The story of Secret Service is also the story of "The Megatrio". "The Megatrio" was a name used in the press of the Swedish production of Tim Norell, Ola Håkansson and Anders Hansson in the mid 80's and early 90's. Sometimes known as Sweden's Stock Aitken Waterman, which is quite wrong since they got more quality and a wider repertoire then the UK trio.
It all started in the mid 60's, when Ola Håkansson joined the band The Janglers as their singer. They then became Ola & The Janglers. They were one of Sweden's most popular bands in the 60's. At first mainly doing covers of songs by The Rolling Stones and The Kinks, but gradually doing their own songs. These were mainly written by guitarist Cleas af Geijerstam (later one of Sweden's most famous DJ's).
They splitted up in 70's. Ola went to the university. They also re-united. Ola did some solo records and tried his luck in Melodifestivalen (the Swedish heat of the Eurovision Song Contest). His main job though, was as publishing manager on Sonet Grammofon AB. He also was one of their A&R people.
In 1976 Ola meet Tim Norell and Ulf Wahlberg, both were educated as music teachers. Tim was then only in to classic music. They started to work a little with Ola. Though they did not do it properly until 1978 with what would become Secret Service in 1979. What they did was to write a few songs that was sent in to the Melodifestivalen 1979. One of the songs made it to the TV final. They performed as "Ola+3". They did not win, but liked to work together. So Secret Service was started.
Secret Service's first single was called Oh Susie, and was a hit in many countries. They did some sort of pop-disco with some electro influences. The first line-up of Secret Service was: Ola Håkansson (vocals), Tim Norell (piano, keyboards), Ulf Wahlberg (keyboards), Leif Johansson (drums), Tonny Lindberg (guitars) and Leif Paulsen (bass). Johansson had also been part of Ola & The Janglers. A funny thing is that Tim never appeared in video clips or on the sleeve pictures, though his name was always mentioned.
Several hit singles followed and some very successful albums. Secret Service was maybe more known abroad then in Sweden. They had hits in all contintal Europe and South America.
After a few years with Secret Service Tim and Ola (who wrote most of their songs) also started working with other artists. First only as song writers, then also as producers. On the first albums Ola uses his second name Björn for song writing credits, later on changed that to just Oson. (Many thought that Tim had a double name as it said Tim Norell-Oson on the credits.)
In the early 80's Anders Hansson had a band called Otitis, which released it's records on Sonet. They never had any really big hits in Sweden, but despite that unsuccessfully tried the UK market. In some songs they got help with the lyrics by a certain Ola Håkansson...
When Tim and Ola produced Annica Boller's album, they first used Anders Hansson as programmer/keyboard player. They became a production team in 1986 when they produced the french singer Jackie Quartz. Then they went on with two duets between Ola Håkansson & Agnetha Fältskog, that single became their first Swedish gold single. It was also the first Swedish release that featured the song writing trio Norell-Oson-Bard, where Bard is Alexander Bard, now leader for Army of Lovers, then the disco transvestite Barbie.
They had from the beginning a clear goal to reach beyond the Scandinavian borders. Ola had noticed the girl duo Lili & Sussie, which had made their first record with EMI. They did some sort of dance-pop-disco written and produced by Niklas Strömstedt, who normally does some sort of pop-rock. He saw their potential, and also realized that with Strömstedt behind the control panel success would not happen. Their first album sold virtually nothing.
EMI only had a contract for Sweden, plus the rest of Scandinavia. So Sonet contracted them for the rest of the world. Hansson/Norell/Håkansson then set to work and recorded the songs Candy Love and Stay. EMI was allowed to hear them, and released a single with Stay as the a-side and Candy Love as the flip. Sonet had asked it to be the other way around. Nothing happened. Sonet then released it in Germany and Holland, with Candy Love as the a-side. It went gold in Holland. EMI then realized that Ola was the man to run the show. So in the future they shared the recordings. The L&S singles had been produced Hansson/Norell/Håkansson, but on the labels it said Trigonometri. This was used only for the second album with L&S. Half produced by them, the other half by Strömstedt. Oh Mama was released as the next single, it made L&S very famous, it went gold.
They have since then made a further three albums with L&S. But since the album No Sugar Added, Lili & Susie (one "s" has fallen off) have written and produced themselves (and quite successfully so).
The Megatrio has made a lot of that disco type records since. Two with Ankie Bagger, plus songs with Lisa Nilsson, Troll, Lohengrin etc.
They have also made some rockier (but still quite a lot of programmed disco beats in them) records with Tommy Nilsson, Jerry Williams, The Boppers and some more.
In 1987 Secret Service's latest album came, Aux Deux Magots. They had then changed the line-up: Ola, Tim and Ulf was still left, the other three got sacked (or they left) and was replaced by Anders Hansson (keyboards, programming, guitars, percussions) and Mats A. Lindberg (bass). Lindberg had then for some time worked as musician and engineer on the Megatrio productions.
Meanwhile Anders Hansson had a solo project going, 7even 4orty 7even, which never has released any album, but four singles. He sings himself. Ola stands as executive producer, so it never was some sort of deflection.
Sonet was for long the only major Swedish record company, all the other big ones was part of the internationals. But big financial problems, not only from the record division (they also makes film, TV, videos) in 1991 forced the owners (Ola owned 6%) to sell to PolyGram, who a few years earlier had bought Polar (ABBA's record company) and had handled that situation quite well. Everyone realized that there could be big opportunities. So Ola went to the PolyGram's headquarters with a proposition. A new record company should be started, to be owned to 50% by PolyGram. The major part of the other 50% should be owned by Ola Håkansson, with minority posts to Tim Norell, Anders Hansson, Alexander Bard and Anders Wollbeck. This label should have as a goal to find new Swedish pop stars for the international market. In other words a new ABBA or Roxette. PolyGram should handle all administration and promotion, but not interfere with the artistic and creative parts. This was agreed. On January 1st 1992 Stockholm Records was born.
Bard and Wollbeck, who both are involved in Army Of Lovers, had together with Ola earlier started a sub label to Sonet, called Sunrise. This was now "eaten up" by Sonet and Stockholm. Midi Maxi & Efti went to Sonet, all other to Stockholm. Artists on Stockholm features: Anette, Love C.A., Secret Service, Army Of Lovers, Pernilla, Follin, E-Type + Stakka B, Ricco and many more. Most, but not all, are some sort of dance music, with the roots in Hi-NRG.
Love C.A. is the new version of 7even 4orty 7even, with an album release set for early 1993. Love C.A. means Love Conquers All. Ricco is Richard Evenlind, that the Megatrio produced some singles for. Though he has had many names, Richard, Evenlind, Richard Evenlind and finally Ricco.
Lili & Susie, Lena Ph, Pernilla, Ankie Bagger, Troll, Tommy Nilsson, Zemya Hamilton (of Clubland), Tone Norum, Barbie, Army Of Lovers, La Camilla, Anette, Jean-Paul Wall (who stared against Lena Ph in the 006 show), Tommy Ekman, Lisa Nilsson, Fingerprints, West Of Sunset, 7even 4orty 7even, The Boppers, Jerry Williams and a few more. Most of them they have only made one song with, for a soundtrack etc. They are also supposed to have recorded some songs wit La Toya Jackson.
They was actually asked by Stock Aitken Waterman to be their back-up team. They said no, because they did not want to move to England and they also did not want to be number two. It is quite strange that Ola Håkansson, who at that time ws 40-50, was the one who made the Swedish music that the teenagers like most (like Troll) and that is liked by every age group (Jerry Williams).
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