Per Gessle on Nordic Rox – December 2022

Sven Lindström and Per Gessle sat together in Halmstad to record the December episode of Nordic Rox. Sven says it’s soon Christmas time and Per has got his Santa outfit on himself because he is ready to present his brand new Christmas single coming up later on the show.

This time it’s The Soundtrack Of Our Lives special, taking a closer look at this Gothenburg band’s songs. Per says they played them quite a lot here on Nordic Rox, because they like them a lot. The band is not around anymore, unfortunately, but they were killer in their heydays.

Before the special, the guys present some weird sounds from the north of Sweden and the first track is Boogie Woogie/Rock ‘n’ Roll by Komeda. Per says it’s pretty famous, because it was part of an ad on Swedish television many years ago. Mr. G thinks it’s a great track and it sounds amazing. Sven adds they just picked out this bababababa from the song for the ad and it was incredibly irritating. Not many people knew what the track was.

The next song is Happyland by Amanda Jenssen. She is from Lund, Sweden. Then comes Different Sound by the amazing Teddybears. Sahara Hotnights is next with Gemini.

Bald Headed Woman from The Hep Stars is the next track. This song was No. 1 on the charts in Sweden in 1965. Sven says it tells you everything you need to know about Sweden in 1965. Per remembers it was on the first Kinks album and Sven adds he thinks The Who as well did it. PG shares the info that the keyboard player in The Hep Stars is Benny Andersson, who eventually became one of the key players and writers of ABBA. Sven says he doesn’t know if you could hear any sort of traces of ABBA here, but he went berserk on that organ at the end of the song. He is a fantastic player. Per says they were a good live band as well. Sven saw them at the end of their career in 1966. Per says he was too young back then. Haha. Sven says Bald Headed Woman was like an old blues track, but he never really figured out the lyrics. He asks Per what he thinks the lyric means. Mr. G laughs and says „well, he preferred women with hair”. Sven adds he didn’t like sugar in his coffee either („I don’t want no sugar in my coffee”). PG says it was tough in those days. Haha. Sven says it was like listening to an old Ramones record. Per agrees.

Sarah Klang’s latest single, Belly Shots is next. Per thinks she is a great singer and it’s a great song. Sven agrees she is a terrific singer.

It’s time for the guys to zoom up to Gothenburg and relive some of the greatest moments of The Soundtrack Of Our Lives history. Per thinks it’s a great band. They started out in 1995 and went on until 2012 when they disbanded. Sven adds they released a final album then. Per always liked them. They had a great sound and were very guitar-driven and very melodic all the time, even though their songs are pretty long. Lots of instrumental passages, but they always had really good melodies and good songwriting as a basic thing. Sven says the first track they play, Instant Repeater ’99 is from their debut album, Welcome To The Infant Freebase (1996). It sets the tone for The Soundtrack Of Our Lives. Some elements of Stones, some elements of psych rock, some elements of punk. A little bit of everything. Mr. G thinks they were great live as well and Ebbot Lundberg is a very prolific singer.

Sven says the band had wonderfully psychedelic titles for their albums. The next album they released in 1998 was called Extended Revelation For The Psychic Weaklings Of Western Civilization. They also made very long records. In the vinyl era these would have been double albums. The first one was 70 minutes long and the second was 62 minutes. PG says they didn’t believe in kill your darlings. Sven says he doesn’t think they were ever aware of either darlings or killing. Haha. According to Mr. G, it’s good anyway, they have their own identity and he really likes the style of the guitarist. They have these guitars all the time that are really melodic and they sort of create all these patterns in the music, which is really interesting. It’s very special and he likes it a lot.

Sven thinks there is some sort of Stones element to it and it also adds some psychedelic thing to the melodies or the whole attitude. That becomes very clear in the next song, Bigtime from their fourth album, Origin Vol. 1. Per says this is probably his favourite track from them. He thinks it’s really cool, it has a great groove to it and it’s just so exciting to listen to all the time.

Per says every time he hears this band he is getting more and more impressed. They are a whole great package of wonderful musicians and great melodies, great songwriting. And Ebbot, the lead singer has got a great voice. Sven also thinks that most of the things they did was fantastic. Just take a look at the cover of the album they made in 2008, Communion. Sven can never stop being fascinated about that cover. It looks like a middle-aged couple in a spa, drinking some greenish smoothie. Per thinks it’s a great sleeve. They are talking about it, so it must be good.

The Soundtrack Of Our Lives made it quite big with the third album in the US and also other countries. The guys plan to play 2 songs from Behind The Music. Per says the first one they play is Nevermore. It’s got a little more acoustic touch to it, but it’s a great track and also it’s a beautiful melody line. PG always goes for the melodies, as we know. The album is from 2001 and this is the one that sort of cracked the US market open for the band and especially the next track Sven and Per play, the Sister Surround single. Per adds they toured the States as well, in 2002 they were supporting Oasis. Sister Surround is a terrific track, a classic rock and roll kind of rock music that became rarer and rarer until it almost became extinct, Sven says. PG thinks it’s a great way to end this homage on the show with the highlights of their career.

A song spinning heavily on Swedish radio right now is Stockholmsvy by Hannes & Waterbaby. The title translates to View of Stockholm. Per says the song is in English except for the title, which is in Swedish. He thinks it’s a good song. When he heard it for the first time, it felt like it was like a Leonard Cohen track from his late era. Really smooth and mellow and beautiful and sparse. Mr. G also thinks that it’s nice that they are getting some really good airplay here.

Next song is Waterlily Love by Per’s partner in crime, Helena Josefsson. This is from her debut album in 2007. Mr. G thinks it’s a beautiful song and Helena is a great singer.

Ifrån mej själv by Dundertåget comes next. The title translates roughly to Beside Myself and the band name translates to thunder train. The guys think it’s a good name and a good track as well.

Here comes a Christmas celebration from Per Gessle and PG Roxette, Wish You The Best For Xmas. Per says it’s time for another Christmas song. He wrote one in 1987, which was called It Must Have Been Love. Sven says he doesn’t think Per has to introduce that song, but maybe he has to introduce it as a Christmas song, because probably nobody remembers that it started out as a Christmas song. Per says the reason for writing it was that Roxette tried to get airplay in Europe and it was impossible. Their German record label suggested that Per should write a Christmas song, because then it could be easier to get on the radio for Christmas. And so he did it and wrote It Must Have Been Love (Christmas For The Broken Hearted) and presented to them. They didn’t like it, so they never released it. However, Roxette released it in Sweden and it became a big hit for them as a Christmas song in 1987. And then of course, three years later it popped up in the Pretty Woman movie. Without the Christmas reference in the lyrics, that went out the window. Now it was time again, so this summer PG decided to write an uptempo Christmas song. It’s a great tradition in pop music generally when it comes to Christmas songs. Per has his favourites, e.g. I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday by Roy Wood’s Wizzard, Merry Xmas Everybody by Slade or all those songs that were big in Sweden when he was a kid. Once in a while, you have to make a Christmas record, Mr. G thinks.

At the end of the show, the guys wish merry Christmas and happy new year to all listeners. They promise to be back early January.

Anita Lindblom’s Cigarettes is the closing song, of course.

Photo by Anders Roos (2019)

Thanks for your support, Sven!