Jenny Berggren’s playlist
Twenty-two years ago Ace of Base released their explosive debut, Happy Nation to their native Scandinavia, which became known to North America as The Sign.
Generating more revenue that year than the Swedish vehicle empire, Volvo, the record went on to sell over 23 million copies worldwide, and is among the most successful debut albums of all time.
In Canada, the album spawned the No.1 hit singles “All That She Wants,” “Don’t Turn Around” and “The Sign,” and is certified diamond, having sold over 1 million units.
“I only realized how much of a success Ace of Base had become when we went straight up to No. 1 in the United States and Canada,” says voice and founding member, Jenny Berggren. “These are the biggest markets in the world and we were on top.”
Jenny will never forget that priceless moment and other treasured instances like the first time she heard their music play on Scandinavian radio at home in Gothenburg.
“It was just amazing to hear. I remember feeling like, ‘Ooh! They’re playing our song ‘Wheel of Fortune!’ Come on, they must be joking,” Jenny laughs. “It was very special.”
Two decades later, Happy Nation/The Sign is still influential, just ask some of today’s hottest acts like Lady Gaga or Katy Perry.
Before you get on that, Jenny has a playlist for you, featuring artists she feels have played a big role in shaping pop music.
Woman in Love – Barbra Streisand
“This one goes back to when I was about 10 or 11 years old. Pop music for me has always been very much about the vocals. I love how Barbra hits those notes and doesn’t let go. She holds on forever.”
Poker Face – Lady Gaga
“I heard this song very early on and knew it was going to be huge. It’s an amazing song and a gift to all dancers. You can really show off and let everything go to this song.”
I’ll Be Loving You Always – Stevie Wonder
“He’s an amazing artist. I saw him live in Stockholm when he was here. Wow! Just look at the way he plays his music. He’s a true artist.”
Family Portrait – Pink
“I’m so surprised at how much Pink can really get under your skin. She can be very naked through songs like this. She’s really opened doors.”
I Learned From the Best – Whitney Houston
“This is a song that led me to pour my pain into my music and relieve myself of that pain. It’s like scratching where it itches. When you touch the place that hurts, the pain lessens. This is one of those songs.”
Firework – Katy Perry
“It has such an energy to it and a message. There’s a light within you, you’ve got it. You just have to ignite it, come on! This one can boost your self esteem in fantastic ways.”
Wild Boys – Duran Duran
“This a memory of a time when you could have trashy clothes and for the first time it was OK and accepted. Duran Duran was just so cool. ‘Wild Boys’ is from a time that I hit the dance floor for real. This is just another group that shaped me as a performing artist.”
Jesus Take the Wheel – Carrie Underwood
“I’ve performed this song because I like it very, very much. Carrie makes a good point when she sings ‘Jesus, take the wheel.’ Sometimes you have to let go and let someone else take care of it all.”