ABBA’s long-term guitarist Lasse Wellander, who played on some of the band’s biggest hits, has died aged 70, it has been confirmed.
The Swedish music star was a huge part of their recordings through the 1970s and 1980s, and most recently he had a hand in creating their Voyager album, released in 2021.
Voyage marked the group’s first new album in 40 years. ABBA’s last album was “The Visitors,” released in November 1981, before the band parted ways in 1982. The band released a goodbye song addressed to their fans entitled “Thank You for the Music.”
The group reunited onstage for the first time in 2018 at a private party celebrating their 50th anniversary, where they announced that they had worked on new material including “I Still Have Faith in You.”
Announcing the news of his death, his family released a statement. “It is with indescribable sadness that we have to announce that our beloved Lasse has fallen asleep.
“Lasse recently fell ill with what turned out to be cancer that had spread, and early on Good Friday he passed away surrounded by his loved ones.”
Lasse Wellander start performing for ABBA in 1974
Wellander‘s first ABBA session was in October 1974 when Intermezzo No.1 and Crazy World were recorded. Lasse soon became the main guitarist on ABBA’s albums and toured with them in 1975, 1977, 1979, and 1980.
He had continued working with Björn and Benny in the post-ABBA period. He appeared on the Chess concept album, the two Gemini albums, the 1993 Josefin Nilsson album Shapes, and on the soundtracks to Mamma Mia! The Movie and its sequel, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.
Besides being one of the most frequently used Swedish session musicians, Lasse has also released seven solo albums, two of which entered the Top 40 album charts in the mid-1980s.
In 1992, he had a big radio hit with his instrumental version of the Chess song Anthem. In 2005, he received the Albin Hagström Memorial Award from The Royal Swedish Academy of Music and, in 2018, the Swedish Musicians Union’s prestigious special prize Studioräven Award for his work as a session musician.
ABBA are among the best-selling music artists in history, with record sales estimated to be between 150 million to 385 million worldwide
They were the first group from a non-English-speaking country to achieve consistent success in the charts of English-speaking countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia, United States, Republic of Ireland, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa.
They are the best-selling Swedish band of all time and the best-selling band originating in continental Europe.