Ace of Base

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From left to right: Joker, Jenny, Buddha, and Linn.

Ace of Base is a Swedish pop band that consists of Jonas Berggren (Joker), Ulf Ekberg (Buddha), Linn Berggren and Jenny Berggren; the three Berggrens are siblings. Their sound has been described as 'pop reggae' and is often compared to ABBA and Aqua.



In 1987, Jonas Berggren, as well as his two friends Johnny Lindn and Nicklas Trnk formed a group. Jonas' sisters, Jenny and Malin, joined as singers. Their band went throught several names; 'Kallinin Prospect' (a street in Moscow), 'CAD' (Computer Aided Disco), and 'Tech-Noir' (French for "black technology'; named for a nightclub in The Terminator). In late 1989, Johnny & Nicklas left the group, and in 1990, Ulf Ekberg joined and they changed their name to Ace of Base. Jenny explained once that the reason was "no one could pronounce the name of the group and nobody could remember it".

In 1990 they signed with Mega Records and released Wheel Of Fortune. After several attempts, the song was eventually a Scandinavian hit and the band signed a pan-European distribution deal with Metronome. All That She Wants, produced by the legendary Denniz PoP then became a hit single all over the world.

The months that followed saw the band propel themselves to worldwide fame. More hits followed such as The Sign, which went on to spend six weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was nominated for a Grammy.

The band's image was tarnished by revelations that Ulf used to be a member of a neo-Nazi group in Sweden. He has long relinquished and rejected these ties.

In 1995, their second album The Bridge sold a respectable five million copies but it seemed clear that with music tastes rapidly changing, the hype about the band died down, much to the relief of blonde singer Linn who decided to hand over power to her sister Jenny for their third album Flowers which was released in 1998.

Their U.S. comeback with Cruel Summer proved short-lived, but in Europe, Life Is A Flower was one of the most played records on radio that year. A greatest hits compilation was released at the end of the 90s before the band started work on album number 4.

Ace of Base has released dozens of singles worldwide. In the United States, they have had seven Billboard Top 40 hits and two platinum albums.

The band remain together today but have chosen to step out of the limelight. Da Capo was released in 2002 and whilst well received by fans, it didn't trouble many charts. They are about to re-enter the studio in order to record a sixth album which will be released in 2005.


Throughout their relatively short time recording and performing together, Ace of Base set a number of world records and other achievements. The following is a partial list.

Ace of Base released the world's highest selling debut album of all time, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, 1997 edition. Their 1993 release The Sign/Happy Nation sold an estimated 23 million copies.

Four of the group's singles have received gold or platinum certification by the RIAA in the United States. These are:

  • All That She Wants -
    • Gold RIAA certification (over 500,000 units sold) awarded 10/26/93.
    • Platinum RIAA certification (over 1,000,000 copies sold) awarded 11/12/1993.
  • The Sign -
    • Gold RIAA certification awarded 2/23/94.
    • Platinum RIAA certification, awarded 4/06/94.
  • Don't Turn Around -
    • Gold RIAA certification, awarded 6/29/94.
  • Cruel Summer -
    • Gold RIAA certification, awarded 9/1/98.

Two of the band's albums received multi-platinum certication in the United States:

  • The Sign (10 RIAA platinum certifications = diamond) awarded 5/21/02
  • The Bridge (2 RIAA platinum certifications) awarded 5/21/02

In addition, "The Sign Home Video Collection" was also certified gold. The band also received three Grammy nominations, two American Music Awards, and two Billboard Music Awards for "Best-Selling Album" and "Best-Selling Single".

In Europe, Ace of Base won awards for Best Selling Scandinavian Artist at the 1995, 1996, and 1997 World Music Awards in Monaco. They performed at each of these events.

In 1998 the band's single "Life is a Flower" was the most heavily played radio single of the year worldwide, despite the fact it was never released in the Americas.

In 2002 The Sign was certified diamond by the RIAA. Although Arista Records in the United States no longer releases new Ace of Base albums, both The Sign and The Bridge albums continue to be hot properties for the Arista/BMG label. If sales trends continue as in 2002, the two albums may receive additional RIAA platinum certifications in September 2008. Outside of the Americas, Ace of Base CDs continue to sell well.

The music

From early on, Ace of Base drew inspiration from the growing European club scene. Their earliest performances were in small clubs in Gothenburg and their first recordings were simple reproductions of their live performances. Their first recording sessions took place in a basement converted into a studio (hence the name).

Later recordings, including those of Happy Nation and The Bridge, took advantage of professional facilities in both Gothenburg and Stockholm.

The last track prepared during The Bridge era, "You and I", was recorded at Jonas' newly-completed studio, The Barn. Many later recordings, including those for Flowers and the six tracks recorded in 1999, also were prepared and mixed at The Barn.

The band's fifth released album, Da Capo, was recorded at studios in Stockholm.

The band members were strongly influenced by club music. Most of their early songs, including "All That She Wants" and "Happy Nation" were club-friendly tracks inspired by the growth of the club scene across Europe.

Later, more thoughtful studio recordings gradually replaced the "Euro-punk" sound. "Lucky Love" was the band's attempt at an acoustic sound. "Angel Eyes" and "Edge of Heaven" became sophisticated pop ballads. "Beautiful Life" was a blend of American Gospel music and the band's earlier club sound. Jonas admitted a strong influence of Whigfield in "You and I".

Ace of Base continually experimented with new sounds. For example, their Flowers album was the first to introduce a Motown flavor into Scandinavian music. Tracks with retro themes from this album include "Always Have, Always Will", "Cecilia" and "Donnie". A blend of salsa and reggae can be heard on European releases such as "Cruel Summer", "No Good Lover", and "Doctor Sun".

Individually, the four Aces drew further inspiration from different sources. This effect is most noticeable in The Bridge, with each band member contributing 1/4th of the album.

In Ace of Base's later music, the pace of the songs tends to be moderate, with more of the interest sometimes coming from the melody and the orchestration rather than the rhythm.

"C'est la Vie (Always 21)" (1999) is a good example of this style. Their earlier songs were often a bit faster paced. The band has abruptly changed styles of music on several occasions. There had already been a clear trend towards progressively greater complexity both in technique and style, and for the most part an abandonment of the group's early club sound.



Main Article: Discography of Ace of Base

Album tracks vary by country. Songs that do not appear in all countries are noted as 'limited release'.

Studio Albums

Ce Soir

Supposedly released sometime between 1987 and 1990 when they were still called 'Tech-Noir'. The evidence for this album's existence seems somewhat controversial: no clips of any of the songs on this album have ever surfaced (clips of 'Hear Me Calling' come from the 'Happy Nation' album, not 'Ce Soir', and clips of 'Young and Proud' don't match the supposed tracklist length for the 'Ce Soir' album).


Jonas Berggren
Nicklas Trank
Johnny Linden
Malin Berggren
Jenny Berggren
  • Beauty Queen
  • Care for Me (Instrumental)
  • Don't Leave Me Now (Rap Mix)
  • Eskimo Girl (Unconscious Mix)
  • Femme Fatale (Humpty Remix)
  • Hear Me Calling
  • Hey, Bart!
  • Roxy Carmichael's Love
  • Subordinate Lifestyle
  • Tech Noir 'Ce Soir' (Mix)
  • Texturous Thoughts
  • Tlaltelolco Muerto
  • The Strike
  • Young and Proud

Happy Nation/The Sign

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Released in Europe as Happy Nation in 1992; released (with differing tracklisting) in the Americas as The Sign September 25, 1993; re-released in the Old World (with new tracklisting) at the end of 1993 as Happy Nation U.S. Version. 24 million copies sold (as of 5/21/02).

  • All That She Wants
  • All That She Wants (Banghra Version)
  • Dancer In A Daydream
  • Dimension of Depth [limited release]
  • Don't Turn Around
  • Fashion Party [limited release]
  • Happy Nation
  • Happy Nation (Remix) [limited release]
  • Hear Me Calling [limited release]
  • Just Chaos (Munchhausen) [limited release]
  • Living In Danger
  • My Mind (Mindless Mix)
  • The Sign
  • Voulez-Vous Danser
  • Waiting For Magic [limited release]
  • Waiting For Magic (Total Remix 7")
  • Wheel Of Fortune
  • Young And Proud

The Bridge

The band's only album released worldwide with only minor modifications; album released September 25, 1995, 6 million copies sold (as of 5/21/02).

  • Angel Eyes
  • Beautiful Life
  • Blooming 18
  • Edge Of Heaven
  • Experience Pearls
  • Just 'N' Image
  • Lucky Love [limited release]
  • Lucky Love (Acoustic Version)
  • My Dj Vu
  • Never Gonna Say I'm Sorry
  • Perfect World
  • Que Sera
  • Ravine
  • Strange Ways
  • Wave Wet Sand
  • Whispers In Blindness
  • You And I [limited release]

Flowers/Cruel Summer

Released in Europe, Asia, and Africa as Flowers, Spring, 1998; In the Americas the album was released as Cruel Summer with major modifications to the tracklisting in summer of 1998. Australia, Britain, and Japan received hybrid versions of the two albums. 3 million copies were sold.

  • Adventures In Paradise
  • Always Have, Always Will
  • Captain Nemo [limited release]
  • Cecilia
  • Cruel Summer
  • Cruel Summer (Big Bonus Mix) [limited release]
  • Cruel Summer (Blazin' Rhythm Remix) [limited release]
  • Don't Go Away
  • Donnie
  • Dr. Sun [limited release]
  • Everytime it Rains [limited release]
  • He Decides
  • I Pray [limited release]
  • Into the Night of Blue [limited release]
  • Life Is A Flower [limited release]
  • Tokyo Girl
  • Travel To Romantis
  • Whenever You're Near Me [limited release; rewrite of 'Life Is A Flower']

Singles of the 90's/Greatest Hits

Released Autumn, 1999 in Europe; a compilation, creatively called Greatest Hits, was released in the States instead. The U.S. compilation, released in Spring of 2000, contained no new songs and introduced track errors.

  • All That She Wants
  • Always Have, Always Will
  • Beautiful Life
  • Beautiful Life (Junior Vasquez Mix) [limited release]
  • C'est La Vie (Always 21)
  • Cruel Summer
  • Don't Turn Around
  • Everytime It Rains
  • Hallo Hallo [limited release]
  • Happy Nation [limited release]
  • Life Is A Flower
  • Living In Danger [limited release]
  • Love In December [limited release]
  • Lucky Love [limited release]
  • Lucky Love (Acoustic Version) [limited release]
  • Lucky Love (Frankie Knuckles Mix) [limited release]
  • Never Gonna Say I'm Sorry [limited release]
  • The Sign
  • Wheel Of Fortune [limited release]

Da Capo

Released September 30, 2002 in Europe and Japan.

  • Beautiful Morning
  • Beautiful Morning (Groove Radio Edit) [limited release]
  • Change With The Light
  • Da Capo
  • Don't Stop [limited release]
  • Hey Darling
  • Ordinary Day
  • Remember The Words
  • Show Me Love
  • Summer Days [limited release]
  • The Juvenile
  • Unspeakable
  • What's The Name Of The Game
  • Wonderful Life
  • World Down Under


Collection [Platinum & Gold Collection]

Remastered recordings released October 7, 2002

  • All That She Wants
  • Angel Eyes [limited release]
  • Beautiful Life
  • Cecilia [limited release]
  • Cruel Summer
  • Dancer in a Daydream [limited release]
  • Don't Turn Around [limited release]
  • Donnie [limited release]
  • Edge of Heaven [limited release]
  • Everytime It Rains
  • Happy Nation
  • Living In Danger [limited release]
  • Lucky Love
  • My Deja Vu [limited release]
  • Never Gonna Say I'm Sorry
  • The Sign [limited release]
  • Tokyo Girl [limited release]
  • Travel to Romantis [limited release]
  • Voulez-Vous Danser [limited release]
  • Waiting for Magic [limited release]
  • Wheel Of Fortune [limited release]
  • Whenever You're Near Me [limited release]
  • Young and Proud [limited release]

See also

External links

da:Ace of Base de:Ace of Base sv:Ace of Base zh:爱司基地


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