March 16, 2008 – Ola Brunkert (Swedish session drummer for Abba) was born in Örebro, Sweden on 15 September 1946. He began his musical career as a jazz drummer. His first professional job was with the Slim’s Blues Gang, before joining the pop group Science Poption in the mid ’60s. He then formed the jazz-rock combo Opus III with the guitarist Janne Schaffer and by 1970 had become one of the most sought after session drummers in Stockholm. His first session with Abba was on their first single, “People Need Love,” in 1972.
He was not among the four members of ABBA whose faces adorned the album covers — Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad—but was a key supporting musician for the group as it achieved stardom. Brunkert played on the group’s first single “People Need Love”, their Eurovision hit “Waterloo”, and consistently on a great many of their recordings throughout the 1970s. ABBA promised that ‘one day we’re gonna let you hear him sing’ in the liner notes for the album Arrival in 1976. His last recording session with the group was in October 1981, recording their hit single “One of Us”.
He appeared on stage with ABBA at the Eurovision Song Contest 1974 and played with them on their concert tours of Europe and Australia in 1977, North America and Europe in 1979 and Japan in 1980.
As reported in The Times of 18 March 2008, he bought a property in the Betlem housing complex in Artà, on the island of Majorca, Spain in the 1980s and lived there for the remainder of his life. It was at his home that he died, less than a year after the death of his wife, Inger, in 2007.
Brunkert died after an accidental fall at the age of 61. He was found in his garden with cuts on his neck, causing initial suspicion as to the cause of his death. In fact, Brunkert had hit his head against a glass door in his dining room, shattering the glass and cutting himself in the neck. He had managed to wrap a towel around his neck and leave the house to seek help, but collapsed in the garden.
He died on March 16, 2008 at age 61.