Tag Archives: Jerry Williams

He rocked on the left

And now he’s left us. Jerry Williams was – if not one of a kind – then definitely one of few. He might not have been Sweden’s answer to Elvis. Jerry – really Erik Fernström – who died on Sunday at the age of 75, rocked. But perhaps not that way. He was cooler. He was more your leather jacket and motorbike kind of man.

We have had a few of those. What made Jerry stand out was his political convictions, starting out as a communist, and remaining a communist all his life. Some people forget where they came from, once success finds them. From what I hear, Jerry stayed true and relatively unspoilt all his life.

Jerry Williams, Varberg

I only saw him in concert once, about twelve years ago, when he came to Societetsparken in Varberg. He was as great as I’d expected him to be, the children liked him, and everyone else I spoke to seemed to be big fans. Usually when you chat to people, you find some who don’t share your taste. Young and old, they all loved him.

He can jive

Jerry Williams, Allsång på Skansen

I almost choked on whatever I was having when I saw that Jerry Williams was going to appear in Allsång på Skansen. It’s not what you expect a cool – albeit somewhat old – rocker to be doing.

But luckily Jerry just did a couple of his normal songs. None of this going round the audience and putting his arm around them and singing with all and sundry. Thank god! Arne Weise was in the audience too, and it’s unimaginable to have the two of them singing together.

Bad enough that Jerry had ditched the denim jacket for a jolly yellow affair. He’s not growing up, is he?

And I apologise for having moved on from photographing the newspaper, to doing the television instead. It won’t become a habit. It was just that yellow jacket. It got to me.


Or how to get your ös mixed up with your øs. ‘There is a difference?’ I hear you say.

Yupp. And it’s only those of us who understand this, who can play with words and those cute funny letters some languages insist on. The above ‘word’ is most likely not the brainchild of the writer of the article in the Guardian on Friday. Conor Creighton seems pretty normal, and I’m very pleased that he has written about the phenomenon of Raggare, because I’ve often wondered what, if anything, you foreigners know about them. Not much, I gather. But that’s OK.

So if you want to know, click on the link and save me any explaining. The online version even comes without that abomination of a headline that I have used up above. So the ø versus ö can be blamed on some sub-editor or other. Listen carefully; if it’s all about Sweden – and this is – don’t go putting in a Danish letter.

Societetsparken, Varberg

Raggare used to be something you scared little children and old ladies with when I was a little child. But they have long been quite respectable, and every summer when we go to Varberg, which is my summer paradise from long ago, we enjoy the sight of all those gas guzzlers driving round and round. (It should be petrol guzzlers, but gas sounds better here, don’t you think?) Those lovely pale blue or pale yellow, or even bright red, enormous monstrosities of cars that belong in American Graffiti.

But it’s really the music which belongs here, not the cars, lovely though they are. From Conor’s article I guess the best description is rock’n’roll, although I’m not sure it really is any longer. OK, all the old music is/was rock’n’roll, but there is new music, too. I have a CD called Raggarklassiker, which translates as Raggare Classics. So I would call it Raggare music.

Jerry Williams, Varberg

There are many musicians of that ilk in Sweden, but the big name is Jerry Williams, who of course is not actually called that. But in the olden days you couldn’t have a boring Swedish name. He has been doing what he does for almost as long as dear Cliff Richards. We saw him live in Varberg (where else?) a few years ago, when I decided Offspring could no longer live in ignorance. He still fills concert venues, even if a large park may be hard to completely fill. And he is good. Very good.

Apologies for the choreographed saxophone players. And obviously the audience should all stand up. You take all this and mix it with a large American car, and maybe a funny hairdo. And there you are!

(Photos I Giles and H Giles)