Per Gessle on Nordic Rox – May 2024

Per Gessle and Sven Lindström continue their countdown of their favourite Swedish and Scandinavian songs from the ’60s in the May episode of Nordic Rox. Now they list the songs from No. 10 to No. 6. The tension rises, they got some stuff on this list that Sven believes is played for the first time on American radio. History in the making.

Sven asks Per what’s up and PG says there are lots of things on his agenda. Preparing for the world premiere of the Roxette musical, Joyride – The Musical in September in Malmö. There will be 110 shows in Malmö, then they move to Stockholm and Europe, he hopes. Sven finds it exciting and says he lives just around the corner to Malmö Opera.

Before getting down to the ’60s list, the guys got a lot of new material to present. They kick off with a joint venture between Anglo-Swedish band Alberta Cross & Band Of Skulls and play their brand new single Born In Amazement. PG thinks it’s a good song.

Ellen Krauss latest single Cherry On Top is next. Ellen broke through during a show called the Denniz Pop Awards, five or six years ago. Denniz Pop is a legendary pop producer.

Fading Like A Flower by Roxette comes next. Per says it was peaking at number two on the Billboard chart in 1991. Sven is not really sure whether it was in spring or autumn. It wasn’t the first single, but the second. Joyride was the lead single. Per thinks it was summer of 1991 and says it was number one on the Cashbox chart. Cashbox was competing with Billboard in those days. Sven read somewhere ages ago that when John Kennedy grew up and he was going to school or university, in a sports competition he had won a silver medal and his father looked at him and said, you don’t win silver, you lose gold. So Sven is curious how it feels being number two. PG laughs and says they were pretty pleased with being number two. It was the peak period of Roxette, Joyride was the big album for them and they were on tour in 1991-92. Fading Like A Flower for Per sums up the sound, the essence of Roxette. Marie is doing a fantastic job singing and the production, everything is classic Roxette. He is glad Sven picked this song. Sven is curious if Per remembers writing it, but he doesn’t.

Nails And Beauty by a band from Malmö, Going Big is played next. The band is from Malmö and this is their latest single. Sven loves the harmony vocals. It sounds a bit chilly like Bram Tchaikovsky.

Say Lou Lou’s new single, Dust comes next. The guys say they played a lot of Say Lou Lou songs already before this show. Julian is still Per’s favourite song from them. That was their breakthrough song. Sven loves it too. It’s such a great production and great track, Per thinks. Sven read that Dust is on a new EP and Say Lou Lou is going to release a couple of EPs in the upcoming months.

Next is The Soundtrack Of Our Lives with a great song, Believe I’ve Found, which is the opening track of their album called Origin Vol. 1. They made some great albums in 2001 and 2003, Per says. They came from Gothenburg, a great music city. Sven would say they came out of the punk movement, but then found their Stones roots. They had a sound of their own. Per agrees and he thinks this is one of their best songs.

Now it’s time to move on to the Nordic Rox list of Scandinavian ’60s goodies. And there is an emphasis on Swedish acts, but the guys have a Danish act coming up. Sven asks Per if he thinks that the Eurovision Song Contest is anything known in the States. Per doesn’t think so. It’s a very European thing and it’s only for certain European people as well. Lots of people are not interested and have never been interested in it. But funnily enough, it seems like it survived and only grew bigger and bigger and bigger. It was the breakthrough show for ABBA. They won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 with Waterloo. Sven adds ABBA sort of rewrote the music a bit, because the show became a lot more pop orientated after ABBA. It wasn’t before and after. Why Sven asked Per about this is because this guy they are going to play, he won the Swedish Eurovision Song Contest in 1968. Per and Sven picked this song for only one reason, because they love it. And because they are pretty sure it has never been played on US radio before. Det börjar verka kärlek, banne mej by Claes-Göran Hederström. Per thinks it’s a great track. The title is a bit tricky to translate, but it means It’s Starting To Look Like Love, Darn. Sven says this is also a kind of new chapter in Swedish Eurovision history, because here is when they started to move away from dramatic ballads and move closer to the pop era.

Most of the pop groups in Sweden sang in English, because that was the thing you did in the ’60s. Even today, of course. Ola & The Janglers is No. 9 on the list with a track called Love Was On Your Mind. Per loved that track when he was a kid and Sven loves it too. It was written by guitar player Claes af Geijerstam who was a really talented songwriter according to Per. There weren’t that many Swedish bands that wrote their own material. Sven guesses that Claes toured with ABBA later on as a backup singer. Per corrects Sven and says he was doing the front of house sound. There were a lot of hits for Ola & The Janglers. This song is sort of mega ’60s because it’s like a Swede pop ballad turning into some kind of The Swinging Blue Jeans frenzy and then back again. It’s really interesting.

Coming up next is Tages, an amazing band according to Per. They were called the Swedish Beatles. They also did covers of R&B songs and they wrote really wonderful pop songs themselves. It was like a mix, they had a little of everything. Great singer and bass guitar player in Göran Lagerberg and a wonderful front person in Tommy Bloom, who was all the girls’ hero. They also had a great producer, Anders Henriksson, one of the big producers in the ’60s and ’70s for them. Sven thinks their career started in 1964, very early on and it ended in the late ’60s, in 1968. The whole Swedish pop scene sort of ran out of steam. So a lot of those bands that were big in 1966, 1967, they quit and started doing other things. One of the last singles that Tages did is the one that the guys play at position No. 8 on their chart. Fantasy Island is a great song, Per thinks. He had this on a single when he was a kid. It’s a wonderful song, Sven agrees.

No. 7 brings us to Copenhagen, Denmark. Per says they have been pretty slow in playing Danish music on this show for so many years. Sven says, „for good reason. Did I say that?” Per says, „no, you didn’t say that.” Haha. The time has come to pick up one of the great songs from the ’60s. It’s two brothers and an uncle, who was almost the same age. The brothers were 14 and 13 when this was recorded and then it was released late in 1964. The brothers are Torben and Jørgen Lundgren. Per remembers this song when he grew up, but he must have heard it later on. Since Sven was three years older and much more mature than Per, he remembers when it came out. Sven thought they were sensational and their voices are so innocent. Per thinks the production of the song is really cool. The drum sounds great and it just sounds amazing. Sven agrees and says it entered the Swedish charts and they went down a storm in Sweden. The guys play Do You Know (How Much I Love You) by The Lollipops. After the song Sven says, The Lollipops clocking in at 1.56, that’s Ramones times. Per thinks it’s the perfect length of a pop song. Sven agrees.

The guys are back to Sweden to check out the founding father of the Swedish language in pop culture, Pugh Rogefeldt. Per says he was really early with writing songs in Swedish in the ’60s. The guys play his breakthrough song, Här kommer natten, (Here Comes The Night) from 1969. It wasn’t a big hit, but it was big enough to become a breakthrough for him. He became a really big figure on the scene for many years. Sven says he also rewrote the rules, because all the pop and rock guys in Sweden in the ’60s thought it would be too corny to write in Swedish. Per informs Pugh was very much influenced by artists like Captain Beefheart. He did some kind of strange sort of pop music and worked with a great producer, Anders Burman, a drummer who came from the jazz scene in the ’50s. Anders had his own indie label at the time and signed Pugh Rogefeldt. So he did three or four, maybe even five, amazing albums. Sven says we hear Georg ’Jojje’ Wadenius as well on guitar, who later would join Blood, Sweat & Tears. He was also in a band called Made in Sweden back then.

This Pugh song wraps up today’s snippet of the guy’s list of Scandinavian goodies from the ’60s. Next month they are back with the final countdown. (Here Per is humming the tune of Europe’s The Final Countdown.)

Coming up next is an interesting project by the Shout Out Louds from Sweden. They recorded an album in 2005 called Howl Howl Gaff Gaff and they have just recently made a new version called Howl Howl Gaff Gaff Revisited where they re-recorded a couple of songs. Per says they probably weren’t really happy with the original. Sven asks Per if he has ever considered re-recording any old material. Per says, absolutely, it happens all the time. Especially if you are not happy with it. It could be so many different things. Maybe the production didn’t work out or maybe it was recorded in the wrong key or the mood wasn’t right. Or you suddenly start to like the song more. Sven says we are going to hear a snippet of the 2005 version of a song called The Comeback and then we are going to seamlessly move into the 2024 version of The Comeback.

Sucker by Club 8 is played next. Per thinks it’s a great song. He doesn’t know anything about Club 8 though. Sven informs there is a band called Acid House Kings in Sweden and a band member there called Johan Angergård. This is his side project with a vocalist called Karolina Komstedt. Sucker is their latest single.

This wraps up the May episode of Nordic Rox. The guys thank the listeners for joining them and Cigarettes by Anita Lindblom closes the show, as usual.

Pic by Patrícia Peres, Book Fair 2014, Gothenburg

Thanks for your support, Sven!