Introduction to Ann Margret
Ann-Margret Olsson was born on April 28, 1941 in Valsjöbyn, Jämtland County, Sweden. In 1946 her family moved to Wilmette, IL near Chicago. She began dancing and singing at an early age appearing on Ted Mack’s Amateur Hour. While attending Northwestern University she joined a musical group called the “Suttletones.” While performing in Las Vegas she got the attention of George Burns who auditioned her for his Christmas show. Her career moved quickly and at age 19 she received a recording contract with RCA, recording in Nashville, TN, with Elvis Presley’s back-up singers Jordinaires and Chet Atkins. At the same time she began making movies and her acting career skyrocketed quickly. Her recording career never really took off, which is hard to figure when you listen to her songs in our blog. Ann-Margret had only one Billboard Top 40 hit “I Just Don’t Understand” during the early 60s music era but she had many great songs both from her studio recordings and from her movie soundtracks. Other Ann-Margret songs: “Slowly,” “It Do Me So Good,” “What Am I Supposed to Do?,” “Sleep in the Grass,” “Love Rush,” “Midnight Message,” “Everybody Needs Somebody Sometime,” “Jim Dandy,” “Thirteen Men,” “Bye Bye Birdie,” “He’s the Man,” “So Did I,” “Lost Love,” “The Swinger,” “Bachelor in Paradise,” “The Best Man,” “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” “Silent Night,” “Peace In the Valley,” “Willing and Eager,” “As Long As He Needs Me,” “Next Time,” “Take a Chance,” “Today,” “Smash the Mirror,” “Viva Rock Vegas,” “Texas Has a Whorehouse in It” & “20 Fans.”
The early years of Ann-Margret
The Swedish-American actress, singer and dancer Ann-Margret achieved some success in the recording industry with these oldies music gems “I Just Don’t Remember” (1961) and “Love Rush” (1979). She was born Ann-Margret Olsson on April 28, 1941 in Valsjöbyn, Jämtland County, Sweden. Since Ann-Margret’s father was working in the United States for years, she and her mother later moved there for good in 1946, settling in Wilmette, Illinois.
Ann-Margret was initially showing interest in dancing at such a young age and later her parents enrolled her in a dancing school. As a teenager, Ann-Margret started appearing on several Chicago-based television and radio shows such as Don McNeil’s Breakfast Club and Morris B. Sachs’ Amateur Hour, as well as Ted Mack’s Amateur Hour on ABC. While attending high school, Ann-Margret began participating in theater plays as well. After quitting college, she became a part of the Suttletones, a jazz combo which started to play around Chicago, as well as other places like Las Vegas and Los Angeles. After the group’s performance at Las Vegas’ The Dunes, Ann-Margret was spotted by George Burns who would help to launch her singing career.
Ann-Margret’s recording career
Ann-Margret was signed on RCA Victor in 1961 and issued her debut album And Here She Is: Ann-Margret with the carrier single “Lost Love.” Recording her version of Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel,” the sensual, husky-voiced singer was billed by the RCA as the “female Elvis.” In the summer of 1961, she released the single “I Just Don’t Understand” from LP On the Way Up. The song became her biggest hit at #17 on the Billboard Hot 100. The Beatles, who was then a new, upcoming band, performed “I Just Don’t Understand” live at the BBC. Margret issued several albums throughout the decade, among of them were The Vivacious One (1962), Bachelor’s Paradise (1963), Beauty and the Beard (1964) (with Al Hirt), David Merrick Presents Hits from His Broadway Hits ), Songs from “The Swinger” (And Other Swingin’ Songs) (1966) and The Cowboy and the Lady (1969) (with Lee Hazlewood). The album The Beauty and the Beard was the only record of Ann-Margret which appeared on the Billboard album chart.
In 1979, Ann-Margret continued making records and released “Love Rush,” which went to #8 on the Billboard dance chart. After that, she channeled her energy on her acting career wherein she became more successful.
Later music career
In 2000’s, Ann-Margret came back into recording and issued six albums: God Is Love: The Gospel Sessions (2001), Today, Tomorrow and Forever: Box Set (2002) (with Elvis Presley), Ann-Margret’s Christmas Carol Collection (2004), Love Rush (reissue of Ann-Margret) (2007), Everybody Needs Somebody Sometimes (single, reissue, 2007) and All’s Faire In Love (2008).