Movie Hits Essentials with Per Gessle of Roxette on Apple Music

Per Gessle shared some of his favourite songs and soundtracks on Pure Throwback Radio channel’s special, Music Hits Essentials on Apple Music. You can listen to Per’s fave songs from the world of movies HERE! Mr. G was so well-prepared and very informative. He even knows such details like who plays the guitar in a theme song. Impressive! Fab song choices and an exquisite guest program leader make an awesome almost-2-hour-long entertainment.

The program starts with the intro of Listen To Your Heart and Per telling:

I’m Per Gessle of Roxette and today we’re going to the movies. Playing some of my favourite songs of the silver screen, A list anthems and blockbuster ballads, including a few select Roxette classics. So listen in and listen to your heart, because I hope some of today’s movie magic evokes some special memories for you too.

Per goes on:

I’m here to talk a bit about movies and music, great songs in great pictures. Music and movies go hand in hand together, we all know that. Smart directors use music in an intelligent way to enhance a scene or to build or intensify something visually. As part of the audience you can’t really escape or ignore it. It’s the perfect weapon.

PG thinks there are so many great songs that come to mind when he goes back to certain movies. Think about all the Bond films, for instance. He grew up in the ’60s and was totally overwhelmed by James Bond. „He was so armed and so extremely dangerous.” Mr. G was way too young to see the films at the time, but his brother did and he told Per all about them. All about the cars, the guns and gizmos, all about the girls. Per had to settle with the music. Luckily for him, there were plenty and most of them were truly amazing. Bond themes from the ’60s included artists like Tom Jones, Nancy Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Matt Monro and of course, the primadonna of them all, Dame Shirley Bassey. PG’s all-time favourite of all the Bond songs there ever was is Goldfinger from 1964. It’s written among others by John Barry who also wrote the main James Bond theme that opens every Bond movie. Later on in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s there were even more great songs coming from the Bond series. Paul McCartney and Wings’ Live And Let Die is unbelievably good according to Per. There is also Carly Simon’s Nobody Does I Better, A-ha’s The Living Daylights, Duran Duran’s A View To A Kill, Tina Turner’s GoldenEye and the mighty Gladys Knight and her License To Kill. This latter is a wonderful song according to PG.

Per’s most influential band of all time is of course The Beatles. He grew up with their music and he thinks everything about them felt special. The hairdos, the clothes, the vibe. The whole package was something you never experienced before. The Beatles had the unique capacity to never repeat themselves. Every single and every album are different from the one before. The amount of amazing songs delivered by these guys can’t be beaten, PG thinks. He was a bit too young to catch their two main films in the theatres, but he loves the soundtrack albums. On the show, he plays one of the best pop songs ever written, made for the first Beatle movie, A Hard Day’s Night in 1964. A great year for both movies and music, says PG. He loves that magic opening chord.

With Roxette, Per has had the pleasure of being involved in a couple of movies. He tells the true story of It Must Have Been Love. In 1987 he got a request from their German record company to write a Christmas song. They had problems getting Roxette on the radio in Germany and thought it might be easier if they released a Christmas song for the upcoming festive season. So Per wrote a ballad just in time. They recorded it and it sounded really cool, and they released it in their home market, Sweden, where it became a pretty decent Christmas hit and even a gold record. However, the Germans, they didn’t like it very much and refused to work it. Anyway, time went by, Roxette got their international breakthrough a couple of years later and in 1990 PG found himself having lunch in Los Angeles with their American record company. They asked him if he could come up with a song for a movie they had acquired the rights to and Per told them there wasn’t any time. They were travelling the world, week in, week out, doing promotions for the Look Sharp! album, which was a major hit basically everywhere all over the world. But hey, he remembered one thing. They had this Christmas song. Mr. G told them about this ballad and suggested to re-write the lyrics a bit, maybe update the production, make a new intro. So the next time they were in Stockholm, they spent a day in the studio and did just that. And before they knew it, they had a great spot in the movie called Pretty Woman. He plays It Must Have Been Love without the Christmas lyric. That was Roxette’s third American No. 1. It’s still their biggest song all over the world and it’s of course because that Pretty Woman movie was so huge, directed by Garry Marshall, starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere in 1990.

Per goes back to the ’60s. One of his favourite songs of all time comes from Easy Rider (1969), a great movie directed by Dennis Hopper. Jack Nicholson is doing one of his coolest roles as the lawyer George Hanson in this one. It was a low-budget movie that became the symbol of the hippie era and a true blockbuster. Per had the poster with Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper on their Harley Davidson bikes on his wall when he grew up, next to his treasured pictures of The Beatles and The Monkees. Most of the music to Easy Rider was made by The Byrds, but the song PG has chosen to play is Steppenwolf’s Born To Be Wild. Per thinks it’s a great track with a wonderful guitar riff.

Let’s stay in the ’60s. It’s easy to do if you’re as old as I am.

Per tells that the music from the ’60s and ’70s is really close to his heart. He listens to it every day. One of the greatest duos ever had a big big song in this movie called The Graduate in 1967, starring Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft. It got seven Academy Awards nominations and it won Best Director, Mike Nichols. This song is a classic one by now written by Paul Simon and the duo is of course, Simon & Garfunkel. The song was originally called Mrs. Roosevelt, but they changed the title for the movie to Mrs. Robinson. Paul Simon is one of Per’s favourite songwriters of all time. Bridge Over Troubled Water, The Sound Of Silence, Mother And Child Reunion, 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover, You Can Call Me Al. The list just goes on and on and on.

Ten years later it was time for the disco craze to take over the world. PG tells he himself was never into the disco scene. Per says he and his pals were never really that much on the dancefloor. „I’m actually a terrible dancer. Just ask my wife!” In 1977 Mr. G formed his first band and he was pretty influenced by the new wave and the power pop scene instead. The Ramones, Patti Smith, Sex Pistols, The Buzzcocks, Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello, Blondie, Dwight Twilley Band, Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers. That kind of music shaped his own songwriting and style of playing. However, you couldn’t escape this huge movie, the biggest one in 1977, Saturday Night Fever – starring a young John Travolta – which went on to become one of the best selling soundtracks of all time. Loads of music by the Gibb brothers, lots of falsetto voices which sounded amazing according to Per. He picked the stand-out track, which has to be Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees. „Dancing shoes on, folks!”

One of the most beautiful movie themes ever is coming up next. This one really takes your breath away when you listen to it, Per says. It’s from Francis Ford Coppola’s epic film, The Godfather, released in 1972. It’s one of the greatest and most influential films ever made, starring Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Robert Duvall and so many other legendary actors. The music is flawless and written by Nino Rota. Per picked the timeless Love Theme from The Godfather. Amazing stuff!

Coming up next is a song from a Quentin Tarantino movie, Pulp Fiction from 1994. Tarantino and his staff seem to spend a lot of time picking the right music to his films. The soundtracks are always stunning according to Mr. G. In this particular movie there are so many great songs, e.g. Chuck Berry’s You Never Can Tell, Ricky Nelson’s Lonesome Town, Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together and Dusty Springfield’s Son Of A Preacher Man. Per’s favourite is an old Neil Diamond song though from 1967, covered by a duo from Minnesota, Urge Overkill. Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon was originally released in 1992, but got known to a wide audience via Pulp Fiction 2 years later. It’s such a brilliant track to start with and Urge Overkill’s version is marvellous.

One of Per’s favourite bands, as well as being a big inspiration for him when he started to play in the late ’70s is Blondie. PG loves so many of their songs. He loves their sound and attitude and Debbie Harry is definitely one of the coolest singers ever in Per’s book. Their album Parallel Lines from 1978 is in Mr. G’s Top5 of the best albums ever made, combining their own brilliant material with intelligent covers of other bands’ songs. Hanging On The Telephone written by Jack Lee from The Nerves for example sounds suddenly like a monster hit in the hands of Blondie and their producer Mike Chapman. In 1980 Blondie made it all the way to No. 1 in the US with a song from the American Gigolo film. It was written and produced by Giorgio Moroder. Debbie Harry wrote the lyrics. The movie, starring Richard Gere in the main role, got loads of Grammy and Golden Globe nominations for its music and it’s not surprising according to Per, since the soundtrack is quite wonderful. Call Me is great music from 1980.

Per tells that after Roxette’s success with It Must Have Been Love in the Pretty Woman film they got request to be part of several Hollywood movies. That’s the way it goes. One was a film called Hocus Pocus, starring Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker and Per actually wrote a song for that one and yes, it was called Hocus Pocus. However, for some reason the film company had a change of heart and decided that the group En Vogue should do the theme song instead, which they did, but the film company never used that song either. Pretty strange. But it didn’t really matter, the Hocus Pocus movie turned out to be terrible. Shit happens, says Per. Anyway, they were left with their own song that they thought was really cool and it eventually popped up in another movie instead, starring Bob Hoskins and Dennis Hopper. But that movie turned out to be really bad as well if you ask PG. He remembers watching it and just shaking his head, what a waste of time. The film was called Super Mario Bros and was released late 1993. Here Per plays their Hocus Pocus song with its new title, Almost Unreal. After the song Per says „you just heard Roxette’s Almost Unreal, featured in one of those movies that never should have been made. We need an antidote now!”

If you ask Per to pick his three favourite movies of all time, it would of course be very tricky. It’s always hard to make choices like that, he says, but one movie he has always cherished is The Big Lebowski, starring Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore and Steve Buscemi. It’s directed by the Coen borthers who have made some of the greatest films PG knows (e.g. Fargo, The Man Who Wasn’t There, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, No Country For Old Men). Brilliant stuff, according to Mr. G. The Big Lebowksi has got a great soundtrack. The Man In Me by Bob Dylan is superb, just like the Gipsy Kings version of Hotel California, but Per’s favourite is actually Kenny Rogers & the First Edition’s version of Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In) from 1968. It’s a wonderful song written by Mickey Newbury in the late ’60s and was the the first big hit for Kenny Rogers. As Per says, Mickey Newbury was a mindblowing songwriter and one of a kind, just like The Big Lebowksi. A truly wonderful movie. PG recommends you to check it out if you haven’t seen it yet and tells that Jeff Bridges is one of his favourite actors.

Talking about Jeff Bridges, he did an amazing movie in 2009 together with Maggie Gyllenhaal, Colin Farrell and Robert Duvall, called Crazy Heart. Per suggests you put it on your bucketlist if you haven’t seen it yet. Jeff Bridges is playing this country singer songwriter and he actually sings a lot of songs himself both in the movie and on the soundtrack. He’s got a great voice according to PG. He like a lot of country music. He tells he had the opportunity to visit and make recordings in Nashville a couple of years ago and that was amazing. The session players in Nashville are the best in the world and the vibe in this city is very special. There is music everywhere. Per even found a store close to the studio where they only sold and repaired harmonicas. You only find that in Nashville, he says. Back to the Crazy Heart movie, there is especially one track in that film that’s outstanding for Per and it’s called Fallin’ & Flyin’. „Ladies and gentlemen, make way for the great Jeff Bridges!” Per thinks it’s a very catchy song.

One of the albums PG listened to a lot when he was in his pre-teens was Elton John’s Madman Across The Water. It came out in 1971 when Mr. G was 12 years old. 1971 turned out to be one of the greatest years ever for popular music. Think about all those mindblowing albums that came out that particular year. Blue by Joni Mitchell, Tapestry by Carole King, Every Picture Tells A Story by Rod Stewart, Hunky Dory by Bowie, Led Zeppelin IV, Sticky Fingers by The Rolling Stones, Who’s Next by The Who, Aqualung by Jethro Tull, Ram by Paul and Linda McCartney, Songs Of Love And Hate by Leonard Cohen, Imagine by John Lennon. Per loves Madman Across The Water, including the powerful title track, but the standout song for him was one of the most beautiful songs he knows, Tiny Dancer. In 2000, the movie Almost Famous came out. Kate Hudson played the main character and Per thought she was wonderful and the movie was really incredible. He still likes it a lot. In one of the key scenes you can hear Elton and his Tiny Dancer. Excellent choice, Per thinks.

Next up is a wonderful song written by Harry Nilsson called One. As Per informs, Harry’s own version was on his third solo album, Aerial Ballet in 1968 and a year later Three Dog Night had a big hit with Harry’s song. Aimee Mann did her own version of it for the Paul Thomas Anderson movie Magnolia in 1999, starring Tom Cruise, Philip Seymour Hoffman, William H. Macy, John C Reilly and Julianne Moore. Paul Thomas Anderson had his big breakthrough two years earlier with the amazing Boogie Nights film starring Mark Wahlberg and Burt Reynolds. Per thinks you have to check that one out too. It’s brutally good and got a fine soundtrack as well, but he picked Magnolia because it’s special, it’s really beautiful and probably one of his favourite films of all time. Additionally, he loves most of the stuff Aimee Mann has recorded as well, so for Per it’s a match made in heaven.

When you think about songs from movies, it’s not all about the traditional hit or the Top40 song. Some of the finest music for films are instrumentals and a great example of this is the magical stuff created by Ennio Morricone. He was a true master according to Per. PG doesn’t know how many film scores Morricone made, but more than 100, he thinks. The music he wrote for Sergio Leone’s spaghettti Westerns in the ’60s is truly remarkable. It’s interesting that he sometimes wrote the songs and the scores before they even shot the scenes, so the music itself inspired how the scenes would turn out. Fascinating! Per plays the theme from The Good, The Bad And The Ugly made in 1966, starring Clint Eastwood, music by Ennio Morricone. „Wow! Isn’t that the best guitar sound you ever heard?” It’s played by Bruno Battisti D’Amario.

At this point Per tells the listeners they probably know him through his work with Roxette. He is playing some of his favourite songs from the movies.

In 2012 Per got the opportunity to create his own full soundtrack to a movie. He worked closely with director Jonas Åkerlund on his movie Small Apartments, starring Matt Lucas, Billy Crystal and James Caan among others. It was a pretty interesting process. PG presented loads of instrumental music that Jonas could choose from and used some stuff he had written in the past, but also did new music, especially created for specific scenes. Per plays one of the songs that was used in the film. This is a fun one called Shopping With Mother. It was an independent movie and lots of fun to be involved with, says Per. The female opera-like vocals were sung by the the amazing Helena Josefsson, who Per has worked with since 2002.

Next one Mr. G has picked is from a Roman Polanski movie called Bitter Moon starring Peter Coyote, Emmanuelle Seigner and Hugh Grant from 1992. Like all Polanski movies, Bitter Moon is quite excellent according to Per. He has picked a great song Polanski used in the movie. It’s called Stop! and was originally released in 1988, sung by Sam Brown. It’s a lovely song according to Per. Sam Brown used to be a session vocalist working with among others Pink Floyd on their The Division Bell album, but she also released a handful of successful singles on her own in the late ’80s. Unfortunately, she got problems with her voice and stopped singing due to medical reasons in 2007. Such a shame, thinks Per.

Now comes something completely different. Next artist – who changed the world forever – is Elvis Presley. In 1957 he made his third movie and it was called Jailhouse Rock. Per remembers his sister had the title track on a 7-inch vinyl single and Elvis looked extremely cool on the cover. Mr. G found the single in the mid ’60s and he couldn’t take his eyes off the sleeve and he played that record over and over again.

Who could resist a groove like that and the way he was singing? Not me! It still sounds amazing to this very day! So ladies and gentlemen, the king of them all, Elvis Aaron Presley from Tupelo, Mississippi performing the title track from Jailhouse Rock written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.

Hard to beat! After the song PG says „Elvis has left the building”.

Jim Carrey is another of the all time great actors. Per thinks he is very versatile, not only an amazing comedian. In 2004 he made a great movie called Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind together with Kate Winslet. The movie was directed by Michel Gondry and written by Charlie Kaufman who also wrote one of Mr. G’s all time favourites, Being John Malkovich a couple of years earlier. Wonderful scripts, both of them. In Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind there is a great version of the song Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime by Beck. Per really loves that song. He heard it first in the very early ’80s in the original recording by the British band, The Korgis. It’s written by James Warren who was the lead singer of the band and it’s an all time classic in PG’s book.

It’s time to play another Roxette song now. This one hasn’t been involved in any huge movies that Per knows of, but it certainly has appeared in loads of TV series, e.g. GLOW and this black comedy series called Scream Queens comes to mind. Per wrote it in 1988, trying to figure out how to program his new synthesizer, an Ensoniq ESQ-1. So he basically just fooled around with three bass notes and started singing the first things that came to mind and that became the first verse. „Walking like a man, hitting like a hammer, she’s a juvenile scam…” It didn’t really make sense, but it sounded really cool. Per made a demo called He’s Got The Look, because hus intention was to have Marie in Roxette to sing it. However, she didn’t feel comfortable doing that. She tried it, but it didn’t really click. So Per changed it to she’s got The Look and sang it himself on the recording and it became the opening track on Roxette’s second album, Look Sharp! and eventually, their first American No. 1. in the spring of 1989. It changed their lives forever. After the song is played, PG says „Yep. I’m part of that!”

It’s time for another Western movie, Per thinks. One of his favourites is from 1969 and it is of course the highest grossing film of that year, the blockbuster Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid, starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford. Written by William Goldman, directed by George Roy Hill it received seven Academy Awards nominations and won four of them, including the award for best song. Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head sung by B. J. Thomas, written by one of the best composers of all time, Burt Bacharach. Lyrics were written by Hal David and this is such a great song according to PG.

In 1968 an amazing movie had its premiere. Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway played the leading parts in The Thomas Crown Affair. This is such a cool film and it also went down very well with the Academy Awards jury. It got two nominations and one for best original song. The Windmills Of Your Mind sung by Noel Harrison, music by Michel Legrand and lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman. It’s such a beautiful song, says Per. Some trivia is that Sean Connery was the original choice for the title role, but he turned it down. „Can you believe that?” However, Mr. G thinks Steve McQueen was an excellent replacement, he is superb in the role of Thomas Crown.

We move forward to another Quentin Tarantino film, made in 2003. Kill Bill: Vol. 1, starring Uma Thurman is yet another Tarantino movie with a very interesting soundtrack. Per has chosen Nancy Sinatra’s version of Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) from 1966. It was actually written for Cher by her then-husband Sonny Bono, but it was Nancy Sinatra’s version that appeared in the actual movie. It’s such a great song and Nancy Sinatra’s take on it holds a pretty sparse production with just vocals and an electric guitar with tremolo. Per informs the guitar was played by Billy Strange and his playing is really what makes the song so special.

Per would like to play another Roxette track for you. This one he wrote together with his old pal, Mats Persson and it has been included in several TV series over the years. Killing Eve, Mr. Robot to name two of them. PG wrote the lyrics after a very long night comforting a friend of his who went through a pretty nasty divorce. So this was some kind of friendly advice from Per to his friend. It was written for Roxette’s second album, Look Sharp! in 1988 and it became their second No. 1 in the US. It was actually the first single ever to become No. 1 in America being released only as a cassette single and not available as a vinyl single. „Weird, isn’t it? I never really got into the cassette single thing myself, but the Americans obviously did. I’m sure you know this one. Listen To Your Heart by Roxette.”

I hope you enjoyed today’s cinema inspired soundtrack. It’s been such a pleasure going through so many fabulous songs from so many great movies. I could go on and on and on.

Per rounds things off with one of his favourite artists of all time, Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers. In 1996 Tom Petty did the soundtrack to a romantic comedy called She’s The One, directed by Edward Burns and starring Jennifer Aniston and Cameron Diaz in the leading roles. This soundtrack holds a staggering amount of great songs and Per has chosen his favourite one called California. Before the song plays, Per thanks for listening and says:

Hope to see you all down the road somewhere! Stay safe and sound, folks! Bye for now!

After the song is played, Mr. G comes back with a couple of more words to close the show:

Aaand… cut! This is Per Gessle of Roxette and that’s a wrap of this very special edition of Movie Hits Essentials on Apple Music.

Thanks for the technical support, János Tóth!

Per Gessle on Nordic Rox – July 2022

The July episode, the 507th show of Nordic Rox on Sirius XM was dedicated to a dynamic band from the ’90s, Brainpool. They are one of the best bands ever to come out of Sweden, Per thinks.

Sven and PG kick the tracklist off with ShitKid’s Baby Roulette. Then comes Beguiled by The Hellacopters and it’s followed by Effortless by Sabina Ddumba from her Homeward Bound album.

Pay The Price by Roxette comes next and Sven says the songwriter happens to be sitting here. PG laughs. Mr. G tells the song is from their Have A Nice Day album from 1999. He remembers they spent much time in Marbella, Spain recording the album. They had a new co-producer, Michael Ilbert who was also the engineer. He made a big mark on this production. It sounds cool and quite different from the previous albums. Pay The Price has always been one of Sven’s favourites from this period. It sounds energetic and poppy and still you can hear it’s a Roxette track. Per likes it too, he thinks it’s great. HAND was like a comeback album for Roxette. They took four years off after the Crash! Boom! Bang! album Marie got her second child, Per did some solo stuff and worked with his Swedish band as well. They recorded loads of songs for HAND and PG thinks it’s a pretty strong album. They had some great singles on there as well, but Pay The Price is what we call an album track.

Troglodyte by Viagra Boys is the next song, a teaser from their upcoming album that will be released this summer. They were on a soldout US tour right now. Per thinks they are cool, hasn’t heard them before.

It’s time for the Brainpool section in the program. They are a band from the south of Sweden. They were supporting Roxette on the Crash! Boom! Bang! tour. Sven tells they sent demos to different music publishers and record companies, also to Jimmy Fun, Per’s label and PG picked them up. Per laughs and says that’s why they were support act for Roxette. They were signed to Per’s publishing company and they helped them to get a recording deal with Sony. The debut album was called Soda and it’s a terrific album according to Per. It was produced by Michael Ilbert. Per just loves this band. They have a great drummer, Jens, a great guitar player, David and a great bass player, Christoffer who eventually became a member of Roxette. Per has been working together with Christoffer since 1997 or so. Janne, who was the lead singer has got a hig-pitched voice. They have such tremendous energy and great songwriting, as well as amazing arrangements, very much due to Christoffer’s abilities. He is a great arranger. His favourite musician of all time is Brian Wilson from The Beach Boys and you can hear that in the way they do their arrangements. Per tells he could go on talking about Brainpool all day. Every Day was the first song Per has ever heard of them, so the guys play this one. Sven says it’s such an explosion. Per adds it’s got its punk and new wave attitude, but it’s still a pop song. It’s pretty soft, but it’s heavy at the same time. After the song Sven asks Per if he would be able to play this fast. Per asks „on what instrument? Citar?” The guys are laughing. It sounds fast, but it’s not that fast, PG says. Sven is curious how the demo sounded to this song. Mr. G tells it sounded like this. Not as polished though, but it had the same attitude and energy. It’s such a great song, he thinks. Sometimes you hear all these artists and bands having this attitude and energy, but the song is not there. But Brainpool had great songs as well. Sven adds it’s so much ’90s, the melody, the ’60s style and the sort of grunge punk thing.

The second album of the band was Painkiller. That was the big breakthrough for them in Sweden, especially with their song Bandstarter. It was a big hit on the radio. Sven is curious if they made any mark outside Sweden. Per tells not really. They were the support act for Roxette on the European tour leg, but unfortunately, nothing really happened. Painkiller is also a great album according to PG. It’s a little bit more mainstream, but still very cool. According to Sven, there is more of the classic rock tempo on this album. Per tells they were one year older then vs. the first album, so a little more mature. They were 23 instead of 22, they grew up. The guys are laughing.

Sven and Per play another song from the same album, Invisible To Her. It’s one of Per’s favourites, he thinks it’s wonderful. This is the closest thing to a ballad that you can get from Brainpool. It has a beautiful melody. Per was really sad when Janne, the lead singer left the group. He was also one of the main songwriters and it wasn’t the same after. His voice had that characteristic Brainpool touch to it. He became a doctor, by the way.

After the Brainpool session, the guys pick Andreas Johnson’s Glorious. A great track according to PG. Carnival by The Cardigans is next, from their second album, Life. They are a great band with beautiful sound. It was an interesting period for them. They broke through in Sweden first, then in Japan before they became big elsewhere in the world with Lovefool.

Next comes a Swedish song and then Lies by Peter Bjorn and John.

Daniel Norgren’s I Waited For You is the last song. He is an artist Per have missed, so he asks Sven to tell him a bit about Daniel. He debuted with an album in 2008. Sven missed that one too and the second as well, but he caught on in 2010 with the album Horrifying Deatheating Bloodspider. Because of the title Sven thought he must listen to this one. He is laughing. Per thinks Daniel has got an amazing voice. Sven tells he is a singer songwriter, rooted in ancient, pre-war blues. He is really convincing. He is mixing that old influence with a new attitude. Per thinks IWFY is beautiful and he’s got a new Swedish favourite here.

Anita Lindblom’s Cigarettes is closing the show as usual.

Stills are from a 2017 interview.

Thanks for your support, Sven!

Got You Back – base book for the upcoming Roxette musical

When Per in the past talked about the fact that Roxette’s music has theatrical potential, I always thought that one day there will be a big musical written based on Roxette songs. Now the thing is, a book is already written and a script from that with matching Roxette songs will be adapted to theatre stage. (We wrote about it in May HERE.) I don’t know which direction is more difficult. To write a story based on existing songs or find the most fitting songs for an already existing story.

The base book from which the script will be written is a novel by Jane Fallon. She is an English author and television producer who debuted as a full-time novelist with her first national bestseller, Getting Rid of Matthew in 2007. She has followed this with several other bestsellers. Her books have been translated into more than 20 languages.

Got You Back is the second novel written by Jane, published in 2008. It’s an entertaining story about the triangle between a husband, his wife and his mistress and the revenge of the latter two gone wrong.

A husband. A wife. A mistress. And the ultimate plan for revenge…

The husband James never intended to lead a double life with a wife in London and a mistress in the country, it’s exhausting. But that’s all about to change…

The wife Stephanie isn’t really snooping when she finds a text message from a strange woman on her husband’s mobile. But now she’s found it, how can she ignore it? It’s time to track the woman down and find out what’s going on…

The mistress Katie has no reason to believe her boyfriend, James, is cheating until someone claiming to be his wife gets in touch. Now she’s been cast in the role of mistress. Not one she’s happy with…

Once Stephanie and Katie know about each other, they must decide what to do. They could both just throw him out or they could join forces to make his life hell first…

But revenge isn’t always sweet. And what happens when one woman thinks enough is enough but the other doesn’t know when to stop?

I had the chance to read it this weekend and what I really like about the novel is that Jane tells the story from all three angles, so you have an in-depth view of these three characters’ personalities. Some of their actions make them sympathetic, others make you roll your eyes – like Finn, the 7-year-old son of Stephanie (stylist) and James (vet) roll them sometimes. Until a certain point you keep your fingers crossed that James pays for all his mistakes, but after a while you feel it’s getting too much and you feel sorry for him. The tension is built up very cleverly and it is also kept after everything turns out to all three parties. You never know how all your la-la-la-la-lies affect your Lover, Lover, Lover until you realize she already knows everything and your wife knows everything too.

And yes… with this, let’s get down to the main thing. The story being the base of an upcoming Roxette musical. There is actually a tremendous amount of Roxette songs that popped up in my mind while reading. The ones that would be obvious choices (for me) are Spending My Time, Listen To Your Heart, The Look, It Must Have Been Love, Things Will Never Be The Same, Dangerous, Sleeping Single, Dressed For Success, Joyride, Come Back (Before You Leave), What’s She Like?, You Don’t Understand Me, A Thing About You. But there are several more that could be included. Fading Like A Flower (Every Time You Leave), I Don’t Want To Get Hurt, Lies, Paint, Lover, Lover, Lover, Pay The Price, The Sweet Hello, The Sad Goodbye, Wish I Could Fly, I’m Sorry, Secrets That She Keeps, Vulnerable, Staring At The Ground, The Centre Of The Heart (Is A Suburb To The Brain), Easy Way Out, Cry, From One Heart To Another, Dance Away, Do You Wanna Go the Whole Way?, It Just Happens

Now I stop making a list here, because in the end, all Rox tracks will be added to this article and „only” 20-25 songs fit in a real musical. Oh well… how about a musical version of Crush On You? Haha. Nah, OK, I really stop it. Certainly, the most well-known Roxette hits will be included.

Besides being a Roxer, another passion of mine is theatre. I love dramas, comedies and musicals the most. Coming it from Webber or anyone else, I like it when stories are told by the help of songs.

This musical is set to premiere in Malmö Opera in autumn 2024. The script will be written by Swedish playwright and director Klas Abrahamsson. That makes me wonder about the language of the play. Roxette lyrics are in English of course, but if I look at musicals I saw in Hungary, the lyrics (also in Mamma Mia!) are translated into Hungarian. Thinking about Jesus Christ Superstar that toured around Sweden recently, it was performed in English, but I also saw Swedish versions in the past. For the time being, we are talking about the musical getting on stage in Sweden and of course, in Sweden there is no issue with it being in English. Later it will be interesting to see how the project develops and how many theatres will join worldwide. I already heard a Hungarian version of The Look in a play a couple of years ago and It Must Have Been Love also has a Hungarian version. Hm… I think it will also be different when you hear your top favourite band’s songs in another language than the original. Do I care when I see Mamma Mia! the musical that the songs are sung in Hungarian? Not really. I have the original English lyrics in my head, but I watch the musical as a theatre play, not as an ABBA „show”. Then it’s totally fine.

Let’s see what happens! Only 2 more years to go! Haha. It’s an exciting project, that’s for sure. Good luck to the whole team involved!

Until then, you can get yourself Got You Back to read. HERE you can read the first chapter!

Fun fact: Jane Fallon is the partner of comedian Ricky Gervais and you might remember Ricky’s guilty pleasures video from 2014… Still much fun!

ROX RMX – Remixes From The Roxette Vaults

Three separate digital releases of Roxette remixes popped up on 20th, 22nd and 24th June. Altogether 44 remixes are out under this project. Most of them were not available digitally before. Listen here to Vol. 1, Vol. 2 and Vol. 3!

Per Gessle says:

The remix saga of Roxette started early on. We released the “Dance Passion” album which contained remixes of a few songs from our debut album “Pearls Of Passion” in 1987. To tell the truth, I never listened to D.P. that much. And I’m pretty sure Marie didn’t listen to it at all. No, that album wasn’t really our cup of tea.

However, time went by and before long we found out about new amazing DJ’s, remixers and producers doing stunning stuff to original and great songs. We definitely wanted to be part of that journey! It’s very exciting to hear new interpretations of your own music, made by talented people coming in with new ideas from different angles.

Now, after 35+ years, it’s time for the collected works. The Roxette Remixes. ROX RMX.

I’ve put together three digital volumes of my favourite Roxette remixes created by big names, tiny names, on huge budgets and no budgets at all. It’s a pretty cool collection I’m very proud of.

I’m especially happy that we, against all odds, actually found the original masters to all these recordings. It’s been hidden in mirror balls and sweaty underwear, hahaha.

Since the time span is over 35 years you can easily hear the changes in pop. Some of the 80’s stuff suddenly sound very modern. And vice versa. Recent stuff can sound a bit dated already. But that’s the way it should be and what pop music is all about. Communication. Enjoy!

Tracklists

ROX RMX Vol. 1 (Remixes From The Roxette Vaults)

  1. Fading Like A Flower (Roxette + Galantis Remix)
  2. Stars (Almighty 12” Definitive Mix)
  3. Real Sugar (Shooting Star Treatment)
  4. The Centre Of The Heart (Is A Suburb To The Brain) (Stonebridge Club Mix Edit)
  5. The Look (Rapino 7” Remix)
  6. Why Don’t You Bring Me Flowers? (Addeboy vs. Cliff Remix)
  7. Wish I Could Fly (Stonebridge R&B Mix)
  8. Some Other Summer (Alexander Brown Remix)
  9. From A Distance (SingSing Version)
  10. Reveal (The Attic Remix)
  11. Crush On You (Almighty Club Mix)
  12. Dressed For Success (New Radio Mix)
  13. Milk And Toast And Honey (Active Dance Remix)
  14. The Rox Medley – A Remix Medley

ROX RMX Vol. 2 (Remixes From The Roxette Vaults)

  1. She’s Got Nothing On (But The Radio) (Adam Rickfors Remix)
  2. Fading Like A Flower (Dancing DJs vs. Roxette)
  3. The Look (Big Red Mix)
  4. Stars (X-Treme Extended Mix)
  5. Knockin’ On Every Door (BomKrash 12” Remix)
  6. Speak To Me (Bassflow Remake)
  7. Dangerous (Power Mix – Short Version)
  8. Spending My Time (Electric Dance Remix)
  9. How Do You Do! (BomKrash US Mix)
  10. Opportunity Nox (Hard Act 2 Follow vs. Sharpshooter Extended Remix)
  11. Joyride (Magic Friend Mix)
  12. Wish I Could Fly (Todd Terry – Tee’s Radio Mix)
  13. Why Don’t You Bring Me Flowers? (Patrick Jordan Remix)
  14. Fireworks (Jesus Jones Remix)
  15. The Look (Head-Drum Mix)

ROX RMX Vol. 3 (Remixes From The Roxette Vaults)

  1. Stars (Almighty Radio Edit)
  2. The Look (Rapino Club Mix)
  3. She’s Got Nothing On (But The Radio) (Adrian Lux Remix)
  4. Crush On You (Almighty 7 Radio Mix)
  5. Dressed For Success (Look Sharp! Mix)
  6. Milk And Toast And Honey (Shooting Star Treatment)
  7. Some Other Summer (TRXD Remix)
  8. Dangerous (Waste Of Vinyl 12” Mix)
  9. Fading Like A Flower (Dancing DJs vs. Roxette – Hardino Mix)
  10. The Centre Of The Heart (Is A Suburb To The Brain) (Yoga Remix)
  11. Wish I Could Fly (Stonebridge Club Mix)
  12. Reveal (Kleerup Remix)
  13. The Look (Chaps 1995 Remix)
  14. Stars (Almighty Dub)
  15. Chances (Dancehall version)

Per Gessle on Nordic Rox – June 2022

Per Gessle and Sven Lindström partly dedicated the June episode of Nordic Rox on Sirius XM to John Holm, a great singer songwriter from the ’70s, who was really influential to lots of today’s artists.

The guys kick off the show with a new Swedish band, Diskopunk. They play Snake Oil. Sven says they got a quite interesting sound there. Per agrees. The next song is also a new one, No Hotel by Lykke Li. The third song is by ABBA, a band Per has heard about before. Haha. He tells he was in London just recently and checked out ABBA Voyage, the Abbatars. Sven is curious about how it was. PG tells it was fascinating. The first twenty minutes was amazing, because the technology is mindblowing. After that it was a little bit like same, same. As a concept, it was really interesting. Mr. G thinks it’s a very nostalgic thing to see and hear them in their twenties on stage, even if they are avatars. It was really mindblowing. He understands why people reacted the way they did. It was a really great reaction. At the same time, you can’t compare it to a concert, because a real concert is all about the energy between the crowd and the artist and the artist feeds of the energy from the crowd and vice versa. Since everything is pre-recorded there, it’s just static. So no matter how people react, it’s exactly the same show everytime. That was the negative thing, but as a concept, it’s very interesting and Per is really glad that he went to see it. Sven asks if there is any special highlight Per would mention. Mr. G says he can tell it wasn’t the wine in the bar. Haha. The guys are laughing. Per tells they played a lot of songs he really likes, e.g. S.O.S., which he thinks is one of ABBA’s best songs. The whole show started with The Visitors, which Per thinks is a great track from the late period of ABBA. Sven tells it’s 50 years to the day when one of the first tracks, People Need Love came out. Per tells Sven „it’s your favourite track, right?” Sven laughs, „it’s not my favourite track. And I know it’s certainly not your favourite track either.” So the guys pick another song, Honey, Honey. Mr. G thinks it’s a real bubblegum thing from 1974. For some reason, he always loved this song. It sums up the very early part of ABBA. It’s hard to resist. It’s his guilty pleasure.

Next one is the comeback song of Sahara Hotnights, Gemini. It’s from their new album, Love In Times of Low Expectations. Sven asks Per what he thinks about this album title. PG thinks it’s a long one, but he loves the song, Gemini. It’s a great one with great production. He always liked Sahara Hotnights, they are doing good things. Sven says it’s nice to have them back.

The guys zoom back in time and warn the listeners that this will be a Swedish singing only artist, John Holm. Not to be confused with ’70s porn star John Holmes. It’s a dangerous name as an artist, Per says. The only thing they have in common is that they were both active in the ’70s. That’s what they know about, Per adds. PG spent hours and hours listening to John Holm in the early ’70s. Sven is curious what was it that struck him so hard with this guy. Mr. G says first of all it was his voice. He’s got a very special voice and the way he pronounces the lyrics is very special. The lyrics themselves are amazing. He is a very good writer. The first three albums he did were quite big and very influential on lots of artists from Per’s generation. It’s coming from the singer songwriter tradition and sounds very early ’70s, the whole thing. Later on, when PG started working himself, everyone was talking about that he had a strange voice, so he got a great self confidence, because John Holm also had a strange voice. Per identified with it. Sven says John used it to his advantage, he sounded like nobody else. Per tells that a couple of years ago, in 2016 he was in Nashville to record some solo stuff and when he came back, he invited John to join him on one of the tracks and they did a duet. It was amazing to work with him. He is a little bit older now, but of course, he’s still got that magic voice. The first track the guys play is taken from John’s debut album, 1972. Sommaräng is John’s best song, Per thinks. It translates to Summer meadow. If you understand the lyrics, you realize that it’s really beautiful.

PG tells John Holm is a magnificent artist from the ’70s. Sven tells when Per made his first solo album, he picked a song by John to cover, to kick off the album. This is the first song from the first John Holm album, Sordin. For Per, Den öde stranden has always been a stand-out track. He did a version of it with his band in 1983 – „shit, that’s a long time ago”, he says. In those days you played cover versions of your favourite songs just to show everyone where you come from musically. They played Blondie and The Byrds tracks with Roxette. Then when time went by, there were so many cover bands around, so it became a no-no to play cover versions for some reason. But anyway, Per recorded Den öde stranden for his first album. He thinks it’s a beautiful song and it’s got a great guitar riff. The title means The lonesome beach. Sven thinks it’s very poetic and he finds it interesting that Per and his Swedish band, Gyllene Tider were a power pop band, but when PG made his solo album, he chose John Holm, because he wanted to emphasize his more folky singer songwriter side. PG confirms and says it was a singer songwriter album. He wanted to do something different. There is no point in doing another power pop album if you’re still in a band, so he wanted to show another side of himself. That’s a good thing to do. If you are into so many different styles of music, it’s nice to have different branches on the tree. Especially if you are in a band. There are so many people who have their say and that means a lot of compromising. So sometimes it’s great to do things on your own and do something different. Here Per’s cover of Den öde stranden is played instead of John’s original.

The third pick by Per is his favourite from JH’s second album. It’s a duet, Maria, många mil och år från här, which translates to Maria, many miles and years from here. It’s got a great atmosphere and John’s voice is just amazing. When Per was listening to it back then, in 1972, he was in his early teens. Sven wants to know how it was the split between listening to this kind of singer songwriter stuff as opposed to harder, rocking, power pop stuff. Per liked both. He liked the singer songwriter movement a lot in the early ’70s even when he was young. Cat Stevens, Paul Simon, James Taylor, Carole King, Joni Mitchell, all those artists. At the same time of course he loved the glam rock, David Bowie, Sweet & Slade. There were English bands that were big in Sweden at the time. He liked the prog rock, Aqualung by Jethro Tull, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Nazareth. In those days you had so much time to listen to music, because that was the only thing that was around. Sven asks Per if it was his John Holm side that came up when he was sitting with his acoustic guitar in his boy room. PG tells when he started playing it was easier to just play the guitar and sing folk songs. He listened a lot to Swedish folk music from the past as well. What is interesting in music from the Nordic countries – the same goes for Northern England and Scotland – is that old folk music is really beautiful. Those melodies are in Per’s DNA. When he started writing songs himself, it was all about melodies. Per thinks if you ask Benny Andersson from ABBA, you’re gonna get the same answer. It’s in his blood to write melodic music, because that’s where they come from. When Per started out playing himself, it was very close to the singer songwriter tradition. Sven asks „but you wouldn’t bring an acoustic guitar to a Nazareth audition?” The guys are laughing and Per says no. Per loves Nazareth too. Razamanaz is an amazing album. Here the final track by John Holm is played, Maria, många mil och år från här.

The next song, How Do You Do! by Roxette is picked by Sven. It’s the lead single from Tourism, which celebrates 30 years this year. Sven asks PG what he remembers about writing this one. Mr. G wrote this for the summer leg of the Join The Joyride World Tour, which lasted 18 months. It was a very long tour. He wrote it in the spring and recorded it as the first single to be released in the summer of 1992. It was a huge hit for them, especially in Europe. In Germany it was No. 1 for 16 weeks or so. It’s got this little modulation. There is a key change between the verse and the bridge into the chorus to get the right key for Marie to kick in. The first time you hear it you just fall off your chair. It becomes like a gimmick in the song. They did that a lot. You had to balance your different keys, which is always tricky when there is a guy and a girl, but they did their best.

Bad Habit by Sofia Karlberg is next. The Two-Timing Touch and Broken Bones by The Hives is played. Such a great band, according to PG. The song is from their Tyrannosaurus Hives album from 2004. Popsicle from Sweden with one of their ’90s tracks, Sunkissed is next. Magnus Carlson, the singer of Weeping Willows is next with The Way of the Crowd. Per thinks he has a great voice and his solo project is always interesting. This song is featuring Trummor & Orgel and Sven thinks it’s cool music.

The guys say thanks for listening and Anita Lindblom’s Cigarettes is closing the show.

Still is from the Bag of Trix comment videos recorded by Anders Roos.

Thanks for your support, Sven!