Per Gessle appeared on Efter fem on TV4 today. Program leader Tilde de Paula Eby started with telling that many say ”Roxette is the soundtrack of my life”. Roxette has 4 US No. 1 hits, sold 80 million records, there is a new release with Roxette’s so far unreleased songs and a new solo album by Per Gessle. Many things are going on. Per says it fits him perfectly. Tilde asks her colleague to continue. Axel says it’s not too easy to summarize Per Gessle’s career in two minutes, but he tries to.
We go back 40 years in time and Axel shows a pic of Gyllene Tider as the first band Per broke through with. Then he started Roxette with Marie Fredriksson in 1986 and they broke through internationally in 1989. They reached No. 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 charts with 4 of their songs. Per’s most memorable solo album is Mazarin from 2003. Now he released a new solo album, Gammal kärlek rostar aldrig.
Per says he is very proud and happy about all of these. It’s a long career. Tilde says Per is the type of person who is always working on something new, but she is curious if Per looks back on his past experiences every now and then. Per says not intentionally, but when he e.g. hears Roxette songs at the airport or wherever, he is of course reminded of all what happened. But he doesn’t start reading books about himself.
Tilde asks Mr. G if he is excited when he hears his own song on the radio today. Per says he can’t listen to Sommartider. If it comes on the radio, he turns it down. Haha. He says of course, when he hears any of his songs on the radio he is proud.
Tilde asks Per to tell her about his new album. Mr. G says it was recorded thanks to the pandemic. He was isolated in Halmstad, he didn’t have much to do, so he went to the studio and he had the ambition to play as many instruments as possible himself and record an album. He didn’t have new songs though, so he started digging in his archives. He found stuff he liked from the 80’s and 90’s mainly. He found songs that were forgotten, songs that were recorded in quite clumsy versions and songs he gave to other artists. He tried to find 12-13 songs that still feel relevant. The album is very much acoustic and sparsely produced. He tried to play as many instruments as possible, so there was a little hey-ho in between. He also asked help from local musicians in Halmstad. He thinks it turned out to be nice.
Tilde asks Mr. G what he thinks about himself when he is listening to his songs from the 80’s and 90’s. He doesn’t know, but the songs get another meaning when he sings them now as a 60-year-old. So a love song he wrote when he was 23 gets another meaning. When he sings it now, it becomes sentimental, it feels like looking back on his youth. The text gets a different point of view and that’s exciting.
Tilde is curious if Per was nervous or if there was anticipation when he released this latest album with songs from the past. If the feelings were the same as his experience in the 80’s when he released them. She also asks if it feels safe for him. Per says he feels safe, otherwise he wouldn’t have dared to play those instruments himself. It feels different now than back then. Also it was different with their international career. Back then they were checking the positions on radio charts. Those times are over for him.
With Roxette he also releases almost 50 songs now. Per says those are mostly unreleased demos or songs that disappeared when streaming became popular. There is also an acoustic session from the 90’s from Abbey Road Studios. There was more material than he thought he would find. It will come out on 4 volumes.
Tilde asks Per how he feels when he goes through the Roxette archives or watches the pictures in the video of Let Your Heart Dance With Me. Per tells the clips in the video were recorded by his wife who travelled with them on tours. It’s great fun to see them. That was an incredible journey. They had their heydays between 1988 and 1995, then Marie had her second child so they took their first break.
Tilde says Marie passed away almost a year ago. She asks Per if he still feels the same grief. Per says there is emptiness, but he is reminded of Marie every day. Them two are Roxette. When he sees all the pictures of themselves or is checking the archives, he is happy. It’s a fantastic journey they did together and it’s only the two of them who could chat about it. He misses it, but he gets happy everytime he hears Marie singing. She was fantastic.
Per always has ongoing projects, but this Swedish album wouldn’t have been released if there was no pandemic. Tilde says it must have been a lot of work to go through the archives and rewrite songs. Per says it’s much fun. He has yet another project besides all the others. Mr. G is working on an English album. He is recording it now. It will be released when it’s ready and it’s ready soon. It might be out next spring. It’s an exciting project for Per. Tilde asks if there are Billboard songs on that album in the making. Per smiles and says he doesn’t know, no, but we will se… One more No. 1 wouldn’t be bad.
Stills are from Efter fem.