The Wannadies are one of Sweden's sweetest secrets, a band that was lucky enough to look beyond the pop sensations of ABBA
, Ace of Base
, and Roxette
to establish a career inside modern rock.
Hailing from Skelleftea, the Wannadies formed in the late '80s and brought Sweden's alternative rock scene to the forefront nearly a decade later. Pär Wiksten (vocals/guitar), Stefan Schönfeldt (guitar), Fredrik Schönfeldt (bass), Gunnar Karlsson (drums), and Christina Bergmark (organ) issued two independent albums in the early '90s, but it wasn't until 1995 that the Wannadies truly got what they were looking for. Their sound was more glossy and the U.K. quickly took notice. A deal with Indolent led to the release of a third album, entitled Be a Girl. Singles "You & Me Song" and "Might Be Stars" crashed the U.K.'s Top 20 and became NME favorites. Festival gigs across England also plugged the Wannadies campy rock appeal, allowing the fourth album, Bagsy Me, to also skyrocket in 1996. Drummer Gunnar Karlsson left the band shortly thereafter and Erik Dahlgren stepped in just in time for a joint tour with the Lighting Seeds
. The Wannadies seemed unstoppable. Producer Nellee Hooper
handpicked "You & Me Song" for the multi-successful Romeo & Juliet soundtrack in 1997, and the band gained college radio play in North America. Success was short-lived, however. The Wannadies constantly battled record labels and contractual responsibilities during the latter '90s. They took a two-year break from the industry and worked with Ric Ocasek
for 1999's Yeah. The U.S. finally saw the release of Yeah a year later. ~ MacKenzie Wilson, Rovi