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The incredible legacy of Denniz Pop and his hit-making protégés

This is Pop, a new series from Netflix, looks at how the Swedish DJ launched band Ace of Base to global success, with his Stockholm studio Cheiron later behind 1990s pop hits for the Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears

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Ace of Base were propelled to international stardom by Stockholm DJ Denniz Pop

Ace of Base were propelled to international stardom by Stockholm DJ Denniz Pop

The late Swedish DJ Denniz Pop

The late Swedish DJ Denniz Pop

One of Denniz Pop’s protégés at Cheiron was Max Sandberg, now known as Max Martin

One of Denniz Pop’s protégés at Cheiron was Max Sandberg, now known as Max Martin

Britney Spears was just 16 when she pitched up at the Cheiron studio to work with Max Martin

Britney Spears was just 16 when she pitched up at the Cheiron studio to work with Max Martin

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Ace of Base were propelled to international stardom by Stockholm DJ Denniz Pop

It was a broken car cassette player that helped change the course of pop history. Stockholm DJ Denniz Pop had been given a demo tape by a new band from Sweden’s second city, Gothenburg, and as it was stuck in the cassette deck he found himself forced to listen to it time and again any time he was driving. The band were Ace of Base and the song was tentatively called All That She Wants.

Pop — real name Dag Krister Volle — initially had little time for the song, but the more he heard it, the more he realised that it contained the germ of something good. He contacted the group — sisters Malin and Jenny Berggren, their brother Jonas and a mutual friend Ulf Ekberg — and invited them to join him in Stockholm so they could put manners on the demo.

The producer approached the task as though he was working on a symphony of great complexity. He wanted every second of the song’s run-time to count and he was meticulous in his efforts to bring out the pop qualities that lurked just beneath the surface.


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