Trisha Shetty (Editor)

The Sugarcubes

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Origin  Reykjavík, Iceland
Years active  1986–1992, 2006
The Sugarcubes The Sugarcubes The Coolest Band in the World Rolling Stone

Associated acts  BjörkKUKLPurrkur PillnikkÞeyr
Past members  Björk GuðmundsdóttirEinar Örn BenediktssonSigtryggur BaldurssonÞór EldonBragi ÓlafssonMargrét ÖrnólfsdóttirEinar Arnaldur Melax
Members  Björk, Einar Örn Benediktsson, Þór Eldon, Bragi Ólafsson, Margrét Örnólfsdóttir, Einar Melax
Genres  Alternative rock, Experimental pop
Record labels  One Little Indian Records, Elektra Records
Albums  Life's Too Good, Stick Around for Joy, Here Today - Tomorro, It's‑It, The Great Crossover Potential

The Sugarcubes (Sykurmolarnir in Icelandic) were an Icelandic alternative rock band from Reykjavík formed in 1986 and disbanded in 1992. For most of their career, the band consisted of Björk (vocals, keyboards), Einar Örn Benediktsson (vocals, trumpet), Þór Eldon (guitar), Bragi Ólafsson (bass), Margrét "Magga" Örnólfsdóttir (keyboards) and Sigtryggur Baldursson (drums). Lead singer, Björk, would later become an internationally successful solo musician and the best selling Icelandic musician of all time.


The Sugarcubes The Sugarcubes New Songs Playlists amp Latest News BBC Music

The band received critical and popular acclaim internationally. Their debut studio album, Life's Too Good, was released in April 1988 to unexpected international success. It is credited as the first Icelandic album to have a worldwide impact and is considered a definite influence on all subsequent Icelandic popular music. It spanned the band's signature hit "Birthday". Their follow-up album, Here Today, Tomorrow Next Week!, was released in September 1989 to lukewarm reviews from critics and fans. However, their third and final album, Stick Around for Joy, which was released in February 1992, was more well received by both fans and critics and had two successful singles: "Hit" and "Leash Called Love." The Sugarcubes are regarded as "the biggest rock band to emerge from Iceland."

The sugarcubes delicious demon lifes too good

1977–86: Formation and early years

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The members of The Sugarcubes had formerly been in a variety of Icelandic bands. Björk had the longest career out of any of the members; she had recorded an album as early as 11 years old. In her late teens, she joined the Icelandic post-punk band Tappi Tíkarrass, who released two albums before splitting in 1983. Drummer Sigtryggur "Siggi" Baldursson was a member of Þeyr, while Einar Örn Benediktsson and Bragi Ólafsson formed a punk band called Purrkur Pillnikk. By 1984, Björk, Einar Örn and Siggi had formed the supergroup KUKL with keyboardist Einar Melax, and released two albums on the independent British record label Crass Records.

The Sugarcubes The Sugarcubes Birthday Icelandic Live Finland

The Sugarcubes formed on June 8, 1986, with Björk on vocals, Björk's then-husband Þór (Thor) Eldon on guitar and Bragi Ólafsson on bass. That same day, Björk gave birth to her and Þór Eldon's son, Sindri Eldon. The band's name was assumed by its fans to be an LSD usage reference.

1987–88: Life's Too Good

In late 1987, the band signed to One Little Indian in the UK and to Elektra Records in the US. They released their debut album Life's Too Good in 1988 to critical acclaim in both the UK and the US. They first came to notice in the UK when BBC radio DJ John Peel played "Birthday", which was later voted by his listeners as #1 in the 1987 Festive Fifty, and #23 in the All Time Chart. Their music has been described as avant-pop, and was characterized by a psychedelic post-punk sound sometimes reminiscent of The B-52's and Talking Heads, whimsical yet heartfelt lyrics, and the imploring, girlish voice of Björk, accompanied by Einar Orn's erratic vocal performances. In the last quarter of 1988, The Sugarcubes toured North America to positive reception. In September, the band played at The Ritz in New York, a concert attended by David Bowie and Iggy Pop. On 15 October, the band appeared on Saturday Night Live with a performance of their hit single "Birthday".

1989–90: Here Today, Tomorrow Next Week!

Here Today, Tomorrow Next Week!, the band's second album, was released in 1989. The greater vocal contribution by Einar Örn on the record was criticized in many of the record's reviews, which were noticeably weaker than those for Life's Too Good. The singles "Regina" and "Planet" topped the UK indie charts but fared poorly in the mainstream charts outside of Iceland. After the release of Here Today, Tomorrow Next Week!, the band embarked on a lengthy international tour. At the end of the tour, they started to ponder about splitting up and went on a hiatus.

1990–92: Stick Around for Joy and breakup

At the conclusion of the tour in late 1990, the band members pursued their own individual interests. Stick Around for Joy, the band's third and final album, was released in February 1992. It received noticeably better reviews than Here Today, Tomorrow Next Week!, and spawned the band's first big hit single, the aptly titled "Hit", Further singles "Walkabout" and "Vitamin" failed to make any chart impact however. The Sugarcubes opened for U2 during the US leg of their Zoo TV Tour in October and November 1992, playing to a grand total of 700,000 people.

A remix album entitled It's-It was released in October 1992 along with a re-release of "Birthday" which was backed by numerous remixes of the song. One single that was released from the compilation, the Tony Humphries remix of "Leash Called Love", reached number one on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Songs Chart in 1992.

The Sugarcubes disbanded in late December 1992. The members remain friends to this day and are all still involved in the management of record label Smekkleysa (Bad Taste Ltd).

2006: Reunion

On November 17, 2006, the band had a one-off reunion concert at Laugardalshöll sport arena in Reykjavík, Iceland, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their debut single with all profits going to the non-profit Smekkleysa SM to promote Icelandic music. They were supported by fellow Icelandic groups múm and Rass. Despite this reunion, the group has expressed that it has no intention to play future shows or record new material.


  • Björk Guðmundsdóttir – vocals, keyboards
  • Einar Örn Benediktsson – vocals, trumpet
  • Sigtryggur Baldursson – drums, percussion
  • Þór Eldon – guitar
  • Bragi Ólafsson – bass
  • Margrét "Magga" Örnólfsdóttir – keyboards (1989-1992, 2006)
  • Einar Melax – keyboards (1987-1989; replaced by Margrét Örnólfsdóttir)
  • Fridrik Erlingsson – guitar (left the band at the time of the first album release)
  • Vinyl and CD boxes

  • 1989 - 12.11 (One Little Indian Records)
  • 1989 - 7.8 (One Little Indian Records)
  • 1989 - CD.6 (One Little Indian Records)
  • 2006 - The Complete Studio Albums Box - 3× CD repacked box with three main English language studio albums. Released to celebrate 20th Anniversary reunion concert (One Little Indian Records)
  • Collaborations and featuring

  • 1987 - Snarl 2 (Erðanumúsík), Icelandic compilation. Featuring under the name of Sykurmolarnir.
  • 1987 - Luftgítar (Smekkleysa), album by Johnny Triumph.
  • 1987 - Skytturnar (Gramm), soundtrack to the movie directed by Friðrik Þór Fríðriksson.
  • 1988 - One Little Indian - Greatest Hits Volume One (One Little Indian), greatest hits (volume 1) released by One Little Indian.
  • 1990 - Hættuleg hljómsveit & glæpakvendið Stella (Megas), album by Megas.
  • 1990 - World Domination or Death Volume 1 (Smekkleysa/Workers Playtime PLAY), compilation.
  • 1990 - One Little Indian - Greatest Hits Volume Two (One Little Indian), greatest hits (volume 2) released by One Little Indian.
  • 1990 - Rubáiyát: Elektra's 40th Anniversary (Elektra Records), Elektra Records anniversary compilation.
  • 1993 - Welcome to the Future (One Little Indian), compilation.
  • Other releases

  • 1988 - Sugarcubes Interview Disc (One Little Indian)
  • 1989 - Live Zabor, VHS collection of live performances from 1988/89 and interviews.
  • 1992 - The Video (The Sugarcubes video album), music video collection
  • 1992 - Murder and Killing in Hell, VHS, 1992 live concert performance, Manchester Academy UK.
  • 1998 - The Great Crossover Potential (One Little Indian)
  • 1998 - Avengers (soundtrack) (WEA/Atlantic)- Feat. Annie Lennox's Cover of The Sugarcubes "Mama".
  • 1998 - Music Inspired by the Motion Picture: The Avengers (BIG EAR)
  • 2006 - The DVD (One Little Indian), music video collection, re-issue of 'The Video' with additional bonus videos.
  • 2006 - Live Zabor DVD (One Little Indian), re-issue.
  • Songs

    BirthdayLife's Too Good · 1988
    Cold SweatLife's Too Good · 1988
    Motor CrashLife's Too Good · 1988


    The Sugarcubes Wikipedia