon (Carabás Burgos)

Facebook Event for Saturday evening (El Límite Live, Villalba, Madrid)

Facebook Event for Sunday (Fotomatón Bar, Madrid)

The Spanish radio listeners will also be able to hear me talking about my favourite music in the program El Sótano de Radio 3 on Friday evening after 7 pm.

This is how my Spanish label Rock Indiana is presenting the show (on this page):

Con su flamante nuevo álbum bajo el brazo, el espléndido “Lucky Day”David Myhr nos visita este fin de semana con dos actuaciones en Burgos (sábado 2 de junio a mediodía), Villalba (sábado 2 por la noche) y Madrid (domingo 3). 
El ex cantante y guitarrista de los Merrymakers repasará su nuevo disco, además de algunas canciones del primero (el igualmente brillante “Soundshine”) y de los propios Merrymakers, además de alguna versión.
Aquí puedes comprar las entradas para su actuación madrileña.

¡Tengo muchas ganas de veros en España! ¡Nos vemos pronto!







Release party today for Lucky Day at Bar Brooklyn, Debaser Hornstulls Strand, Stockholm

Posted: May 8th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: post | Comments Off on Release party today for Lucky Day at Bar Brooklyn, Debaser Hornstulls Strand, Stockholm

Release party today for Lucky Day at Bar Brooklyn, Debaser Hornstulls Strand, Stockholm. Se Facebook event here!


“The Perfect Place” – the fourth track from Lucky Day released!

Posted: April 6th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: post | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on “The Perfect Place” – the fourth track from Lucky Day released!

And so it’s time to present for the fourth track from my album Lucky Day! It’s also the second single that goes out to radio here in Sweden.

The song is called “The Perfect Place” and was actually the first track that was recorded, before the whole project became an American adventure. This was before the co-writing trip and before the decision that Andreas Dahlbäck and I would go over to Nashville to record with Brad Jones.


You can also find it on your favorite streaming/download service, for instance on Spotify, in this ever-growing Lucky Day playlist:

The recording took place at Durango Recording with Andreas Dahlbäck as producer. It was Andreas’ idea to take two of my different melodic ideas that both had descending bass lines, and putting them together into one song. I only had to try to find a “magic chord” to put in between them to make it work. I am very thankful to Andreas for suggesting this! No wonder I keep coming back to working with him!

Here’s a nice group picture from the recording of the basic tracks:

(David Myhr, Andreas Dahlbäck, Joel Löf, Olov Domeij, Elias Ortiz, Alicia Carlestam, Andrei Amartinesei)

Hanna Ekström beautifully performing our string arrangement on “The Perfect Place”.

Now, don’t forget to pre-order Lucky Day here! It’s the only way to get hold of the limited edition of the Lucky Day T-shirt!). Please note that the CD version has four bonus tracks (including “Spellbound”!!!)  that you won’t be able to get anywhere else!


“Wait Until The Moment” – the third track from Lucky Day released!

Posted: March 19th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: post | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on “Wait Until The Moment” – the third track from Lucky Day released!

And then they were three! While we’re all(?) awaiting the release of my second solo album Lucky Day, by now there are three “instant grat” tracks available for download for those who pre-order the album, no matter if you order a physical copy on CD or vinyl (and T-shirt?) at Lojinx, or if you’ve pre-order the album through iTunes. The first one was “Jealous Sun” (which by the way has been added to Swedish Radio P4’s playlist!!!), the second one “Room To Grow”, and now “Wait Until The Moment”. It will be followed by more surprises along the way!

While awaiting your vinyl or CD you can also enjoy the instant grat tracks on this growing Lucky Day playlist on Spotify:

I’m also very proud that it has been added by Spotify themselves to this playlist with current (mainly Swedish) releases.

In the future you will be able to see and hear the full story about how “Wait Until The Moment” came about, but for now all I can say is that I wrote it together with producer Brad Jones who took my stomping uptempo piano based melodic idea and turned it into something that, to me, sounded very beautiful in its laid back, bossa nova-ish vibe. It went from power pop to… well what is it? Is it Yacht Rock? You decide for yourself!

The song features one of my favourite lyric lines on the (coming) album; ”Break my heart a little and I’ll do the same for you” which was a little ”couplet” that Brad had lying around for years that he finally found use for.

Let me also be a bit nostalgic and take you back to my co-writing trip in 2015 when we put the song together. This is a clip from the control room at Alex The Great Recording in Nashville, just after Brad had constructed a percussive loop from his own sample library, trying it out with the Spanish guitar that he later added to the recording:

Stuck in Brazil…

Posted by David Myhr on Monday, February 9, 2015

And, here’s a clip from my late night vocal overdub session. Brad had instructed me so well on how he wanted me to sing it, so I thought I’d have a go at it right away. It turned out 18 months later that Brad was very happy with the result of that night’s vocal takes, so we decided not to re-record it:


Lastly, please feel free to enjoy a live version of the song, from Andreas Dahlbäck’s Durango Recording, where I had the incredible opportunity to put both my dear co-producers in the same room, together with brilliant young Theo Stocks on pedal steel, a former student at The School of Music at Luleå University of Technology, where I work, who happened to be in Nashville with his class-mates only a couple of weeks after the album recording in 2016. I got the idea to ask Brad to have him play some pedal steel on a couple of tracks on the record (“Lucky Day” and “The Only Thing I Really Need Is You”). He did a fantastic job both at the recording and in this live clip. Please enjoy!






“Room To Grow” – the second track released from Lucky Day

Posted: February 23rd, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: post | Comments Off on “Room To Grow” – the second track released from Lucky Day

The second track from my upcoming album Lucky Day that can be pre-ordered here is out! It’s written together with Bill DeMain and is called “Room To Grow”. (Read all about the first track “Jealous Sun” in my last blog post).

The picture below shows me and Bill DeMain at his house involved in a songwriting session. Bill was the fifth ”stop” on my co-writing tour through L.A., Nashville and New York in February 2015. He had been warmly recommended for me to try to approach by Andrew Campbell, the head of my record label Lojinx, as well as by producer Brad Jones. And boy were they right! The session turned out to be very fruitful and now, only one thousand one hundred and seven days later, I am extremely excited to finally be able to share the result with you all in the form of the song ”Room To Grow”.

It was the first time ever that Bill and I met and, as is common in co-writes, the session started with some small talk. We talked a little bit about the phenomenon of co-writing itself and various approaches to it. I said that I’m sometimes a little bit stressed by the idea that one is supposed to come up with something on the spot while being watched by the other. Bill understood my point and said that for first time co-writes he always think that it’s a good idea to start with slight snippets that are a little bit developed. He added “–Knowing that you were coming this week, I came up with something that… uhm… I like the music germ and the title too. The words are a little bit sketchy…”. He then played his idea for a song called “Room to grow” in a short, condensed version consisting of one verse. Or, more correctly, an “A-part” (of an AABA song). I fell in love with what I heard and told him it was really beautiful.

(Listen to “Room To Grow” on the Lucky Day playlist on Spotify or get your own download by pre-ordering Lucky Day on iTunes or from Lojinx (where you’ll also get the CD/vinyl etc).)
(Or enjoy a stripped down live acoustic  version in the video below):


I noted that the chords were somewhat “jazzy” but still without sounding too complicated. Bill agreed and said he liked that they are “kind of bossa-nova chords but with the eighth-note rhythm making it simpler”. I spent some time to go through the bunch of extended chords using alternative bass notes, joking that I shouldn’t have skipped classes when they were teaching these kind of chords. I was a little bit out of my comfort zone.

Being in “music city”, with an experienced songwriter I’d never met, I felt I would be really rewarding if I could contribute something great to the song. The only thing I could figure the song was missing was a fitting bridge melody. After forty-five minutes of confused trial-and-error, by improvising melodies singing them out loud accompanying myself with different chords on the guitar, I suddenly hit a melody line that sort of just ”came” to me. But it certainly wasn’t my first intent. As Benny Andersson told me (and a few others), “you have to get rid of all the rubbish”.  For the first time it felt really great. Bill commented after only a few notes “-That’s nice! I like that!”. It kind of sounded obvious and had both energy and movement to it. However, at first the idea was almost lost becuase I wasn’t able to reproduce it. Luckily I had a voice memo recording so I could go back and listen to what I did.

After that little “moment” we spent a couple of hours on writing lyrics where Bill naturally took the lead, being both a native speaker, as well as a very talented lyricist, but also the one who intitally brough the title and the concept to the table. When presenting the song he had said:

”–I often found when I get involved with people, my tendency is just to overthink everything. So within, like the first two or three days I’ve decided ‘this can never work’ instead of just giving it a chance, you know. And it doesn’t even have to apply to love. It’s anything. Like sometimes, even when you’re writing a song, you go ‘nahh, that’s no good’. I like that idea of just ‘you never know what’s going to happen with it’ so…  just give it a chance you know!”

And after a total of three hours, including a very nice chat over lunch about Jeff Lynne (who Bill of course had interviewed!), George Martin (including him showing me this hilarious sketch), and a few other usual suspects, we said goodbye and both felt something good had come out of the session.

I could hardly believe it was for me to record this beautiful song. I kind of felt a responsibility to make it justice. So I brought it  back home to Sweden to fiddle around with ideas for arrangements. Just before it was time for the album recording with Brad Jones and Andreas Dahlbäck in Nashville I made a simple Wurlitzer based pre-production with a McCartney inspired octave jumping bass line, that they, together with Nashville session guitar player Pat Buchanan, then helped me to bring to the next level with their suggestions and beautiful playing. Also, Bill helped out on acoustic guitar and some additional backing vocals. Here’ a picture from when he stopped by for the recording at Brad Jones’ Alex The Great Recording:

Once back in Sweden again, I approached my friend and colleague Mikael Bäckman, one of the best harmonica players around, who added a really sweet and tasty harmonica solo with a slight Stevie Wonderesque feel. How great! I started to feel I couldn’t get enough of beuatiful stuff so I also contacted Anna Manell who came by my studio. We wrote a little string arrangement together that she performed beuatifully on the violin. When I presented the final result to Bill he wrote me back saying  “Wow, David, this is quite the delectable pop bon-bon! I love all the background vocals and strings you added. Splendid!”. It was naturally quite a relief to hear that from Bill since I wouldn’t have wanted to make him disappointed, given that he had offered me that wonderful music germ and title in the first place.

Anna Manell at David Myhr’s Monogram Recordings playing violin on “Room To Grow”.

A photo of Mikael Bäckman by Eskil Olsen, taken from harpatwork.com

Bill later commented:

When David and I wrote “Room To Grow,” we’d never met. Blind date co-writes can be very hit or miss. But I think this one was a hit. We both come from similar pop places – loving The Beatles, ELO, Abba, Wings, Nilsson – so it was enjoyable to find common vocabulary to put the song together. And the arrangement took it to another level. I’m happy to have contributed to such a cool record.”

I’m very proud and happy to have gotten to know Bill DeMain. He’s such an amazing guy. Not only is he an extremely experienced and enormously talented songwriter, member as he is of intenatioinally acclaimed duo Swan Dive, and with a brilliant solo album out now called Transatlantic Romantic (on Spotify here). But he is also he’s a writer who’s contributed to magazines like Mojo and Classic Rock etc. And a writer of four books (including Sgt. Pepper at Fifty: The Mood, the Look, the Sound, the Legacy). And on top of all this, he does Nashville’s coolest walking tour which Andreas Dahlbäck had the great pleasure to experience, where he takes you through decades of musical history, from classic country and western to R & B to rock ‘n’ roll. A true one-of-a-kind tour experience.

“Transatlantic Romantic” by bill DeMain. Such a beautiful album filled with incredibly well-crafted songs!

“Room To Grow” is the second track made public from my upcoming album Lucky Day. Those of you who pre-ordered it on iTunes can now download it and it’s also added to the Lucky Day playlist on Spotify. The album is of course also available on heavyweight vinyl  with a beautiful artwork, and on a CD with full booklet, that also will contain four beautiful bonus tracks that I’m very proud about (including ”Spellbound” – “the song that E.L.O. never made”). All this (including a limited edition T-shirt) can be found on Lojinx here.


Here’s me and co-producer, drummer, Andreas Quincy Dahlbäck, enjoying Nashville’s coolest walking tour, hosted by Bill De Main

“Jealous Sun” – first single from new album Lucky Day. (Pre-order available now!).

Posted: February 2nd, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: post | Comments Off on “Jealous Sun” – first single from new album Lucky Day. (Pre-order available now!).

…aaaaaaand finally… here it is!!! The first single from my upcoming album!!! “Jealous Sun”!

For those who have been following me it has been a long wait. I went on this exciting co-writing trip back in 2015 and the recording of the basic tracks for the album took place in Nashville in September 2016. So it’s been three years of video blogging and posting about it on my Facebook Page and posting photos on my Instagram. But as the saying goes, good things happen to those who have waited, and today’s the day!! (For those who haven’t been following me before, it obviously hasn’t been a long wait. But today’s the day for you as well! Please feel most welcome!)


The song, which is the lead track of the upcoming album is called “Jealous Sun” and is a song I wrote together with the fantastic songwriter and artist, Bleu! I had had the melody lying around for years. Actually already since before my recording session in Abbey Road. Then producer Brad Jones to my surprise suggested deleting the verse, and instead let the pre-chorus should be my verse! Brad sure knows what he’s doing. Turned out great! But it wasn’t until Bleu visited me in my writing cabin on Södermalm in Stockholm that the song got its lyrics. A beautiful lyric if you ask me! With reference to the myth of Icarus and all. What else can you ask for?


Speaking of the album… it’s going to be called Lucky Day and will be out in May! I’m not even going to begin now to talk about how incredibly proud and happy I am about it. But I can say that much. That I’m incredible proud and happy about it!

The great thing is that you can pre-order it now on LP, CD or digital at this page from my really cool record label Lojinx:


…where you can even get your own Lucky Day T-shirt!

If you do pre-order you will get an intstant grat download of this first single, “Jealous Sun” (that also goes for iTunes and Amazon by the way!)

Now, please feel free to enjoy the song in the form of a lyric video by the great Todd Stanton at Todd Productions Inc..

Or download or stream from your favourite service:


Stay tuned for an exciting spring ahead with lots of new music!




Into the great wide open – mourning concert for Tom Petty with The Virtues at Debaser Strand

Posted: December 11th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: post | Comments Off on Into the great wide open – mourning concert for Tom Petty with The Virtues at Debaser Strand

A little over two months ago, on October 2, Tom Petty left this world. Only a couple of hours after the news I wrote like this in this post on Facebook:

I can’t believe it!!! This brought me to tears. Tom Petty is no longer with us! My greatest American rock’n’roll hero! American rock at its best, but with a magic pop feel with its roots in British 60’s pop. And that voice. And those songs… For thirty years, he has been a constant companion in the soundtrack to my life and one of my true great musical inspirations. I just love him and his music so much. But not just me. Everybody loved Tom! Almost all of my musician friends do. His Traveling Wilburys friends Jeff LynneGeorge HarrisonRoy Orbison, and Bob Dylan surely did. Del Shannon and Johnny Cash, and countless more did. I mean who else than Tom Petty had half  The Beatles backing him up in a rock video (see the very end of this post)?
Speaking of his relation to The Beatles (and particulary his very close relation to George Harrison), I remember he once said:
“-I still think the Beatles [made] the best music ever, and I’m sure I’ll go to my grave thinking the same thing”.
I was hoping though that day would be another twenty or more years away. After The Beatles, together with Jellyfish, for me Tom Petty & Heartbreakers was my biggest musical inspiration. So glad I got to see him live in Sweden in -93 and -12, and with my wife Paula at The Hollwyood Bowl in -06 (when he also invited up Jeff Lynne on stage). Thank you for everything, Tom!!! Rest in peace. “You belong among the wildflowers. You belong somwhere you feel free”. 
Twenty-three days later I was invited to be one of the guest singers at a concert arranged by Debaser (Stockholm’s leading rock club) where my friends in the great band The Virtues (their Facebook-page here) were to play and where we’d all get the chance to mourn Tom Petty together. They made an absolutely fantastic performance which is supposed to have been filmed and recorded. So fingers crossed it will materilize some day in the future. Until then I am only able to share a couple of clips of when I jumped up on stage.
First, one of my all time favorite pop songs in the world ever. “American Girl”:

 It was also a great honour to sing George Harrison‘s part together with Peter Jacobsson Morén on the classic “Handle With Care”. It dawned upon me that nowadays I’m as old as Bob Dylan was when the song was released. No wonder I love “dad-rock”! Although it’s true I’ve loved it since my teens…

I like to think Tom Petty is now together somewhere with George and Roy, cracking jokes, and playing the ukulele.
Here’s a throwback to happier times when I welcomed Tom Petty to Stockholm back in 2012 by singing his song Wildflowers.
And lastly – a nostalgic throwback to the MTV years… Tom and Mike Campbell with Jeff Lynne and… half the Beatles!!!

Rest in peace, Tom. You will be missed.

The day I met Benny Andersson

Posted: December 8th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: post | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The day I met Benny Andersson

Alright folks… breaking news… I met Benny!!!

Please let me begin by apologising for the radio silence here on my news blog since the release of my ELO flavoured film song “Spellbound” which by the way turned into my career-peak (so far!) on Swedish radio. I can assure you that exciting things are in the pipeline for 2018 given that I have now finished the recordings of my second solo album (more about the recordings here). It’s about time considering my solo debut album Soundshine came out in 2012. Please register to the news-letter here on the side to stay updated! (Very few e-mails per year, I promise!).

What now causes me to break the silence (except for the fact that I’ve recently mostly been posting updates on my Facebook artist page) is the fact that I finally got to meet my life-long hero Benny Andersson of ABBA fame! It happened exactly a week ago, on Dec 1, 2017, at the12th Art of Record Production Conference, hosted by the Royal College of Music, Stockholm, Sweden.



A little over three years ago I experienced the handshake of my life. (Feel free to read my 4000 words long post about the day I met Paul McCartney). Even though it’s obviously impossible to beat, there are still a few hands I would really like to shake before I (or they) die. Now that both Tom Petty and David Bowie very sadly are out of the question (see my Petty tribute here, my Bowie tribute here) I can only wish for Jeff Lynne (read about my near-Jeff experience here). But also, of course, my Swedish heroes from the world phenomenon that is ABBA!

Whenever a Swede goes abroad we talk (proudly) of IKEA and of course ABBA. After all, they are indisputable true legends of music history in the BIG league. Loved by (almost) everybody! They sold over (unbelievable!) 400 million records worldwide and were the beginning of the Swedish music export phenomenon. As for me personally, not only did I grow up with ABBA, but they have always been present in my life one way or another. I remember hearing Waterloo on the radio as a child in the 70’s. I loved the piano outro of Chiquitita already before I became obsessed by the Beatles.  With the help of Andy Sturmer of Jellyfish as a producer, when I was in the Merrymakers, we borrowed inspiration from ABBA’s “Money Money Money” for the intro of “April’s Fool”. And through the years in the music business the ABBA stories have always been around. But most of all, ABBA has been a part of my professional life as a musician for the last 16 years. As a sideline I’m a Benny impersonator in the Swedish tribute (eight-piece) band Super Trouper which has offered hundreds of shows in Sweden and the Nordic countries. See below for a picture with me (and the other three “ABBAs”) in my wig and my platform shoes.

But years ago, I have also at a few occasions been a “Benny” stand-in in the internationally successful production ABBA The Music (later divided into The Show and The Visitors) playing together with members of the original ABBA band like Janne Schaffer, Lasse Wellander, Uffe Andersson, and Roger Palm. In this context I have toured the US (including shows at the legendary Hollywood Bowl in front of 16,000 people), Spain (World Expo in Zaragoza 2008), Cyprus, Holland, Belgium etc.

So the thought of meeting Benny has always been somewhat of a fantasy of mine. It hasn’t seem completely unlikely that it could happen one day considering we live in the same city and he’s out and about, I visit his studio every now and then, and that I know quite a few people who work with, or has worked with, him.

The first time I spotted Benny and his wife was at Malmö airport as a kid back in 1979. But I’ve also more or less bumped into him at a restaurant in Stockholm, at the Swedish Grammy awards, outside of his studio (where I’ve brought students through the years, see below). I’ve visited one of his summer houses at a party hosted by Tommy Körberg and so on. I also saw Björn and Benny salute an enormous crowd in Hyde Park in 2009. But again,  I have never got the chance to exchange a few words and shake his hand until a week ago!

It  happened on the day I was about to present a paper (“Observing melody in solo songwriting”) at the ARP conference (mentioned above) talking about methodologies from my on-going research project in the melody writing process. Benny was invited as a secret guest for a “celebrity interview”. Word got out (thanks to my assistant supervisor, friend and academic role-model Joe Bennett!) that “Benny is in the building” and I searched my way to the lobby of the Royal College of Music in Stockholm where the conference was taking place. It turned out Benny had come an hour too early and was told to come back in a while. So I thought I’d better stick around. And suddenly, the God of melodies himself walks into the building!

I recently had the honour of exchanging a couple of e-mails with Benny from my position as a senior lecturer at The School of Music at Luleå University of Technology (LTU) (see my staff profile here). LTU awarded Benny an honorary doctorate in 2012, Philosophical Faculty. So I could refer to that as my “ice breaker”, presenting myself briefly, and greeted him with a hand shake. Selfie-obsessed as I am, obviously it would be great to have a picture of this moment as well, so I asked him if he was okay with me taking a photo. He said it was no problem and jokingly asked “Shall I comb my hair?”. I answered that we looked great and took the picture. See my Facebook post here and Instagram post here.

A little later I put myself in the centre of the first row (where else?) when the “celebrity interview” took place. The interview was conducted by music researcher and former artist in his own right Göran Folkestad (who I got to know personally over a piano later in the evening singing “Oh Darling!” together after a couple of beers).
After so many years of reading about it, like for instance in this fine interview from Dagens Nyheter, or seeing it on TV (for instance in the talk show Skavlan not long ago), finally I was about to hear about melody making from Benny Andersson himself. An incredible opportunity that I feel very blessed to have experienced with my own eyes!
In the interview Benny talked about how it all began for him. How music came into his life since his father and grandfather were playing the accordion (with him playing along). His grandfather never complained about Benny’s playing and partly thanks to that eventually he got really good at it.  He also talked about how his wise mother got a piano for him and his sister back in 1956. He said: “–Once that piano came into the house. I started playing. Tried to… And since that first day I’ve been sitting at the piano, I could say, nearly every day. For 60 years. Because I like it. You know… It’s like… I have a connection… or maybe music has the connection with me.”
Folkestad started to ask very interesting questions about his compositional process. Considering my own interest in the subject, and how many times I’ve talked in my songwriting classes about Benny’s work methods (sit by the piano and work, work, work, until the ideas show up), it was almost unreal that he now not only sat there in front of me talking about just that. But also offered a demonstration on the piano!
He was saying: “–Because when I play something that I don’t ’know what it is, like in the composing process, it’s like… mostly rubbish. I can’t explain why that is. I can give you an example of how it is, but…”
Fokestad (and the audience): “–Yeah, please do!”
Benny: “–Yeah, well… Shall I?”
And since you made your way all down here in this blog post I am now very happy to be able to offer you to see exactly what I saw! Enjoy!

Filmed from the first row by myself. His highly fascinated disciple. It was kind of silly really. On the very day I’m supposed to talk about the process of melody writing Benny shows up! Talk about a humbling experience. He summed up the process in nine words: “–You have to get rid of all the rubbish!”.
And who do you think asked the first question from the audience once the interview was over? Good guess!
David Myhr: ”–OK, can I go? First row… sorry for taking the spot… First of all I want to thank you for coming and I can testify that I think you’re wrong saying you’re not an artist* because I’ve been a Benny impersonator for twenty years as a sideline and there’s a lot of head-shaking going on.”
Benny: ”–Yeah, yeah, but that was in the 60’s! I was an artist then!”**
DM: ”–But my question is, being a Beatles fan, I always read about what John did, what Paul did. They both spoke about it in separate interviews. And I’m very curious about , having read your interview in Dagens Nyheter, that you always when you compose melodies, there are never lyrics included in the process. So,  I was wondering – how did you work together in general? And if there’s a specific example it would be fantastic.”
Benny: ”–Well, do you mean during the days with ABBA?”
David: ”–Yeah, exactly”
”–We were sitting together. I was hammering along on the piano and Björn on the guitar. And we kept on doing that until something came up. You know.  And sometimes there would be a lyric line like ”Money Money Money ” because it sits with (humming the main theme). That we tried to get rid of that actually! He wrote like three lyrics. And I said no, it’s not good. Money money… But the thing… there was a song called ”Money’, and there was a song called ‘Money Money’.  So we had to call it ‘Money Money Money’.
Yeah but we worked tightly together. Then at the time. Then that changed a bit. It actually started with ’Chess’ I think.
Since then I’ve been doing the music on my own. He always writes the lyrics. If he wants to. I always ask him first. Yeah…”
David: ”–Thank you!”
*) he actually suggested during the interview he’s just a songwriter/arranger/producer and together with ABBA live a ”backing musician” and not an ”artist”
**) In the 60’s Benny was in the biggest group of Scandinavia: Hep Stars! (see Benny behind the organ here)
In the pictures below you see me with Benny’s sound engineer and “right hand” since back in the 80’s, the sound engineer wizard Bernard Löhr (who by the way we once hired to mix The Merrymakers “Spinning My Mind Away”). He made a very interesting keynote speech the same morning. You will also find a couple of pictures from Benny’s studio Rixmixningsverket , a studio which house engineer Linn Fijal has been kind enough to show me and my students from The School of Music at Luleå University of Technology a number of times. In the small picture we see how the grand piano was miked during the recording of Benny’s new (beautiful!) album Piano.
It’s a worn-out cliché to say it. But what else is there to say, so here I go: Thank you for the music, Benny!
p.s. Feel free to check out my simple and very stripped-down version of one of ABBA’s many genius melodies: “Happy New Year”