Lasse Wellander: ABBA guitarist dies age 70 - what songs did he play and ABBA members tribute
The Swedish musician joined ABBA in 1975 and can be heard on songs like Take A Chance On Me and Voulez-Vous
and live on Freeview channel 276
Lasse Wellander, the longtime guitarist for ABBA, has passed away at age 70. The family of the Swedish musician took to his official Facebook page to share the news with fans, stating that he had passed on Good Friday “surrounded by his loved ones”.
Wellander joined ABBA in 1975, playing lead electric guitar on a number of the band’s iconic songs, including Knowing Me, Knowing You, Take a Chance on Me, The Name of the Game and Voulez-Vous.
Who was Lasse Wellander?
Born on 18 June 1952 in Viker, Sweden, Wellander began playing guitar when he was young, playing in local bands in his hometown of Nora.
Wellander came to know Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson of ABBA when he played in a band called The Nucleus of Nature, which was the backing band for Polar-recording artist Ted Gärdestad’s summer tour of 1973, 1974 and 1976.
His first musical session with ABBA was in October 1974, when the songs Intermezzo No. 1 and Crazy World were recorded - he soon became the main guitarist on ABBA’s albums, and toured with them in 1975, 1977, 1979 and 1980.
After ABBA split up, Wellander continued to work with Ulvaeus and Andersson. He appeared on the pair’s concept album for their musical called Chess, the two Gemini albums, the 1993 Josefin Nilsson album Shapes and on the soundtracks to the Mamma Mia! movie and its sequel, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.
Recently, Wellander played on the newest ABBA album Voyage, released in 2021.
As well as working with ABBA and other musicians, Wellander also released seven of his own solo albums - Sweet Mary Jane (1969), Electrocuted (1976), Wellander & Ronander (1978), Full Hand (1985), Tweed (1987), Poker-Face (1990) and Från Rickfors till Peterson-Berger (1992).
When did he die?
According to a statement shared by his family on his official Facebook page, Wellander died on Good Friday (7 April) following a short battle with cancer. The statement, released on Sunday (9 April) said that Wellander had passed “surrounded by his loved ones”.
It read: “It is with indescribable sadness that we have to announce our beloved Lasse has fallen asleep. Lasse recently fell ill in what turned out to be [cancer] and early on Good Friday he passed away, surrounded by his loved ones.
“You were an amazing musician and humble as few, but above all you were a wonderful husband, father, brother, uncle and grandfather. Kind, safe, caring and loving… and so much more, that cannot be described in words. A hub in our lives, and it’s unbelievable that we now have to live on without you.
“We love and miss you so much.”
What have ABBA said?
Abba paid tribute to their long-standing guitarist Wellander, following his death aged 70.
A statement from Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, Agnetha Faltskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad to the PA news agency said: “Lasse was a dear friend, a fun guy and a superb guitarist. 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.”