“Benny Andersson has been in The Hives, how’s that for a headline?”: The Hives Howlin’ Pelle on the time his band joined forces with ABBA

The Hives in 2023, Benny Andersson in 2018
(Image credit: Benny Andersson: Christian Marquardt/Getty Images, The Hives: press photo by Ebru Yildiz)

The past few months have marked a triumphant return for Swedish garage-rockers The Hives, who swaggered back into the limelight with a series of typically boisterous live shows and an excellent new album, The Death Of Randy Fitzsimmons, their first in a decade.

Ahead of the new record’s release in July, frontman Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist spoke to The New Cue and revealed that they once teamed up with a member of another classic Swedish band – the most classic Swedish band. No, not Opeth. No, no, not Autopsy Torment. The other classic Swedish band! No, not Dismember. Not Katatonia. Come on! Ok, we’ll just tell you, this is getting tedious: ABBA.

Almqvist explained that The Hives were performing on a Swedish TV show and ABBA’s Benny Andersson joined them for the performance.

“We did a song for a horror movie called Blood Red Moon and Benny played organ,” the singer recounted. “I think it’s the first time he’s played organ since the 60s - he was in the 60s garage band called the Hep Stars - and I think that was the first time he's played organ since then. That was kind of cool. Benny Andersson has kind of been in The Hives, how’s that for a headline?”

It's a good one, so good that we’ve used it above – cheers Pelle.

Watch the collaboration below:

That’s not where the association between The Hives and Andersson ends, either. Almqvist also revealed that the band partially recorded some of new record The Death Of Randy Fitzsimmons in a studio owned by the ABBA man.

“The two best studios in Stockholm now are owned by Benny Andersson, and one of the heirs to the IKEA empire owns the other one,” he said, mentioning that Andersson had popped into the studio to visit them. “He came in and said, ‘Are there any hits?’. We’re not interested in hits, it’s rock and roll dammit!”

As a bonus, here's Benny Andersson performing with Hep Stars on Swedish TV, covering Vince Taylor's Brand New Cadillac, later more famously covered by The Clash on London Calling

Niall Doherty

Niall Doherty is a writer and editor whose work can be found in Classic Rock, The Guardian, Music Week, FourFourTwo, on Apple Music and more. Formerly the Deputy Editor of Q magazine, he co-runs the music Substack letter The New Cue with fellow former Q colleagues Ted Kessler and Chris Catchpole. He is also Reviews Editor at Record Collector. Over the years, he's interviewed some of the world's biggest stars, including Elton John, Coldplay, Arctic Monkeys, Muse, Pearl Jam, Radiohead, Depeche Mode, Robert Plant and more. Radiohead was only for eight minutes but he still counts it.