The Cardigans

Last updated

The Cardigans
The Cardigans performing in September 2006
Background information
Origin Jönköping, Sweden
Years active1992–2006, 2012–present
Labels MCA, Mercury, Minty Fresh, Stockholm, Universal
Members Lars-Olof Johansson
Bengt Lagerberg
Nina Persson
Magnus Sveningsson
Peter Svensson

The Cardigans are a Swedish rock band formed in Jönköping, Sweden, in 1992 [2] by guitarist Peter Svensson, bassist Magnus Sveningsson, drummer Bengt Lagerberg, keyboardist Lars-Olof Johansson and lead singer Nina Persson. Post-hiatus shows since 2012 have been with Oskar Humlebo on guitar instead of Svensson. [3]


With their debut album Emmerdale (1994) they gained a solid base in their home country and enjoyed some success abroad, especially in Japan. Their second album Life (1995) secured them an international reputation. Their popularity rose when their single "Lovefool", from the album First Band on the Moon (1996), was included in the soundtrack to the 1996 film Romeo + Juliet . [2] Other singles included "Erase/Rewind" and "My Favourite Game" from the album Gran Turismo (1998). After a two-year hiatus, the band returned recording and releasing their fifth album Long Gone Before Daylight (2003), a mellower country-flavoured record. Their last album so far is Super Extra Gravity (2005). After a 2006 tour, the band embarked on a five-year break from musical activities before reuniting in 2012 to play several concerts. They have sold over 15 million albums worldwide.


First years: 1992–1994

Peter Svensson and Magnus Sveningsson, both heavy metal musicians, formed the group on 31 October 1992 in Jönköping, Sweden, with drummer Bengt Lagerberg, keyboardist Lars-Olof Johansson and lead singer Nina Persson. [4] Persson did not want to be a musician growing up, having an interest in art instead, which resulted in her attending art school. "I never really strived to be a musician; I was just, sort of, recruited into this band. I was bored out of my mind in this small, safe place (Jönköping). I was like, 'Awesome, I get to hang with fun guys.'" [5]

Living together in a small apartment, The Cardigans recorded a demo tape with Persson providing lead vocals on only one of the songs towards the end of the track list. A&R man Ola Hermanson heard the demo and signed the band to his Trampolene imprint. They released their debut album Emmerdale in Sweden and Japan in 1994; it was re-released internationally in 1997. The album included the Swedish radio hit "Rise & Shine", which was later voted the best of 1994 in a poll in Slitz magazine.

Commercial success: 1995–2000

The remainder of 1994 was spent touring Europe and recording Life , which was released worldwide in 1995. Life became an international success, selling more than a million copies and achieving platinum status in Japan. In 1996, Life was released under the label Minty Fresh in the US, but this release was essentially a compilation of tracks from Emmerdale and Life.

After their success with Life, The Cardigans signed with Mercury Records, under which they released First Band on the Moon worldwide in 1996. "Lovefool" was a hit worldwide, particularly in the US and Japan, where the album reached platinum status in three weeks. The album also achieved gold sales status in the US. "Lovefool" was shown on MTV in the late 1990s as a music video with clips from the 1996 hit film Romeo + Juliet starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes. It was also featured in the film Cruel Intentions (1999).

In 1997, the band played themselves in an episode of Beverly Hills, 90210 as the featured entertainment at their college graduation party, hosted by Kelly Taylor's dad. The band performed "Lovefool" and "Been It." Their song "Carnival" was featured in the 1997 film Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. The band was also asked to submit the theme song for the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies but rejected the request due to exhaustion that would be exacerbated by the potential added workload; Persson has called her decision to turn down the offer "one of my biggest mistakes." [6]

1998's Gran Turismo was followed by a long hiatus during which the band members pursued solo side projects. The same year they also released a compilation album of rare B-sides, The Other Side of the Moon as a Japan-only release. The video of the song "My Favourite Game" was censored by MTV for showing reckless driving. Despite this, it went on to become their second global hit song. "My Favourite Game" was featured on the soundtrack of the PlayStation video game Gran Turismo 2 in the intro movie on CD1. That year also saw their song "Deuce" appearing on The X-Files: The Album . Their song "Erase/Rewind" was featured in the 1999 films Never Been Kissed and The Thirteenth Floor . In 2018, German author Thorsten Nagelschmidt published a booked titled Der Abfall der Herzen, a reference to the band's song "Junk of the Hearts" featured on Gran Turismo.

In 1999, the Cardigans recorded a duet cover of Talking Heads' "Burning Down the House" with Tom Jones for his album Reload . [2]

Back to spotlight and hiatus: 2002–2006

The Cardigans performing in June 2004. The Cardigans.jpg
The Cardigans performing in June 2004.

The Cardigans returned in 2002 to record Long Gone Before Daylight (2003), a collection of songs mainly written by Persson and Svensson. Long Gone Before Daylight became one of the best selling albums in Sweden in 2003.[ citation needed ] After a two-year hiatus from their last album, it was released in Japan on 19 March 2003 and in Europe on 24 March 2003. Later it was also released in Canada (22 April 2003) and the United States (25 May 2004).

The album differs from the band's earlier works. Their familiar "happy" pop sound takes on a change to pop songs with more of an American country music influence. It is a much darker album than their previous works, and quieter than Gran Turismo . Indeed, even lead singer Nina Persson dyed her once light blonde hair to jet black, reflecting the band's change of mood. [7] The album was produced by Per Sunding after the group's regular producer Tore Johanssen stepped down, feeling himself unable to provide the country sound the group wanted.

Criticism was generally mixed. Some found the change of direction welcome, and felt the band had matured, making songs that were even better than other experienced country-pop styled artists. Others missed the old pop sound, and accused the band of possibly being ashamed of their former "happy" pop sound. The first single of the album, "For What It's Worth" was released on 17 February 2003. The second single was "You're the Storm" released on 2 June 2003. The third and final single was "Live and Learn" released on 3 December 2003. In the summer of 2004, The Cardigans toured with Liz Phair, Katy Rose and Charlotte Martin on the Chicks With Attitude tour.

On 28 April 2005, the band's iTunes Originals album was released through iTunes. On 19 October 2005, the band released their sixth album Super Extra Gravity to generally favourable reviews. [8] Super Extra Gravity went straight to the #1 spot on the Swedish album chart and was certified gold (sales over 40,000).[ citation needed ] After the band finished promotional activities in Autumn 2006, the band entered an extended hiatus and devoted themselves to other projects.[ citation needed ]

Reunion, tour and future: 2012–present

In 2012, the Cardigans received a lucrative offer from Hultsfred Festival to perform the album Gran Turismo in full. [9] After initial hesitation, the band decided to accept the offer "as it felt like a good way of tearing us out of our strange new everyday life," according to Persson. [10] Peter Svensson declined to participate, although he had no objection to the band touring without him. They recruited singer-songwriter Oskar Humlebo to fill in for Svensson, and asked their agent to seek more shows for them to play. [9] Ultimately, the band made their live comeback with shows in Lund and Copenhagen ahead of Hultsfred, before playing in Poland, Finland, Russia, Indonesia, Taiwan and Japan, with a scheduled concert in Israel cancelled by the promoter. [11] Most of these shows involved performing Gran Turismo in full, followed by an assortment of hits from their other albums.

Still with Humlebo in place of Svensson, the band played career-spanning sets when touring resumed during late 2013 with shows in Japan, China and Russia, followed by more dates in 2015 which took them to South Korea, Europe and South America. In interviews promoting her 2014 solo album Animal Heart , Persson suggested that the success of their most recent live dates opened the possibility for future Cardigans recordings, though there were no firm plans. "It's really fun to do greatest hits things, since there's nothing else, but I think if we continue having this much fun we would like to make another record, because we like to create new things," said Persson. [12] The band's only scheduled show for 2016 was at Qstock (Oulu, Finland) on 29 July. [13] In 2017, they performed in Stockholm in Turku, Finland and in Yammatovo 3 festival in Croatia.

In June 2018, the band announced their only live shows of the year: a four-date UK tour in December to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Gran Turismo in which they would perform the album in full again. [14] In an interview to promote the tour, Persson stated, "There won’t be any more Cardigans records, I’m pretty sure. But we’ll keep doing little tours and shows as long as it’s fun, as long as we can do it well and feel that it’s something that’s current to us." [15]

Solo projects

During the band's first break Nina Persson released an album as A Camp, and Peter Svensson and Bengt Lagerberg worked on the project Paus with help from Joakim Berg from Kent, and Magnus Sveningsson recorded as Righteous Boy.

In 2006, Sveningsson restarted their old label Trampolene and became an A&R for it. The first signing was the Swedish popband The Animal Five, which was a minor success in Sweden and Germany.

Lagerberg and Johansson formed the group Brothers Of End, releasing a debut album The End in 2009, and a second album Mount Inside in 2011. A third album, Shakers Love, was released in 2014, and Nina Persson appeared on the track "Heat".

In November 2006, Persson featured on The Cake Sale , an album set up by Oxfam Ireland. It contained nine tracks from some of Ireland's leading artists. Proceeds from the album went to the fair trade campaign.

Persson also appeared on the Manic Street Preachers' album Send Away the Tigers (May 2007), providing guest vocals on the UK Chart #2 single "Your Love Alone Is Not Enough". [16] She shared vocals with Manics frontman James Dean Bradfield, who also appeared on stage with the band at the Glastonbury Festival 2007, and who has rated Peter Svensson as his second favourite guitarist. [17]

In the band's break of 2007, Persson recorded the second A Camp album Colonia , [18] which was released in early 2009. A Camp supported the US release of Colonia with a tour, which began in New York City on 26 May and completed on 15 June in Los Angeles. [19] [20]

In 2010, Persson appeared on Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse's collaboration (Dark Night of the Soul) singing "Daddy's Gone" (with Mark Linkous). [21]

Persson released the album Animal Heart under her own name in 2014.

Band members



Awards and nominations

BMI Pop Awards

YearNominee / workAwardResult
1999"Lovefool"Award-Winning SongWon

Billboard Music Awards

YearNominee / workAwardResult
1997"Lovefool"Top Hot 100 Airplay TrackNominated

Billboard Music Video Awards

YearNominee / workAwardResult
1997"Lovefool"Pop/Rock Clip of the YearNominated

Brit Awards

YearNominee / workAwardResult
2000 ThemselvesBest International GroupNominated

Danish Music Awards

YearNominee / workAwardResult
2000 Gran Turismo Foreign Album of the YearWon

Denmark GAFFA Awards

YearNominee / workAwardResultRef.
1998"My Favorite Game"Best Foreign VideoNominated [22]
Best Foreign HitNominated
1999"Burning Down the House" (with Tom Jones)Nominated
2005 Nina Persson Best Foreign Female ActNominated


YearNominee / workAwardResult
1995ThemselvesBest Pop GroupNominated
Best ArtistNominated
First Band on the Moon Best Album
"Lovefool"Best Song
1999ThemselvesBest Pop GroupWon
Best ArtistNominated
Gran Turismo Best AlbumWon
"My Favorite Game"Best SongNominated
Best Music Video
2004 Long Gone Before Daylight Best AlbumWon
ThemselvesBest Rock Group

MTV Europe Music Awards

YearNominee / workAwardResult
1996 ThemselvesBest New ActNominated
1997 "Lovefool"Best Song
1999 ThemselvesBest Group
Best Rock
Best Nordic Act


YearNominee / workAwardResult
1998ThemselvesBest Swedish BandWon

Smash Hits Poll Winners Party

YearNominee / workAwardResultRef.
1996ThemselvesBest International BandNominated [23]

TMF Awards

YearNominee / workAwardResult
1999"My Favorite Game"Best Video InternationalWon

Žebřík Music Awards

YearNominee / workAwardResultRef.
1998"My Favorite Game"Best International VideoNominated [24]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">A Camp</span>

A Camp is the solo side project of Nina Persson, vocalist for the Swedish indie pop band The Cardigans, her husband, composer Nathan Larson, and former Atomic Swing guitarist Niclas Frisk. Persson formed A Camp when The Cardigans took a break after several years of touring and the recording of their 1998 album Gran Turismo. A Camp recorded and released two albums, in 2001 and 2009, after which the project has been inactive.

<i>Gran Turismo</i> (album) 1998 studio album by The Cardigans

Gran Turismo is the fourth studio album by Swedish band the Cardigans, released internationally on 19 October 1998 and in November 1998 in the United States. It features a darker and more moody type of music, mixed with more electronic sounds.

<i>First Band on the Moon</i> 1996 studio album by the Cardigans

First Band on the Moon is the third studio album by the Cardigans. It features the international single "Lovefool". It was first released on 12 August 1996 and internationally on 6 September 1996.

<i>Long Gone Before Daylight</i> 2003 studio album by The Cardigans

Long Gone Before Daylight is the fifth studio album by Swedish rock band the Cardigans. Released in Japan on 19 March 2003 and in Europe from 24 March by Stockholm Records, it was their first studio album since the release of Gran Turismo in 1998, during which time band members released numerous solo works under assumed aliases: Peter Svensson issued Paus' sole, self-titled album in 1998. This was followed by the release of the self-titled record from Nina Persson's A Camp in 2001, and bassist Magnus Sveningsson's I Sing Because of You in 2002.

<i>Righteous Boy</i> 2002 studio album by Righteous Boy

Righteous Boy is the solo project of Magnus Sveningsson, bassist from Swedish rock group The Cardigans. Sveningsson began the project during the long hiatus between the Cardigans' Gran Turismo and Long Gone Before Daylight albums. To date, Righteous Boy's single album release is I Sing Because of You (2003), which contained the single "Loved Among Friends."

<i>Emmerdale</i> (album) 1994 studio album by The Cardigans

Emmerdale is the debut studio album by Swedish pop rock band The Cardigans. It was originally released in Sweden by Trampolene Records on 18 February 1994, and on 24 September 1994 in Japan. It was later reissued in Europe in January 1999 and in Canada in May the same year. A special U.S. version was released in August 1999 by Minty Fresh Records and features a bonus disc of songs from The Cardigans' second album Life. These songs were not released in the U.S. edition of said album and were previously unavailable on any U.S. release. The album was named after the British television soap opera of the same name.

<i>Super Extra Gravity</i> 2005 studio album by the Cardigans

Super Extra Gravity is the sixth studio album by Swedish band the Cardigans. It was produced by Tore Johansson, who last worked with the Cardigans on Gran Turismo and later with the band Franz Ferdinand. The album was released in Germany and Ireland on 14 October 2005 and in the UK on 17 October 2005. A Japanese edition was later released. The first single released was "I Need Some Fine Wine and You, You Need to Be Nicer". The second single was "Don't Blame Your Daughter (Diamonds)". It was said that "Godspell"—the lyrics of which reference a conservative religious mentality common to the band's hometown of Jönköping—was to be the third single, but plans for its release fell through.

<i>Life</i> (The Cardigans album) 1995 studio album by The Cardigans

Life is the second studio album of The Cardigans. It was released worldwide in 1995 and was an international success, especially in Japan, where it achieved platinum status. Outside of Sweden and Japan, it was released as their first album: a compilation of tracks from both Emmerdale and Life. It was released in the United States under the label Minty Fresh Records.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Peter Svensson</span> Swedish musician

Anders Peter Svensson is a Swedish record producer, songwriter, and musician. He is the main songwriter and guitarist of the band the Cardigans. He started playing guitar at the age of eight, and in his teens he went on to play with local bands. After meeting bass player Magnus Sveningsson, they formed The Cardigans in 1992. Peter Svensson is credited with writing the music and melodies for almost all of the group's original songs.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lovefool</span> 1996 single by the Cardigans

"Lovefool" is a song written by Peter Svensson and Nina Persson for Swedish rock band the Cardigans' third studio album, First Band on the Moon (1996). It was released as the album's lead single in Sweden in mid-1996 and on 9 September 1996 in the United Kingdom. In the United States, the song was serviced to radio in August 1996. A few months after its release, the track was included in the Baz Luhrmann film Romeo + Juliet, helping the song gain international recognition.

<i>The Other Side of the Moon</i> (album) 1997 compilation album by The Cardigans

The Other Side of the Moon is a compilation album by The Cardigans. It features B-sides and rarities that never made it onto the albums and were previously only available on singles. It was released only in Japan and Australia on 5 December 1997.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">The Cardigans discography</span>

The Cardigans are a band from Sweden. They have released six studio albums, which in total have sold about 15 million copies worldwide. This is a list of their album and single releases.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rise and Shine (The Cardigans song)</span> 1994 single by The Cardigans

"Rise & Shine" is a song by The Cardigans. It first appeared in 1992 on a limited edition 7-inch EP, The World According To..., and was the first Cardigans recording to feature Nina Persson as lead vocalist. Due to the positive response to the track, Persson became the group's permanent lead singer, and the song was re-recorded and released as the first single from their debut 1994 album Emmerdale. It was later re-recorded again for their second album Life and was re-released throughout Europe to promote the international version of the album.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">My Favourite Game</span> 1998 single by the Cardigans

"My Favourite Game" is an alternative rock song written by Peter Svensson and Nina Persson for Swedish band the Cardigans' fourth studio album, Gran Turismo (1998). The song is the album's eighth track and was released as its first single on 14 September 1998. Lyrically, it is about a failing relationship and the attempt made to better the significant other or save people from themselves. "My Favourite Game" found minor international success, reaching number three in Sweden and number 14 in the UK. It also charted within the top 40 in several European countries and New Zealand. While it failed to chart on the US Billboard Hot 100 and its radio counterpart, it peaked at number 16 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Erase/Rewind</span> 1999 single by the Cardigans

"Erase/Rewind" is a song written by Peter Svensson and Nina Persson for the Cardigans' fourth studio album, Gran Turismo (1998). The song is the album's second track and was released as its second single in 1999, reaching number three in Iceland, number seven in Italy and the United Kingdom, and number 12 in Sweden. It was featured in the 1999 film The Thirteenth Floor during the ending credits. It was also featured in the 1999 film Never Been Kissed when Josie dances with her prom date Guy.

<i>Colonia</i> (A Camp album) 2009 studio album by A Camp

Colonia is the second studio album by A Camp, the collaborative side project between The Cardigans vocalist Nina Persson, her husband, composer Nathan Larson and former Atomic Swing guitarist Niclas Frisk. The album was released on 28 January 2009 in Scandinavia by Universal and in the UK and mainland Europe by independent British label Reveal Records on 2 February and 20 March respectively, while in the United States the album was released through Nettwerk on 28 April 2009.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hanging Around (The Cardigans song)</span> 1999 single by The Cardigans

"Hanging Around" is a song written by Peter Svensson and Nina Persson for the Cardigans' 1998 album Gran Turismo. The song is the album's sixth track, and was released as its third single on 12 July 1999, and charted at number 17 on the UK Singles Chart. The music video was directed by Sophie Muller, and is based on the 1965 Roman Polanski film, Repulsion, with Nina Persson playing the role of 'Carol'.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Love Me (Justin Bieber song)</span> 2009 promotional single by Justin Bieber featuring DJ Frank E

"Love Me" is a song by Canadian singer Justin Bieber and features American producer DJ Frank E as an uncredited artist. It was written by Bruno Mars, Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine, Peter Svensson and Nina Persson, and produced by DJ Frank E. The song was released exclusively to iTunes as the first promotional single from Bieber's debut studio album, My World, on October 26, 2009.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Been It</span> 1996 single by the Cardigans

"Been It" is a song by Swedish band the Cardigans, released from their third studio album, First Band on the Moon. In additional to reaching number 26 on the UK Singles Chart, the song also became an alternative hit in Canada, climbing to number nine on the RPM Alternative 30.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Your New Cuckoo</span> 1997 single by the Cardigans

"Your New Cuckoo" is a song from the Cardigans' third studio album, First Band on the Moon. Released on 25 August 1997, the song reached number 35 on the UK Singles Chart the same month.


  1. The Cardigans at AllMusic OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
  2. 1 2 3 Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. pp. 152–153. ISBN   1-84195-017-3.
  3. Simpson, Dave (4 December 2018). "The Cardigans review – at their best when playing the lovefool". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 December 2018.
  4. Sveningsson, Magnus. "The Cardigans official website: Ask the Band" . Retrieved 1 November 2007.
  5. "The Cardigans Nina Persson talks w Eric Blair 2014" blairingoutshow, YouTube, 14 November 2015
  6. Ryan, Gary (1 December 2018). "Does Rock 'N' Roll Kill Braincells? We put The Cardigans' Nina Persson to the test". NME. Retrieved 5 December 2018.
  7. Amelia McDonell-Parry. "Long Gone Before Daylight : The Cardigans : Review", Rolling Stone , 24 July 2004.
  8. "The Cardigans: Super Extra Gravity (2006): Reviews". 19 September 2006. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  9. 1 2 "Interview: Magnus Sveningsson, The Cardigans". Retrieved 29 December 2016.
  10. Helienne Lindvall. "Nina Persson: knitting the Cardigans back together | Music". The Guardian . Retrieved 29 December 2016.
  11. "Cardigans - MAYDAY MAYDAY! The Tel Aviv show on august 4..." Facebook. 18 July 2012. Archived from the original on 26 February 2022. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
  12. Andrew Hampp. "Nina Persson Talks 'Animal Heart' Solo LP, The Cardigans' Future". Billboard. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
  13. "Qstock 2016 Oulu Line-up, Photos & Videos Jul 2016 – Songkick". 29 July 2016. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
  14. Trendell, Andrew (19 June 2018). "The Cardigans announce 20th anniversary UK tour for 'Gran Turismo'". NME. Retrieved 5 December 2018.
  15. Wyatt, Malcolm (23 November 2018). "The Cardigans: from indie roots to Gran Turismo and beyond – the Nina Persson interview". Retrieved 5 December 2018.
  16. "Albums : Send Away The Tigers (2007)". Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  17. "Manic Street Preachers - The official site". Archived from the original on 10 April 2006.
  18. "The Cardigans – Nina Persson breathes new life into A Camp". 9 May 2007. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  19. "A Camp announce very first US tour | News". Nme.Com. 13 March 2009. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
  20. "Nina Persson: Queen of Camp - BlackBook". Archived from the original on 23 March 2009.
  21. "Danger Mouse on Mark Linkous and Dark Night of the Soul | Music". 7 July 2010. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
  22. "GAFFA-prisen 1991-2006 – se vinderne" [GAFFA Prize 1991-2006 - see the winners]. Gaffa (in Danish). 6 January 2007. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
  23. "Smash Hits Poll Winners - 1996". Retrieved 5 May 2020.
  24. "2003-1997 – Anketa Žebřík".