Swedish supergroup ABBA have delivered a poignant tribute to their late bandmate Lasse Wellander who played an “integral role” in the band’s success.
Wellander passed away on Friday, April 7 after a short battle with cancer at the age of 70.
After news broke of Wellander’s passing, ABBA’s members Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Agnetha Fältskog released an emotional tribute on social media.
“Lasse was a dear friend, a fun guy and a superb guitarist,” the band wrote.
“The importance of his creative input in the recording studio as well as his rock solid guitar work on stage was immense.
“We mourn his tragic and premature death and remember the kind words, the sense of humour, the smiling face, the musical brilliance of the man who played such an integral role in the Abba story.
“He will be deeply missed and never forgotten.”
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Devoted ABBA fans were quick to offer their condolences following Wellander’s passing, many reflecting on his talent and contribution to the Swedish supergroup.
“The entire world will feel his absence. Our deepest condolences to his family and friends.”
“Incredibly sad news… devastating. Rest in peace, Lasse. We will never forget you!”
“Amazing guitarist and so much part of the Abba sound. RIP.”
“My heart sunk! Heaven will now be singing and loving ABBA songs.”
In his younger years, Wellander began playing guitar and joined local bands in his hometown. He later joined a group called Blues Quality from Örebro, and after the band disbanded, its remaining members formed Nature. The band served as the backing band for Polar recording artist Ted Gärdestad’s summer tours in 1973, 1974, and 1976, which is how Lasse was introduced to Björn and Benny.
Lasse’s first performed with ABBA in October 1974, playing guitar on the recordings of Intermezzo No.1 and Crazy World. Lasse then became ABBA’s main guitarist and toured with them in 1975, 1977, 1979, and 1980. Following ABBA’s break up, Wellander continued to work with Björn and Benny on various albums.
In addition to being a sought-after session musician in Sweden, Lasse released a number of successful solo albums, two of which made it to the Top 40 album charts in the mid-1980s. In 1992, he had a successful radio hit with his instrumental version of the Chess song, Anthem. Lasse received the Albin Hagström Memorial Award from The Royal Swedish Academy of Music in 2005 and the Studioräven Award from the Swedish Musicians Union in 2018 for his work as a session musician.