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Bo Hansson RIP

We were sad last week to learn of the death of Swedish keyboardist and composer Bo Hansson, well-known in the prog community for several classic albums he released in the 70s.

by Jon Davis, Published 2010-05-01

He spent his early life in a remote village in the pine forests of northern Sweden, but a change in his parents' fortunes forced a move to Stockholm and they were forced to leave the young Hansson behind, in the care of family friends. As a teenager he joined his parents in Stockholm, where he soon became interested in the burgeoning rock and roll scene and taught himself to play the guitar, before joining the band, Rock-Olga.

After the rock and roll craze gave way to jazz and blues in the late fifties, he joined 'Slim' Notini's Blues Gang as a guitarist. Notini had a reputation of nurturing young talent, in the same way that John Mayall was doing in Britain, and from there Hansson was able to move on and form his own blues group The Merrymen, who supported The Rolling Stones on an early Scandinavian tour.

In 1966, Hansson saw American jazz organist Jack McDuff perform at Stockholm's Gyllene Cirkeln Club, and was so captivated by the performance that he decided to leave The Merrymen to expand his musical horizons. Encouraged by fellow Merryman Bill Öhrström, he eventually acquired his own Hammond organ. Öhrström became an A&R man and producer at Polydor Sweden, and introduced Hansson to other musicians, one of whom was drummer Janne Karlsson. Hansson and Karlsson immediately hit it off and were signed by Polydor, playing up-tempo Hammond organ based music and releasing three albums between 1967 and 1969. They became immensely popular in their home country and Europe, and even reached the ear of Jimi Hendrix, who took time out from his tour to jam with the duo, along with George Clemons on drums and Georg Wadenius on guitar, at the Klub Filips in Stockholm in late 1967. Hendrix went on to record a Hansson song, "Tax Free".


Filed under: Obituaries

Related artist(s): Bo Hansson

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