Ola Brunkert (1946-2008)

2. 4. 2008 | Rubriky: Articles,Lives

[by Ken Hunt, London] Ola Brunkert is probably the strongest contender for the drummer you’ve heard the most whose name you don’t know. The Swedish drummer played on nearly every Abba recording from 1972 to their dissolution in 1982. Born in Örebro in Sweden on 15 September 1946, Brunkert’s musical background was primarily blues and jazz. He played in a succession of groups including Slim’s Blues Gang, Science Poption (who had a sizeable hit with Buckingham Place) and Opus III, in the process also building a career as a studio session musician.

He was in the right place at the right time when Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad set out to conquer the world. A rare exception to Brunkert’s virtual monopoly on Abba’s drum chair was Abba’s folk medley contribution to the 1975 German charity album Stars im Zeichen eines guten Sterns (‘Stars at the sign of a good star’). For this foray into their folk and skiffle past, the foursome recorded Pick A Bale of Cotton, On Top of Old Smokey and Midnight Special with their regular bassist Rutner Gunnarsson and Roger Palm on drums. Brunkert continued drumming after Abba’s break-up and eventually retired to live under Spanish skies, playing jazz drums just for fun on Majorca. He died in a tragic accident at his home in Arta in north-western Majorca on 16 March 2008.

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