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In 1979, Ola Håkansson, a former vocalist of Ola & the Janglers and then a publishing manager at Sonet Records, teamed up with Tim Norell and Ulf Wahlberg to write a few songs that they submitted to the Melodifestivalen, a popular Swedish song contest. They did not win but decided to continue working together and changed their band's name from Ola+3 to Secret Service. Besides Ola Håkansson (vocals), Tim Norell and Ulf Wahlberg (keyboards), the original lineup included Tony Lindberg (guitars), Leif Paulsen (bass) and Leif Johansson (drums).
Norell, who penned along with Håkansson most songs of the band, however, did not appear with them on stage or on the album covers. Secret Service's first single "Oh Susie" became a hit in Sweden and several other countries of Europe and South America. The same titled album that included another hit, "Ten O'Clock Postman," went gold in Scandinavia. Other successes followed, with their synthpop number "Flash in the Night" (1982) hitting the charts all over continental Europe. In the mid-'80s Norell and Håkansson started writing and producing songs for other artists. Ola Håkansson's duet with ex-ABBA's Agnetha Fältskog, "The Way You Are," became a gold single in Sweden.
In 1987, Håkansson, Norell, and Wahlberg released Aux Deux Magots, their last album as Secret Service. The other members of the band had quit by then and were replaced by multi-instrumentalist Anders Hansson and bassist Mats A. Lindberg. Hansson would become Håkansson and Norell's partner in what would be known as the Megatrio, a Swedish equivalent to Stock-Aitken-Waterman. In 1992, Håkansson and his associates established Stockholm Records as a joint venture with PolyGram. They produced such artists as Army of Lovers and the Cardigans among others.