Ace of Base looks for new signs at Capital Ex

Ace of Base suffered the ignoble fate of many a short-lived pop wonder — except that the band sold more than 31 million albums doing it, and got rich and famous….and eventually got back together.

Some fate.

They’re best remembered for “The Sign” and the anthemic “It’s A Beautiful Life,” from back in the era of Italian-cut suits, wide floral ties, and the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. But in their home country of Sweden, the event closers at the Capital Ex mainstage are pop icons and have their own stamp.

Ace of Base scored seven Top-10 hits in Canada, including four No. 1s.

Of course, only half the band are original members.  Gobsmackingly hot  platinum blond singer Linn Berggren has since been replaced by reality show star Clara Hagman (above right) and Julia Williamson. The band had to reform after Berggren walked away from the fame game, almost phobic about avoiding public attention since the band’s heyday.

It’s easy to forget just how big they were.

“We sold almost 24 million albums on the first album. Today, I’m not sure if every band on the planet put together sells that many records,” says songwriter Ulf Ekberg, who founded the group with brother Jonas. “The record company’s thought, when we released the second album (1995’s The Bridge), was that that would be even bigger than the first one. Looking in the mirror, that is completely impossible. We only sold like seven million on the second one. That was a catastrophe, according to the record company. But if you look at those numbers, they’re crazy.”

Since then, he’s made his bones as a producer and raconteur in his home country, as well as a judge on Swedish Idol. “

The decision to return, once they had the right singers, was a matter of rediscovering a sound; in this case, Ekberg concentrated on the bass-heavy beats that drove them in the first place and getting dance floors jumping with a new CD, “The Golden Ratio.”

“Jonas and I promised the fans music and we don’t want them to be disappointed. We decided ‘Let’s just get two other girls that really (fit) well,” Ekberg explains.

Ace of Base performs Sunday night at Capital Ex, gate at 8 p.m. The show is free with fairground admission.