The Seduction Of Inga - Björn & Benny's sexploitation adventures, part 2

Published June 15, 2014

In a recent blog, I examined the story behind the film Language Of Love, for which Björn and Benny wrote the theme song. Around the same time - in fact, parallel with the Language Of Love commission - Björn and Benny also wrote music for another sexploitation film produced in Sweden. Both films had the same Swedish distributor, which may have had something to do with this sudden "deluge" of film soundtrack work.

In the autumn of 1969 American film producer Vernon Becker was putting together a follow-up to the internationally successful 1968 sexploitation flick Inga, to be filmed in Sweden. “Since the leading character of the film was a rock musician ["Rolf", played by singer Tommy Blom*, formerly of the group Tages, The Hep Stars’ main competitors during the Sixties], and there were scenes in a discotheque, I needed rock music for the soundtrack,” recalled Becker. “My lawyer introduced me to Stig Anderson[.] I only had a few thousand dollars, but I hoped to buy some older rock recordings from him. Stig told me he had a better idea.” That idea, of course, entailed involving his two protégés, Björn and Benny, in the project. Recalled Björn, ”Stig approached us with the offer of providing some of the music for this film. We thought ‘Wow, imagine writing music for a movie,’ and so we agreed to do it.”

Unfortunately, however, if they had hoped that this assignment would lead to a glorious future as film music composers, or to any kind of international fame, they were sadly mistaken – at least initially. Directed by obscure American director Joseph W. Sarno, the finished film, The Seduction Of Inga, featured an absurd plot that mainly served as an excuse to titillate the audience with allusions to various sexual “perversions” (lesbianism, incest etc.) and semi-nude scenes.

Today, although like Language Of Love the film has attracted some cult interest for those interested in trashy exploitation cinema of the era, its main curiosity value perhaps lies in the fact that Andersson/Ulvaeus contributed a few tunes to the film. But they did not write all of the music: there were also tunes by Peter Himmelstrand - a journalist (co-writer of Harry Edgington's 1977 biography "ABBA") as well as a prolific song writer and lyricist - and Sven-Olof Walldoff (ABBA’s string arranger up until 1976 and also their Napoleon-dressed conductor when they won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974).

Here is a “who-wrote-what” run-down of the tunes and musical cues in the film. The timings all refer to the American version of the film, released on DVD by Seduction Cinema in 2004 (see ordering link to the right).

Björn and Benny’s contributions are limited to three tunes. ‘Inga Theme’ was of course the title song of the movie, and can be heard at several points throughout the film: at the start, and also in different variations both in terms of performance and mixing, for instance at 00:18:35, when the characters of Inga and Stig are driving out to Stig’s place and at 00:20:24, when Inga and Stig are discussing the latter’s book.

‘She’s My Kind Of Girl’ is heard on three occasions in the film: being “composed” by Rolf (Tommy Blom) at 00:12:03; performed in a scene at a club at 00:42:36; and finally as the end title music of the film at 01:19:40 (these last two instances both feature Björn and Benny’s recording with Tommy Blom’s vocals on top).

The third Andersson/Ulvaeus tune heard in the film is ‘Where Are We All Headin’’, an early instrumental version of a song that was re-recorded as ‘Nånting är på väg’ (“Something’s On The Way”) for Björn and Benny’s Lycka (“Happiness”) album in 1970: at 00:09:55 in the film when Inga is seen caressing herself; at 00:21:25 in a different version during a scene at the club; and finally in this different version again at 00:52:50 during the seduction scene between Rolf and his ex-girlfriend. Lyrics exist for ‘Where Are We All Headin’’, written by Jack Fishman (who also wrote the lyrics for 'Language Of Love'), although these are not heard in the film.

Peter Himmelstrand contributed two tunes. ‘Crash’ can be heard at 00:31:55 during a club scene and again at 00:40:35, during another club scene. A tune simply entitled ‘Vals’ (“Waltz”) on a tape box containing some of the titles from the Inga II sessions is probably the working title for ‘Barnen sover’ (“The Children Are Asleep”, later recorded in a vocal version by Frida on her first solo album), since it’s the only waltz in the movie. This tune is heard at 00:23:25, when Stig and Inga start kissing, and again at 00:31:12, when Stig and Inga make love. At some point this song also received words by English-language-lyricist-du-jour Jack Fishman, entitled 'Love Is Always Young', although these are not heard in the film.

Sven-Olof Walldoff is the composer of a tune entitled ‘It’s You Or Nothing’, the barely audible lounge music that features at 00:03:10 in the film; this song again has lyrics by Jack Fishman, although not heard in the film. Walldoff also composed ‘Greta’s Theme’, a largely improvised instrumental, bearing a strong resemblance to Spencer Davis Group’s 1967 hit ‘I’m A Man’ (indeed, although the tune is copyrighted as ‘Greta’s Theme’, on the tape box in the Polar Music archives the title is given as ‘I’m A Man’); this tune is heard during the club scene at 00:36:30 and again at 01:03:40 during the seduction scene between Stig and Greta.

Walldoff also received a composer credit for his arrangement of the Finnish folk song ‘Vem kan segla förutan vind’ (“Who Can Sail Without The Wind”), which recurs at several points throughout the film: for example at 33:50 as the character Stig leaves Inga to fly abroad; at 00:45:35 when Rolf and Inga are making out; and at 00:50:40 when Inga writes a letter to Rolf. (ABBA-related note: 'Vem kan segla förutan vind' is the song Agnetha sings a cappella during the interview part on BBC TV's Wogan show in 1988; her version appears at circa 06:20 in this clip.)

The Polar Music tape box featuring music from the film also lists a tune entitled ‘It’s Love’, registered as written by Sven-Olof Walldoff. This may possibly be the title of the otherwise unidentified classical-style chamber music heard in the sex club scene at 00:15:05, unless this is in fact a bona fide classical music piece or perhaps simply some library music.

Although filming presumably wrapped before the end of 1969, it would take more than a year until The Seduction Of Inga opened. The release in March 1970 of Björn & Benny’s ‘She’s My Kind Of Girl’ / ‘Inga Theme’ single (where the film is still credited under its working title, Inga II) indicates that Polar expected an imminent release of the movie. However, it was only on March 1, 1971, that the film opened in the Swedish town of Västerås under the title Någon att älska (“Someone To Love”) – it didn’t receive its Stockholm premiere until October 30, 1971. The English-language version, The Seduction Of Inga, opened in the United States in February 1972.

‘She’s My Kind Of Girl’ has sometimes been noted as the first recording to feature all four future ABBA members. But since it's impossible to hear any female voices on the track it is probably safe to conclude that the female half of ABBA did not contribute to this recording (the debut recording by Agnetha, Björn, Benny and Frida was of course the Björn & Benny hit single 'Hej gamle man!', recorded later in 1970).

The B-side of the 'She's My Kind Of Girl' single was ‘Inga Theme’. Although several decades later Benny would claim that, ”even if you [threaten to] murder me I can’t remember how it went,” consciously or subconsciously the organ intro on his and Björn’s recording of the song must have stuck in his mind at least for the following 12 years or so, since it was recycled for the first seven notes of the verse melody in ABBA’s 1982 recording ‘I Am The City’.

Upon release in 1970, ‘She’s My Kind Of Girl’ made no impact whatsoever in Sweden. It wasn't until two years later, when - through a curious series of events involving a Japanese publisher hearing and liking the song at the offices of a French colleague - the single was released in Japan that it finally achieved commercial success, reaching number seven on the sales chart and number one on the radio chart. Interestingly, according to, The Seduction Of Inga actually opened in Japan in November 1971 - might this have played a part in piquing the interest of the Japanese publisher, one wonders.

According to a Swedish press report in April 1970, Polar Music were toying with the idea of releasing a soundtrack album in the US and the UK. In his review of the 2006 CD reissue of Björn & Benny's Lycka album in The Official International ABBA Fan Club magazine, Peter Palmquist wrote that "the instrumental version of ['Language Of Love'] featured on an American promo LP for the movie Inga II", indicating that an album was in fact manufactured, although this writer has never seen any sign of it. I've asked Peter if he has further evidence of the existence of this album, but so far he's been unable to help me.

In the same review Peter writes that "the unreleased English versions of Nånting är på väg (Where Are We All Headin') and Livet går sin gång (Language Of Love) [...] have been circulating in fan circles." 'Language Of Love' is of course available from the film soundtrack, but I've yet to hear a vocal version of 'Where Are We All Headin''. If you are reading this and are one of those fans who have been able to circulate 'Where Are We All Headin'', or if you have information on the American Inga II promo LP, I'd love to hear from you (click "Contact" in the bottom left hand corner).

*Tommy Blom passed away on May 25, 2014.

Many thanks for their help with this story to Regina Grafunder of ABBA Intermezzo Fan Club, who provided me with copies of the sheet music for the music in The Seduction Of Inga, and Chris Patrick (author of Let The Music Speak), who helped me identify which song was which on the soundtrack.