Session musicians Per Lindvall and Mike Watson get the Studioräven award

Published February 05, 2019

Last night I had the privilege of attending the Studioräven awards here in Stockholm. As I explained in last year's blog post about the awards, in Swedish, a "studioräv" is "a session musician who's been around for many years and has done innumerable sessions". The prize is awarded every year by the Swedish Musicians' Union.

This year's recipients were drummer Per Lindvall (to the left in the picture) and bassist Mike Watson, both of whom contributed to ABBA's recordings. Per Lindvall's first ABBA session was Super Trouper (the song) and he then played on three tracks on The Visitors and was the only drummer used in ABBA's final year of 1982. Mike Watson played on the very first ABBA song, People Need In Love, and although Rutger Gunnarsson was ABBA's main bass player, Mike played on Mamma Mia, The Winner Takes It All and many others.

As part of the awards ceremony, the recipients played a number of songs together - mainly soul numbers such as Sweet Soul Music and rhythm & blues classics like Kansas City - and readers of this blog may be interested to know that among the participating musicians were quite a few names with strong ABBA connections. In addition to Per and Mike, we had ABBA tour sound designer Claes af Geijerstam on guitar (he was also the emcee presenting the awards); Åke Sundqvist on drums (toured with ABBA in 1979-80 and played a number of sessions as percussionist from 1980 onwards); Janne Schaffer on guitar (around 50 ABBA sessions 1972-1982 - nuff said!); and Ulf Andersson on saxophone (I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do plus the 1977 tour). On keyboards was Peter Ljung, who was the keyboardist on Agnetha's 1983 album Wrap Your Arms Around Me; and the trumpet player was Leif Lindvall (brother of Per), who is a member of Benny Anderssons Orkester.

What a great experience to see all these top-notch musicians together: no further explanations were needed why they have been so much in demand over the years. Solid playing but with feeling and never dull - I guess that rare combination is what makes up a good session musician.

All the facts about these musicians and their contributions to the ABBA sessions are of course available in my book ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions (