Following the formal departure of singer Linn in 2007, the band performed a series of concerts as a trio in Europe and Asia, before Jenny confirmed that she would take indefinite leave from the band on November 30, 2009, going on to pursue a solo career. Jonas and Ulf remain involved in the band, along with two new female vocalists for the new album. The first single "All For You" was released to radio in July 2010.
The Sign is listed among the Top 100 Bestselling Albums of All Time by the RIAA. It was the first debut album to produce three number 1 singles on the Billboard Mainstream Top 40 chart: "All That She Wants", "The Sign" and "Don't Turn Around".
In 1987, following a number of years as part of a new romantic and punk covers band called G Konrad, Jonas Berggren formed a band with two friends, Johnny Lindén and Niklas Tränk for a school project; his sisters Linn and Jenny joined as singers. The new band went through several names: Kalinin Prospect (after an avenue in Moscow); CAD (Computer-Aided Disco); and Tech-Noir (French for black technology, after a nightclub in the film The Terminator). They toured the clubs of Sweden with their new self-written material, techno inspired by the likes of The KLF and Snap!
Johnny left the group in 1989. Niklas made his departure known by failing to appear at a gig at Bältesspännarparken on 6 August 1990; he preferred to attend a Rolling Stones concert on the other side of town. Jonas asked his friend Ulf Ekberg to stand in for Niklas. The new quartet sought a new name to make a fresh start; Linn was reported saying: "No one could pronounce the name of the group and nobody could remember it". They settled on Ace of Base, because they were the "masters of their studio", the basement of a car-repair shop.
However the band continued to struggle to gain any recognition, partly due to the preference of heavy metal over techno in their home town, according to singer Jenny. In 1991 they responded to a newspaper ad by producer John Ballard who was looking for new talent. He was somewhat unsure about their potential, but did pass them on to Klas Lunding at Telegram Records who helped them record an early demo for the song "Wheel of Fortune" in their newly renovated studio. But it did not convince Telegram to sign the band, and other labels in Sweden still showed no sign of interest. In the end, the unfinished demo was sold for a small price to the independent Danish label Mega Records in March 1992. "Wheel of Fortune" was re-recorded and released as a single in Denmark in May but failed to hit the charts. A small-budget music video was shot and directed in a small studio by Viking Nielsson and in September, after two failures, the single finally reached the charts.
International success and Happy Nation (1993–1994)
It was another song that was to help Ace of Base's career take off internationally. After hearing Swedish top 20 hit "Another Mother" by Kayo, the band decided that was exactly the sound they wanted to create. They contacted the song's producer Denniz PoP and sent him a demo of a song called "Mr Ace". Ironically, the tape got stuck in the cassette tape player in his car, so he was forced to listen to it over and over again, which helped him decide to produce the track. The song became "All That She Wants", a dark fusion of dub-reggae with pop which became the band's trademark sound. On release in October 1992, it quickly climbed to #1 on the Danish chart while the previous single was still sitting at #2. Keen to rush out an LP for the Christmas market, Mega Records pressed the band for an album and it was hastily recorded, mixed, and released within a few weeks.
Preceded by a single of the same name, the album, titled Happy Nation was an instant hit in Denmark, and its success prompted interest elsewhere in Europe. A Pan-European license was signed with Metronome/PolyGram (now Universal Music) but they were turned down by the American division. Within a few months, "All That She Wants" had reached number 3 in Sweden and had spent eight weeks at number 1 in Germany.
In May, "All That She Wants" continued to be a hit all around the world and topped the chart for three weeks in the United Kingdom. However, despite Mega Records' hard efforts to secure a distribution deal in the United States the response was always the same: "this band will never work in the States". Eventually, however, Clive Davis, founder of Arista Records, thought otherwise, and by the end of 1993 "All That She Wants" had made its way to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
In order to freshen up the album for US release, Davis insisted that some new tracks were recorded, including "The Sign" which became the new title for the album and the second American single. It was even more successful than the first, spending six weeks at #1 and becoming the best-selling single of 1994. It was also a major hit in Europe, peaking at #2 in the UK and Sweden and doing one better in Germany. PolyGram re-released the album under the name Happy Nation (US Version).
Two more singles were released: "Living in Danger" and "Don't Turn Around", by Diane Warren. The latter was originally recorded by Tina Turner on the b-side of a single she released which went on to become a UK #1 hit for the reggae band Aswad. Davis suggested that the band record the song and it was yet another worldwide hit. By the end of 1994, they were an international commercial success.
After this, Ace of Base disappeared from the limelight for a while, only emerging in July 1997 to perform at a concert to celebrate the 20th birthday of Princess Victoria of Sweden. They were given as much time as they wanted to produce their third album, much of it being recorded in Jonas' own studio "The Barn". When it was finally released in June 1998, the band declared it their best album yet. It was titled Flowers because they believed that the songs, wildly different in style including Motown and gospel influences, resembled a varied bouquet of flowers. Fans were surprised to see that blonde singer Linn had relinquished lead vocal duties to sister Jenny, and on many promotional photos Linn's face was blurred. They were reassured that Linn was happy with her new backing role in the group, and many reasons were given for her decision including her having damaged her voice, fear of flying putting her off from travelling round the world, and her dislike of fame.
Ace of Base reunited to perform their first full-length concert since 1996 in Yekaterinburg, Russia on November 15, 2007. Several other concerts followed mainly in eastern Europe and Denmark. The set list included various songs from their past albums and notably, a brand new remix of their very first single "Wheel of Fortune".
Ulf Ekberg confirmed in an interview on November 28, 2007 that Linn Berggren had officially left the band and that she would not be involved with any future projects. The group had already been performing mostly without Linn as a trio for a decade before her departure. Jenny confirmed Linn's departure to the Danish press: "She hasn't been part of Ace of Base for several years," she stated in Se & Hør magazine.
The band was on world tour and performed at several summer music festivals in 2008 and 2009. The tour reached Scandinavia, some eastern European Countries as well as Singapore and the Dominican Republic. At their show at Rock Under Broen (Middelfart, Denmark) on June 14, 2008, the group performed a new song called "Sparks from a Fire".
Ace of Base released a new Greatest Hits CD/DVD, Greatest Hits, Classic Remixes and Music Videos on November 12, 2008. The 3-disc set includes one CD with the hits, a second CD containing remixes, and a DVD containing all the music videos. Five re-recorded songs were released: "Lucky Love 2009", "Don't Turn Around 2009", "Happy Nation 2009", "The Sign - Freedom Bunch Mix", and "Wheel of Fortune 2009", which was released worldwide on October 24 as a digital single.
Ace Of base was musically influenced by the eurodance genre that was popular in Europe, Oceania and South America in the 1990s. They were also influenced by bands such as Aqua, New Kids on The Block and Roxette.
The Best of Ace of Base
- All The She Wants
- Beautifull Life
- The Sign
- Happy Nation
- Cruel Summer
- Don't Turn Around
- Living in Danger
- Never Gonna Say I'm Sorry
- Lucky Love
- Wheel of Fortune
- Life is a Flower
- Everytime it Rains
- All For You
- My Deja Vu