Ace of Base was a Swedish pop group, originally consisting of Ulf “Buddha” Ekberg and three siblings: Jonas “Joker” Berggren, Malin “Linn” Berggren and Jenny Berggren. The group released four studio albums between 1992 and 2002, which sold more than 30 million copies worldwide, making it the third-most successful Swedish band of all time, after ABBA and Roxette.
Happy Nation (reissued as The Sign) is one of the best-selling debut albums of all time, and was certified nine times platinum in the United States. It was the first debut album to produce three No. 1 singles on the Billboard Mainstream Top 40 chart: “All That She Wants”, “The Sign” and “Don’t Turn Around”.
Following the formal departure of singer Linn in 2007, the band performed a series of concerts as a trio in Europe and Asia between 2007 and 2009. Jenny Berggren said in November 2009 that she would be taking an indefinite leave of absence from the band to focus on a solo career. In 2009, Jonas and Ulf recruited two new female vocalists,Clara Hagman and Julia Williamson, and released The Golden Ratio in September 2010.
Clara and Julia departed from the group in 2012, and in March 2015, the compilation album Hidden Gems featuring unreleased songs and B-sides from the group’s inception through 2005 was released, with promotion for the album being handled solely by Jonas and Ulf.
In 1987, following a number of years as part of a new romantic and punk covers band called G Konrad, Jonas Berggren formed a band with two friends, Johnny Lindén and Niklas Tränk, for a school project; his sisters Malin, called “Linn”, and Jenny, joined as singers. The new band went through several names: Kalinin Prospect after an avenue in Moscow; CAD (Computer-Aided Disco); and Tech-Noir, French for black technology, after a nightclub in the film The Terminator.They toured the clubs of Sweden with self-written material, techno inspired by the likes of The KLF and Snap!. Johnny left the group in 1989, and Niklas made his departure known by failing to appear at a performance, instead attending a Rolling Stones concert on the other side of town. Jonas asked his friend Ulf Ekberg to stand in for Niklas. The new quartet sought a new name to make a fresh start. Linn was reported to have said: “No one could pronounce the name of the group and nobody could remember it.” They settled on Ace of Base after Ulf was inspired by the music video for the Motörhead song “Ace of Spades”.
However, the band continued to struggle to gain recognition, partly due to the preference of heavy metal over techno in their hometown, according to singer Jenny. In 1991 they responded to a newspaper ad by producer John Ballard, who was looking for new talent. He was somewhat unsure about their potential, but did pass them on to Klas Lunding at Telegram Records, who helped them record an early demo for the song “Wheel of Fortune” in their newly renovated studio. A Jamaican reggae band resided in a studio next door to theirs, leading to a collaboration of ideas. This resulted in a fusion of reggae with pop which became the band’s trademark sound. “Wheel of Fortune” did not convince Telegram to sign the band, and other labels in Sweden still showed no sign of interest. The demo was eventually sold for a small price to the independent Danish label Mega Records in March 1992. “Wheel of Fortune” was re-recorded and released as a single in Denmark in May, but it failed to chart. A small-budget music video was shot and directed in a small studio by Viking Nielsson and in September, after two failures, the single finally charted./Gjithqka Nga Pak