As we already informed you about it earlier, Tara Moshizi and Tove Meyer – who are also Roxers –did a documentary on Look Sharp!’s 25th anniversary for Swedish Radio. This great docu ”Look Sharp 25 år – Så tog Roxette över världen” (= Look Sharp! 25 – This is how Roxette took over the world) was broadcasted today, but interviews with Clarence and Anders were done in September, with Per in October and with Marie and Ms Dimberg in November.
Actually, most of the stories we already heard during all these years, but it was still really nice to listen to all of them again. In the documentary they are talking about the times before Look Sharp!, the breakthrough, the success of The Look and other singles off the album.
Per explains he was already a pop star in Gyllene Tider before Roxette was established and Marie had a great solo career and worked closely together with Lasse Lindbom. When they asked Marie about how she remembers Per from those times, she said he was an unbelievably nice person and easy to work with, they had fun together and had a big dream.
Clarence thought Marie was a great singer, but he wasn’t really fond of Per’s style. Anders told he didn’t like Neverending Love, he thought it was ridiculous. How he is humming it in the docu is priceless (check it out at 11:19).
Look Sharp! became popular in Sweden immediately after it had been released, but of course, it was still a plan to succeed abroad. Everyone remembers the slogan: ”Today Sweden – tomorrow the world.” Ms Dimberg says everyone was laughing at the T-shirts made with this phrase on them.
The Look, inspired by ZZ Top, with the guiding lyrics for the bada-bada-bam melody was written to be sung by Marie, as Per had no self-confidence in his voice. His voice was thought to be OK for Gyllene Tider, but too odd for Roxette.
They were talking about the cover of the album and it was Kjell Andersson who told if Roxette wanted to break through, they should have had an outstanding sleeve. That’s how they decided for the cover with The Daily Roxette newspaper and the photo with the luxury car (a king’s car) and the crowd around Marie & Per. They didn’t have a huge budget for that, so there you can find EMI personnel, as well as Clarence and even Ms Dimberg on the cover. Photo on the sleeve is taken by Mikael Jansson.
Åsa and Per were on holiday when Per got a call that one of their songs succeeded in the US. He thought it was Dressed for Success or Listen To Your Heart, as his plan always was: he is writing the songs, Marie is singing. But it was The Look. He talked about the story of Dean Cushman, the exchange student who bought his copy of the Look Sharp! LP in Sweden and took it to the radio station in Minneapolis, but as they didn’t play it, he went to the radio again and asked them to give his record back. It was then when Brian Phillips looked at the cover, found it interesting and started listening to the album. First song on the A side was The Look. The rest is history.
In the docu they played an old Swedish report from 1989 with the news about The Look becoming No 1 on the US Billboard. Per says it was unbelievable that a non-American, non-English song could make it at those times, The Look was a real novelty. Marie says everything happened so fast after that. It was a fantastic time. They were travelling a lot and doing promotion all around the US.
Marie talked about the recordings of Dressed for Success (2nd single in the US) that she was fed up with that session and she was so angry and mad when she went to the studio for recording the vocals that she could do it right for the first time and the song became damn good.
Listen To Your Heart was their 2nd No 1 on the US Billboard. It was inspired by a real story of one of Per’s friend and it’s a bit like a Hollywood script. Clarence did the intro to the song and when Anders heard it, he thought it was damn nice. The video clip, that appeared also on MTV, was recorded in Borgholm Castle and everyone in the US thought they built up the ruins only for the video. It was important to do great videos for MTV those days.
Ms Dimberg also talks about Roxette becoming the first non-American, non-English act in MTV Unplugged in 1993.
Their make-up artist talks about Marie’s and Per’s look in the Look Sharp! era. Marie had that short blonde hair and Per had his black hairdo which he always fixed himself. Marie is talking about her hairdos, that she had really long hair first, but it got shorter and shorter over the years and she also tried different colours, but she stayed at the blonde.
It turns out that Dangerous – which was No 2 on the US Billboard – is Marie’s absolute favourite to perform live off the album, but she of course likes to perform The Look a lot, too.
They are also talking about the many interviews during the first 8 months in the US and some funny questions: ”Who is Roxette?”; ”Are you a couple?”; ”How long does it take to fly from Switzerland?”
Per says in the end Look Sharp! is a great album with strong singles and The Look is a kind of song that you can write only once in a lifetime.
You can listen to the documentary by clicking HERE.
Pics in this article are © Johan Hörnqvist, Erik Klarén and Tove Meyer