Dansband ("Dance band") is a term in Swedish which describes bands playing a kind of popular music, dansbandsmusik ("Dance band music"). Dansbandsmusik is often danced to in pairs. Jitterbug and foxtrot music are often included in this category. The music is primarily inspired by swing, schlager, country, jazz, and rock. The main influence for the rock oriented bands is rock music of the kind that was popular during the 1950s and 1960s.
The terms "dansband" and "dansbandsmusik" were coined around 1970, when the music developed into a style of its own in Swedish popular music. The music has developed primarily in Sweden, but has spread to neighbouring countries Denmark, Finland and Norway. When the music came to Norway it was first called "Svensktoppar" (from the Swedish radio music chart Svensktoppen, which was a major arena for dansband music before the its rules were changed in January 2003).
The main audience for dansband music nowadays (2008) is middle aged adults. The music is often performed live by the bands at venues where the main interest of the audience is to dance, rather than to watch the performance on stage. However, albums and singles are also recorded.
The "golden era" of dansband music was the 1970s, with bands like Thorleifs, Flamingokvintetten, Ingmar Nordströms, Wizex and Matz Bladhs. At most in Sweden, there were around 800 full-time working "dansbands", in the late 1990s this number was down to around 500.
In 1987, the song "Fyra Bugg & en Coca Cola" (re-named "Boogaloo" because of commercial controversy about the lyrics), performed by Swedish dansband singer Lotta Engberg, won the Swedish Melodifestivalen 1987 and finished 12th in the Eurovision Song Contest 1987. By the late 1980s and early 1990s, Lotta Engberg gained poularity in the Nordic region with a sound including several catchy and joyful melodies as the lead singer in Lotta & Anders Engbergs Orkester.
In 1993, the song "Eloise", performed by Swedish dansband Arvingarna, won the Swedish Melodifestivalen 1993 and finished 7th in the Eurovision Song Contest 1993. Arvingarna had a more pop and rock-oriented dansband sound, and gained popularity among many teenagers.
In 1999, Wizex singer Charlotte Nilsson performed the song "Tusen och en natt", with lyrics in English known as "Take Me to Your Heaven", winning both the Swedish Melodifestivalen 1999 and the Eurovision Song Contest 1999.
During the late 1990s and early 2000s, Swedish dansband Vikingarna toured Germany and recorded albums in the German language. Vikingarna was one of the more popular dansbands in Sweden before being disbanded in 2004.
After substantial decreased dansband music in radio and television in Sweden during the early 2000s, while the popularity remained, the dansbands declared themselves being discriminated in August 2007, since Sveriges Radio speaks for playing many different music genres, especially if the songs are written or performed by Swedes. The dansbands reported Sveriges Radio to Granskningsnämnden för radio och TV in the so called "dansbandsupproret" ("dansband rebellion"), which was given a lot attention by mass mediums. However, Granskningsnämnden för radio och TV decided some days later not to take up the matter.