Elva kvinnor i ett hus (Eleven Women In One House), released on December 1 1975, was the last full-length solo album in the Swedish language by Swedish pop singer and ABBA member Agnetha Fältskog. The album was recorded in the same period as her bandmate Anni-Frid Lyngstad made her Swedish number one album Frida ensam - and both were recorded between sessions and a very busy promotion schedule for ABBA albums Waterloo and ABBA. Elva Kvinnor I Ett Hus was originally slated for release in 1973 but following Agnetha's pregnancy that year and later the unexpected success with ABBA it was postponed and not released until late 1975.
Fältskog composed all songs herself with lyrics by Swedish writer, journalist and lyricist Bosse Carlgren. The only exception was the Swedish version of the ABBA song "S.O.S." which was written by Benny Andersson, Stig Anderson and Fältskog's husband at the time, Björn Ulvaeus. Fältskog's record company Cupol insisted on including a Swedish version of an ABBA song to increase album sales.
Elva Kvinnor I Ett Hus was first released on CD in 2004 as part of the 1967-1979 - De Första Åren 6 CD boxed set.
The original album design was very different from what was eventually released. Fältskog and Carlgren originally planned to call the album "Tolv kvinnor i ett hus" (Twelve Women In A House) with each song on the album describing twelve different characters, all women, all leading very different lives, but all living in the same house. The package would have included a gatefold sleeve with artwork by Carlgren picturing the twelve fictitious women as well as several photos of Fältskog herself, but due to the success of ABBA the singer had less time to write and record her own songs. At one point it seemed uncertain that the album would ever be finished which lead to the record company cutting the production budget which in turn meant that it was impossible to release it with the lavish gatefold sleeve and accompanying artwork. In the end there were only ten songs written by Fältskog, coupled with the opening track "S.O.S.", a song that neither fit nor was included in the original concept.
The melodies on Elva Kvinnor I Ett Hus are generally seen as more complex and more influenced by contemporary pop and rock than on Fältskog's earlier albums, which had been in the fairly lightweight schlager genre, and Bosse Carlgren's poignant, ironic and humorous lyrics make up small stories in themselves - some even including slightly risqué content. "Och han väntar på mig" describes an adult woman being courted by an eager teenage boy, and the track "Doktorn!", about someone trying to give up smoking, famously includes the line "I've tried candy instead, but I get as fat as a pig." The final track on the album, "Visa I Åttonde Månaden" (Song In The Eighth Month) was however written from a very personal perspective; it was composed during Fältskog's pregnancy with daughter Linda, early in 1973.
Fältskog's vocal performances on Elva Kvinnor I Ett Hus are considered technically superior when compared to her earlier solo output, most likely as a result of the vocal coaching she had started when ABBA began to make a name for themselves. Music critics have also noted that the production values on the album are noticeably higher than on previous efforts.
Promotion and chart success
Agnetha promoted the album with a live performance of "Dom har glömt
" and "Tack för en underbar, vanlig dag" on the Swedish Sommarnöjet
TV show. Even if ABBA already were a number one act in Sweden at this time, and although the album was a considerable critical and commercial success, it failed to reach the Top 10 on the Swedish album charts, peaking at no 11, even with the inclusion of her Swedish version of "SOS". Elva Kvinnor I Ett Hus
however spent a respectable 53 weeks on the charts, and three of the eleven tracks entered the important radio chart Svensktoppen
, with "SOS" becoming another number one for Fältskog. The Swedish language "SOS" single also reached #4 on the singles chart in January of 1976.
English language versions
As mentioned above "SOS" was originally recorded in English by ABBA. So was "Mina ögon", included on the first Björn & Benny, Agnetha & Frida album Ring Ring
in 1973, then called "Disillusion" with lyrics by Björn Ulvaeus, in effect making it the only ABBA recording to be composed by Fältskog. It also makes it one of just two ABBA tracks during their whole career not to be composed by the Andersson/Anderson/Ulvaeus team, the other being a medley of American folk songs, issued as the B-side of 1978 single "Summer Night City
Following the victory with "Waterloo
" in the Eurovision Song Contest
in 1974 Fältskog was approached by the minor British label Embassy who wanted to launch her as a solo artist on the UK market. This resulted in her recording an English language version of "Gulleplutt", "Golliwog", released as a single in the summer of 1974 backed with a version of the 1972 track "Tio Mil Kvar Till Korpilombolo", retitled "Here For Your Love". "Gulleplutt" was subsequently first released in English and in the United Kingdom, some eighteen months before its inclusion on the Elva Kvinnor I Ett Hus
album in Sweden. "Golliwog" passed unnoticed in the UK, the collaboration with Embassy went no further, the single has since become a sought after collector's item, and these two English language rarities were first released on CD in 2004, on the bonus disc of the 1967-1979 - De Första Åren
All tracks: music by Agnetha Fältskog, lyrics by Bosse Carlgren unless otherwise noted
- "SOS" (Andersson/Anderson/Ulvaeus) - 3:24
- "En egen trädgård" (A garden of my own) - 2:35
- "Tack för en underbar, vanlig dag" (Thanks for a wonderful, ordinary day) - 2:39
- "Gulleplutt" (Sweetheart) - 2:56
- "Är du som han?" (Are you like him?) - 2:50
- "Och han väntar på mej" (And he's waiting for me) - 3:03
- "Doktorn!" (Doctor!) - 2:51
- "Mina ögon" (My eyes) - 3:04
- "Dom har glömt" (They have forgotten) - 3:49
- "Var det med dej?" (Was it with you?) - 3:39
- "Visa i åttonde månaden" (Song in the eighth month) - 3:57
- Liner notes, Agnetha Fältskog: De Första Åren - 1967-1979 (2004 box set). Sony Music Entertainment.
- Wille Wendt: Topplistan - The Official Swedish Single & Album Charts, Premium Förlag 1993, ISBN 91-971894-2-1