Abba guitarist who played on band’s biggest albums dies aged 70

Abba's guitarist Lasse Wellander, pictured performing at Wembley in 1979, has died aged 70 - Gus Stewart/Redferns
Abba's guitarist Lasse Wellander, pictured performing at Wembley in 1979, has died aged 70 - Gus Stewart/Redferns
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Abba have paid tribute to the “musical brilliance” of their “immense” guitarist, Lasse Wellander, following his death at the age of 70 on Good Friday.

The musician first recorded with the group in October 1974 and went on to play on their respective solo albums following their split.

“Lasse was a dear friend, a fun guy and a superb guitarist,” read a statement from Abba band members Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, Agnetha Faltskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad.

“The importance of his creative input in the recording studio as well as his rock solid guitar work on stage was immense.

“We mourn his tragic and premature death and remember the kind words, the sense of humour, the smiling face, the musical brilliance of the man who played such an integral role in the Abba story.

“He will be deeply missed and never forgotten.”

Abba perform at the United Nations General Assembly in New York in 1979 - Ron Frehm/AP
Abba perform at the United Nations General Assembly in New York in 1979 - Ron Frehm/AP

In a post on his official Facebook page, Wellander’s family said he had died “surrounded by his loved ones”.

They paid tribute to him as an “amazing” and “humble” musician, as well as a “wonderful husband, father, brother, uncle and grandfather”.

The musician, who played on the band’s biggest albums and toured with them between 1975 and 1980, died following a cancer diagnosis, a statement from his family said.

Raised in the small village of Skrekarhyttan in Sweden, Wellander cut his teeth in several local bands, including Nature.

After Swedish singer-songwriter Ted Gardestad introduced him to Ulvaeus and Andersson, his first 1974 recordings were of songs Intermezzo No.1 and Crazy World. Soon after he became the main guitarist on the group’s albums, and toured with them in 1975, 1977, 1979 and 1980.

When the other group members went their separate ways in 1982, Wellander carried on working with Benny and Björn.

Played on comeback album Voyage

He made notable appearances on the Chess concept album, two Gemini albums and the soundtracks for the films Mamma Mia and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.

Most recently, Wellander played on Abba’s number one comeback album Voyage, released in 2021.

He also appeared on Faltskog’s solo albums, Wrap Your Arms Around Me from 1983 and My Colouring Book from 2004.

A celebrated musician in his own right, Wellander released seven studio albums, two of which made the Top 40 album charts, according to his biography on Abba’s website.

In 2005, he received the Albin Hagstrom Memorial Award from the Royal Swedish Academy Of Music and in 2018 the Swedish Musicians’ Union’s special prize for his work as a session musician.