Biography All Music GuideWikipedia
Group Members: Kim Larsen
All Music Guide:
Often referred to as Denmark's answer to the Beatles, Danish rock band Gasolin' are widely regarded as the nation's most popular band to date. Established in 1969 by Kim Larsen, Franz Beckerlee, and Wili Jonsson, Gasolin' started with English-language material such as "Silky Sally," "Child of the Institution," and "Johnny the Jackpot," released in 1970. Lacking the success and acceptance they'd hoped for, the bandmembers began recording music in their native language and experienced an immediate turnaround in their popularity. Released in 1971, the band's self-titled debut was very well received. With subsequent records such as Gasolin' 2 and Gasolin' 3, among others, the band quickly became Denmark's best-selling pop group, dominating national radio and playing Denmark's most important venues.
Throughout the '70s, Gasolin' attempted to crack the international market, re-releasing albums in English and playing clubs throughout the U.K. Despite winning an iconic reputation on its home soil, the band's inability to conquer the English-language market caused tension and stress among its members, who ultimately broke up in the early '80s. Frontman Kim Larsen began a successful solo career in 1984 with his debut record, Midt Om Natten, one of Denmark's best-selling albums of all time. Gasolin' collections and compilations began with Supermix in 1980 and have continued all the way up through 2003's Black Box box set and 2009's Masser af Succes. The Gasolin' story was documented in the award-winning film Gasolin'-4-Ever, directed by Anders Ostergaard, whipping up renewed interest in the group's history and music.
Gasolin' was a Danish rock band from Christianshavn in Copenhagen formed by Kim Larsen, Franz Beckerlee and Wili Jønsson in 1969. Their first drummer was the late Bjørn Uglebjerg. He was replaced by Søren Berlev in 1971. At the formation the guitar playing of Franz Beckerlee was inspired by Jimi Hendrix and the singing and lyrics of Larsen was inspired by Bob Dylan, while the rhythm playing of Jønsson and Berlev owed much to The Beatles. However, they would soon develop their own musical style. The pop sensibility of Kim Larsen, the artistic attitude of Franz Beckerlee and the musical competence of Wili Jønsson would prove to be a recipe for success. Gasolin's lyrics were generally written by the entire group, often with the assistance of friend Mogens Mogensen.
In 1970 Gasolin' released their first single "Silky Sally." It was followed by "Child of Institution" and "Johnny The Jackpot." These three singles were sung in English and flopped. Their debut album and all subsequent albums had Danish lyrics and were a success. Although they would occasionally still sing in English, Danish proved to be the language where they could express themselves most eloquently and this was acknowledged by the Danish audience and critics.
From 1972 to 1978, Gasolin' was the most popular rock band in Denmark. With producer Roy Thomas Baker, they released classics such as Gasolin' 3, Gas 5 and Efter endnu en dag. Their albums sound as fresh and innovative now as they did then. In that respect Gasolin' may be considered as the Danish Beatles. Each album was a landmark and like The Beatles, they broke up at the pinnacle of their success. The reasons for the split-up was the failure to break the international market and personal differences.
After the demise, Kim Larsen would go on to become a very successful solo artist. His album from 1983, Midt om Natten, is the best-selling album in Denmark ever. Wili Jønsson and Søren Berlev would go on playing music as session musicians and in various bands. Franz Beckerlee works as an artist, but occasionally he played with Søren Berlev in Christianhavns Bluesband and in 1979 he released No Kiddin.
In 1991, the CD compilation Rabalderstræde Forever became a hit as was the box set from 2003 The Black Box. In 2006, a movie called Gasolin' 4-ever directed by Anders Østergaard became the most popular documentary movie in Denmark ever. Despite this, Gasolin' have always refused to reunite.