Per Gessle – Gessles nio i topp – Midsummer special

The fourth season of Gessles nio i topp kicked off with a midsummer special including the best songs about sun and rain. Per and Sven of course didn’t know whether it will be sunny or raining today in Sweden when they recorded this midsummer episode, so they decided to include sunny and rainy songs as well. Per explains it can’t be fifty-fifty, because they have 9 songs on each list. Sven laughs and says Maths was not his strongest subject at school and asks Per what his favourite subject was. Mr. G says it was drawing and Swedish, but then in the first year at high school he surprised himself with being good at Maths.

Per’s Top 9 sun & rain songs

9. Gerry & The Pacemakers – Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying
8. The Lovin’ Spoonful – Rain On The Roof
7. Sheryl Crow – Soak Up The Sun
6. Tages – Every Raindrop Means A Lot
5. The Beatles – Sun King
4. Garbage – Only Happy When It Rains
3. Traffic – Paper Sun
2. Tony Joe White – Rainy Night In Georgia
1. The 5 th Dimension – Aquarius / Let the Sunshine In

Per thinks Gerry & The Pacemakers are damn good and they had the same manager as The Beatles had, namely, Brian Epstein. Gerry Marsden, the singer in the group was also a songwriter and in the pop world it wasn’t very common back then that a band wrote their own songs. John and Paul did of course. Per thinks maybe Brian Epstein encouraged his bands to write their own songs. Sven says Gerry & The Pacemakers stayed in The Beatles’ huge shadow, however, they had some real hits. Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying is one of them from 1964. It peaked at No. 4 in the US. According to Per, it’s an awesome, heartfelt song.

Mr. G thinks it’s easier to come up with rain songs, he doesn’t really know why. He thinks it’s hard to come up with real beautiful songs about the sun and sunshine. It can be because the best pop music is a bit melancholic. It’s harder to write happy songs than sad songs.

The Lovin’ Spoonful is a lovely band from the 60’s and they were big in Sweden. Per always liked their song, Rain On The Roof from 1966. Mr. G thinks it has a very beautiful melody and is a typical John Sebastian composition. Sven says it’s from their ”Hums of the Lovin’ Spoonful” album and asks Per if he has this record. Per replies he doesn’t have it, but his brother had their ”Do You Believe in Magic” album. Sven highlights a couple of songs from the HOTLS album, ”Summer in the City”, ”Nashville Cats” and when he mentions ”Darlin’ Companion”, Per starts singing it. Mr. G tells a story when he and Anders Herrlin were in Los Angeles in autumn of 1981 and they ended up at an Improv stand-up comedy event where John Sebastian also played an acoustic set that night. His brother, Mark Sebastian was also in John’s band. They wrote ”Summer in the City” together, so Per was a bit starstruck by meeting Mark as well. The guys told they go to New York after Los Angeles and Mr. Sebastian invited them to visit him in Woodstock. Per tells they of course couldn’t say no to that and travelled to Woodstock and actually, lived at the Sebastian family for a couple of days. Per says it was very nice. John didn’t drink alcohol at all, but he was smoking a lot of grass. Haha. Per tells John has always been a sympathetic guy. His wife is a photographer, called Catherine. Sven says in John’s songs there is warmth and Per says John is coming from a jugband and folk music tradition, so his songs are very much melody-based.

After the song Per states 1966 was a great pop year. Sven asks what he thinks about 2002 then. Mr. G starts thinking what he was doing in that year. They already finished their Room Service tour and recorded songs for their ”Pop Hits” and ”Ballad Hits” compilations. Sven says Sheryl Crow’s Soak Up The Sun, the 7th on Per’s midsummer list is from that year too. Mr. G says he picked this song because you can’t really hear it anymore. He likes Sheryl and thinks she has a nice voice. The guys agree on the fact that she is very talented, she can sing phenomenally and even plays the bass, she is cool on stage and she is a bit of rock, pop and country, but somehow she hasn’t become a high profile artist.

The next song is the only one on the list by a Swedish band, Tages. If Per has to think of the Swedish music scene in the 60’s, there is this band that is better than the others. They were from Gothenburg. Per has 2 favourite songs from them, ”Fantasy Island” and Every Raindrop Means A Lot. The latter one is from 1967 and Per had it as a single. Tommy Blom sings the verses and Göran Lagerberg sings the choruses on it. It’s a little Beatles-inspired song. In 1964 the band won a pop contest, Västkustens Beatles, as Sven informs. Their producer was Anders “Henkan” Henriksson who was very good and ahead of his time, Per thinks. Their first single was ”Sleep Little Girl” in 1964. Sven tells the second week it was on the charts it beat a Beatles single in autumn 1964. Sven asks Per which Beatles single he thinks it was. Mr. G’s first guess is ”A Hard Day’s Night”. Sven says it’s very close, but it wasn’t that, so Per says ”I Should Have Known Better”. Bingo. Per says he was only 5 then, so Sven says it’s forgivable that he didn’t know it at first. Haha.

The next song could have been ”Here Comes The Sun” by The Beatles, which is the band’s most played song on Spotify, but since they haven’t played Sun King on this program yet, Per picked that one after Sven’s propaganda for this song. Both songs are on the same album, ”Abbey Road”. Per says he always thought the best in ”Sun King” was that ”Mean Mr. Mustard” came after it on the album. Haha. Sven thinks it’s John Lennon’s most fuzzy and dreamy and slowest song. You can also learn a little Spanish, Italian or Portuguese when listening to it. Paul knew a few Spanish words from school and they just inserted them, as well as paparazzi and obrigado.

The guys jump to the 90’s then and Per picks Only Happy When It Rains from Garbage. He thinks Garbage’s first album was awesome. ”Stupid Girl” from that record was also damn good. Butch Vig, drummer in Garbage was also co-producer of the band and he also produced Nirvana’s ”Nevermind” album. Per says he liked Nirvana’s singles, because they were very good pop songs, but he also thinks grunge is cool. Per likes Divinyls, an Australian rock band and compares Garbage to them. They have strong women as front figure singers in both bands. They are a bit like Blondie with Debbie Harry. Per thinks the lyrics of ”Only Happy When It Rains” are a bit depressive, but Sven thinks it’s a bit like a parody of depressive grunge songs’ lyrics. It was released in 1995 and Sven asks Per what he was doing that year. Mr. G says they released their compilation album, ”Don’t Bore Us – Get To The Chorus!” and they also went to Abbey Road Studios and recorded some songs with Roxette. A day before that they played a promo gig at Shepherd’s Bush in London for the compilation album. There was also a little Gyllene Tider comeback that year, a gig at Stora Torg in Halmstad.

The next song on the list is Traffic’s Paper Sun, the debut single of the band. Per says he liked Traffic’s singles. ”Paper Sun” flopped in Sweden, but Mr. G had the single at home anyway. Their next single, ”Hole In My Shoe” was a hit though. Steve Winwood left The Spencer Davis Group in April 1967 and formed Traffic together with Chris Wood and Jim Capaldi and released their first single in May 1967. Per likes the guitar hook in ”Paper Sun”.

Tony Joe White’s Rainy Night In Georgia is next. Sven says Tony Joe started writing his own songs in the middle of the 60’s after he heard ”Ode To Billie Joe” and recognized himself in the lyrics. He then decided to write a song that he can relate to and that became ”Polk Salad Annie”. ”Rainy Night In Georgia” was covered by many artists, Ray Charles among them, but the first hit version was made by Brook Benton in 1970. It’s a blues, soul, rock hybrid. It’s the No. 1 song in rain category, Per says.

Sven mentions Per wrote some rain songs too and asks which are Mr. G’s Top3 favourite rain songs he himself wrote. Per replies it’s ”The Rain” from ”Tourism”, ”Smakar på ett regn” from ”Mazarin” and then Sven suggests ”Queen of Rain” also from ”Tourism”. Per laughs and says he likes his own songs if he can say so. Sven notes Mr. G wrote more songs about rain than about sun. Per confirms and says it’s easier to write about rain than sun.

As No. 1 on the midsummer list, Per picked the medley of The 5 th Dimension, Aquarius / Let the Sunshine In from Hair, the musical. This medley is middle of the road pop with a little soul in it and even if The 5 th Dimension was quite big, they were still an anonymous band. The medley is damn good.