Alice Babs

Alice Babs (born Hildur Alice Nilson; 26 January 1924 – 11 February 2014) was a Swedish singer and actress.[1] She worked in a wide number of genres – Swedish folklore, Elizabethan songs and opera. While she was best known internationally as a jazz singer, Babs also competed as Sweden's first annual competition entrant in the Eurovision Song Contest 1958. In 1972 she was named Sweden's Royal Court Singer, the first non-opera singer as such.

Alice Babs
Alice Babs, c. 1940
Background information
Birth nameHildur Alice Nilson
Born(1924-01-26)26 January 1924
Västervik, Sweden
Died11 February 2014(2014-02-11) (aged 90)
Stockholm, Sweden
Years active1939-2004
Associated actsNils Lindberg
Duke Ellington
Bengt Hallberg
Charlie Norman

Early career

After making her breakthrough in the film Swing it magistern ('Swing It, Teacher!', 1940),[2] she appeared in more than a dozen Swedish-language films. Despite being cast as the well-behaved, good-hearted, cheerful girl, the youth culture forming with Babs as its icon caused outrage among members of the older generation. A vicar called the Babs cult the "foot and mouth disease of cultural life".[3]

Later life and career

A long and productive period of collaboration with Duke Ellington began in 1963.[2] Among other works, Babs participated in performances of Ellington's second and third Sacred Concerts which he had written originally for her. Her voice had a range of more than three octaves; Ellington said that when she was not available to sing the parts that he had written for her, he had to use three different singers.[4]

In 1963, her recording of "After You've Gone" (Fontana) reached No. 29 in the British New Musical Press-chart.[5]

In 1972 she contributed to the recording of Auntie, a Dutch song commemorating the start of British Broadcasting Corporation's broadcasts 50 years before. The song however failed to chart in the United Kingdom itself.


In 1943 Babs married Nils Ivar Sjöblom (1919–2011). Their three children are Lilleba Sjöblom Lagerbäck (born 1945), Lars-Ivar (Lasse) Sjöblom (born 1948), and Titti Sjöblom (born 1949).[6][7]

Between 1973–2004 Babs and her husband resided in Costa del Sol (in Spain), while still working in Sweden and internationally. In their later years, they returned to Sweden.


Babs died of complications from Alzheimer's disease at age 90 on 11 February 2014 in Stockholm.[4][6][7][8]



Alice Babs' discography includes more than 800 recordings since her debut with Joddlarflickan in 1939. The following is a list of her recordings available on CD, listed chronologically from when they were originally recorded.

  • Vax Records CD 1003 Alice Babs & Nisse Linds Hot-trio, originally recorded: 1939–41
  • Naxos 8.120759 Swingflickan, originally recorded: 1939–44
  • Vax Records CD 1000 Early recordings 1939–1949
  • Klara skivan KLA 7802-2 Joddlarflickan (2 CDs), originally recorded: 1939–51
  • Phontastic PHONTCD 9302 Swing it! Alice Babs!, originally recorded: 1939–53
  • Sonora 548493-2 Swing it, Alice! (2 CDs), originally recorded: 1939–63
  • Sonora 529315-2 Ett glatt humör, originally recorded: 1940–42
  • Odeon 7C138-35971/2 Alice Babs, originally recorded: 1942–1947
  • Metronome 8573-84676-2 Guldkorn, originally recorded: 1951–58
  • Metronome 4509-93189-2 Metronomeåren, originally recorded: 1951–58
  • Metronome 5050467-1616-2-7 Alice Babs bästa (2 CDs), originally recorded: 1951–61
  • Bear Family BCD 15809-AH Mitsommernacht, originally recorded: 1953–59
  • Bear Family BCD 15814-AH Lollipop, originally recorded: 1953–59
  • EMI 7243-5-96148-2-3 Diamanter (2 CDs), originally recorded: 1958–60
  • EMI 7243-5-20153-2-0 Just you, just me, originally recorded: 1958–72
  • Pickwick 751146 Regntunga skyar, originally recorded: 1958–72
  • Metronome 4509-95438-2 Swe-Danes Scandinavian Shuffle, originally recorded: 1959
  • RCA 74321-12719-2 Alice and Wonderband, originally recorded: 1959
  • Real Gone Music RGM-0496 Serenade to Sweden, Alice Babs and Duke Ellington, originally recorded: 1963
  • Swedish Society Discofil SWECD 401 Sjung med oss mamma (Alice Tegnér), originally recorded: 1963
  • Swedish Society Discofil SWECD 400 Alice Babs, originally recorded: 1964
  • Swedish Society Discofil SWECD 402 Scandinavian songs (Svend Asmussen) originally recorded: 1964
  • Prophone PCD 050 Yesterday, originally recorded: 1966–75
  • Vax Records VAXCD 1006 "Illusion" (with Jan Johansson and Georg Riedels orchestra) Originally recorded 1966
  • Vax Records CD 1008 "As time goes by" Alice Babs with Bengt Hallbergs trio and Arne Domnérus Big Band with Svend Asmussen. Originally recorded 1960–1969
  • EMI 7243 5398942 2 Den olydiga ballongen/Hej du måne, originally recorded: 1968–76
  • Prophone PCD 045 What a joy!, originally recorded: 1972–80
  • Bluebell ABCD 052 There's something about me, originally recorded: 1973–78
  • Prophone PCD 021 Serenading Duke Ellington, originally recorded: 1974–75
  • Swedish Society Discofil SCD 3003 Om sommaren sköna – Sjunger Alice Tegnér, originally recorded: 1974
  • Bluebell ABCD 005 Far away star, originally recorded: 1977
  • RCA Victor 74321-62363-2 Swingtime again, originally recorded: 1998
  • Sony SK 61797 A church blues for Alice, originally recorded: 1999
  • Four Leaf Clover Records FLCDVD 8001 Swingtime Again with Charlie Norman recorded 1999
  • Prophone PCD 062 Don't be blue, originally recorded: 2001
  • Vax Records Vi Minns Alice Babs released: 2014[4]


  1. Cook, Richard (2005). Richard Cook's Jazz Encyclopedia. London: Penguin Books. p. 27. ISBN 0-141-00646-3.
  2. Yanow, Scott. "Alice Babs: Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 4 June 2011.
  3. Reney, Tom (2014-04-14). "Alice Babs: The Rare Delight Of You". Biography. New England Public Radio - Archived from the original on 2015-10-22. Retrieved 2015-04-06.
  4. Mosey, Chris (2014-09-25). "Alice Babs: Vi Minns Alice Babs (2014)". Musical reviews. All About Jazz. Retrieved 2015-04-06.
  5. Chris Davies. British & American Hit Singles, Batsford.
  6. Keepnews, Peter (2014-02-14). "Alice Babs, Who Sang for Ellington, Dies at 90". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-04-06.
  7. "Swedish singer Alice Babs dies aged 90". 2014-02-11. Archived from the original on 2015-04-19. Retrieved 2015-04-06.
  8. Alice Babs död, Dagens Nyheter 11 February 2014 (in Swedish)
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Debut entry
Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest
Succeeded by
Brita Borg
with "Augustin"
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