ABBA drummer Ola Brunkert has died after an accident at his home on Majorca.
For someone who was relatively unknown outside of Swedish musician and ABBA fan circles, it’s surprising how the news has spread. Hundreds of media outlets have reported the news – as I write this, a Google search finds 362+ articles.
Brunkert played drums on every ABBA studio album, from the first single ‘People Need Love’ in 1972 to the eighth and last album The Visitors in 1981, but not on any of ABBA’s final recordings in 1982. He also played on ABBA’s international tours in 1977, 1979 and 1980, and he was there for other key moments in ABBA’s career, from the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 to the last live television concert in 1981 and the final TV performances in 1982.
ABBA wrote of Brunkert in the Arrival album sleeve notes in 1976 “one day we’re gonna let you hear him sing”. We never did, though a bootleg recording circulating under the title ‘Ali ABBA’ lets us here him grunt as he drums on an early version of ‘Like An Angel Passing Through My Room’.
The Times obituary gives an excellent overview of his life and achievements, though it contains a few errors (Brunkert is not the drummer on some of the ABBA hits mentioned – Roger Palm played on ‘Dancing Queen’ and Per Lindvall on ‘Super Trouper’; ABBA played five nights at Wembley Arena, not six). ABBA – The Site also pays tribute.