Nº115 Ace of BaseHelga Mjöll Oddsdóttir
The Swedish pop group Ace of Base was founded in 1990 and originally consisted of the Berggren siblings, Jonas, Linn, and Jenny, and friend Ulf Ekberg. They began recording in the studio with music producer John Ballard under the moniker Göteborgs-Posten. Soon after, they made the decision to change their name in order to prevent being confused with another band of the same name that was receiving unfavorable press. Early in 1991, they decided on Ace of Base because Ulf was moved by the Motörhead song “Ace of Spades.”
Their career really started in 1992, when they recorded a fresh take on their own song “Wheel of Fortune” after the first version had not had much success. This time around it had more reggae-ish beat and was more catchy. It was played on Swedish radio and in nightclubs and debuted on the Jockeytoppen chart in Gothenburg, which led to an invitation to perform on the music television channel ZTV.
However, their debut album Happy Nation was not successful in Sweden, so they turned their attention to Denmark where they got their lucky brake.
After their breakthrough in Denmark, the group kept on making songs. Happy Nation, which was later reissued as The Sign for American markets, became the best-selling album of 1994 in the US and one of the best selling debut albums of all time, and was later awarded nine times platinum status in the US.
“All That She Wants,” “The Sign,” and “Don’t Turn Around” were the first three songs to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Mainstream Top 40 list. Throughout the 1990s, they continued to make great singles with songs like “Beautiful Life,” “Lucky Love,” “Cruel Summer,” and “Life Is a Flower.” They sold 30 million albums worldwide of their first four studio albums, making Ace of Base the third-most successful Swedish band of all time, after ABBA and Roxette.
Never the less, times were changing and their success was wearing out because a 90’s vibe was stuck to the band. After their fourth album came out in 2002, they entered a decade where they tried of a lot things to keep fresh, they took a short hiatus, changed vocalists, made a new record. But in the end, they could not keep their status and success.
Although largely dormant since 2012, the group has never formally broken up. They have published a handful of demo tracks over the past ten years, initially through their Facebook page and then in 2015 on the collection album Hidden Gems. Even though they have not performed live as a group in a while, their hits are still performed by Jenny Berggren in solo concerts all over the world.