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Articles Home » 1982 Articles » Ledin, Tomas - 1982 The Human Touch
Ledin, Tomas - 1982 The Human Touch

ARTIST: Ledin, Tomas
ALBUM: The Human Touch
LABEL: Polar (Sweden), Polydor (Europe), Epic (UK)
SERIAL: POLS364, 2311-191, EPC25136
YEAR: 1982


LINEUP: Tomas Ledin - vocals, guitar, keyboards * Rutger Gunnarsson - bass * Magnus Persson - bass * Michael Bolyos - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 I Love You * 02 I've Got Something * 03 Never Again (with Agnetha Faltskog) * 04 She's In Love With My Best Friend * 05 Listen To Your Heart * 06 Loving You Is Like Chasing A Dream * 07 Keep It Up * 08 Taken By Surprise * 09 Love Me Like You Used To * 10 In The Middle Of Nowhere


As one of Sweden's greatest homegrown musical talents, Tomas Ledin's reputation hasn't really spread too far outside of Europe even after 40 plus years in the business. Ledin achieved some success in the early 70's, but it wasn't until he gained a lucrative spot as a backing vocalist for ABBA in the late 70's that things began to take off for him. Ledin represented Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1980 and signed with Polar Records, owned by ABBA themselves. Most of Ledin's albums to this point were in his native tongue, but with 'The Human Touch' he took the sensible leap into Americanized AOR and let's face it, who wasn't in 1982? While a teenager Ledin had actually lived in the U.S. as a student, so this may have helped with his vocals, which belie his true nationality on this album. The liaison with ABBA helped Ledin's cause further, as his duet with ABBA's Agnetha Faltskog 'Never Again' was a huge hit throughout Europe.

The Songs
Often Scandinavian AOR can be slightly off-putting by the obvious attempts to sound American in the vocals, which as mentioned doesn't hinder Ledin here. It helps the album sound like your classic U.S. AOR album of the early 80's and clearly Ledin was trying to break the market with this. That said it's hard to compare it to any usual reference points of the time, but opening track 'I Love You' has a definite Donnie Iris tinge to it, especially with the chorus. The racy 'I've Got Something' has a hard rock element in the guitar work, with a persistent hook that elevates it to must-hear levels. This great song was covered by ABBA's Ani-Frid Lyngstad on her 1982 album 'Something's Going On'. The duet 'Never Again' with Faltskog is syrupy MOR fodder, but I can see why it was a smash hit - after all it was an association with a member of pop music's biggest band. Ledin seems at home with upbeat, catchy anthems, 'She's In Love With My Best Friend' and 'Listen To Your Heart' both on the lightweight side of AOR. The driving synthesized beat of 'Loving You Is Like Chasing A Dream' is on the more serious edge of AOR and if the likes of Michael Sembello or Brock Walsh turn your head then this might be what you've been looking for. The obligatory sax work adds to the tension Ledin builds up nicely. 'Keep It Up' is another solid track, the guitar solo meeting the criteria for melodic excellence. 'Taken By Surprise' is Ledin's English version of his song 'Sommaren Ar Kort' and has an acoustic background, perhaps fodder for ABBA themselves. The powerhouse AOR of 'Love Me Like You Used To' is where it's at though, although the distorted synth solo isn't exactly music to the ears. Ledin really hits the spot on this one, with enough AOR heroics to match a Michael Bolton or Stan Bush. The synth-pop style of 'In The Middle Of Nowhere' is a little jarring, relying almost entirely on keyboard effects and stop-start beats, but Ledin convincingly pulls off the late night Romeo persona off with considerable ease.

In Summary
Ledin followed this up with 1983's 'Captured' which for all purposes sounds like another crack at the AOR scene and needs to be tracked down. For Ledin himself his disillusion at not breaking through internationally led to him quitting live gigs and albums in 1984, a shocking move at the time. He returned at the end of the 80's and is still going strong today. One live review I read of Ledin's described him as 'Sweden's Bruce Springsteen'!! I don't know if that's a compliment or not, but it shows his enduring popularity if anything. As far as AOR goes let's be thankful Ledin tried his luck, because 'The Human Touch' is as good as anything you're likely to hear from 1982.

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#1 | kim_hp on July 02 2013 01:33:38
Wow, you guys never ceases to amaze me. Tomas Ledin = AOR? This guy is huge here in Sweden, but I never in a million years would have associated him with our beloved genre. Now I have a creeping feeling I would actually like this if I checked it out...perish the thought! Smile
#2 | gdazegod on July 02 2013 02:16:58
Me too Kim. Perhaps not all of Tomas' discography, but the early 80's efforts might be worth a look and a listen.
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