Ace of Base. There’s so many things that come to mind when we hear those three coveted words. For one, it remind us of that great pop culture moment in time on Full House when Stephanie Tanner performed with her group, Girl Talk, taking on Ace of Base‘s signature sonnet, “The Sign,” to quite comedic results. (Oh, Gia.) Second, those words remind us of a much, much simpler time in music when radio offered up fluff as delightful as the songs provided by these Swedish hit makers. They’re all pure pop perfection at their very best.
Comprised of lead vocal divas Jenny and Linn Berggren, and keyboardists Jonas “Joker” Berggren and Ulf “Buddah” Ekberg, Ace of Base became an international music phenomenon when their 1993 debut album, The Sign, danced its way into our Sony Walkman headphones. Their simple, melodic Euro-disco flow owned us with songs, “All That She Wants,” “Don’t Turn Around,” “Beautiful Life,” “Lucky Love” and of course, their dazzling debut’s epic title track.
Before they formed in 1990, Jenny and Linn sang in local church choirs in Gothenburg, Sweden. Their brother, Jonas, played synthesizers and wrote songs with his music pal, Ulf. Eventually, Jonas and Ulf recruited the gals to sing with them, and the newly formed quartet began playing dance music at local clubs and within a year, the group signed with Mega Records and released their debut single, “Wheel of Fortune,” and accompanying album, Happy Nation, in 1992.
When “Fortune” was released, it became a hit across Scandinavia, and soon German-based record label Metronome signed a European distribution deal with the group. The release of “All That She Wants” soon followed and became their first big international hit, and thanks to heavy exposure on MTV (who played videos at the time), the song became a number one hit in ten different countries, and soon, they released their debut set, The Sign — a rewerked version of Happy Nation, which featured four new songs — and it quickly sold nearly two million copies in the U.S..
Throughout 1994, Ace of Base dominated the music globe as “All That She Wants,” “Don’t Turn Around,” (a Diane Warren penned number originally recorded by Ms. Tina Turner in 1984) and “The Sign” received heavy airplay on radio and in the clubs. The group even popped up on some modern radio rock radio formats as well. (Hey, it was the ’90s.) By the end of the year, The Sign had sold over eight million copies in the U.S. alone and Ace of Base was nominated for three Grammys that year, including Best New Artist.
When they released their second album, The Bridge, in the fall of 1995, it faired moderately well on he charts;eventually going platinum and spawning the Jock Jams anthem,”Beautiful Life.” but, due to the ever so changing ’90s music market, Ace of Base’s pop novelty eventually wore off soon after the release of their sophomore set. However, the sugary quartet did keep it up a bit in later years, releasing a handful of records overseas, as well as a greatest hits set. And just a few months ago, they put out a compilation set called, Hidden Gems, which is everything you think it is.
Is of Ace of Base’s music collection full of big ol’ pop fluff? Absolutely. But, did they create timeless music that your kids and their kids will certainly know and love? Absolutely.