Kenneth Gärdestad

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Kenneth Gärdestad
Kenneth Gärdestad head to waist 2016 (cropped).jpg
Kenneth Gärdestad presenting the Ted Gärdestadstipendiet, May 2016
John Charles Kenneth Gärdestad

(1948-05-09)9 May 1948
Died3 March 2018(2018-03-03) (aged 69)
OccupationSongwriter, lyricist, architect
Musical career
GenresSoft rock, vispop
Years active1970s–2018
Associated actsTed Gärdestad

John Charles Kenneth Gärdestad (9 May 1948 – 3 March 2018)[1] was a Swedish songwriter, best known for writing lyrics for the songs of his brother, Ted Gärdestad. He won Melodifestivalen 1979 as a songwriter for the song "Satellit" performed by his brother Ted. Gärdestad was also an architect, affiliated to the private Kunskapsskolan: he designed the interior of several of its high schools.

Music career[edit]

Gärdestad as a songwriter co-wrote lyrics for many of his younger brother Ted Gärdestad's (1956–1997) songs, including his Melodifestivalen song entries "Oh, vilken härlig da'" in Melodifestivalen 1973 and "Rockin' 'n' Reelin'" Melodifestivalen 1975.[2] As such Gärdestad also won Melodifestivalen 1979 with Ted's song "Satellit".[2] The song went on to represent Sweden in Eurovision 1979 finishing 17th during the final held in Jerusalem.[3]

Lyricist Gärdestad also competed in 2008 in the SVT music show Doobidoo along with Lotta Engberg.[4] He took part again in Melodifestivalen 2010 with lyrics for "Hur kan jag tro på kärlek?" performed by Erik Linder. The song placed fifth in the semi-final and was eliminated.[5] In 2016, he was awarded the Musikförläggarnas pris, an honorary award for "many years of work for Swedish music and for creating timeless stories which he shares".[6] In 2018, he won a Grammis award, again in honour of his many years in the music industry and for his work in it, and many wonderful lyrics."[7]

Tributes to brother[edit]

Gärdestad, with Keijo Liimatainen, wrote the book Jag vill ha en egen måne (2005), a biography about his brother Ted and the circumstances surrounding his suicide in 1997.[8] In 2018, a biographical film about his brother, Ted – För kärlekens skull was released. Gärdestad took part in creating realistic scenes for the film and gave it his support.[9] Peter Viitanen portrayed Kenneth Gärdestad in the film.[10]

Gärdestad was special guest on the show Så mycket bättre in 2016 (last episode season 7), which was broadcast on Swedish television station TV4.[11] The last episode of the 2016 season featured the season's chosen singers performing several of his brother's well-known hits,[12] including "Helt nära dig" (interpreted by Little Jinder), "Sommarlängtan" (by Magnus Carlson), "Himlen är oskyldigt blå" (by Jill Johnson), "505 to Casablanca" (by Freddie Wadling), "Sol, vind och vatten" (by Lisa Ekdahl), "I den stora sorgens famn" (by Tommy Nilsson) and "För kärlekens skull" (by Danny Saucedo).[13]

Architecture work[edit]

Gärdestad was head architect at Kunskapsskolan and designed many of the school's rooms.[14] Kunskapsskolan (literally The Knowledge School) is a Swedish network of independent schools that provides education for students from grades 4 to 9 (ages 10 to 16).[14] It also provides a gymnasium schools for grades 10 to 12 (ages 16 to 19) in different areas of Sweden.[14] Designed by Gärdestad, the architecture is very open, with glass and colourfully painted walls.[15] There are more than 80 Kunskapsskolan schools in operation around the world, including 36 in Sweden, and other locations in the UK, US, the Netherlands, India, and Saudi Arabia.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Gärdestad's brother Ted was a noted Swedish singer who represented Sweden in Eurovision with one of Kenneth's songs.[2] Their other brother Kjell (1944–2000) was also a songwriter who co-wrote the song "Viking" with Ted.[17] Gärdestad revealed in 2014 that he was suffering from skin cancer and latent lymphoma.[18][19]

Kenneth Gärdestad died of cancer on 3 March 2018, aged 69.[20][21]


Gärdestad worked actively to educate and create understanding about psychological illness after his brother Ted's mental illness and suicide in 1997.[22] He was the creator of the annual "Ted Gärdestad Stipend" awarded to amateur singers and songwriters since 1999 to promote their work.[23] The prize includes a tribute concert.[24][25][26]


  • Gärdestad, Kenneth; Liimatainen, Keijo (2005). Jag vill ha en egen måne: boken om Ted Gärdestad [I want my own moon: The book about Ted Gärdestad] (in Swedish). Stockholm: Forum. ISBN 91-37-12733-0. LIBRIS 9876123.[8]


  1. ^ "Kenneth Gärdestad är död – låtskrivaren blev 69 år gammal". Expressen (in Swedish). Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "Lista: Ted Gärdestads tio bästa låtar". Aftonbladet (in Swedish). Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  3. ^ "Ted Gärdestad hyllasi Så mycket bättre" (in Swedish). TV4. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  4. ^ "Kronér: Jag trodde jag skulle svimma". Expressen (in Swedish). Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  5. ^ "Kenneth Gärdestad gör comeback i Melodifestivalen". Dagens Nyheter (in Swedish). 14 October 2009. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  6. ^ "Kenneth Gärdestad får Musikförläggarnas hederspris 2016" (in Swedish). Musikförläggarna. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  7. ^ "GRAMMIS 18 – VINNARNA!" (in Swedish). Grammisgalan. 8 February 2018. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  8. ^ a b Spektra. "Stipendium till Kenneth Gärdestad". Svenska Dagbladet (in Swedish). Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  9. ^ "Kenneth Gärdestad: Vi har haft ett gott samarbete". Dagens Nyheter (in Swedish). 3 January 2018. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  10. ^ "Kenneth Gärdestad om filmen: 'Väldigt vackert slut'". Året Runt (in Swedish). 12 December 2017. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  11. ^ "Ett av de allra bästa "Så mycket bättre"-avsnitten någonsin". Aftonbladet (in Swedish). Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  12. ^ "Ett av de allra bästa "Så mycket bättre"-avsnitten någonsin". Aftonbladet (in Swedish). Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  13. ^ "Så mycket bättre del 8" (in Swedish). Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  14. ^ a b c Thunberg, Karin. "Kenneth Gärdestad: Det var ju Ted och jag (SvD Premium)". Svenska Dagbladet (in Swedish). Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  15. ^ Thunberg, Karin. "Berättade i intervju med SvD: "Det var ju Ted och jag" (SvD Premium)". Svenska Dagbladet (in Swedish). Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  16. ^ "Kunskapsskolan". Retrieved 8 February 2017.
  17. ^ Sveriges dödbok 1947–2006, CD-ROM, Sveriges Släktforskarförbund
  18. ^ "Ted Gärdestads bror svårt sjuk" (in Swedish). Corren. 5 November 2014. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  19. ^ "Kenneth Gärdestad orkar inte besöka filminspelningen: Jag hoppas överleva". Dagens Nyheter (in Swedish). 19 June 2017. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  20. ^ "Kenneth Gärdestad är död – avled i morse". Expressen (in Swedish).
  21. ^ "Kenneth Gärdestad is dead – became 69 years old". Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  22. ^ "Ted Gärdestads mörka år före sin död". Expressen (in Swedish). Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  23. ^ "Ted Gärdestad-Galan med stipendieutdelningen på Liseberg, Göteborg 20/6" (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 26 July 2014. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  24. ^ Gärdestad & Liimatainen 2005, pp. 194–195.
  25. ^ "Janne Schaffer hyllar vännen Ted Gärdestad" (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 27 January 2009.
  26. ^ "Succéföreställningen om Ted Gärdestad har snart nypremiär med ny slagverkare" (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 2 October 2011. Retrieved 27 January 2009.

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