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|Barbro "Lill-Babs" Svensson|
|Birth name||Barbro Margareta Svensson|
|Also known as||Lill-Babs|
|Born||March 9, 1938|
Lill-Babs was born in Järvsö, Gävleborg County, the first daughter of Britta and Ragnar Svensson. At age 15 she sang on the radio show Morgonkvisten as a "young talent". Swedish bandleader and talent scout Simon Brehm heard the show and contacted her that evening, inviting her to audition in his Stockholm studio. The audition went well and she moved to Stockholm to begin her showbusiness career.
In 1954, she recorded her first record "Min mammas boogie" under the name "Lill-Babs", a combination of the Swedish word 'little' and the Anglicized nickname for Barbro/Barbara. However, the unmarried Lill-Babs then became pregnant, a potential public scandal in mid-1950s Sweden. She continued to work as long as she was able to hide her pregnancy, then went home to Järvsö to give birth to daughter Monica.
After some time at home she returned to focus on her career, but by then Simon Brehm had found a new vocalist to replace her. She received an offer to tour with Brehm's competing bandleader, Kettil Olsson. After the tour and a couple of concerts at jazz club Nalen in Stockholm, Simon asked her to return to work for him. and she went on to perform concerts at dance palace Bal Palais and other tours.
In 1958 she went on her first self-produced tour and was cast in the movie Fly mig en greve with comedian Carl-Gustaf Lindstedt. Her recordings, such as the novelty song "Är du kär i mej ännu Klas-Göran?", "Leva Livet" and "En tuff brud i lyxförpackning", were big sellers, Svensktoppen entries and schlager standards in Sweden. "Är Du Kär I Mig Ännu Klas-Göran" was composed by the then relatively unknown Stig Anderson. Anderson wrote several of Lill-Babs' hits in the 1960s before becoming the manager of ABBA.
In the 1960s, Barbro's own fan-club Splorr was created and became the largest in Sweden with 17,000 members.
During this time Lill-Babs did much of her work in West Germany, where many of her records, television shows, and movies were produced. As a result of this she became a big star in Germany. In 1961 she represented Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest with "April, April" in Cannes and participated in the national preselections for the contest both in Sweden and Norway.
In October 1963 she guested on Swedish TV show Drop In, broadcast live, and afterwards signed autographs for the Beatles, at the time an up-and-coming band making one of their first international TV appearances on the same show.
Lill-Babs' 1971 Svensktoppen hit "Välkommen Till Världen", originally composed as a contender for Melodifestivalen of that year, was written and produced by Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, and features one of the earliest recordings on backing vocals by all four future members of Abba. In 1974, Lill-Babs played the lead in the Swedish cast of musical Annie Get Your Gun, directed by writer and TV-personality Åke Falck. The show was performed at the Scandinavian hockey arena in Gothenburg for 12 performances - with more than 100,000 tickets sold. In the following three decades she played cabarets at venues like Berns Salonger and Hamburger Börs in Stockholm, including material written especially for her by Swedish writers such as poet Lars Forssell and singer and lyricist Barbro Hörberg.
As of 2014, aged 76, Lill-Babs still tours Sweden, often referred to as Sweden's "grand old lady" in show business. In 2011 she was featured in the midsommar episode of Allt för Sverige, which took place in and around Järvsö. Allt för Sverige is a Swedish reality television program depicting Swedish-Americans rediscovering their roots in their homeland.
Sources and references
- Barbro Svensson & Anna Wahlgren: Lill-Babs - Hon Är Jag: Minnen Av Ögonblick, Bra Böcker 1996 ISBN 91-7133-184-0.
- Carl Magnus Palm: Bright Lights - Dark Shadows, Omnibus Press UK 2001, ISBN 0-7119-8389-5
- Carl Magnus Palm: ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions, Century 22 Limited UK, 1994. ISBN 0-907938-10-8
|Awards and achievements|
with "Alla andra får varann"
|Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest
with "Sol och vår"