Peter Svensson - lead guitar
Magnus Sveningsson - bass
Bengt Lagerberg - drums
Lars-Olof "Lasse" Johansson - keyboards and guitar
Nina Persson - vocals
Peter Svensson and Magnus Sveningsson, both heavy metal musicians, formed the group in October of 1992 in Jnkping, Sweden, with drummer Bengt Lagerberg, keyboardist Lars-Olof Johansson and lead singer Nina Persson. Living together in a small apartment, The Cardigans recorded a demo tape which record producer Tore Johansson heard, leading to an invitation to record at a studio in Malm. In 1994 they released their debut album Emmerdale in Sweden and Japan (it was re-released internationally in 1997). The album includes the Swedish radio hit "Rise & Shine" and was later voted the best of 1994 in a poll in Slitz magazine.
The rest of 1994 was spent touring Europe and recording Life, which was released worldwide in 1995. Life became an international success, selling more than a million copies and achieving platinum status in Japan. In 1996 Life was released under the label Minty Fresh in the U.S., but this release was essentially a compilation of tracks from Emmerdale and Life. Life was perhaps a satirical riposte to the first album, and saw the band move in a more avant-garde direction in terms of arrangements and artwork.
After their success with Life, The Cardigans signed to Mercury Records, under which they released First Band on the Moon worldwide in 1996. With this album, the band had developed into a more complex, darker animal, the songs included themes of heartbreak, infidelity and despair. "Lovefool" was a hit across the globe, especially in the United States and again in Japan, where the album reached platinum in only three weeks. However, it was unrepresentative of the album as a whole and, although it helped it achieve gold sales status in America, many critics branded them saccharine soft-pop on the basis of "Lovefool".
1998's Gran Turismo was darker and more moody, and was followed by a long hiatus during which the band members pursued solo side projects. The same year they also released a compilation of rare B-sides called The Other Side of the Moon as a Japan-only release which makes this album somewhat rare outside Japan.
During the break that followed, Nina Persson released an album as A Camp and the Cardigans recorded a duet cover of Talking Heads' "Burning Down the House" with Tom Jones on his album Reload, Peter Svensson worked on the project Paus with help from Joakim Berg from Kent, and Magnus Sveningsson recorded as Righteous Boy. The Cardigans returned in 2003 with Long Gone Before Daylight, a quieter, more ambient collection of songs mainly written by Nina Persson and Peter Svensson. Long Gone Before Daylight became one of the best selling album in Sweden of 2003 with sales over 120, 000 (2xPlatinum). On October 19, 2005 the band released their sixth album Super Extra Gravity which was released to major critical acclaim. Super Extra Gravity went straight to the #1 spot on the Swedish album chart and has so far been certified Gold (sales over 40, 000)