The Hives Celebrate 50 Years of Sweden’s Global Music Success With Spotify Singles Cover

On April 6, 1974, the Swedish pop quartet ABBA won the Eurovision Song Contest with “Waterloo,” a victory that would propel them to dazzling international fame. Meanwhile, across the Atlantic Ocean, Björn Skifs and Blue Swede’s “Hooked on a Feeling” had just become the first single by a Swedish artist to reach the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the U.S.

As it turns out, that was just the beginning. Today, half a decade later, Sweden is one of the world’s biggest music exporters. To commemorate the outset of the country’s remarkable global success in music, Spotify invited the Swedish rock quintet The Hives to our Stockholm studio to record a Spotify Singles cover of “Hooked on a Feeling,” out now:

Known for their legendary live performances and strict black-and-white dress code, The Hives have been making heavy garage music for more than three decades. As one of the most-streamed Swedish rock bands globally, they’re thrilled to be carrying the storied song into its next chapter.

“I think there’s a synergy effect of Swedish music having made it abroad, and you feel like it’s possible. We can’t make it more perfect than the original is, so we went the other way instead: ruined it but made it sound exciting,” quipped front man Pelle Almqvist.

“Since the iconic year of 1974, when ABBA won the Eurovision Song Contest, music from Swedish creators has continued to influence beyond its borders,” said Sophia Olofsson, Music Program Lead at Spotify. “We hear a lot about the Swedish pop wonder, but rock and metal are also two impactful genres for listeners around the world. With this Spotify Singles release, we wanted to celebrate the anniversary of the export of Swedish music while also paying homage to Sweden’s rock talents.”

The original “Hooked on a Feeling” was written by Mark James and performed by American singer B.J. Thomas in 1968. In 1973, Björn Skifs and his Blue Swede band recorded their version, which retained the “ooga-chaka” introduction from an earlier cover by English singer-songwriter Jonathan King.

To date, Blue Swede’s version of the song has racked up more than 670 million streams on Spotify globally. It has continued to gain traction over the years, having been featured in movies like Reservoir Dogs and Guardians of the Galaxy.

A spotlight on Swedish rock

Sweden might be best known for its pop music, but Spotify data shows that rock is also driving the country’s music exports. On our platform, the love for Swedish rock stretches near and far. In the past five years, streams of rock music by Swedish acts have increased by 90% globally, with France, Italy, Mexico, and Australia being the biggest consumers. Over 40% of the consumption comes from listeners aged 18-29.

Stream The Hives’ “Hooked on a Feeling” now, then dive into our Made in Sweden playlist to explore more tracks from Swedish artists.