1987 was the year in which Army Of Lovers were founded, 1996 the year that they deceased. That's nine years of existence, and even when the line-up changed now and than, they never forgot their roots. It all started when Alexander Bard met the longhaired Jean Pierre Barda at a fashion defilť. Alexander took care of the music and Jean-Pierre was responsible for the choreography. They were brought together by one of the models: La Camilla (Henemark). Those days, Jean-Pierre was active in the gay-cabaret, and Alexander had a solo-project called Barbie where he played a transvestite. Could it be more gay? Nevertheless they decided to add a woman to the line-up: "Adding a woman, we're taking the rough side away" said Alexander. The choice of which woman wasn't a difficult one to make: La Camilla. Army Of Lovers were born, but not under that name. For some reason they decided to use Alexanders soloproject as a start. The name Barbie changed into Barbie & Friends. Jean-Pierre got the name Faruk and La Camilla was now known as Katanga. Luckily this was only a stage, and I even don't think that they released a single under the name Barbie & Friends. Although it seemed to be a good idea (the name Barbie was already a fact in the Swedish music business, that was a big advantage), the name was just not international enough. After they decided to use Army Of Lovers as the bandtitle, they adapted the songs written for Barbie. The most known example is 'Barbie goes around the world'. We all know that song under the title 'My Army Of Lovers'.
Jean-Pierre Barda La Camilla Alexander Bard
Their first release was 'When the night is cold' in 1988. The B-side of that single was 'Shoot that laserbeam'. After that they released 'Love me like a loaded gun', followed by 'Baby's got a neutron bomb'. It was in 1990 that they went international with the album 'Disco Extravaganza', and it wasn't even their choice. Their record company decided to release the album in the States without even telling them. In the US it appeared under the name 'Army Of Lovers'. It wasn't a success, although the albumtrack 'Viva la vogue' was used in the movie 'Don't tell mom but the babysitter is death' featuring Christina Applegate and the, than unknown, David Duchovny. The worldsuccess of Army Of Lovers was postponed by a year. Army Of Lovers had one big advantage: they all had a successful career, and therefore they weren't in a sink or swim situation. Most songs of the album were written by Alexander Bard, Magnus Frykberg and Emil Hellman, but for their next album Alexander used the skill of Anders Wollbeck. On the question 'Why Anders?' Alexander answered: "All the others were musicians, but Anders was an engineer. And he loved Chic". From that day on Anders became a member of the Army Of Lovers-family. As a family they worked on their next album called 'Massive Luxury Overdose', and with La Camilla on the cover of the English 'IQ-Magazine', they were finally ready to conquer the world. And they did: 'Crucified' became a major success all over the world. Army Of Lovers became Sweden's most important export and blew Roxette with a simple sigh of their thrown. Army Of Lovers got excellent feed-back from the press, but the people were too narrow minded to admit that they liked Army Of Lovers. A lot of people were shocked by their provocative videoclip and than the bad critics also came up: "Freaks who are trying to get the attention by wearing funny outfits. They even't perform live!". And granted: they didn't perform live. Army Of Lovers thought it would be better to put more in their visual aspect than constantly thinking: 'Is the microphone close enough?'. There were a lot of other bands who did that already, and it was time for a change. ("We do Army Of Lovers cause no-one else does") It brought a lot of advantages for Army Of Lovers. The two most important ones: they were able to act on stage with all kind of attributes (e.g. a bathtub, a make-up table, etc.); Army Of Lovers had an own choir behind them, The Army Tabernacle Choir, and that made the choruses a lust for the ear.
Just after the release of 'Crucified' and 'Obsession', the line-up of Army Of Lovers changed. The departure of La Camilla was, according to the official gossip, due the lack of time. Like I have said earlier, each member of the Army Of Lovers had already a career, and La Camilla couldn't combine Army Of Lovers with her modelling career and her popular dancing 'La Camilla' anymore. Although La Camilla would stay on the background, but honestly, she only kept that up for one single. A replacement or better: a new member, was found in MichaŽla Dornonville de la Cour. The unofficial gossip about La Camilla's departure wasn't that nice: La Camilla would have left the Army Of Lovers, because MichaŽla was joining them. Than again, in an German television interview La Camilla answered clearly on the question why she departed: "They kicked me out without giving me any reasons, they were really bad for me", and than she performed 'Everytime you lie'. MichaŽla wasn't a difficult choice. She was a friend of Army Of Lovers, she worked for Camilla Thulin's modeling agency and was already asked, during an American promo-tour, to join the band and was more than willing. Army Of Lovers always played with the idea to make a quartet on stage, with their own blond female, like Abba. The reasons why it took so long was because MichaŽla lived in New York.
Jean-Pierre Michaëla Dornonville De La Cour Alexander
Now, with their new line-up, a reshoot of the video-clip of 'Obsession' was necessary, and the US-version of Massive Luxury Overdose (with some new material) got released. 'Obsession' was a hit, but not as big as 'Crucified'. Also, it didn't have a cheerful chorus where you could hear the power of The Army Tabernacle Choir in. So rumours about Army Of Lovers being onedaytimers were rising. And those rumours were even reinforced with their next single 'Ride the bullet', which got a lower chartlisting than 'Obsession'. The two next releases, 'Candyman Messiah' and 'Judgment Day' were even not listed in the most charts. The year 1992 was a calm year, and a lot of people were giving up hope about hearing from them again. Around May 1993 they came back, and with a bang: their third album 'The Gods Of Earth And Heaven' got released, together with a new single and member. Army Of Lovers were from now on a quartet. The new member, Dominika Peczynski, fitted exactly in the Army Of Lovers image. Army Of Lovers first on stage performance as a quartet was in 1992, but for MTV-viewers only. I specifically say viewers, and not listeners, because they performed an Abba-cover: 'Hasta MaŮana', which was never released as a single. The forerunner of their third album was 'Israelism' and took once again all attention to Army Of Lovers. The chorus, reinforced with The Army Tabernacle Choir, was a popversion of the jewish song 'Shalom Alechem'. Army Of Lovers wanted to praise the jewish culture (by the way: Dominika and Jean-Pierre are jewish, MichaŽla is Catholic and Alexander is a zoroastrian). Alexander's reaction of the song was: "By praising the jewish culture you make neo-nazi's a lot angrier than saying: racism is wrong". The critics were good, but history was repeating itself. Meaning: the videoclip caused a controverse with an exile on MTV as a consequence. Army Of Lovers were banned from the screen. The official news report from MTV sounded as the following: "...because a couple of our employees had serious doubts about the context in which the song and the clip are placed. Nevertheless reports from the band, personal conversations with them and the fact that we are getting positive reactions from our jewish relations and from Israel, we are from opinion that the clip isn't suitable for broadcasting on our channel". Army Of Lovers reacted with an own press-conference: "The song is a celebration of the jewish culture and it's history. We put five traditional songs into an up-to-date arrangement. 'Israelism' is only meant as a praise for all young jewish people". Anyway, 'Israelism' became a big success, but without the help of MTV it didn't had the chance to become a huge success. And with banning Army Of Lovers from the screen, they actually, in my opinion, signed the deathsentence of them. Those days MTV was the only music-channel, and they had a big influence in the charts. I don't know if it was already planned or not, but 1993 was the release of their only video-compilation called 'Videovaganza 1990-1993'. It is nowadays one of the most desired items of a collection.
Alexander Dominika Michaëla Jean-Pierre
After 'Israelism' came the summerhit 'La plage de Saint-Tropez'. A light and cheerful song, and the press says it was one of their best singles. Even China went crazy when Army Of Lovers sang about their holiday-adventures. The third, and final release from the album was 'I am'. It never made it to the charts in Belgium, and I honestly don't know how it performed in the other countries. It was more of an internal joke than a serious single. Lyrics as "I am a recordlabel scam", wasn't the message people were waiting on. 'The Gods Of Earth And Heaven' had singles which got good critics, the album on itself however, didn't. There are two albumtracks on it which deserve some more attention. The first one is 'The day the gods help us all', and is dedicated to Danny Keaton. With this song Army Of Lovers proofed to have more talent than only writing a simple popmelody. It was one of the critics Army Of Lovers had to deal with. The other one was still the fact they didn't perform live. Army Of Lovers wanted to show everyone they could record a song in one take, in stead of pasting pieces of lyrics to one. 'Sons of Lucy' was born, and the videoclip was available on the videocompilation. If you ever have the chance, and you never did, you definitely have to read it's info in the booklet.
In 1994 their fourth album 'Glory, Glamour and Gold' got released. The critics were superb, the press said that this album is Army Of Lovers on their best. 'Lit de parade' was the first release and had everything to become a major hit. Even the clip is a masterpiece. But it never came to that, unfortunately, it was only an airplayhit. And I blame MTV for that. 'Lit de parade' was the first and only collaboration with an other Swedish band: Big Money. If you never heard about them, don't worry, you're not alone. They never made it big. 1994 wasn't only the year of the release of their best album, it was also the year Army Of Lovers performed a musical, 'The Gods Of Earth And Heaven' in Russia. It was a huge success, 300 000 people were there, but strangely enough no videomaterial was recorded.
There isn't a lot to say about the next two years. After 'Lit de parade' came 'Sexual Revolution', but sadly, it went the same way as 'Lit de parade'. The sales weren't great, and it was even getting very difficult to find a single of them in your local recordshop. Army Of Lovers even didn't bother to make a videoclip for their last single 'Life is fantastic'. But all this wasn't the end of Army Of Lovers yet. In 1995 they released one of their best singles 'Give my life' together with the announcement that Army Of Lovers went back to the original line-up: MichaŽla was on her turn replaced by La Camilla. Alexander's reason about this: "There was no future, MichaŽla wanted to give Army Of Lovers a softer edge. It certainly wasn't a bad idea, but it didn't fit in our image. We like to party and drink a lot and that doesn't make us a rolemodel for a healthier life. And because Camilla was free, we took her back in the line-up of Army Of Lovers".
Alexander Dominika La Camilla Jean-Pierre
Their next album 'Les Greatest hits' was also their last. Army Of Lovers released after 'Give my life' 'Venus and Mars', and started with a tour to say goodbye. 'Les Greatest Hits' got a second release in 1996 for the UK and included their ultimate last single 'King Midas', which was co-written with Joker (from Ace Of Base). In September came the official announcement that Army Of Lovers split up. Alexander said: "I was bored and couldn't think about anything for Army Of Lovers what we haven't done. There was no more energy left". Army Of Lovers have deceased and the four bandmembers went their own way.
Army Of Lovers were brilliant people, but like most geniuses in this world, they were not understood nor accepted by the majority of people. Army Of Lovers went the same destiny as e.g. Vincent van Gogh: excellent artists, but only appreciated after their death. It's a shame...
Maybe in this millenium.