Filmed: 26 October 1963
Location: Karlaplansstudion, Stockholm, Sweden
Broadcast: Saturday 26 October 1963, 20:00-20:30, SVT, Sweden
Release status: Unreleased
Shown in: Sweden
Plats på scen = On Stage
In 1963, Björn's mother Aina entered his group, The West Bay Singers, into an amateur national talent contest - Plats på scen. The invitation requested they attend an audition on Friday 13 September at 19:30 in Norrköping. It requested that they be prepared to perform two things if so desired by the jury and that if they needed accompaniment, then they must bring piano sheet music with them.
(This talent contest, arranged by Sveriges Radio, had gone through a couple of semi-finals on the radio before this semi-final, which was the first to be broadcast on TV. One of the other entrants in the first radio audition on Friday 13 September in Norrköping was a certain Anni-Frid Lyngstad who got through to the next round on 30 September (on the radio), but no further, together with The West Bay Singers. Apparently, neither Björn, Tonny Roth or Frida remember each other from that day. This newspaper article mentions both Björn and Frida. [TRANSLATION OF NEWSPAPER ARTICLE: NORRKOPING (Expressen). Can't any kind person stop all the squeamish family singers before they hit outsiders!
That's what people thought at Sveriges Radio's talent hunt, which began in Norrköping on Friday. But then the occasional top number appeared such as e.g. the boy quartet from Västervik with Björn Ulvaeus in the lead and then they abandoned the interludes.
In the waiting room outside the baptism of fire studio, nervous amateurs tried to console each other.
- Count the relatives and you calm your nerves, said Marianne Lundgren from Bromma to a fellow sister, but got the answer:
- Doesn't work, I don't have a single cousin.
In the meantime, production manager Hasse Tellemar from Sveriges Radio in Stockholm and his assistants had a sweaty job listening to and watching the 153 artists who had lined up. It took more than 13 hours before they were all completed. Then the jury work continued with selecting the best six to be presented to the radio audience in a separate program as early as Sept. 30.
Practically speaking, all kinds of singing and music and also monologues and recitations were presented before the Norrköping jury.
Anita Nilsson, 21, everyday housewife at Brända tomten in Stockholm, had traveled down to Norrköping solely to show off her acrobatic skills. But the jury was cold-hearted. It didn't even help that she was showing the garters.
Apart from Annifrid Lyngstad, Eskilstuna, the Norrköping girls Ulla-Bi Ehnström and Gunilla Höjer, the quartet The West Bay Singers from Västervik with Björn Ulvaeus as leader, the glunt singers Bengt-Olof Engström and Lennart Olsson, Norrköping, and the accordion trio da Mundo, also from Norrköping and with Jörgen Carlsson as the leading man. All are heard as mentioned on the radio 30 Sep. The best two also get to participate in a TV program on Oct. 26.
Before that, the talent hunt has moved on to another eight districts. Already tomorrow, Sunday, it's time for Orebro. Sister "hunting day" will be in Växjö on Sept. 27. Hasse Tellemar is constantly holding the strings.]).
The competition attracted the attention of Bengt Bernhag and Stig Anderson from the recently-formed record company Polar Music and The West Bay Singers were asked to send them a demo tape. Shortly afterwards The West Bay Singers signed with Polar.
Bengt and Stig were actually interested in a group who sang in Swedish, so they persuaded the group to enter the contest with a Swedish song. According to Bengt and Stig this would be an advantage as most acts at the time sang in English. They also persuaded the group to change their name to The Hootenanny Singers.
The Hootenanny Singers performed Jag vänter vid min mila. The group and Birgitta Holmner were the acts that were voted to go on from this group of semi-finalists. In two further semi-finals, held in November and December, the other acts for the finals (to be held in January 1964) were to be selected.
The Hootenanny Singers were proclaimed joint winners in the final of Plats på scen in January 1964. Jag väntar vid min mila became their début single and the first hit for both the group and for Polar Music.
This programme no longer exists in the SVT archives.
Click here for a TV listing from Halden Arbeiderblad - 26 November 1963, p.5
This was Björn's first TV appearance.
Next: Plats på scen (Björn) - 1964
Jag väntar vid min mila
Jag väntar vid min mila medan timmarna lida