Drummer Ola Brunkert dead

Ola Brunkert, from ABBA's 1977 tour programmeABBA 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.

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3 Responses to “Drummer Ola Brunkert dead”

  1. Valerie Weil Says:

    How very sad. I listened again today to his work on some ABBA recordings. He was so talented and responsible for the great beat that was the basis of many of the ABBA songs.
    For anyone who reads Swedish, you can go to http://www.aftonbladet.se, a Swedish newspaper, put his name in the “search” field and see an article with an account of the incident as well as an article in which Bjorn talks about his passing.

  2. Mark Pearce Says:

    RIP Ola. As Valerie says, your talent was a magic ingredient in the ABBA sound.

  3. Samuel Nelson Inglles Says:

    Hi Ian

    I recently read an interview with Dave Grohl who was the famous drummer of Nirvana, a band whose lead singer was Kurt Cobain who was also an ABBA fan and used Björn Again as their concert tour supporting act during the 1990’s. Dave Grohl answered the importance of his role as the drummer of Nirvana which created the band’s unique and special drum-playing sound.

    Obviously Ola Brunkert was indeed as unique and special to ABBA’s music as far as the creativity and originality of the drum playing as Dave Grohl was to Nirvana’s music.

    In ABBA Benny Andersson created the special keyboards/synthesizers sound to ABBA’s music; Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad created the trademark vocals sound to ABBA’s music; and of course Ola Brunkert created the many great drums sound to ABBA’s music!

    All of us ABBA fans worldwide would like to thank Ola Brunkert for his gifted talent as a creative musician and drummer to one of the world’s greatest musical groups ever and we send our sincerest condolences to his family for their great loss which is a great loss to the music world as well!

    Ola Brunkert’s drumming will always live through the music of ABBA and whenever we play the majority of their songs we will always be listening to the gift of Ola Brunkert’s great musicianship!

    Bellow is part of the article in which Dave Grohl answers the question to the significance of his input as a drummer to Nirvana’s songs!

    Kind Regards

    Samuel Inglles

    The Rolling Stone Rock & Roll YearBook 2007 Issue 675. By Gavin Martin

    Question: So were Nirvana three guys who changed the world, or a maverick genius with two guys along for the ride? It’s a question Grohl has face a lot in the years since Cobain’s death, but it’s also one that he has a very clear perspective on.

    Dave Grohl Answers: “We were just three guys trying to make our way playing music,” he begins. “I think the effect the band had was more to do with everyone else than the band, y’know. When the three of us went to a rehearsal space in Tacoma, Washington to write music, there wasn’t a whole lot of world domination in mind. We’d begin every practice with an impromptu freeform noise jam and a lot of songs came of that – from “Smells Like Teen Spirit” to “Come As You Are”. All those quiet-loud dynamic songs came out of jams, we were just trying to make music that would make us proud because it was badass.

    “I was Nirvana’s fifth drummer, and if you listen to the recordings with the other drummers you will notice it sounds different. The fact that the three of us together made this specific sound had something to do with our chemistry. Kris and I have been called sidemen for years – that lawsuit is done with, y’know? We’ve been called hired guns and I just laughed. Anyone who has ever been in a band, hell anyone who has ever listened to a band, understands what happens when one of those elements is removed from the combination. The whole thing falls apart.”

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