Inger Berggren won Melodifestivalen (the Swedish national song contest) in 1962 with a song called “Sol och vår”. She then worked as a singer, band leader, music teacher, and actor.
Inger Berggren was born in Stockholm on 23 February 1934. She hailed from a musical background. Her father, Gösta Berggren, was both a violinist and a pianist. He had also worked as a silent-film pianist. Her mother, Hanna, similarly played the piano. Inger Berggren’s talents were revealed at an early age and she was described as a musical child prodigy. Aged only 14 Inger Berggren made her stage debut at Nalen. By chance Thore Swanerud came to hear of her two years later and invited her to succeed Bibi Jones as the singer in his band which was playing La Visite in Stockholm.
Despite her early successes Inger Berggren wanted to focus on her musical training and in 1952 she entered the Royal Swedish Academy of Music in Stockholm. Four years later she was a qualified musical director and then led her own band until 1962. She played violin and sang and performed at places including Skansen. Her first recording was released in 1952 and when the 1959 film Raggare! starring Christina Schollin and Hans Wahlgren was released it was she who sang the hit tunes “Vad som än händer” and “Jag blev den du ser” in it. Around this time Inger Berggren got married and had a daughter, named Gunilla Röör, who later became an actor and director in her own right.
Inger Berggren also sang with Thore Ehrling, Simon Brehm and Göte Wilhelmsson. Her greatest success came in 1962, during the qualifying rounds of Melodifestivalen. The competition was organised in a different way from previous years as each song was performed twice. In addition to Inger Berggren’s performance of “Sol och vår” the song was also sung by Lily Berglund after which viewers then had to submit their votes via postcards and letters. Inger Berggren was chosen to represent Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest in Luxembourg where she achieved joint seventh place along with the Finnish entry. Subsequently, throughout the 1960s, the Swedish song was often aired on Sveriges Radio.
Inger Berggren produced a fair number of recordings over the ensuing decades and twice she hit the top spot on the Swedish charts: once in 1962 with “Elisabeth serenade” and then the following year with “Twist till Menuett”. Inger Berggren also composed and arranged music. In 1967 She returned to Melodifestivalen in 1967 but this time as a composer of “Vem frågar vinden”, which was performed by Towa Carson.
Inger Berggren and her husband ran Stadshotellet in Ulricehamn during the 1965–1967 period and then from the 1970s onwards she worked as a music teacher in Täby. She also served as the musical director of Stockholms stadsteater. She continued performing and recording and also appeared in several films. She played the part of a movie-theatre cashier in the 1973 film Anderssonskans Kalle i busform and ten years later she played the part of Mrs Bergholm in the TV-series called Spanarna. When Ulf Lundell’s book, Sömnen, was adapted for the silver screen in 1984 Inger Berggren appeared as the character Lilian.
Inger Berggren made use of her musical knowledge in the 1979 production of the play En skandal i Wien performed at Stockholms stadsteater. She and three other musicians played the parts of decadent ladies in the play. She and Git Magnusson put on a show called Kyss grodan at Mosebacke, announcing beforehand: “It is time now for older Swedish women to revolt!” in response to their belief that far too much attention was being given to young, thin blondes.
Inger Berggren died on 19 July 2019, aged 85. Her remains lie in the Memorial Garden at the Woodland Cemetery in Stockholm.