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Bo Hansson: Lord of the Rings

click for more info or to purchase!For decades, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy had been well loved by book readers everywhere. Now, New Zealand-born director Peter Jackson is transforming the epic on to the big screen, the first installment, The Fellowship of the Ring had already hit the theaters at the end of 2001.

In 1978, there was a rather forgettable animated version of Lord of the Rings. But before Lord of the Rings ever appeared on any type of screen, musicians were recording music inspired by Lord of the Rings, and Bo Hansson from Sweden recorded such an album in 1970.

The album was originally released in Sweden on the Silence label as Sagan Om Ringen, and all the songs bore Swedish titles. Eventually in 1972, Charisma Records, the British label that gave us Genesis, Rare Bird, Van der Graaf Generator/Peter Hammill, Lindisfarne, and even Monty Python, had released the Bo Hansson album for international distribution, this time with totally different cover artwork, the better known English title, which was Lord of the Rings, and the fact the songs now all bore English titles. Don’t worry, nothing was changed musically, as this is all instrumental music. Basically the music is very mystical sounding prog rock dominated by Hammond organ and Moog synthesizer.

He got some help with the likes of Gunnar Bergsten on sax, Sten Bergman on flute, and Rune Carlsson on drums. Hansson did all the keyboard work, as well as guitar and bass. Songs, as you may guess, bear titles like “Leaving Shire”, “The Old Forest/Tom Bombadil”, “Lothl√≥rien”, “The Ring Goes South”, “Shadowfax”, and many more. None of the songs are over 4 minutes long. The music is totally different from the more typical Hollywood type orchestral fare that is found on the Peter Jackson movie.

Bo Hansson’s Lord of the Rings had been frequently criticized as being “cheesy organ and synthesizer music” (which I don’t think so), and not fitting in with the trilogy. Usually these come from people who like to collect Lord of the Rings-related material, but don’t listen to prog rock. To me, this music fits perfect to Tolkien’s trilogy. You simply have to like prog rock, or understand what music was like in the early 1970s to appreciate it.

The album has a home made production. Most of this album was recorded at Bo Hansson’s home on an island outside of Stockholm. Yeah, the music does get a little repetitious, but the truly mystical atmosphere makes up for the album’s shortcoming. So if you’re a Tolkien fan and a prog rock fan, be sure to add this album to your collection.
Original year of release: 1970
Original Swedish title: Sagan Om Ringen
Bo Hansson: organ, Moog synthesizer, bass, guitar
Gunnar Bergsten: sax
Sten Bergman: flute
Rune Carlsson: drums

8 Responses to Bo Hansson: Lord of the Rings

  • The LORD OF THE RINGS by Bo Hannson was for me my most favourite album.The music takes me into a secret world of make believe even though I am now over fifty and without the acid.Unfortunitly the album was stolen but I have it on tape which isn’t such good quality
    I can’t understand why this album wasn’t use in the lord of the rings movie but I guess they didn’t hear the magic.
    May I recommend a movie to watch ,it is called The Draughtsman’s Contract made for the BBC tv network but took europe by storm.
    As they say in Russia

  • For me there is no association whatsoever with this music and Lord Of The Rings. I find this music creating a great atmosphere and believe it to be one of a kind. Ideal for background music while reading books, and if it happens to be LOTR, that’s ok ūüėČ

  • i once owned a tape of lord of the rings but played it to death especialy on drives in the country on overcast days – heavy clouds behind mountain ranges invoked thoughts of MORDOR. it remains deeply rooted in my mind and i am actively seeking another copy.
    to ERNEST WHITE, i agree that the DRAUGHTSMAN’S CONTRACT was a brilliant movie

  • I found this record last week in a thrift store. Any idea what it is worth.

  • Check out your local FOPP store. I bought the CD in the Sheffield store today for ¬£5.

  • Yeah, I had this album and Magians Hat around 1975 – 77.
    I am from Australia, New South Wales, Sydney. My friends and I would do weekend road trips to the country to pick MAGIC MUSHROOMS!!
    In those days you could wander around the fields picking mushies and getting high without to much grief from the farmers. You could rent a cabin at St Albans for about $15.00 a night. Listening to Bo Hansson and tripping in the early morning country mist was a blast. We had all read Lord of the Rings so we were in Hobbit mode!! Wearing Duffle Coates to stay warm, good times, good memories. I am now 46 years old and would like to feel that way again. Bo Hanssons music set the scene.



  • considering that very little, if any, interpretations had been done of LOTR at the time this albums was recorded, makes it awesome.!!!
    just the mere fact that this musician was so enthralled and inspired by this piece of fiction, which has now become legendary at so many levels, put(s) him way ahead of his up and coming new age peers! i’m looking for other songs that refer to LOTR for a compilation CD i’m putting together…stuff like tired angels by moutain, argent’s lotlorian, etc…any ideas????? did t.rex ever make reference to LOTR????

  • Humans give, humans take. Hansson’s has taken his gift added magic and without destruction opened a given path along which the choice may be made to travel. Because a gentle way is available, enjoy. Harsher tracks are alway available and some just have to be made, no choice.
    Thanks Bo Hansson

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