Marie Fredriksson tribute on Nordic Rox

Sirius XM made some programs available online and a little Nordic Rox is also among those free programs now. Sven Lindström and Per Gessle recorded a Marie Fredriksson tribute for Nordic Rox. They did that in Stockholm in Live Nation’s office. They were sitting in the ABBA room and Sven was joking that it’s because everyone else wanted to be in the Roxette room, so they couldn’t go there.

Sven and Per are talking about Marie with mixed feelings. Per tried to pick songs that for him represent what Marie was all about in Roxette. It’s a big palette of knowledge that she gave to the band. Sven says Marie and Per are a bit like opposites to each other. Per says they shared rehearsal studios, Per was in a band, Gyllene Tider and Marie was in another band. She was screaming and shouting and she was a little bit like a hippie. They were pretty different. Per was very organized and ambitious while Marie was an ”anything goes” type.

Sven asks Per if he remembers a specific moment when he realized Marie’s potential. Per says it was day 1, when he heard Marie singing. She was singing like no one else, even back then. Per’s band took off and became successful pretty quick and they invited Marie to sing on a Christmas song for them. Later Marie left her band and started a solo career and she ended up at the same record label as Per and his band were at, EMI Records in Stockholm. Sven tells Marie had several bands before her solo career. Strul and MaMas Barn. He says Marie and Per socialized in Halmstad. Per says they were very good friends. They never had a romance, they were more like sister and brother. Marie looked up to him because he was successful and in the music industry and Per liked her because she had this voice and she was a wonderful, very generous person. They were just hanging out, watching Dynasty on TV in Per’s apartment, playing the piano and the guitar and started writing songs together. In Roxette they very rarely wrote together, but in those early days they wrote together. They were both based in Halmstad, but Marie moved to Stockholm pretty quick. She started a relationship with GT’s producer, Lasse Lindbom and they started writing songs together and that became her first two solo albums in the early 80’s.

Since Marie and Per were very good friends, they shared this dream to do something together one day. Maybe do something in English together, because they both wanted to work internationally. So eventually, in 1986 Per wrote a song and they released it in Sweden and it became a big song for them in the summer of ’86. It was Neverending Love. They released it under the name Roxette that is coming from a Dr. Feelgood song. Because Neverending Love was a big success, EMI wanted them to make an album, so in no time Per translated 12 of his songs he had written in Swedish. He intended to release those on his third solo album which didn’t happen in the end. That became the first Roxette album. I Call Your Name is the song Sven and Per play on Nordic Rox and Per says the original Swedish title of it was Jag hör din röst (I hear your voice). It was one of the first tracks they recorded for the album. For Per it was like a turning point, because then he realized that something was happening to his music. They had a new producer Per never worked with before, Clarence Öfwerman. Per says Clarence made his songs danceable and groovy. Per comes from the power pop scene and it’s always been a lot of guitars, but it suddenly became different. And also the way Marie was singing, it was like a totally new chapter for Per. Mr. G thinks I Call Your Name is a really cool song. Their ambition was that Marie would sing and Per would write, but they also had the idea that both of them sing in songs. Most of the songs became duets this way. Which is sort of the Roxette trademark.

After ICYN Sven tells Marie and Per had T-shirts with the slogan ”Today Sweden, tomorrow the world”. Per says they were pretty ambitious. With the shirts they were having fun. They always liked slogans like what Stiff Records, an indie label in the 70’s had. E.g. ”If they’re dead, we’ll sign them.”

The guys get back to Marie’s vocal abilities. Per says he always felt very limited by his own voice. In Gyllene Tider he was the lead singer and it sounded OK, but he just felt that he could write bigger songs than he could sing himself. So to write songs for Marie was liberating from a songwriter’s point of view. The more the years went by, the more he customized his songs for Marie’s abilities, e.g. It Must Have Been Love.

The next song they play is Fading Like A Flower. Per says it was a big song for them and he chose this because it’s a typical example of a standard song. It’s Marie who makes this song work, the way she sings it. Also how it’s produced. Per thinks it’s not the best song in the world. When he sings the demo, it’s boring. Marie had this enormous capacity that she could sing the telephone book and make it interesting. It’s very rare. Per says he was very lucky as a writer to have that voice to work with. Looking back now, they did 10 studio albums and he wishes that Marie would have sung everything with Roxette. Per was singing a lot of songs with Roxette as well, but Marie was such an amazing singer. Especially in the early days. They were not thinking about keys or modulations, they just did it and she was singing it.

After FLAF Sven asks Per if there is a way to describe Marie’s qualities as a singer. Per says she was a very complete singer, she could basically sing anything. It’s very rare that you can find a singer who can deliver a power pop song as well as a huge ballad. Some people are really great ballad singers, others are amazing for pop music, but it’s very rare that you find both ways. Marie could do anything. Per tells when they did MTV Unplugged, Marie was singing Aretha Franklin, but on tours they also did covers of other bands’ songs, because Marie could sing anything. Per was much more limited. From a writer’s point of view it was liberating for Per to be able to write songs like The Look, Joyride or Sleeping In My Car, which are basically 3-chord power pop songs, as well as to be able to write more sophisticated songs like Listen To Your Heart or It Must Have Been Love. Marie could do anything. Per says that compared to him, Marie also had a great pronounciation. One couldn’t really tell that she wasn’t English or American. Per adds that Marie was not inspired all the time, but when she was, everything went very quick. She just made the song her own and made the lyrics her own and you could identify with her immediately. It was just a pleasure.

The next song is Stars. Sven says it was an unusual direction, because if he thinks back, Marie was more of a blues girl. Per says she loved blues and jazz. Sven jokes that Per doesn’t have many blues notes in his body. Per laughs and says he comes from the world of The Beatles, The Monkees and Tom Petty, the 3-chord pop songs and new wave. But he thinks that was the good thing that Marie took his songs and gave them a new vitamin injection. She came in from a different angle.

Getting back to Stars, and the album, Have A Nice Day, Per says they had a couple of years off after touring and promoting for 7.5 years. Marie had her second child, Per made a solo album and worked with Gyllene Tider too. Then he started writing for HAND which was recorded in Marbella, Spain. Time went by and the whole dance music scene has changed a bit, so they tried to do different things. They used different musicians. Stars is a little bit more dancey, Pet Shop Boys-ey. Sven says Europoppy. Per says it’s like the European dance scene at the time, which was pretty far away from the classic Roxette sound, but Marie could deliver that too. Mr. G says he loves that song because it got a great melody and Marie is just the greatest on this one. Sven says the song has a fun, unusual, special video to it. Per tells it was the first time they worked together with Anton Corbijn and shooting the video was hilarious. Regarding the album Per adds that he wrote so many songs in different directions, so HAND got dance songs, rock songs, acoustic songs, a little bit of everything. He thinks it’s because he spent so many years writing, he couldn’t really decide. Haha.

After Stars, this part of the Marie tribute program is over on Nordic Rox, but Sven says they will be back with more episodes.

 

Unfortunately, I can’t add a direct link to the program, but search for Nordic Rox and go 5 ”shift forward” into the show to hear Sven and Per talking.

Memorial concerts for Marie Fredriksson in Östra Ljungby church

Svenska kyrkan, Klippans pastorat organized 2 concerts in memory of Marie Fredriksson on 8th March in Östra Ljungby church. Marie was born in Össjö, but she grew up in Östra Ljungby and never forgot her roots. People in Östra Ljungby have always been very proud of her. There are several in the church’s choir who went to school together with Marie and they felt they had to do something. Before they began to organize the concerts, they asked Marie’s family if it was OK. When hd.se asked they remembered Marie as a down-to-earth person and that she was always singing. She saw a piano, sat there and started playing and singing.

The first concert was held from 17:00, the next from 18:30. Soloist Carolina Söderman felt honored to sing in Marie’s home ground and she shares that the first time she was singing at a wedding was when she was 17 in 1994 and the song she sang from Marie was Ännu doftar kärlek. Carolina says Marie had heart and emotion in everything she sang.

Tickets (250-250) for the events got sold out in less than 24 hours 1 month ago. One ticket cost 100 SEK and all proceeds will be donated to Cancerfonden (Cancer Foundation).

Songs that were performed:

  1. Ett hus vid havet
  2. Den bästa dagen
  3. Ännu doftar kärlek
  4. När kärleken föds
  5. Sång till Marie
  6. Listen To Your Heart
  7. Efter stormen
  8. Sparvöga
  9. Tid för tystnad
  10. Där du andas
  11. Tro

At the 2 concerts 50,000 SEK was collected from the ticket sales and this fully goes to Cancerfonden. You can also donate money to Cancerfonden via their website. THIS collection goes until 15th March and already 56,330 SEK is collected related to this Östra Ljungby event. You can also use this bank account number for donations: SE0650000000052101012251 or donate to the local cancer foundation in your country.

Videos from the event: 1; 2;

 

CONTEST – Win Marie Fredriksson’s biography in Hungarian!

As we already informed you earlier, Marie Fredriksson’s biography has been published in Hungarian. Title of the book became Listen To My Heart – Hallgass a szívemre. A longtime Hungarian fan, Zoltán Dúl decided to translate the book from Swedish into Hungarian and fortunately, a publishing company, G-ADAM Könyv- és Lapkiadó Kft. (in cooperation with SzépKönyvek Kiadó) was interested in releasing it. Thank you, Zoltán, for the initiative and your work!

As you all probably know by now, I’m Hungarian too, so I was excited to see that the book would be available in my mother tongue. I’m a fan of reading books and watching movies in their original language and of course I read the biography in Swedish when it was published years back, but it’s a big thing that after several other countries, Hungary is the next one where this wonderful book is out. (I know, I know… still no English version. Sigh…) I was among the first ones pre-ordering it online to be picked up in the shop. The planned publishing date was 28th February and I planned to read it at the weekend, but due to a slight delay it arrived to the shops only on 4th March, so it became a birthday reading for me. What I liked to see when I went to get my copy at the shop was that among hundreds of different books waiting for being picked up by their new owners I could see several copies of Marie’s biography on the online order pick-up shelves, also waiting for their new owners. So lovely!

Reading the book for the first time in Swedish was amazing. Reading Marie’s story in her own words, her thoughts on her life and life in general, her childhood, her tragedies, the ups and downs, her illness, her fabulous family and her fantastic career was a rollercoaster of emotions. Heartbreaking and heartwarming parts are equally present in the book and Marie’s love for life and her always fighting, amazon personality shines through all her words. She won’t ever stop being an inspiration to so many people all around the world! Now reading it all again after 5 years and most importantly, after what happened on 9th December 2019, put some parts in the book in a different light. Impossible to read it without tears in the eyes.

As I can see there are only a few differences vs. the original Swedish book. There are much less pictures in the Hungarian version and there are photos that are not in the Swedish biography, but I think some pictures I saw in the books published in other languages. The leather jacket pics on the Swedish inside covers are skipped in the Hungarian version. The book is translated from Swedish, but the last chapter here is the same extra chapter that you could read in the German version. Otherwise there are no new texts. The only reference to 9th December is on the back cover of the book.

It’s very nice that the publisher decided to donate 1% after each sold copy of the book to Alapítvány a Daganatos Betegek Gyógyításáért és Rehabilitációjáért (Foundation for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Cancer Patients).

THIS site is in Hungarian, but this is the official website for the book where one can also order it with a 20% discount.

C-O-N-T-E-S-T!

The publisher of the book was kind enough to offer 3 copies of the Hungarian book for a RoxBlog contest. It’s probably most interesting to Hungarian Roxers, but maybe collector fans would also be glad to have an exotic language book in their collection. So anyone is welcome to take part in the contest.

In order to participate, answer the following questions correctly:

  1. In which year was Marie’s biography published for the first time in its original language and what was the title of it? – 2015, Kärleken till livet
  2. In how many languages has the biography been published until now, including the actual Hungarian release? – 5 (Swedish, German, Czech, Spanish, Hungarian)
  3. How many times did Roxette play live in Hungary? – 3 (1992, 2011, 2015)

Send an e-mail with your name, address and the correct answers to the questions to rxbcontests@gmail.com until 23:59 CET, 15th March 2020. The 3 lucky winners will be announced shortly after. Sok szerencsét! (Good luck!)

Contest terms and conditions:
– In order to participate, you have to send an e-mail to rxbcontests@gmail.com with name, address and correct answers to the 3
questions. We will consider all e-mails we receive until 23:59 CET on 15th March 2020.
– 3
winners will be picked randomly among those who have participated and sent the correct answers.
– You can only participate once, any attempt to participate twice or more times will lead to your disqualification.
– Prizes won’t be paid out in cash. Prizes will be sent by registered
mail only once.
– The winners will be announced on this website, on our Facebook page and will also be notified per e-mail. You’ll be required to answer the e-mail confirming your address.
– RoxetteBlog.com will not enter into any correspondence regarding the result of the contest and is not liable for any damages, loss or expenses that may result in connection to the prizes.
– By taking part in the contest, personal data (first name, surname, e-mail address and address) will be collected. These data are needed in order to run the contest, particularly in order to match participation applications to their entries as well as to identify and notify the winners. This method of processing data is therefore required pursuant to Article 6 Paragraph 1 lit b of the GDPR to fulfil contractual obligations. The personal data collected will be processed and used by RoxetteBlog.com only to the extent that is required in order to run the contest. The personal data will be stored for the duration of the contest and – in order to process any claims relating to winnings and damages – for a maximum of 6 months afterwards and they will then be deleted. By participating you agree to all above mentioned and your name being published on this website as well as on social media channels in case you win.

 

 

 

 

 

UPDATE on 16th March 2020: 3 winners are picked. They are: Nikolett Házas, Gabriella Vadasi and Márton Mihályfi. The winners are informed via e-mail too.

Interview with Per Gessle in Nyhetsmorgon on TV4

There was a pre-recorded interview with Per Gessle this morning in Nyhetsmorgon on TV4. While program leader Jenny Alversjö introduced the interview Anders Pihlblad did with Mr. G, there were several Roxette photos shown in the background. Jenny says Marie passed away almost 3 months ago, way too early. She mentions Per was devastated and the day after he gathered his thoughts and finished a song, a comfort song, how he calls it.

 

 

 

In the interview you can hear and see snippets from Per’s new song, Around The Corner (The Comfort Song) and its lyric video.

Per says this song was lying around for a while and he finished it the day after. His mother-in-law also died a couple of days after Marie. It was a really hard time and he finished the song actually for himself. He wanted to get it out of the system. That’s how he works. One needs to get rid of things. He expresses himself through his music and lyrics.

It became a comfort song in a way. Per realized it’s a really strong song when he recorded it with Helena and Mats. He doesn’t mean it’s an especially good song, maybe it is, he doesn’t know, but he saw it touched Helena and Mats deeply. So they thought it should be released. He knows there are a lot of people in the Roxette gang, all the fans, all the friends, the whole world were affected by what happened. Almost all people go through this when they lose someone close to them sometime in life. Everyone needs this comfort. Per’s way to get through this was writing.

 

Anders says there are 2 Roxettes. One before Marie’s illness and the one after it. 2 totally different challenges. He asks Per what he was thinking when Marie got ill, how to go on with his career and if he thought they could go on with Roxette. Per explained he didn’t think they could, because it felt that Marie was in really bad shape, so it wasn’t in the cards to continue with Roxette. The first thing he did after Marie got ill was Mazarin, then Gyllene Tider in 2004, then Son of a Plumber, then En händig man, so all his other stuff. So it was really surprising that Marie wanted to make a comeback. Per thinks even Marie didn’t count on it, that she would come back. She came to visit him in Amsterdam where Per played on his European tour. Anders says he talked to a Dutch girl who was there at the concert and said there was a surprise. Per laughs and says Marie and her husband, Micke came to visit him and he asked Marie if she wanted to come up on stage so they would play an old Roxette song. She hadn’t been on stage for 7 years and she said she doesn’t want to do that. But Per knew she was easy to convince if they give it some more time, so the question remained hanging in the air and in the end Marie said OK, let’s rehearse and see how it feels. One could see she really wanted to do it. So they rehearsed and Marie said let’s try it. For the first extra song Per invited Marie up on stage and there was only Marie and Per on stage. Mr. G thinks they played Listen to Your Heart and maybe It Must Have Been Love too, he can’t remember. Per says the audience died of course and he had never seen so many people crying. It was incredible. It was the first thing Marie did and then a few weeks later she called Per if he could write a new Roxette album. That’s what eventually became Charm School. Then there were 2 big tours, maybe with 300 concerts.

 

Anders asks Per how important he thinks it was for Marie to realize that she managed to do it and that it became such a success. Per thinks it was super important for Marie, because she loved music more than anything else. She loved being on stage and she enormously missed the communication with her fans, with their fans. So she wanted to do it at all costs. Her doctor advised she shouldn’t do that, because touring is exhausting with all the travelling, the waiting, the flying, the time zones and so on. But she wanted to do that. Per told her whatever they do, they do it based on Marie’s conditions. If she wants three days between the gigs, that’s how they will do it. Per thought it was amazing that Marie wanted to do it and that they could go on.

Anders says he saw an interview with Marie that was done by Niklas Strömstedt and there she said Per was a big support to her during that period. He asks Per what he thinks about it. Per smiles, drinks a little water and says he doesn’t know. He hopes so, but it’s hard to answer this question. When someone gets ill, you want to help as much as you can, but it’s always hard to help someone without stepping too much into their private lives. People have families and you don’t know how to behave. This is how he felt about his family too. Sometimes you feel that you go one step too close and they want you to leave them alone. They want to take care of their illness in their own private way. So it’s hard to know. But Per also saw that interview in Niklas’ show and he was of course happy to hear that Marie thought so.

 

Anders says Marie and Per had many common memories from Roxette times. He is curious about the greatest ones that Per will remember forever. Mr. G says there are too many. He thinks it’s kind of a fairy tale what they have been through. The possibilities, the chances, the odds for them to succeed, coming from Sweden those days and in this industry were less than minimal. It’s fantastic, all the success they have achieved. But if he skips all the golden records, chart positions and such things, he remembers those days when they were on stage in front of 50,000 people in Chile, in Sydney or wherever and looked into each other’s eyes. And then Per knows Marie thinks ”how the hell did this happen, Per?” and he thinks the same. You see the rolling ocean of people in front of you and they all love what you are doing. Such things are fantastic. But of course there are many more.

 

Anders realized Roxette has extremely loyal fans. He read what they were writing and asks Per how much of that has reached him. Per says he was of course devastated when Marie passed away, but he was also happy to see the response she got from all around the world. From many other artists, producers, radio people and fans, all the people. There are hundreds of thousands of greetings coming in and it’s awesome that Marie gets that appreciation. Per says they definitely have the best fans in the world. They have always been super loyal and followed them in all times. It’s been a long journey.

And here the interview ends with the flame of the candle going out in the lyric video. All in all it was a very touching interview. One can see it’s still hard to talk about what happened and it needs time to find comfort. Per says they have the best fans in the world. What I must add: and we have chosen the best idols in the world. Undoubtedly.

Stills are from the interview.

Mass for Marie Fredriksson on World Cancer Day

Hedvig Eleonora church (Östermalm, Stockholm) organized 2 masses for Marie Fredriksson on 4th February, World Cancer Day. The first one was held from 18:00 to 19:15, the next from 20:00 to 21:15. They remembered Marie and her fantastic music on the masses where the church’s children and youth choirs, One Voice choir and the church’s musicians, deacons and priests took part. The masses were open to everyone with free entrance. The organizers collected money for Cancerfonden during the event.

1000 people fit in the church for one mass. There were 2 masses because of the huge interest.

HedvigPuls is a worship service with specially selected music themes, such as Avicii, Beyoncé, Laleh and Kent. For the fall of 2020 they planned to have a mass with Marie Fredriksson’s music, but when the sad news of her passing reached them, they chose to organize this on World Cancer Day instead.

The choirs sang Ännu doftar kärlek, Tro, Sparvöga, Längtan, Ett hus vid havet and It Must Have Been Love.

Hedvig Eleonora church’s bells were ringing the melody of Sparvöga for a week after Marie’s passing.

Pictures and instavideos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12,

Videos: mass, Ännu doftar kärlek, Tro, Sparvöga, Längtan, Ett hus vid havet, It Must Have Been Love,

If you want to donate money to Cancerfonden, you can use this bank account number for donations: SE0650000000052101012251 or donate to the local cancer foundation in your country.