Swedish Webbkarta
the story 1964-69
In 1963, two friends from the military service, Lennart Hegland and Christer Petterson formed what later would become the Swedish popgroup "The Hep Stars". At the same time, the organist Hans Östlund joined the band and later also the guitarist and singer Janne Frisk. At this time, they called the band "Quartet Yep" and played mainly decent restaurant music. After Janne joined, rock'n roll slowly grew in the band's repertoire, and it didn't take long before they realized that "Quartet Yep" had to be replaced. Janne came with the idea "The Hep Stars" which was rapidly accepted by the other band members. The name change also pointed on the band's new musical approach, from mediocre folk dance to refined rock.

During the preparations for a gig at Rörstands youth recreation centre, Janne was absent for a side job, a tour in Norrland together with accordion player Erik Frank. Svenne Hedlund, singer in Clifftones, was requested to reinforce the band and sing a few songs. He accepted and his presence in the band whet the appetite. Lennart soon realized that The Hep Stars would benefit from having Svenne with the band, in addition to their lead vocalist Janne, and soon Svenne left the band Clifftones to become a permanent member of growing The Hep Stars.

After pressure from Lennart, Åke Gerhard, a music producer, songwriter and owner of the label Olga, became the manager of the band. An experienced and stable man from the north of Sweden with valueable contacts in the branch would, with some hestitation, release the Hep Stars as a rock group and finance their first record, Kana Kapila. The single, with a terrible cover showing Svenne in a cannibal pot, didn't succeed. The only appearence received was a small press item in the Swedish paper Bildjournalen.

Hans Östlund left the band in 1964 and was replaced by Benny Andersson, organist from "Elverkets Spelmanslag". The Hep Stars was now complete and had finally received enough attention to be able to work as musicians full-time. Their energic pop music become a remarkable success within the youth generation.

Saturday, the 17th of April 1965, must be considered as a historic date in the group's career. The Hep Stars had acomplished something that no band ever had done before, they had three songs on the Swedish Top10 chart at the same time. In a time when British pop music dominated, world-wide. Their spectacular appearance in the TV-show "Drop In" with the song "Cadillac", on the 23rd of March 1965 opened the way for a breakthrough. Cadillac was voted on the first place on the Top10 chart. Farmer John made it to the fourth place, and A tribute to Buddy Holly, which was previously on the list, moved up to the eight place.

As The Hepstars grew even more successful, it became the most commonly requested band in the people's amusement parks. When Lennart "Felle" Fernholm (the sixth member of the band and tour leader) introduced the band for a fanatic audience, in a park somewhere in Sweden at the year of 1965, the gig was characterized by, in the Swedish pop history, unparalleled hysteric idolatry. The Hepstars dominated Swedish music market and charts the following years.

The Hepstars musical development during the later part of the sixties would split the fans in two groups - the disconsolated and those with unbounded happyness. With their own record company, planned movie release and other business activities their financial problems grew bigger and bigger every day and The Hepstars disbanded during the end of the sixties. The final concert was held in Kungsträdgården, Stockholm, late summer 1969 with an audience of thousands of fans. The successful story of The Hepstars hadended. Around the corner was the seventies, a decade with plenty of challenges and success for some of the band members.

1965 was probably the greatest year for The Hep Stars. Cadillac, the break through song for the band, became synonymous with the whole career of the group, from 1964 and ahead. The fine cover photo by Norwegian photographer Robert Meyers, for the first LP, shows a hungry band of the sixties, who was to write several pages in the Swedishmusic history. Perhaps thanks to a ...Cadillac.

If you would like to know more about The Hep Stars and Benny Andersson, read the fantastic books:

Cadillac Madness Den otroliga berättelsen om The Hep Stars by Dan-Eric Landen and Carl Magnus Palm (Premium Publishing).

Bennys Road To ABBA by Carl Magnus Palm (Premium Publishing).

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