Listen to Swedish Trio Peter Bjorn and John's #TBT Mixtape
Welcome to #TBT Mixtape, Billboard's series that showcases artists' very own throwback-themed playlists exclusive to Billboard's Spotify account. The curated set features the artists' favorite tracks from their youth and childhood.
This week's spin comes from Peter Bjorn and John. The Swedish trio -- comprised of members Peter Morén, Björn Yttling and John Eriksson -- formed in Stockholm back in 1999, with a handful of early '00s albums making waves in Europe. But it wasn't until 2007's Writer's Block -- their third LP -- that they achieved global stardom, thanks to the set's first single "Young Folks," whose famed whistling earned it widespread critical praise and the band slots performing on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno and Late Night With Conan O'Brien.
A decade (and four more LPs) later into their lengthy discography, the seasoned vets returned last week (Oct. 19) with the release of their eighth proper album Darker Days, released via INGRID. To fete the career milestone, the indie titans are looking back to their youth as musicians growing up in Sweden, with three separate playlists to comprise this week's #TBT Mixtape.
Peter kicks things off with eight personal favorites, beginning with Shakin' Stevens' "You Drive Me Crazy" and closing with Teenage Fanclub's "Star Sign." "A lot of the music I listened to as a kid was old already then. Until my early teens I was obsessed with '60s pop and '50s rock 'n' roll. But to make the picks here easier I only chose songs that were released during my lifetime, stuff I heard when it was new," he explains. "The playlist does various touchdowns in some of my musical tastes between 6 and 15, a period during which I learned to play guitar and write songs and become a person. A lot of this music, or variations of it, still reflects what I like today. I haven't really progressed that much."
Next, Bjorn provides seven choice cuts from his early years in Northern Sweden, beginning with classic The Cure hit "Just Like Heaven" and ending with Depeche Mode's "New Life." "Up north where I grew up it wasn’t common to own a piano, but most people had a pump organ and my family did too," he explains. "So I started playing pump organ around 6-7 years old. Inspired by synth pop like Jarre, Pet Shop Boys and Depeche Mode I then started writing my own melodies and songs a couple years later. Apart from all the synth music I was also into '70s stuff like Steve Miller Band and ZZ Top. I got into the Manchester scene and met Peter and he played me Costello and other cool things I hadn’t heard. Blah blah blah, met John Blah blah blah, and formed the band."
Lastly, John's seven handpicked tracks close out the playlist with an eclectic mix of genres, beginning with Beethoven's Sonata No. 14 and ending with "Crockett's Theme" by Jan Hammer. "The songs I picked are the most vivid musical snapshots from my childhood," he says. "I can remember exactly where I was when I first heard these recordings. They also sort of define what I grew up listening to: classical music, hard rock and jazz-rock. Amen."
Give the playlist a spin and also check out some retro snaps of the musicians below.