Teddybears STHLM spent most of the '90s being a misguided publicity success. The videos got attention and members from the group appeared regularly on TV, but the albums didn't sell. So in 2000 they took one big step into the mainstream and scored a big success with Rock 'n' Roll Highschool. Singer Patrik Arve formed the group as a hardcore trio in 1991 together with the brothers Joakim Åhlund and Klas Åhlund. Soon drummer Olsson joined and in 1993 they released their debut, You Are Teddybears. The album did not get much attention but the single "Step on It" became a minor hit. It took three years to release the follow-up, I Can't Believe It's Teddybears STHLM, this time produced by Christian Falk. By now the band had managed to get their name well known through videos and by participating in a few hip TV shows, but this album did not sell much either. In 1997 Reprise showed interest in making an album with Teddybears STHLM for the American market, but after recording a dozen songs the project was canceled, and in the late '90s the bandmembers were busy in other projects. The Åhlunds played with Caesars Palace, and Joakim also worked for TV and made music videos. The last album by Teddybears STHLM had still been hardcore, but electronic elements had started to influence the band, something that became obvious with the release of the single "Ahead of My Time" in 1999. This was an unusual mix of heavy distorted guitars and dub reggae beats, and immediately became a hit. Daddy Boastin', who had previously worked with the Latin Kings, toasted on the single. The album that was expected to follow the single was not released until the summer 2000, but when it came it was a huge success. Rock 'n' Roll Highschool used some of the material recorded in 1997, and the electronic influences had bloomed, with Casio riffs, loops, and processed voices. A number of artists made guest appearances on the record, like Thomas Rusiak, Elephant Man, and Harry Toddler, and gone were the hardcore guitars and the shouting in the refrains; catchy melodies and high media exposure made sure the record was one of the best-selling of the year. And that in turn granted the band no less than four Swedish Grammy Awards. ~ Lars Lovén
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