The Cardigans' Magnus Sveningsson

Founding bassist Magnus Sveningsson announced in January that he would not be

joining his band, Swedish popsters the Cardigans, for the start of their tour supporting

the 1998 LP Gran Turismo.

Sveningsson cited an unspecified illness on the band's official website

(www.cardigans.net) and implied his absence would be temporary. The Cardigans are

now on the European leg of their tour and Sveningsson has yet to return.

Johan Magnus Sveningsson was born 27 years ago today in Falköping in

Sweden's parish of Håbo. He plays many instruments and was in a number of

bands before forming the Cardigans in 1992 with guitarist Peter Svensson in

Jönköping, Sweden.

The two met playing in a hardcore group, but grew tired of metal. They decided to form a

pop band and recruited their art-school friend, novice vocalist Nina Persson, as lead

singer. Keyboardist Lars-Olof Johansson and drummer Bengt Lagerberg rounded out

the lineup.

The band recorded a demo in 1993 that came to the attention of producer Tore

Johansson, who asked the Cardigans to record at his studio. The Cardigans released

their debut LP, Emmerdale (1994), on Stockholm Records. The single "Rise &

Shine" became a hit on Swedish radio, and the album was voted best of the year by

readers of Sweden's Slitz magazine.

The Cardigans then toured around Europe to increase their exposure. The group's

second LP, 1995's Life, showcased the sound that made the band famous

outside of Sweden: upbeat pop distinguished by Persson's sunny vocals. The album

featured a few reworked versions of tunes from the band's debut and a cover of Black

Sabbath's "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath." It sold over a million copies worldwide and went

platinum in Japan, but wasn't issued in the U.S. until 1996, on Minty Fresh Records. The

Cardigans soon did a few U.S. gigs and garnered a major-label contract with Mercury.

Although 1996's First Band on the Moon stressed more abstract songs than the

band's earlier pop confections, the catchy "Lovefool" (RealAudio excerpt)

became a radio favorite and helped the LP reach gold status in the U.S.

Late last year, the Cardigans delivered Gran Turismo, including the single

HREF="http://media.addict.com/atn-bin/get-

music/Cardigans,_The/My_Favorite_Game.ram">"My Favourite Game"

(RealAudio excerpt). The album featured melancholy trip-hop sounds and dark songs

such as "Paralyzed."

Svensson said of the LP: "We wanted to make an album that was more modern in a way

... which is why this album has more in common with our first album [Emmerdale],

because the lyrics on that one are horrible -- really dark -- and the whole atmosphere is

pretty dark, even if it's a soft, cute album on the surface."

In February, the Cardigans were big winners at the Swedish Grammis Awards, where

they won in three categories: Rock-Pop Act of the Year, Album of the Year (Gran

Turismo) and Composer of the Year (Svensson). Tore Johansson, who produced

Gran Turismo, was also named Producer of the Year.

There is no word as to when Sveningsson will return to the group, which is currently

touring with a temporary bassist.

Other birthdays: Dave Hill (Slade), 47; Craig Adams (ex-Sisters of Mercy), 37; Mike Starr

(ex-Alice in Chains), 33; Major Lance, 1941-1994; and Berry Oakley (Allman Brothers

Band), 1948-1972.