Saturday 3 May 1997


Born: February 12th, 1946, Linköping (Sweden)
Died: May 8th, 2015, Stockholm (Sweden)
Nationality: Swedish

In due course, the short impression below will be replaced with a more extensive career overview


Rutger Gunnarsson played the bass in several amateur rock bands in Linköping, before he was a student at the Royal College of Music, Stockholm. He got acquainted with Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson when he joined their Hootenanny Singers as a bass player in 1972. Later, when Ulvaeus and Andersson formed ABBA, Gunnarsson was a musician on all of their albums (1974-82) and toured with the quartet between 1977 and 1980. 

In the 1980s, he continued working with Ulvaeus and Andersson, writing part of the arrangements to their musical Chess; moreover, he became involved in writing studio arrangements and, as such, worked with the likes of Kikki Danielsson, Robert Wells, Lena Philipsson, but also international stars Céline Dion, Westlife, and Elton John. He arranged the musicals Les misérables and Mamma mia! and was a member of various ABBA tribute bands.


As a guitarist, Rutger Gunnarsson played on stage with ABBA in their winning performance for Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest with ‘Waterloo’ in 1974.

In the 1980s, Gunnarsson worked extensively as an arranger - and as such, he was involved in writing the arrangements and/or orchestrations of the Swedish Eurovision entries in 1980 ('Just nu'), 1982 ('Dag efter dag'), and 1985 ('Bra vibrationer'); while he also worked on the arrangement of Norway's 1981 entry 'Aldri i livet' for Finn Kalvik. 

Many years later, when Russian superstar Alla Pugacheva was looking for a producer, Benny Andersson advised Rutger Gunnarsson to her. He arranged and conducted her 1997 Eurovision entry ‘Primadonna’, with which Russia obtained a fifteenth spot.


Country – Sweden
Song title – "Waterloo"
Rendition – ABBA (Benny Andersson / Agnetha Fältskog / Anni-Frid Lyngstad / Björn Ulvaeus feat. Rutger Gunnarsson & Ola Brunkert)
Lyrics – Stig “Stikkan” Anderson
Composition – Benny Andersson / Björn Ulvaeus
Studio arrangement – Benny Andersson / Björn Ulvaeus
Live orchestration – Sven-Olof Walldoff
Conductor – Sven-Olof Walldoff
Score – 1st place (24 votes)

Country – Sweden
Song title – "Just nu!"
Rendition – Tomas Ledin
Lyrics – Tomas Ledin
Composition – Tomas Ledin
Studio arrangement – Tomas Ledin / Rutger Gunnarsson
Live orchestration – Rutger Gunnarsson
Conductor – Anders Berglund
Score – 10th place (47 votes)

Country – Norway
Song title – "Aldri i livet"
Rendition – Finn Kalvik
Lyrics – Finn Kalvik
Composition – Finn Kalvik
Studio arrangement – Benny Andersson
Live orchestration – Rutger Gunnarsson
Conductor – Sigurd Jansen
Score – 20th place (0 votes)

Country – Sweden
Song title – "Dag efter dag"
Rendition – Chips (Elisabeth Andreasson & Kikki Danielsson)
Lyrics – Monica Forsberg
Composition – Lasse Holm 
Studio arrangement – Rutger Gunnarsson / Lasse Holm / 
Torgny Söderberg
Live orchestration – Anders Engberg
Conductor – Anders Berglund
Score – 8th place (67 votes)

Country – Sweden
Song title – "Bra vibrationer"
Rendition – Kikki Danielsson 
Lyrics - Ingela “Pling” Forsman
Composition – Lasse Holm 
Studio arrangement – Rutger Gunnarsson
Live orchestration – Rutger Gunnarsson
Conductor – Curt-Eric Holmquist (MD)
Score – 3rd place (103 votes)

Country – Russia
Song title – "Primadonna"
Rendition – Alla Pugacheva
Lyrics – Alla Pugacheva
Composition – Alla Pugacheva
Studio arrangement – Rutger Gunnarsson
Live orchestration – Rutger Gunnarsson
Conductor – Rutger Gunnarsson
Score – 15th place (33 votes)

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