Marie Fredriksson tribute on Nordic Rox #4

A couple of days ago there was the final episode of the Marie tribute program on Nordic Rox, Sirius XM.

This time Per Gessle and Sven Lindström were back with 2 more classic tracks and Per commented on those songs. Until Mr. G joined Sven, Mr. Lindström played a Roxette beauty, A Thing About You from 2002.

The first song Per picked is from Roxette’s biggest selling album, Joyride. He chose Things Will Never Be The Same. Mr. G says it’s one of the fan favourites, it has always been very popular among the fans. Per always loved this track. It’s got that Roxette gimmick in there: Per is singing a bit and Marie is singing 80 percent of the song. It just made it sort of special and sounded like no one else. Like in Dressed For Success or Dangerous, it’s that little trick they used. TWNBTS has a Spanish guitar intro and outro. It sounded different. It has a beautiful melody and of course, amazing vocals by Marie. Sven asks Per if he remembers any special tricks in the songwriting regarding this song. Mr. G says if there are 2 singers, you can use the strengths or hide the weaknesses. They laugh. Per tells he basically wrote most of the songs for Marie’s voice, but then sometimes in the lyrics you can ask a question like ”Whatcha gonna tell your brother?” in DFS and she can answer. You can just use that you are two people, a female and a male having a dialogue in the lyric. It’s an old country trick. It makes sense in TWNBTS lyrically and it’s just a beautiful song. Sven asks Per if he remembers how he presented TWNBTS for Marie, if he played it live on an acoustic guitar or if he made a demo and sent it to her. Per thinks he made a demo in the studio. For Joyride he started making pretty advanced demos. Lots of the arrangements on that album were already there when he made the demos. Joyride for instance sounds almost the same as his demo. Songs which are sung by Marie become totally different when you record them, because you change the keys and as soon as you change the key, it sounds different. In TWNBTS they brought in the Spanish guitar part and producer Clarence Öfwerman’s trademark synthesizers are all over the place. A little drum machine is also in there. Per thinks it’s a cool track, a typical production for its era. You can hear its early ’90s sound to it. It’s very Roxette for Per. Sven says the title is perfect for the feelings we all had when Marie left us before Christmas last year.

After the song, Sven tells they are sitting in the ABBA room at Live Nation in Stockholm. Per asks him if he feels like a dancing queen. Sven replies ”not exactly” and asks Per if he feels like it. Per answers ”always”. Haha. He mentions he is looking at an old ABBA picture in the room, an old poster from the Voulez-Vous Tour when they played Gothenburg in the ’70s.

Queen Of Rain is the other song the guys are discussing. It was a single from Tourism in 1992. It was actually recorded for the Joyride album in 1990 and it was supposed to be the final track on Joyride, but then Per wrote a song called Perfect Day, which included an accordion. They thought it was fitting because it had a different sound to it, totally different to the other tracks on the album. So they used Perfect Day as the last song instead. They had a backing vocalist called Vicki Benckert who was also a great accordion player. Tourism was the tour album from the Joyride tour. Per says the album was recorded basically on the road. They booked studios in São Paulo, Copenhagen, Los Angeles. Some songs they recorded in hotel rooms. It was like a tour album, including a couple of live tracks as well, but most of it was studio recordings. The live recording of Joyride seamlessly goes over to QOR on the album. They did a video to QOR in Northern France. Per thinks it’s a beautiful song and it fits Marie perfectly. She is just a great singer and QOR sums up Marie really well for Per. Sven says they talked about her rock ’n’ roll side, but she also had this melancholy in her personality. Mr. G says Marie loved to sing songs like Queen Of Rain, Crash! Boom! Bang! or Spending My Time, telling stories. You can hear it in her voice that she becomes the song and that’s how she communicated so well to everyone who listened to her. Per thinks it’s one of his best songs if he may say so himself, but it’s Marie’s voice that brings it home. Amazing!

Waving goodbye in Kalmar 2015. Pic by Patrícia Peres


Thanx for the technical support to János Tóth.

Per Gessle – Gessles nio i topp – Nine songs about dogs

Last Saturday Per Gessle and Sven Lindström talked about dog songs in Gessles nio i topp on Swedish Radio. ”Tea at 8 o’clock I took the dog for a walk in the morning. I never really liked him but let’s keep that between you and me.” Touched By The Hand Of God. Nah. It wasn’t on the list.

Per says he likes cats much more than dogs. He is a cat person. Sven is also a cat person which is probably because their neighbour’s dog in Växjö in the ’60s bit him in the leg. Since then he has a skeptical attitude towards dogs. Per tells they had a Norwegian Buhund when he was a little child. His name was Buster. When Mr. G’s mom was coming home by bus, Per put a leash on the dog and Buster was so happy he dragged Mr. G along for tens of metres until they reached Mamma Elisabeth. Per says he must have been 5-6 years old then. He still likes dogs anyway.

Per’s Top 9 songs about dogs

9. David Bowie – Diamond Dogs
8. The Everly Brothers – Bird Dog
7. Led Zeppelin – Black Dog
6. Tom T. Hall – (Old Dogs, Children And) Watermelon Wine
5. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Dogs on the Run
4. The Who – Dogs
3. Elvis Presley – Hound Dog
2. Neil Young – Old King
1. The Beatles – Martha My Dear

The first song the guys are talking about is David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs. Sven is surprised, because he thought this would be on top of Per’s list. Mr. G says Diamond Dogs is an eminent album from 1974. He already loved it when it was released and still does. It is related to George Orwell’s novel, 1984 and the science fiction touch is there all over. It’s David Bowie himself who plays the guitar on the whole album and the influence of The Rolling Stones can be heard. Previously, it was Mick Ronson who played the guitar and he was one of the world’s best guitarists. He had his own style. One could hear it when e.g. Rebel Rebel was played live, it never sounded like on the album, because it was Bowie who played it on the album. The riff in Diamond Dogs sounds a bit like Keith Richards, Sven says. Per adds that the saxophone sound fits the guitar amazingly well in the song. Sven mentions the single flopped and Mr. G says maybe because it was 6 minutes long. The lead single from the album was Rebel Rebel, but according to Mr. G, there are no real singles on this album. It’s not that type of an album. There was more single material on Aladdin Sane. Diamond Dogs is more like an epic.

Next on the list is Bird Dog from The Everly Brothers from 1958. Per first heard this song in the interpretation of Hep Stars. It was written by Boudleaux Bryant. He wrote a lot of songs for The Everly Brothers and for many others. Bryant was often writing together with his wife, Felice. Their better known songs are Love Hurts, All I Have to Do Is Dream, Wake Up Little Susie, Bye Bye Love. All phenomenal songs. Per says he met their son, Del Bryant. He was the leader of BMI, the largest music rights organization in the United States. Del visited Per in his apartment in Stockholm, he handed out awards for their success on American radio. He is a very nice person, still lives in Nashville and talks a lot about his parents. Sven says one gets starstruck by meeting a legend. Per jokes and says it’s cool he knows someone whom Sven doesn’t know in person. Regarding Bird Dog, Sven says it was released only a few days after it had been recorded and a couple of days later it already entered the US Billboard and very soon became No. 2. It succeeded fast. Per says releasing a song so fast after recording it is not unique. John Lennon’s Instant Karma is another example of that. Mr. G thinks Bird Dog is shockingly good.

The guys are talking about nostalgy and Per says the older you get you realize that you heard tens of thousands of songs and you like maybe 2-3-5,000 of them. When you like 5,000 songs, it’s hard to take in new music. Sven says there are some artists who don’t sound like anyone else and they are hard to be copied. The Everly Brothers were like that. Many tried to sound like them though.

Mr. G asks Sven about his dog-related bravados. Sven says the closest he got to a dog-related bravado was buying an album in 1971 where the first song was about a black dog. It was Led Zeppelin’s fourth album and Black Dog was the first track on it. The title refers to the black labrador that was wandering around outside the studio while Led Zeppelin were recording their album. It was their most successful record. Jimmy Page once read in a magazine that Led Zeppelin was compared to Black Sabbath and he hated Black Sabbath. He thought they sounded ridiculous and played primitively, while Page was an equilibrist on his instrument. Many thought it was Jimmy Page who wrote the riff to Black Dog, but it was John Paul Jones, bassist in Led Zeppelin. It was inspired by an old blues riff, as Per heard, but according to Sven, it was inspired by Muddy Waters’ Electric Mud album, which is more acid jazz than blues. The guys agree that it’s something one had not heard before and they haven’t heard anything similar since then either. The riff is fantastic and so are Robert Plant’s voice and John Bonham’s playing the drums. It’s one of rock history’s coolest recordings of all time. Black Dog wasn’t released as a single in the UK, but they released it in the US with Misty Mountain Hop as a B-side.

The next song is (Old Dogs, Children And) Watermelon Wine from Tom T. Hall. Per says there was a quite controversial Swedish version of it, Hundar, ungar och hembryggt äppelvin by Alf Robertsson. Sven says it’s rather a black hole for him. Mr. G says he always liked Tom T. Hall’s songs, e.g. Harper Valley PTA, which was a big hit when Per was a child. He also always loved That’s How I Got to Memphis. There are many versions of it, one by Solomon Burke for example. Per asks Sven if he has any relations to Tom T. Hall. Sven replies that Tom for him sounds very similar to one his old favourites, Roger Miller who made country songs, but with a little pop feeling. Mr. G says the storytelling style that was present in those times’ country music is fantastic. Sven asks Per if he knows what the ”T.” stands for in Tom’s name. Per jokes and says ”Tax” [Swedish name of Dachshund /PP]. Sven says the T was just added to make the name look better. Per jokes further that it could have stood for Teddy. Sven asks Per if he knows who made a Swedish cover of Harper Valley PTA. Mr. G thought it was Siw Malmkvist, but it was Björn Ulvaeus and the song’s title was Fröken Fredriksson. The Swedish lyrics were written by Stikkan Andersson.

Song No. 5 is Dogs on the Run from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Per asks Sven if he has any relations to this song. Sven replies he does, but it’s not really positive. Mr. Lindström says the album on which it was relased, Southern Accents was a concept album, but he doesn’t know what the concept was. Sven thinks Tom Petty should have renamed the album to Southern Accidents. Per agrees that this one is Tom Petty’s weakest, but there is e.g. Don’t Come Around Here No More on it. Tom wrote it together with Dave Stewart from Eurythmics. Sven thinks that’s the only good song on Southern Accents. Per disagrees. He also likes The Best of Everything, co-produced by Robbie Robertson. Mr. G also likes the title track, Southern Accents. He thinks it’s one of Petty’s finest songs. Mr. G says Tom Petty was magical at the end of the ’70s and in the beginning of the ’80s with albums like Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers or Long After Dark. Then came some boring years. Then he came back with albums produced by Jeff Lynne. Full Moon Fever and Into the Great Wide Open. Per thinks Petty needed some new collaborators to satisfy his recreational drug habit. The guys agree that Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers is one of the world’s best rock bands.

No. 4 on the list is a song from 1968, Dogs from The Who. Per didn’t have it as a single, but always loved it. It was also released on an early compilation album of The Who. Mr. G thinks it’s a strange song, it’s not a hit in any way. It’s like the result of a weird mid period between all the big The Who hits and Tommy. Dogs has a wonderful melody. It is about greyhound dogs and people are talking in cockney accent in it. Sven thinks it might have been inspired by Lazy Sunday from Small Faces. Singles by The Who released before were Pictures of Lily and I Can See for Miles. Phenomenal, classic The Who singles. Then nothing and then comes Dogs. Per thinks it’s brilliant. Mr. G also listens a lot to Join Together and The Seeker.

No. 3 is Hound Dog from Elvis Presley from 1956. Per thinks they add Elvis Presley rarely to their top9 lists. According to Mr. G, Elvis was a great singer and Sven says one can understand why his songs exploded in the ’50s. Hound Dog was recorded originally by Big Mama Thornton 4 years before Presley’s version came out. They sound very different to each other. Elvis’ version was a bomb on the radio, one can understand it. Sven tells that in 1956 Elvis was a flop in Las Vegas. A band called Freddie Bell and the Bellboys did a version of Hound Dog with somewhat changed lyrics and that became Elvis’ version later. Per says they should watch an Elvis movie in the evening. Then some dog movies. Sven says maybe they could combine it. Elvis did like 600 movies in Hollywood, are there any dog movies among them? Per laughs and says Lassie. Haha.

No. 2 on the list is Old King by Neil Young. Per says the song has a nice melody about Neil’s dog called King. It’s on the 1992 album, Harvest Moon. It’s kind of a spiritual follow-up to Harvest (1972). Harvest Moon is fantastic from A to Z. Sven also thinks Neil Young is awesome. One of his absolute favourites is Long May You Run from him. He always comes back. Per says it feels like Neil Young has so many things that when he opens a box that he forgot to open in 15 years, suddenly a song pops out which he wrote 15 years ago and was absolutely amazing already then. Per and Sven are wondering what kind of dog Old King could have been. Maybe a labrador. Mr. G asks Sven if he could imagine Neil Young with a poodle or a Dachshund. Sven adds Chihuahua. Haha. Sven mentions there is a photo taken by Henry Diltz where Neil Young appears with a dog and it’s definitely not a Chihuahua. Per adds he knows the picture where Neil is inviting the dog for a joint, which is not politically correct.

No. 1 is Martha My Dear by The Beatles. Martha was Paul’s dog and the song is about her, Per says. Sven asks if he is sure about it, because there were speculations that the song might be about Jane Asher [Paul’s former girlfriend]. Per says he is 100% sure it’s about the dog. Sven adds that’s what Paul says too. According to Mr. G, it’s a typical dog song. It was one of the last songs to be recorded for the White Album in 1968. According to Per, it’s an absolutely fantastic composition, only Paul McCartney can write such music. Sven thinks it’s a complex and tricky song. Mr. G thinks it’s kind of music hall music and no one else in The Beatles wrote this type of pop music. It’s a typical McCartney song, like Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da. The guys agree that the White Album is The Beatles’ best album ever. It’s not an album of singles. John’s songs don’t sound like Paul’s and George Harrison blossomed as a songwriter on this one with While My Guitar Gently Weeps. Sven shares a trivia at the end of the program. Martha was born in 1966 and passed away in 1981. She was a sheepdog. One of Martha’s offspring, Arrow, appeared on the cover of one of Paul’s live albums.

5-year-old Per Gessle with Buster (photo from Per’s archives published in Att vara Per Gessle)

Per Gessle – Gessles nio i topp – Nine songs about cars

Last Saturday Per Gessle picked nine songs again in Gessles nio i topp on Swedish Radio. This time it was all about cars. Per thinks cars are a basic topic in pop and rock history and you can find tons of songs about cars. He states at the beginning that he didn’t include Sleeping In My Car in the list, just like he didn’t include Fading Like A Flower in the flower songs list. Sven adds that car songs reflected a time before climate anxiety. They were always connected with pleasure, freedom and youth. Sven asks Per if there is any Bruce Springsteen song on the list. Per answers he could have come up with Pink Cadillac, Born To Run, but they are not on the list.

Per’s Top 9 songs about cars

9. Deep Purple – Highway Star
8. Canned Heat – On The Road Again
7. The Cars – Drive
6. Iggy Pop – The Passanger
5. Gary Numan – Cars
4. Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers – Roadrunner
3. Wilson Pickett – Mustang Sally
2. The Beatles – Drive My Car – Remastered
1. Billy Ocean – Get Outta My Dreams, Get into My Car

The ninth on the list is Highway Star from Deep Purple. Per thinks it’s an awesome song, terrifically good music and he loved it when he was a teenager. It’s on Deep Purple’s Machine Head album, but Mr. G heard it on the band’s live record, Made in Japan. No one Per knew was listening to the drum solo in The Mule. Smoke on the Water, Highway Star and Child in Time were fab songs on it. Sven says ’70s hard rock doesn’t get any better than that. Sven adds the guys wrote Highway Star because they wanted to have a new opening song on tour in autumn 1971. Before that, they always opened with Speed King. They wrote HS on a tour bus while on their way to a gig and actually played it on that gig for the first time. They were effective. Per recommends the song ”if you haven’t heard it before, you’re in for a treat”. After they play HS, Sven says Per has just finished his air guitar playing. Mr. G says it’s so hard to resist.

The next song is On The Road Again from Canned Heat. Per says his brother had this album, Boogie with Canned Heat and this song was outstanding on it. Mr. G always loved Alan Wilson’s falsetto vocals. Bob ”The Bear” Hite was the other singer in the band. Sven says Alan was collecting old blues records and tells the story that Son House, American blues singer and guitarist was rediscovered in the ’60s. House had forgotten his songs due to his long absence from music and it was Wilson who showed him how to play again the songs House had recorded before. Alan Wilson was a real blues nerd. Per says the band members died at a very early age, however, the band still exists, there is one living original member. Sven adds Alan died at the age of 27. Jimi Hendrix died 2 weeks later at the age of 27, then 2 weeks later Janis Joplin also died at the age of 27. Per says it’s scary.

After the song, Sven and Per are talking about falsetto singing. It’s fun to hear Mr. G’s falsetto voice saying ”I don’t know” in Swedish at 12:25. Haha. Per says he sings falsetto quite often, e.g. on Come On from Son of a Plumber. Sven says it’s one of his favourites. Sakta mina steg is another one. Here Per mentions Marie Fredriksson’s vocal capacity that was similar to Joni Mitchell’s.

Seventh song on the list is Drive from The Cars’ Heartbeat City album. The production was new, it sounded really special in 1984. The producer was Robert John ”Mutt” Lange who is still great. He also produced Def Leppard and the early Bryan Adams albums, AC/DC and Rock n’ Roll Love Letter from The Records. The Cars was a guitar-oriented pop band in the beginning, but here they used a new sound. There was synthesizer and they used programmed drums that sounded better. It felt more digital. The Cars sold millions of their debut album, but Drive was kind of a turbo fro them. Per says it was in the early years of MTV and The Cars shot cool videos. They became an MTV band. Heartbeat City was their greatest album and Per thinks it’s still an awesome record. Sven remembers that in spring of 1984, when the album was released, he wrote hastily about it. Then when he was on his way home from Malmö to Lund on a Friday evening and Drive came on the radio, he didn’t recognize it and thought that was the best he had heard. Then he realized it was from that album. Per says Drive is written by Ric Ocasek who was lead vocalist in The Cars, but this song was sung by bassist Benjamin Orr. He sings phenomenally. Per says Ric has a very special voice and that doesn’t really fit this song, so he understands why it wasn’t him singing it. The guys say it wasn’t No. 1 in the US, but peaked at a high position. Sven adds it was Paulina Porizkova in the music video to Drive, who later became Ric Ocasek’s wife. She was Czechoslovakian, but lived in Lund from the age of 10 and as a model she left for Paris and New York. Per says it’s such a romantic story, it’s so warm he has to take off his sweater. Sven laughs and asks Per to keep it on.

Song number six is The Passanger from Iggy Pop. The guys are laughing again saying apropos romantic, there is this guy who never wears a sweater. Per says it’s maybe not a car song, but a vehicle song. He thinks the riff in it is so ridiculously simple, it’s brilliant. It was a B side song on the single Success. Per says if you check Iggy Pop on Spotify, you can see that his most popular song is The Passanger. Iggy has a kind of roughness in everything he does. When he sings lalalala is also a bit dangerous, but one must like it. The song is from Iggy’s Lust for Life album that came after The Idiot, which had a little arty sleeve where Iggy was standing in the rain. Lust for Life also has Iggy on the cover, with a huge smile, however, Sven says one can never see Iggy Pop laughing. Per adds the album was recorded in Berlin together with David Bowie. Mr. G says it was a productive year for both of them. Bowie released 2 albums, Low and ”Heroes” and Iggy released The Idiot and Lust for Life.

The fifth song is Cars from Gary Numan and Per thinks it’s still an awesome song. Gary is from Tubeway Army, a band Per was listening to a lot. When the song Cars came out, it was innovative pop music. The riff sounds exciting. Sven says it’s 1.5 minutes singing and then 2.5 minutes synth festival. What differentiates it from other songs is that the other songs were programmed, while there is live drums and live bass on Cars. Per says the song is from 1979 when they were young. Sven says Per is still young. Mr. G reacts ”like Benjamin Button” and they laugh.

Sven says he has the feeling that the next song was written and recorded at the same time. It’s Roadrunner from Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers. There are a lot of versions of this song from different years with different producers. The first version was recorded in 1972 and produced by John Cale. Many say that it’s the first new wave single in a way. It sounds a bit like it was inspired by the Velvet Underground.  Jonathan comes from Boston and he also played in the movie There’s Something About Mary. There was a version of the song produced by Matthew King Kaufman for Beserkley Records. Starting Stiff Records was inspired by Beserkley Records, Sven mentions based on Nick Lowe’s biography.

Song number three is Mustang Sally from Wilson Pickett, released in 1966. The original title was Mustang Mama, but songwriter Mack Rice changed it after Aretha Franklin suggested Mustang Sally because of ”ride, Sally, ride” in the chorus. The song was recorded in the famous FAME Studio. Sven tells the story that Rice knew a singer who wanted to give a Lincoln as a thank you gift for one of her band members, but at the time everyone wanted a Mustang. Rice got inspiration from this story and wrote the song. According to Per, Wilson Pickett made the best version of it. Sven comes up with The Commitments, a movie about an Irish band. There this band also plays Mustang Sally.

Drive My Car from The Beatles, released in 1965 is No. 2 on the list. It was written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon. They sing this song wonderfully together, however, Paul is dominating. DMC wasn’t a single, it was released on Rubber Soul as a fantastic opening song. Sven thinks ”beep beep yeah” in the lyrics is 100% pop. Per likes it too. The text refers to dirty things like in old blues songs. In the ’60s, ”drive my car” referred to intimate relations. Per thinks this one is one of the coolest songs in the world.

Before Per announces which song is No. 1, he mentions a few other car songs. Then it turns out that on top of his list is Get Outta My Dreams, Get into My Car from Billy Ocean. This is the second song on the list produced by ”Mutt” Lange who is also the songwriter of it. It was before he met Shania Twain. Per likes Billy Ocean’s songs, e.g. Carribean Queen which is a cozy pop song. Get Outta My Dreams, Get into My Car is very much of an ’80s hit. Sven says one was kind of bombarded by this song and he always tried to avoid it. It came out in spring of 1988. Sven tells when he was collecting info about Per for his book, he found out Mr G. bought a synth in spring of 1988 and wrote The Look on it. It was inspired by ZZ Top. Per says there was a lot of synthesizer music back then, dance music of the time. If you are listening to it today, it’s quite radical. Get Outta My Dreams, Get into My Car went to No. 1 on the US Billboard Hot100. And one year later, Marie and Per were No. 1 with The Look. Per says he didn’t think about it when he bought that synthesizer. Mr. G says he liked the ’80s style. After they play GOMDGIMC, regarding the No. 1 song choice Sven says Per is the man of constant surprises.

13-year-old Gry Forssell interviews Marie Fredriksson in 1987

Gry Forssell was the speaker on Swedish Radio’s Sommar & Vinter i P1 program today. Gry is one of Sweden’s most popular program leaders. Among many other things, she talked about her great experience related to Marie Fredriksson. LISTEN to the program from 34:28 to 36:40 to hear it.

Marie was on a Club tour when her Efter stormen album came out in 1987 and she also visited Luleå where Gry grew up. There was a program called Himalaya on Swedish Radio. Gry’s mom worked there and her friend was the producer. Gry was there in the radio a lot of times with her mom. She was 13 when one day the producer asked if she wanted to interview Marie Fredriksson. Of course she wanted!

After Gry welcomed Marie to Luleå and she thanked for it and said it was nice to be there, Gry asked her how old she was when she decided to be a singer, an artist. Marie replied:

I was 6 years old. I already knew it at 6 or 7 that I wanted to be a singer or an actress. And I’ve been fighting for that since then actually.

Gry also asked how one can become a famous singer and whether it has to do anything with luck or you also have to be good. Marie told:

Of course you have to be able to sing, but you also have to have self confidence. The best you can do is that you sing as much as possible. Sing in front of your friends. When I was a child, I was singing a lot in front of the mirror. I was miming and acted as if I was on a popular TV program or in a big movie. I was fantasizing a lot about that.

Gry smiles and says Marie replied so patiently to her silly questions. Lovely!

Still is from Jacobs stege 1987.

Per Gessle – Gessles nio i topp – Nine songs about flowers

Last Saturday, after the midsummer session in the afternoon, there came a new episode of Gessles nio i topp on Swedish Radio and this time Per Gessle put together a bouquet of the most colorful songs about flowers.

Per’s Top 9 songs about flowers

9. The Move – Flowers In The Rain
8. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds Feat. Kylie Minogue – Where the Wild Roses Grow
7. The Damned – New Rose
6. Geraint Watkins – Only A Rose
5. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Magnolia
4. Air – Cherry Blossom Girl
3. The Rolling Stones – Dead Flowers
2. George Jones – A Good Year For The Roses
1. Nick Lowe – The Rose of England

The ninth song on the list is from 1967, when Per was 8 and ran around and sold magazines to earn money for being able to buy singles. Mr. G says it was a fantastic year in pop music history. Sven tells that year was all about sun, love and flowers. Per says one can have flowers in the rain too. Sven adds especially if someone lives in England. Per picks Flowers In The Rain from The Move. Roy Wood was the songwriter in this fantastic band. Later he formed Electric Light Orchestra together with Jeff Lynne. Sven asks Per if he bought any The Move singles. He replies that his brother bought ”I Can Hear The Grass Grow” and that was their single before ”Flowers In The Rain”. The latter one Per heard on the radio and recorded it on tape from there. Sven mentions that Scott McKenzie’s ”San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair)” was also a candidate for this flower list, but The Move kicked them out. ”Flowers In The Rain” was produced by Denny Cordell who also produced Tom Petty’s first album and Tony Visconti, David Bowie’s producer was the assistant producer of the song. Sven and Per discovered that all royalties from the sale of the record went to the then Prime Minister, Harold Wilson’s charity foundation after The Move promoted their single with some kind of postcard on which there was a caricature of the naked Prime Minister and his naked secretary. Today it’s still that foundation that gets the royalty money. Per thinks The Move sound typical of their time and Roy Wood was fantastic. Fun fact is that this song was the first record to be played on BBC Radio 1 when the station was launched.

Sven tells now there is a murder song. Per picked Where The Wild Roses Grow by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds Feat. Kylie Minogue. Mr. G says it’s still Nick Cave’s biggest hit. It was inspired by an old folk song, ”Down In The Willow Garden”, a murder ballad. The song has an awesome video that was inspired by a murder painting from the 1800s. The song was all over the place in the ’90s. Sven and Per say they were never much into Nick Cave’s stuff, but Per tells he saw a documentary about him and he thinks he is a very special artist. Sven gave it a try and listened to the album, ”Murder Ballads”. He says the first song is more than 6 minutes long and it’s quite a dark one, however, the title of it is ”Song Of Joy”. Per thinks ”Where The Wild Roses Grow” is really catchy and kind of a commercial pop song, but there aren’t any other songs like this in Nick Cave’s catalogue. Sven warns Per he will get some protest letters from Nick’s fans. Sven tells Nick sent a real monotonous demo of the song and when Kylie’s manager heard it, he wasn’t impressed, but Kylie thought it was damn good. It was very different vs. anything she had done before in her career.

The next song is from 1976, the punk and new wave era. Per’s choice is New Rose from The Damned. Per was buying only singles and the only LP he bought was The Damned’s first album, produced by Nick Lowe who worked together with a lot of Stiff Records artists. Sven remembers that Stiff Records’ first single was Nick Lowe’s solo debut single, ”So It Goes”. He also says that Stiff Records had some great images with slogans, e.g. ”Electrically recorded”. Before the guys play ”New Rose”, they mention that the intro, ”Is she really going out with him?” is a parody of a Shangri-Las song ”Leader Of The Pack”.

After ”New Rose”, Sven and Per talks about how this album [Damned Damned Damned] affected Gyllene Tider. Per says everyone in the band liked the album cover very much, with the guys with cream on their faces. They were checking all Stiff Records and F-Beat Records albums. That was a nice time to start a band. You didn’t necessarily had to be good, it was OK if you sounded bad. It was enough if everyone could play the same song at the same time in a band. Haha. Per wishes everyone could experience playing in a band. It’s very different to sitting in front of the computer. Playing instruments together is just awesome.

The next song is Only A Rose from Geraint Watkins. Per says he had this one on his playlist since long. He doesn’t know anything about the artist, but he loves the song. If you google Geraint Watkins it turns out that he is from Wales and he worked together with Van Morrison, Mark Knopfler and Paul McCartney among others. He plays the piano and the accordion and he is singing wonderfully. Per thinks ”Only A Rose” is a masterpiece from 2004. One can never get tired of it. Sven says even Nick Lowe loves Geraint Watkins and his name pops up on other artists’ albums. Sven never heard this song before, but he thinks it’s a nice one.

Per picked Magnolia from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers as the next song. He says it’s from Tom Petty’s probably least successful album, ”You’re Gonna Get It!” (1978). Per mentions the album is less than 30 minutes long. Sven says the Ramones’ first album was 29 minutes long and Per tells The Hives’ first album was also under 30 minutes. Mr. G thinks there are many good songs on ”You’re Gonna Get It!”, one can feel the creativity on the album. The last track on it is ”Baby’s A Rock ‘n’ Roller”, which is one of Per’s favourite Tom Petty songs. But it’s not about flowers, so he had to pick another one for this list. Sven jokes and asks if ”I Need To Know” from the same album isn’t about flowers. Per laughs and says they did a cover of that song with Gyllene Tider (”Vill ha ett svar”). Per talks about a YouTube video where Tom mentions that the strangest cover of any of his songs is a Swedish cover of ”I Need To Know”. The guys start talking about ”Magnolia” and Per says Tom was an adorable singer. As a Swede, when you are listening to the old classic albums of The Rolling Stones or Tom Petty, you don’t really hear what they are singing, but there is a kind of expression in their voices. Mick Jagger has it too. And Robert Plant in Led Zeppelin. Tom Petty was a big fan of Roger McGuinn from The Byrds. He originally wrote ”Magnolia” for Roger, but he didn’t record it, so that’s how it ended up on Tom Petty’s album instead. Sven tells it was the same with ”Keeping Me Alive”. Tom Petty wrote it for the Everly Brothers, but they didn’t like it. The Williams Brothers released it first, but then it also ended up on a Tom Petty album. Per says them guys in Gyllene Tider loved Tom Petty and in 1978 when MP and Per started writing songs, this album, ”You’re Gonna Get It!” was really important.

The next song choice is Cherry Blossom Girl from Air, which is a French duo and they broke through in the end of the ’90s with their ”Moon Safari” album. There was a big hit on it, ”Sexy Boy”. Then they did a soundtrack for Sofia Coppola’s ”The Virgin Suicides”. ”Cherry Blossom Girl” is from their 2004 ”Talkie Walkie” album and it’s an airy, dreamy, hypnotic song.

Dead Flowers from The Rolling Stones is next. Sven says it’s a bit morbid from Per, first Nick Cave’s murder ballad, now dead flowers. Per says flowers can be happy and sad too. Mr. G thinks the best Rolling Stones album is ”Sticky Fingers” from 1971. There are a lot of good songs on it and the album sleeve is cool too. Per says many like ”Exile on Main St.” (1972) more, but he never understood that. Sven thinks there are many super cool songs on ”Exile on Main St.”, but he also thinks ”Sticky Fingers” is a more effective album. Per says if you didn’t listen to the ’60s-’70s albums when they came out, it’s more difficult to enter that world now. He had all the big albums except for ”Exile on Main St.” and he listened to it as an adult and it was difficult to find its place and like it. Sven says there was a band called Love and everyone liked them which he couldn’t understand. Per says he never liked them, but it’s the same with their albums, he didn’t listen to them when they were released, just later. Sven comes up with the idea that maybe in the future they could do an episode of Top9 love songs, then Per jokes that there could also be an episode with Top9 artists they don’t have a relation to. Back to ”Dead Flowers”, Sven tells it’s a country rock song. Per adds that there is a country touch that goes through the whole album. After they play the song, Sven mentions that Townes Van Zandt made a fantastic cover of it and that version was used in the film ”The Big Lebowski”. The movie is both Sven and Per’s favourite. Per thinks it’s a milestone in film history. Sven tells the story that Allen Klein, the Rolling Stones’ former manager owned the rights to the song and asked 150,000 USD for it to be used in the movie. Producer T-Bone Burnett invited Klein to watch an early cut of the film. There is a part where the Dude is sitting in a taxi and the radio plays ”Peaceful Easy Feeling” from the Eagles. The Dude asks the driver to change the channel which he refuses to do and the Dude says ”I hate the fuckin’ Eagles, man”. Klein thought that was beautiful and gave the song for free in the end.

One of the absolute best songs Per knows is at No. 2 on the list. It’s A Good Year For The Roses from George Jones. Per realizes there are a lot of rose songs. Mr. G says no one sings about dandelions [maskros in Swedish], however, he has tussilago [coltsfoot] in ”Småstadsprat”. Sven says tulips are not song-friendly and Per agrees. He says there is a romantic touch with roses. Both in positive and negative sense. Per mentions the song ”Pictures Of Lily” [from The Who], however, it’s not about lillies. They laugh. Back to ”A Good Year For The Roses”, the guys say it’s a song that can make a grown man cry. Per says Elvis Costello did a cover of it, but the original version by George Jones is fantastic. The song was written by Jerry Chesnut.

No. 1 on the flower songs list is Nick Lowe’s The Rose of England. Per says Nick Lowe is Nick Lowe and thinks it’s a magnificent song, one of Nick’s best. Sven says it’s from Nick Lowe’s forgotten period. According to Per, his album in the mid ’80s was boring. His band Nick Lowe and His Cowboy Outfit didn’t really work out. Sven adds Nick left the new wave and he was on the way towards his old man period. Per thinks ”Shelley My Love” from the ’90s is a fantastic song, but also ”The Rose of England” is real Nick Lowe pop for Mr. G. ”American Squirm” is also wonderful English pop. When Per listened to ”The Rose of England” the other day he thought it’s like his style in songwriting. It’s so good. They start laughing and Per explains he recognizes his songwriting style in there. The many chord changes in the verses and that everything is built on the fantastic melody. It’s classic Nick Lowe pop. Like ”Heart Of The City” or ”Cracking Up”. According to Sven there is an obviousness, similar to Paul McCartney. Kind of a trade mark. Per thinks the same and he says when you hear these songs you think shit, you already heard that one. They play ”The Rose of England” from 1985 then as the last song in this episode.