Morten Abel

One of Norway's most beloved and successful artists, the genial pop/rock singer and songwriter Morten Abel has been in the national musical spotlight for nearly three decades -- first as the lead singer of the group Mods in the early '80s, then with the September When and Peltz in the 1990s, and as a solo performer through the 2000s. Born Morten Abel Knutsen in 1962 and raised in the northern town of Bodø, he moved south to Stavanger at age 15 and successfully auditioned to sing for the rock band Catrix, which later became Mods. In their five-year run (from 1980-1984), Mods released two Top 20 Norwegian albums and a third, limited-edition English-language release, Time Machine. Knutsen dropped his surname after the group dissolved and released a solo single in 1985, but soon regrouped with two of his former bandmates to form the September When in 1987. That group would become even more successful than Mods, topping the Norwegian charts with three consecutive albums in the early '90s.

After a stab at acting in the 1993 film Hodet Over Vannet and a single album with the trio Peltz in 1996 (which reached number two), Abel shifted gears and embarked on a solo career, continuing his string of Top Five successes with 1997's Snowboy. Demonstrating an obvious broad appeal without pandering to specifically commercial tastes or trends, Abel's solo work occasionally found him incorporating electronic and dance-based elements into his understated but often playful pop/rock style. His three subsequent albums -- Here We Go Then, You and I, I'll Come Back and Love You Forever, and Being Everything, Knowing Nothing -- all topped the charts, and were followed by a pair of compilations featuring several new tracks. In 2004 Abel appeared in his second film, Alt For Egil, in 2006 he returned to the pop charts with the album Some of Us Will Make It, and in 2007 he married longtime girlfriend Gry Isabell Sannes; their daughter is spectacularly named Ella Dorthea Joppeline Navaho Snowflake Abel Sannes Knutsen. ~ K. Ross Hoffman

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