Göran Lagerberg

Göran Lagerberg

Born September 20, 1947 in Gothenburg, is a Swedish pop musician, mainly electric bassist and songwriter.

He was one of the members of  Tages , where he wrote most of the group’s own songs. After Tages split, he and several of the other Tages members in the Blond group continued. Later he became a frequently hired studio musician who played with, among others, Tomas Ledin and Pugh Rogefeldt. He has also occasionally played with Kebnekajse, Egba, Bolon Bata, Fläsket brinner, Heta linjen and Grymlings; he also wrote the film music for  S / Y Glädjen .

Lagerberg was only invited to Tages, then named Albert’s Skiffelgrupp, because according to Larsson ”he was the only guy insane enough to play the washboard.” The group then consisted of Larsson, Tommy Blom and Anders Töpel. He was invited during the summer of 1963 the year he would turn 16. His middle name, Bertil, was initially considered to becomes the band name, but this idea was ultimately rejected once Larsson’s middle name Tage was chosen instead. Lagerberg would continue playing washboard with the group until his parents bought him a bass guitar as a Christmas present in December of that year. The other members followed suite, purchasing electric guitars. After recruiting drummer Freddie Skantze during that month, the group set out to become a beat group.[

Unlike many other Swedish groups, who only had one lead singer, the members of Tages were each allowed to lead the vocals at least once per one show, often harmonizing. Lagerberg was often chosen as the lead singer on multiple songs as his voice was considered quite good. Much of Tages stage repertoire came from Lagerberg, who was passionate about both rhythm and blues and soul music, and as a result, he would scover records stores and find material by Muddy Waters, Wilson Pickett, John Lee Hooker and Otis Redding. During the Västkustens Beatles (West Coast Beatles) contest, Lagerberg sang most of the songs as Blom wasn’t present. They won the contest and as a result became idols in Sweden overnight.

Lagerberg had also turned to songwriting at around this point as well. His first published song with Tages was ”Tell Me You’re Mine”, co-written with Töpel. It was released as the B-side of their debut single ”Sleep Little Girl” in October 1964 and was also the first time Lagerberg’s voice was committed to tape. The group’s two following singles ”I Should Be Glad” and ”Don’t Turn Your Back” were also penned by Lagerberg, with Larsson and Töpel as co-writers respectively. Lagerberg also harmonized on both songs together with the respective co-writers, which at the time was his primary role in the group. His first solo vocal was a rendition of ”Dimples” released on their debut album Tages in November 1965.

Lagerberg (right) performing with Tages in 1966

On 19 January 1966, Tages entered Europafilm Studios to record two Lagerberg compositions; ”The Man You’ll Be Looking For” and ”So Many Girls”. The first of which, a high tempo rock song, would eventually find its way to a flexi disc. This was in Lennart Wrigholm’s eyes the first time a good composition could be used on a flexi disc, thanks to Lagerberg’s talent. ”So Many Girls” on the other hand a slower, ballad-like song which greatly contrasted from their previous material. It was released as a single in February and nonetheless received a respectable number five on Kvällstoppen and four on Tio i Topp. This was the first time Blom’s de facto leadership of the group was questioned and the first time the group actually tried branching away from contemporary rock and roll, thanks to Lagerberg.

Lagerberg also greatly contributed to the group’s studio albums at the time. In august their second album Tages 2 was released. It saw Lagerberg’s role in the band further expand, as he sang lead or co-lead vocals on eight of the twelve tracks present. He also greatly contributed to the material found on the album. In November, Tages third studio album Extra Extra was released. This saw Lagerberg further expand his creative influence over the band, reflected with baroque pop on tracks such as ”Gone Too Far”, one of two of his compositions found on the album. His voice can further be heard on six different tracks on the album.

In 1967, following signing to Parlophone records, the group was allotted more studio time and as a results their music became more lax. Together with Blom, Lagerberg composed ”Every Raindrop Means Alot”, which he also sang the chorus of.[33] Following ”Every Raindrop Means Alot”, no more singles would be sung by Blom, instead that role was substituted by Lagerberg. He led the group into psychedelia for their next album Contrast in April 1967. Following that release, Lagerberg became obsessed with Swedish folk music and as such, adapted elements into their fifth album, simply titled Studio. According to Wrigholm, Studio is an early ”Swedish masterpiece” and the closest thing Sweden got to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. However, not everybody was keen on these ideas. Blom, who was disillusioned by his reducing popularity and place in the group owing to Lagerberg left in August 1968, reducing them to a quartet.

Blond

The quartet (consisting of Lagerberg, Larsson, Björn Töpel and drummer Lasse Svensson) nonetheless carried on without Tommy Blom, performing as Tages for the remainder of 1968. With Blom out of the band, they decided to attempt reaching commercial success abroad, with Lagerberg in the lead. For this, the group developed a much more vocal stage-set, similar to that of the Move. This diminished Lagerberg’s role as a singer substantially, as all three final Tages singles had been sung by him solo. Nonetheless, the group carried on as Tages, allowing their contract with Parlophone to expire, upon which they signed with manager Richard Reese-Edwards, who had previously worked with the Hep Stars. He managed to get them a contract with Fontana Records.

Lagerberg in 1969

The $50,000 advance (equivalent to $372,707 in 2021) by Fontana only had three requirements; one album, two singles and a name change which would work internationally. In May 1969, the name Blond was suggested, due to the association of the hair colour with the country of Sweden. The band had already previously in March of that year went to London to record their sixth album.Together with Anders Henriksson, who had recorded with Tages since 1965, the group recorded twelve songs during their visit to London. Nine out of these tracks were co-written by Lagerberg, who also assumed lead vocal duty on every track recorded during these sessions. The album was issued during the autumn of 1969 as The Lilac Years, and could be considered to be Lagerberg’s magnum opus.

Shortly before the release of the album however, both Larsson and Töpel left the group, due to the conscription the country had. The group nonetheless carried on without the members, instead substituting them with rhythm guitarist Anders Nordh and lead guitarist Björn Lindér. These two were featured on the album cover once The Lilac Years was issued in the US in November 1969, under the name Blond. That same month however, Nordh left and was replaced by Anders Töpel’s brother Björn along with keyboardist Mats Landahl. The following month the group debuted on scene as a quintet but these performances led to nowhere, and the group toured West Germany the following year. After this went nowhere however, the group members called it quits, and in August 1970, they played their final gig together.

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