Cadillac Madness - den otroliga berättelsen om The Hep Stars - the details

Published April 01, 2010


The Hep Stars were, without a doubt, Sweden's biggest pop band in the 1960s. Although their musical merits have been debated, the undisputed fact remains that no one sold as many records as they did, no other band created such fan hysteria, nor was there a bigger live concert draw.

But despite The Hep Stars' phenomenal impact - not to mention that this was where ABBA's Benny Andersson achieved his first bout of fame - there has never been a book written about them. Until now. In May 2004, on the occasion of the group's 40th Anniversary, the biography Cadillac Madness - den otroliga berättelsen om The Hep Stars ("Cadillac Madness - the incredible story of The Hep Stars") was published. The title, of course, refers to the group's breakthrough hit, Cadillac (released in 1965).

In 1997, long-time Hep Stars fan Dan-Eric Landén revived an idea he'd had since the 1980s: to do a book about The Hep Stars. The following year he began doing in-depth research into the group's story. He read every article he could find. He contacted the individual members of the band and interviewed them extensively. He talked to innumerable collaborators: their manager, their sound engineer, their road manager, and so on. Eventually, a contract with Premium Publishing was signed to publish the book.


By 2001, Dan-Eric had the makings of quite an interesting book about a truly exciting time in Swedish pop music. But he is not a writer by trade, and has a full-time job to take care of. Realising that he would not be able to finish the book himself, he asked me if I was interested in writing it. I said yes, and spent the best part of 2002 doing additional research and writing the manuscript (the book was originally scheduled for publication in 2003, but Premium had other titles to prepare first, so the book was postponed a year).

If you have read my ABBA biography, Bright Lights Dark Shadows, you already know that the Hep Stars story makes for fascinating reading. This new biography tells that story in even greater detail and relates all the amazing things that happened to the band during their five years at the top: their string of chart-topping hits, the fan worship of lead singer Svenne Hedlund, the Beatles-like hysteria that surrounded their tours, the ups and downs of their attempts at reaching outside Scandinavia with their music, their disastrous business failures, the power struggles and the inevitable breakdown in the interpersonal relationships within the band.

Not least important, The Hep Stars saw Benny Andersson came to musical prominence, writing his very first songs for the band. The story of his time with The Hep Stars constitutes the first vital chapter in a career that is still going on. Benny, who seldom discusses his Hep Stars days with the media, granted Dan-Eric Landén an exclusive interview especially for this book.


The Hep Stars biography is beautifully designed by Fredrik Söder (who also designed From ABBA To Mamma Mia!). The book is fully illustrated with hundreds of photographs from the archives of Premium Publishing and also from outside suppliers. Many of the photographs are rare and/or previously unpublished. The book also contains a host of fascinating memorabilia, as well as an illustrated international discography put together by Hep Stars collector Bo Gärds in collaboration with Premium Publishing's Roger Holegård. NOTE: For a detailed, track-by-track Hep Stars discography, containing plenty of background information on the albums, singles and individual tracks, please see the book Benny's Road To ABBA.

Cadillac Madness comes with a bonus CD of four previously unreleased Hep Stars tracks, all of which feature Benny Andersson. There are two versions of a song called Someday Someone: one is a full band version, and the other features a spinet arrangement along the lines of Sunny Girl. There is also a version of Rag Doll, The 4 Seasons' 1964 hit. The CD ends with a psychedelic jam session, entitled Massa's Mess. (For more info on the bonus CD, click the link under "More info".)

Note: The book is available in Swedish only. However, on June 12, 2004, an English-language adaptation, entitled Benny's Road To ABBA, was launched at ABBAFest in Brighton, England.


Cadillac Madness - den otroliga berättelsen om The Hep Stars. Published by Premium Publishing, May 13, 2004. Swedish language. 416 pp. 24 x 17 cm. Hardback. ISBN: 91-89136-04-7.