Rutger Gunnarsson

Bass player Rutger Gunnarsson was a member of various local rock bands in his home town of Linköping during the 1960s. He then went on to study at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm for a couple of years.

One of his mates at the college told him that the Hootenanny Singers (featuring both Björn and Benny at this time) needed a bass player for their 1972 summer tour. Rutger applied for the job and got it. In June of the same year he did his first ever studio session when he played on a little-known Swedish-language ABBA track: ‘Åh, vilka tider’. The song was subsequently issued as the B-side of the Swedish version of the ‘Ring Ring’ single.

Not only did Rutger go on to appear on all ABBA albums, he also became their main string arranger from 1976 onwards, and also toured with them in 1977, 1979, and 1980. When the ABBA period came to an end, he continued working with Björn and Benny through the 1980s, appearing on the Chess concept album, the first Gemini album, and also on the 1993 Josefin Nilsson album, ‘Shapes’.

In the late 1990s, Rutger produced a recording of the unreleased ABBA song ‘Just A Notion’, by the Swedish cover band Arrival. A snippet of ABBA’s original version can be found in the ‘Undeleted’ medley on the box set ‘Thank You For The Music’.

Rutger continued his association with ABBA’s music and played in the orchestra of the Swedish production of the musical ‘Mamma Mia!’ and, later, on the soundtrack album for ‘Mamma Mia! The Movie’.

In April 2015, Rutger passed away at the age of 69.


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