You might not think that many Swedish songwriters would be inspired by the madness of someone like Spike Jones -- but Povel Ramel was, and grew into one of his country's most loved composers, with over 1,900 songs of wit, wordplay, and charm to his credit.
Born into an aristocratic family in 1922, Ramel had a fairly privileged upbringing, although not always an easy one. When young he stepped on a nail, and the infected wound threatened his life, although he survived intact (but it did keep him out of the fighting side of the army). Not academic, he was orphaned at 15 and went to live with an aunt, who enrolled him in art school. But it was music that he truly loved, and be began playing the piano and writing songs, even performing one for a talent contest. His first break came when he was 22, and his song "Johanssons Boogie-Woogie-Vals" became a hit, even though it shouldn't have -- in a surreal twist, a problem meant the disc was supposed to have a label banning it from airplay. But someone at the record company sent a copy without the label to the state broadcasting company, which began playing it, and after the war Ramel was hired by the radio station, where his humor made him a national star. In 1952 he began staging shows, and his revues remained major events until shortly before his death in 2007. Additionally, he was the author of many books, and by 1983 was awarding his own entertainment prize, providing enough money to leave each recipient financially independent "at least for the rest of the day." ~ Chris Nickson