Ace of Base is something as uncomplicated as a pop band, that doesn’t try to be or appear to be anything else than that. They want to make their listeners feel good when hearing their music. They don’t have any heavy messages, even if the songs obviously have become better crafted and substantial over the years. Simplicity isn’t easy. The fact that Ace of Base has sold over 30 million albums and 15 million singles proves that they know what they’re doing.
Ace of Base is one of the world’s biggest bands, one of those rare bands whose name is a well-known brand wherever in the world you go. Their fans, so called ”Acers”, also show a passionate interest in the band. Every year, some of them fly in to Gothenburg from all over the world to get together, share views and opinions on the band, check out the studios where the band has recorded and walk the streets where Ace of Base grew up.
A brief History
The Ace of Base story started in the early 90’s when the three Berggren siblings (Jonas, Malin and Jenny) formed the techno band Tech Noir. Next to their rehearsal room, Ulf Ekberg played in another band. Soon, Jonas and Ulf hit it off, started to write and produce together and Ace of Base as we know them were formed. After having recorded a demo of original songs, including ”All That She Wants”, the band went to Stockholm where they visited all major record companies. No one showed any interest. (Jonas later remembered somebody explaining that the songs were ”too obvious, too simple”). Next step was Copenhagen, where Mega Records immediately saw the band’s potential and loved their positive, uncomplicated and slightly reggae-tinged pop music.
During the production of their first album the band got to know Denniz Pop, an ex-DJ who had enjoyed international chart success as a writer and producer for Dr Alban. Denniz had listened to the demo of ”All That She Wants” in his car stereo every day going to work at Cheiron studios. Denniz got involved in Ace of Base’s album that was the start for the international recognition of Cheiron and followed by successes like Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, N’sync and Five.
Ace of Base’s very first single was ”Wheel Of Fortune”, followed by the major worldwide hit ”All That She Wants”. ”The Sign” and ”Don’t Turn Around” also became international hits. The band first made it in Denmark, then the rest of Scandinavia, Germany, the rest of Europe and Asia before conquering The US and Canada.
In all, the debut album ”Happy Nation” (released as The Sign in the US) sold 25 million copies and remains in the Guinness book of records as the best-selling debut album ever. Achieving numerous awards such as 6 World Music Awards, 3 Billboard Awards, 3 America Music Awards, several different European Grammy Awards and two American Grammy nominations! To mention a few!
On April 2 1994 both album and single ”The Sign” topped the Billboard Top 100 Charts
simultaneously. ”The Sign” remains at number 3 at the Billboard’s Greatest Hits chart (Top 100 Billboard 100th Anniversary August 4th 1958 – June 25 1994), only beaten by Whitney Houston’s ”I Will Always Love You” and Boy’z’2Men’s ”End Of The Road”. When Billboard summed up the most sold albums of the 20th century, ”Happy Nation”/”The Sign” ended up top ten, being the most popular non-American album of all time… ”One thing that was unique is that it was the same versions that were played at clubs/discotheques and by radio. No remixes or tailor-made versions”, Ulf Ekberg remembers.
When beginning to write and record for the second album ”The Bridge”, the pressure was on and everybody wanted to have their say. Everyone realized that the phenomenal success of the debut would be impossible to repeat. With the help of hit singles like ”Lucky Love”, ”Beautiful Life” and ”Never Gonna Say I’m Sorry” and promotional trips around the world the album ”The Bridge” sold 5 million copies, a number most musicians only dream of. Ace of Base had proved that they had come to stay. ”We reached a level that we’re comfortable with. We’re a pop band and not an industry”, Jenny states. ”After the extreme initial success we now have the time to enjoy what’s happened”.
Back in Sweden the band returned to the studio to write for the band’s third album ”Flowers” (released in the US and Japan as “Cruel Summer”). The first single was ”Life Is A Flower”, which was an immediate success. It got an award for the most played song on European radio in 1998. The lyric was changed in America, where the song was called ”Whenever You’re Near Me”. The Bananarama cover ”Cruel Summer” became the title track of the American album, the single reaching the American top ten. Other hits included ”Travel To Romantis” and ”Always Have, Always Will”. Notable is the fact that three of the singles from ”Flowers” reached top ten in England, where the band have performed on the famous show Top Of the Pops an astonishing 18 times!
In the autumn of 1999 the greatest hits album ”Singles Of The 90’s was released, including all the band’s worldwide hits and some new songs. ”Everytime It Rains” had only been included on the ”Cruel Summer” album and was previously unreleased in Europe.
In the early autumn of 2002, the band returned with the album, “Da Capo” –their first with all-new material since ”Flowers/Cruel Summer” (1998). The new album combined the group’s classic pop sound with new, more thoughtful dimensions.
BMI Awarded the group in 2007 for over 3 million performances of ‘The Sign’ on US TV and radio.
2010 saw the return of Ace of Base with all new material ‘The Golden Ratio’, now with new vocalists which received positive feedback from critics and fans alike.
In 2014, a number of new remixes for “All That She Wants” were made, and released as the 10 track album “All That She Wants (Remixed)”.
In 2015 the first four albums will be remastered and re-released with new bonus tracks, at the same time an album of unreleased material ‘Hidden Gems’ will be out in March.