Per Gessle on Nordic Rox – April 2024

Per Gessle and Sven Lindström recorded their April episode of Nordic Rox in March. The guys are having a good time, because it’s spring and they continue with their new special that contains their favourite Swedish and Scandinavian songs from the ’60s. They think the first episode was a great success, at least it felt like it, for them at least. They haven’t heard any comments from the audience yet, but they are sure they will come. This time they are going to count down from No. 15 to No. 11.

Before that, the guys kick off with something completely different. They start off with one of their favourite bands from Sweden ever, The Hives. Such a great band, Per says. Luckily for everyone, they are back in action again with their new album, The Death Of Randy Fitzsimmons. They are also touring everywhere now. The song played is Countdown To Shutdown.

The next song is He’s Peculiar by Norwegian power-pop star Vibeke. Per thinks she is amazing. She has lots of great songs.

Then comes Walking On Air by PG Roxette. Sven is curious about the story behind the song. Per tells him it’s the opening track of the PG Roxette album that came out in the fall of 2022, Pop-Up Dynamo! It was the first song that PG wrote for the album. Actually, he got a request to write a song for the Top Gun: Maverick movie, for a particular scene, which eventually they didn’t use. So they obviously didn’t use Per’s song either. But anyway, it became the kick-off for this album. It’s really cool, Per thinks. It’s like the missing link between Roxette’s Look Sharp! and Joyride sound-wise. The bridge between the ’80s and ’90s, so that’s why it sounds like it does. Sven thinks it’s a cool track. Per is really glad that Sven likes it.

Before the guys get down to their list of ’60s highlights, they play two more tracks. The band Hello Saferide is first. Per says, when Annika Norlin is working in English, she calls herself Hello Saferide. She has been doing some great tracks over the years. Sven says, this song is from 2008 or 2009. So it’s pretty old, PG reacts. It’s on a compilation album by the indie label Razzia Records and the track is called I Was Definitely Made For These Times.

The next track is the wonderful sound of The Hellacopter’s new single The Electric Index Eel. Sven thinks it’s good to hear them again. Per agrees and adds that this one came out in November last year. It sounds really fresh to his ears.

The best of Swedish music from the ’60s is coming. Per explains that what they are trying to do here is to focus a little bit on Scandinavian acts, especially Swedish acts from the ’60s who wrote their own material. So many bands and artists in those days were doing cover versions of American and English hits, but there were a few exceptions. Sven says, you can’t avoid a guy called Benny Andersson when you speak about original Swedish music. PG adds that he came out in the ’60s, before he formed ABBA with Björn Ulvaeus. He had this Hep Stars band. He wasn’t the original keyboard player there, but he became the second keyboard player and he changed the band forever. He was such a great writer. At position No. 15, the guys play Wedding, one of Hep Stars’ greatest songs. Sven loves this one from 1966. By then, it seemed like Benny could just write hits that went immediately up to the No. 1 position on the Swedish chart. Per agrees. 1966, by the way, is a great year in pop music, Mr. G says. Sven says they always debate about whether 1965 or 1966 is the best year. Per thinks 1966 is by far the best. Sven says it’s not a bad year. So we listen to the song, taken from one of Hep Stars’ best-selling albums, recorded and released in 1966. We hear Benny Andersson, future ABBA member, on the keyboards. Per thinks it’s a great track and it was released on Olga Records, an independent Swedish label.

Sven says, now it’s time to play some music in Swedish. Basically, everyone who was a pop star sang in English in the ’60s, because The Beatles did, but there were a few exceptions that actually sounded like a pop band, but sang in Swedish. Per says, this particular band Sven is talking about is Sven-Ingvars. They came from Värmland. Hillbilly, Sven says, but Per doesn’t want to say that. What made them stand out a bit, in a negative way, for Per, when he was a kid, was that they didn’t have long hair. They looked a little bit like how you were supposed to look. A sort of late ’50s look, Sven adds. For PG it felt like they weren’t really hip. They had people writing their music within the band. They were really great writers and great performers as well and they made some outstanding singles. Sven says they had a wonderful singer, Sven-Erik Magnusson. Mr. G adds, he sang with this dialect that made him stand out a bit. Those in the South thought it was a little bit so-so. Sven thought it was really charming. He adds that Värmland is close to Norway, up there in mid-Sweden and they have these people there who love to watch racing cars out on the gravel roads, in the woods. You wouldn’t expect a superb pop band to come out of the woods. Per says, in the ’60s, they had so many hits and they continued over the decades, up until Sven-Erik unfortunately died. Then the front position of Sven-Ingvars was taken by his son, Oscar and they continued up to this day. They are very successful and they are touring a lot. So this position on the chart is very well deserved. Sven says they are a class act for more than 60 years. And this track the guys play is from 1965 and it’s called Säg inte nej, säg kanske, which you can translate into Don’t say no, say maybe.

The next Swedish city is Gothenburg on the Swedish west coast. It’s the second song by Tages the guys play on this list. Per says, Tages is his favourite band from the ’60s. He thinks they are outstanding. Great writers, great singers, great players. They promoted themselves as the Swedish Beatles and PG can understand that. They were like a head bigger than most of the other bands. Sven says the song they play is from November 1966. Per inserts, 1966 is such a great year for pop music. Haha. Sven says there is a funny story behind this song, because it originated when the band was touring in Scandinavia. Their record label was Platina Records, another independent label. They really struck gold with Tages. The band played Denmark when their record company phoned them up on the road and said, hey, you guys, we need to print the sleeve for your new single. What’s it called? And they didn’t have a title. They didn’t even have a song. The band was unsure of what to record until (Sven is reading from the Wikipedia site here) they were sitting at the bar and guitarist Danne Larsson spotted an ad for Mac Baren Tobacco. Per remembers that tobacco, it was tobacco for the pipes. Sven confirms. And boom, the band had the title. The song is called Miss Mac Baren. Now all they lacked was a song, so they wrote one. They wrote it on the tour bus on the way to the recording session. According to Per, they did a wonderful job, because it’s such a great track. One of their best tracks. Sven thinks it’s pure hit and went straight up to No. 1 on the Swedish chart, he believes. PG was seven years old in 1966 and he has this song on a single, because he has loved that song ever since he was a kid. He still loves it.

The guys are moving up to Stockholm and back to 1965. Per says, that’s a good year too. They are heading for No. 12 on this chart with a band called The Mascots. Per says, they had some great songs as well. They sound very much like Mercy in style, with lots of harmonies. You can hear a little bit of Peter & Gordon in there as well.  They wrote their own songs, that’s why they are on this list. Words Enough To Tell You is a beautiful pop track that stood out in the Swedish ’60s. Per doesn’t know if this was a big hit. Sven doesn’t think so. There was a pop magazine called Bildjournalen in Sweden and they sometimes released a flexi single next to the magazine, on a sort of plastic. Sven remembers buying this one and it was rather hard to play it on his player. Per is curious how it worked. Sven says he used the vinyl single underneath it. He put the flexi disc on top of it. Per remembers this, his brother had such things. It was cool. You bought a magazine and you got two or four tracks for free. Sven says, that’s hard currency when you are 10 years old. Haha. Sven never gets tired of hearing this song and he still misses the feel of the flexi disc.

No. 11 on the list of classic ’60s moments in Scandinavia is a band from the north of Sweden called The Shanes. They had lots of hits. They did lots of covers, but this particular song that the guys picked is called Chris-Craft No. 9 was written by the main songwriter, Kit Sundqvist, who was playing the keyboards. There is a great guitar riff. Sven asks Per if he knows what a Chris-Craft is. He knows, it’s a boat. The band was from Kiruna. That’s really far up. That’s as far as you can go, basically, in Sweden. The song was recorded in the Abbey Road studio in London, The Beatles studio. PG didn’t know that. Sven guesses, when they started out in the early ’60s, sitting up there in Kiruna and when The Beatles came around and they realized that they wanted to be a pop band, they wouldn’t even dream of one day recording in the Abbey Road studio. Per thinks it’s really cool and it’s pretty rare that they have these acts from the far north making it big. Sweden is, by the way, a very narrow country, he explains. If you fly from the south to the very north, it’s a three-hour flight. It’s a very long country. So there is a big difference between the south and the north.

The guys will continue the chart in the next show, but they move into some more modern sounds now, the next song is just 15 years old. My Life Is Shit But I Am Funky by Konie. Per thinks it’s a cool one, he hasn’t heard it before, so he thanks Sven for bringing Konie into his life. Sven said, this sounds like basically a rough demo recorded at home. Per noticed that there was another guy involved, Joakim Åhlund was part of the production team. He is a great producer. He has been all over the place. He produced The Teddybears, for instance. A trademark of quality.

In The Dust by Atomic Swing is next. It’s one of the singles taken from their magnificent debut album. Per says Sven has a soft spot for Atomic Swing. He confirms, and says he still thinks they sound like nothing else really. They have their own brand. Per likes them too.

Then comes the beautiful sound of Tove Styrke and her song Start Walking from her recent album Hard. Per noticed that this song was produced by Lost Boy who also produced Kylie Minogue. He is a big producer in Europe, also a trademark of quality.

Sven moves on with a new track from Alberta Cross. Per doesn’t know anything about Alberta Cross. He asks whether it is a he or a she or an animal. Sven says it’s a band led by a Swedish singer, Petter Ericson Stakee. They have been based in the States and Sven thinks they are in England right now. He is not really sure. They moved 10, 15 years ago and have been working the live circuit and recording. So Far Out Of Reach is a track from late 2023.

The guys play one more song, All Day Long by The Royal Concept from Sweden. It’s their new single.

That brings the guys to the end of this show. All day long they have been sitting here talking about Swedish music from the ’60s. Per thinks it’s good fun. The ’60s was a very special time, the ’60s and the ’70s. He thinks they should do something similar with the ’70s. Sven thinks it’s a good idea. They will get back to that. He tells the listeners, you will never get rid of these lists. You have to live with this for the next year or so. Haha.

Cigarettes by Anita Lindblom closes the show, as usual.

Pic by Patrícia Peres, Book Fair 2014, Gothenburg

Thanks for your support, Sven!

Per Gessle on Nordic Rox – March 2024

Per Gessle and Sven Lindström started a new special in the March episode of Nordic Rox. The guys met in Halmstad to record this session on a wonderful grey day. Per says it’s been a very long winter here. Sven describes that it looks like the Berlin Wall outside there, but it’s the sky in 50 shades of grey.

The new special contains their favourite Swedish and Scandinavian songs from the ’60s. In this show, they play the first five of those 20. It’s going to be mainly English speaking songs, but also some Swedish versions. They try to concentrate on those few Scandinavian artists who wrote their own material in the ’60s. There wasn’t that many. Most Swedish pop music in those days were covers from English and American artists, but there were a few exceptions. Per looks forward to this chart.

Before they start the countdown, they go to the mid-Swedish town, Örebro and check out a very, very talented guy called Ludwig Hart. Per says he is very interesting. He has been around for a couple of years now and he is getting better and better. The song they want to play is Less I Try and it’s very inspired by classic American rock music, radio friendly. Per loves this track. Sven says Ludwig is a new Nordic Rox favourite and Per confirms again that it’s a great song. [There was probably a little hiccup at the editing room at Sirius XM, because the song played instead is Walk by Naâman, who is a French reggae singer. /PP]

The next song is Freak Show by Grass Show from 1997. It’s the opening track on their debut album with an interesting title, Something Smells Good In Stinkville. Per finds the album title very good. It gets five out of five from him. The guys play the brand new single of Say Lou Lou. Sven asks Per if he can pronounce its title. Hecan: Wong Kar-wai and he says it probably means something. Sven informs it’s named after the Hong Kong film director and script writer of the same name. Per says Sven is so talented. Sven laughs and says he can read, he didn’t really know that. Per thinks it’s a good song.

Another Nordic Rox favourite is coming. The next band they play is called Roxette. Sven asks Per if he knows anything about them. Per has heard about them. Haha. She’s Got Nothing On (But The Radio) is the song Sven picked. That was a single from the Charm School album back in 2011. Per says it’s a wonderful song to perform live. Sven thinks it’s a great pop track. Per says it becomes like a six minute guitar bonanza in the end. Sven says you really don’t hear that when you hear this sort of pop version, but there is something happening with Christoffer, the guitarist when he hears this song. Per says they played this song a lot with Roxette, but he also played it a lot on his own solo tours and it’s always a great one to play. People love it. The band is getting the chance to stretch out a bit. It’s cool. Per is glad that Sven picked this one. Sven says that’s a promising song title and let’s see if it delivers. Here they play it. Pure and shameless pop music written by Per Gessle, Sven says.

Now the guys get down to their Top20 songs from Swedish and Scandinavian artists from the ’60s. Per says they concentrated on original material. In those days, so many artists were doing covers of English and American hits in a Swedish style. But there were a few exceptions who wrote their own material. Sven and PG kick off with a song that could meander on forever. In the original version it’s 7 minutes and 15 seconds long, so Sven says they are probably not going to play that whole track. It’s by the duo Hansson & Karlsson and the song is called Tax Free. It’s got an interesting story to it. Per says Hansson & Karlsson were a jazz fusion, pop-rock, progressive thing, doing instrumental music based on Bo Hansson’s Hammond organ and John Karlsson’s drums. This particular song wasn’t a hit record at all, but it became a major track in Swedish music history, because Jimi Hendrix recorded it. He played it so many times live. So there are endless versions of Tax Free by Jimi Hendrix on Spotify, for instance. Per thinks it’s just a beautiful, haunting melody in there and it sums up this era in pop music so well. Sven says it was also quite a big thing among the pop aficionados back then, because in the ’60s, Sweden was like an isolated little island and nobody really thought they could break through in England or in the US. But when Jimi Hendrix came and grabbed this song and played it, that was quite an achievement. PG adds that the duo broke up, but Bo Hansson, the organ player became pretty successful on his own. He wrote music for Lord Of The Rings, which was a big album in the UK in the ’70s.

Next on the chart, number 19, is from the Swedish version of the Eurovision Song Contest in the ’60s. In those days, of course, there was a full orchestra and a band playing live in the TV studio and there were some really interesting songs. Per thinks this one makes you smile a bit, a song from the year of Sgt. Pepper, 1967. It’s Gå och göm dej, Åke Tråk by Mona Wessman. The title translates into „you can go away and hide you, boring old sod”. Sven explains Åke is a surname in Swedish and tråk is a boring old sod. Per adds it’s written by Peter Himmelstrand who was a journalist. He also wrote a lot of songs and especially his lyrics were always funny. Per thinks it’s a wonderful little song that has stood the test of time, if you are into this kind of thing, which Per is. Sven says it’s one leg into the easy listening genre and the rest is a bit pop. He thinks it’s an amazing track. Hard act to follow.

The next song is by Hootenanny Singers. They were a folk-inspired band in the 60’s and included Björn Ulvaeus, who eventually became part of ABBA. Björn was singing and writing on his own a lot before he started meeting Benny Andersson. The guys picked a song called No Time from 1966. Per says it was a great year in pop music. Sven says it was almost as good as 1965. The guys are laughing. Sven says the Hootenanny Singers was like a Swedish version of the Seekers or The Kingston Trio. Benny was in Hepstars, which was a pure pop band. They met during this time and realized that they had a lot of things in common. Per says they were really talented, both of them, as songwriters. And what PG guesses both Björn and Benny realized early on was that they weren’t that great lead singers. Sven agrees. Mr. G says they needed some brilliant singers and they found Frida and Agneta, of course. The guys play No Time. Björn Ulvaeus wrote the song and sang the lead vocals here. You couldn’t really guess that this would lead into Mamma Mia or Dancing Queen, Sven says. Per agrees, but he thinks it’s a good song anyway. They were a very successful band. They had lots of hits, like Greensleeves and stuff like that. Folk-inspired music was very popular in those days, deeply loved by the Swedish audience for 10 plus years.

The guys move on to another instrumental, a surf band from Gothenburg, Sweden, The Spotnicks. Per says it was before his time, so he doesn’t remember them that much. Sven either. They are from 1962, 1963 and they were really big in Gothenburg and in Japan. Big in Japan. Per adds they had space uniforms on. There was a trend in international music those days. The Ventures and all those bands that played instrumental songs, had instrumental hits. Per thinks The Spotnicks fit in quite well. One of their early hits was Amapola, which turns out to be a Spanish song from the ’20s. Per says one of the rules they had was that it should only be original material in this chart, but they made an exception here because it’s really old. Sven says they also made an exception because they had such a cool stage outfit with the space dresses.

The next band is also from Gothenburg, a beautiful city on the Swedish west coast, the second biggest city in Sweden. Sven says they are Tages, one of the bands that came up 25 minutes after The Beatles had performed live in Sweden. The guys are laughing. Per thinks Tages is his favourite Swedish band from the ’60s. Sven thinks they were very original and consistent. PG adds there were great writers in the band, great musicians and they had also the possibility to work with a really outstanding producer, Anders Henriksson. Per thinks Tages eventually went to London as well to record there. And buy their clothes at Carnaby Street, Sven adds, they were extremely well-dressed. The song played is I Should Be Glad from 1964. Sven says to him it sounds a bit like the early Mercy era with The Beatles playing minor songs with acoustic guitars. You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away, Per says. It’s a great little track, according to Sven, and wonderful timing as well, Ramones style, 2 minutes 17 seconds. And it’s on the number 16 spot on the countdown.

That brings an end to this 1960s special of Swedish classics for today, but the guys got 15 more to go. Until then, they play some wonderful ’90s sound. Hey Princess by Popsicle is next. Then comes Winter Saga by Gaeya & Anders Rane, a brand new version of an ’80s Swedish classic. The title translates into Winter Story. An interesting track according to Sven. He thinks this version is more subdued.

A Danish artist, MØ is next with her work on Spaceman, a song from 1996 by Babylon Zoo. Sven has almost had forgotten this track. According to PG, it was a great one. It was No. 1 in England and a big hit in Scandinavia as well. Per doesn’t know if it reached the American airwaves, but it was a great song. MØ used that chorus and wrote some other stuff around it. It came out in 2022.

With this, the show ends and the guys say goodbye. Cigarettes by Anita Lindblom closes the show, as usual.

Pic by Patrícia Peres, Book Fair 2014, Gothenburg

Thanks for your support, Sven!

Per Gessle on Lotta Bromé’s show at Mix Megapol

Per Gessle was a guest on Lotta Bromé’s show at Mix Megapol last Friday. John Lundvik and Daniel Paris were on the same program and them 4 talked about Per’s upcoming album, duets, the GT movie and the signs of spring among other fun things. You can listen to the show HERE.

When Lotta welcomes her guests and asks who wants to talk about their week, Daniel is shocked. He says it’s huge, because he has never heard his name in the same sentence as Per Gessle. The only time was when they said, „Daniel, please stop calling Per Gessle”. Haha. He had a stalker period where he called up celebrities. Lotta asks Per how it feels that they have brought a stalker here today when Per is on the show. PG says he is in shock. Haha.

Lotta asks Per how he feels and Mr. G replies he feels great, he loves Fridays. Lotta agrees that it’s perhaps the best day of the week, especially now that Per releases new music. She says they will listen to it in a moment.

Lotta turns to the other two guys and they talk about Semmelchips, because Daniel brought it to the studio. Per refuses to even taste it. He says it’s not for him. He smelled them and it was horrible. Lotta asks him how much of a gourmet he is. PG says he is a pretty basic type of person. So he likes pasta and ketchup and instant macaroni, Lotta says. Mr. G says maybe not so much ketchup, but pasta and instant macaroni, there are days when he eats such stuff. John is trying to sort out that Per Gessle is basic. They are laughing. John has three kids, so they eat a lot of pasta and meatballs.

Space travel pops up as a topic. Lotta is curious if Per is longing for travelling in space. PG smiles and says he isn’t, he stays in Halmstad. Haha.

While Daniel is still starstruck by Per, Lotta starts talking about Per’s upcoming album, a record with many duets. Mr. G says wanted to try something new. At his age, he tries to find a new angle in every project he does. He had a lot of songs that he thought would work well as duets, so that became the angle. Not all the songs became duets, but there will be seven or eight duets on this record. The album title is Sällskapssjuk. Lotta thinks it’s such a great title, she loves it. She says Cher released a Christmas album with duets last year, but she never met anyone who sang along. Lotta is curious how it was with Per’s duets. Mr. G says it was the opposite for him. He met everyone in Halmstad and they were together in the studio and had dinner then. He had a good time with everyone. Lotta wants to know how he chose who to work with. Per says the first thing, of course, was that he liked their voices. The second was that it would work reasonably well with keys and such, purely in terms of arrangement. Some songs he had to re-work a bit to make it work, but it has been very nice all the way. Lotta asks if Per could reveal any more duet partners. Per says he could if he wanted to, but he doesn’t want to. Haha. Lotta says she will ask that question again before Per leaves, so Mr. G should be prepared for what he will answer then, because he can’t say the same answer twice. PG says he can use another language.

Lotta asks John about duets. He says one of his big moments in life was when in 2010 he had to write a duet for the wedding of Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel. [The song is When You Tell The World You’re Mine. /PP] He is a real sucker for duets. Lotta asks him if he is on Per’s new album. John laughs and says he can’t say anything. Lotta says he can’t answer the same when she asks this question again. Haha. Lotta assumes Daniel is not Per’s upcoming album of duets. Daniel says he doesn’t kiss and tell or sing and tell on the radio. He likes the title of the album Sällskapssjuk. It’s with great humor, because it’s called Sällskapssjuk and then there are a lot of guest artists.

Lotta asks Daniel how sociable he is. Daniel says he can have very introverted periods where he just wants to be devoted to himself and then he has periods where he is really extroverted, his emotions burst out and he wants to hang out with people.

Lotta is wondering if anyone was surprised when Per called them and wanted to do a duet with them. PG says he didn’t ring, but sent an email and a text and stuff like that. Daniel laughs and says they probably thought they were AI-hacked and they could have asked Per to send them a picture of the daily paper to get proof it’s not AI.

Lotta says John has a bottle of his new wine with him, named after him, Pour Toi John Lundvik. She asks John to open it so everyone can taste it.

 

Lotta starts talking about Melodifestivalen with John. He was the winner a couple of years ago and he says he tries not to be that involved sometimes, but he automatically gets into it every Staurday. When he won, it was a door opener on many levels. Lotta turns to Per and says he was also involved, but not as an artist. He helped write the lyrics to Kärleken är evig. And Lasse Lindbom participated with Per’s song, För dina bruna ögons skull. Per laughs and says that became the last song that year. Lotta is wondering if Per ever feels like he wants to be there. Per’s answer is a clear no. It’s not really his cup of tea. In fact, he hasn’t seen any of the Melodifestivalen episodes in the last ten years. Lotta is surprised, but she says Per saw Madonna at least, as they were talking about concerts before. He was at the concert for twenty minutes or so, then he left. Lotta asks John if it happened to him too. John says he never left a concert, but he has friends who did exactly the same as Per. Lotta says she and Daniel stayed, but people left, because Madonna was really late. Daniel thinks that’s why people left. It was a working day the next day.

Lotta is getting back to Melodifestivalen and asks Per if he knows about Fröken Snusk. Per has no idea about her. Also doesn’t know about Gunilla Persson. John says he was in Fort Boyard, on the TV show “Fångarna på fortet” and they competed with Gunilla at the same time. She was nice to talk with. She was also nice to John the other day when he posted a cover of Whitney Houston on Instagram. Then she spread it further and John thought it was very nice. Gunilla Persson is Sweden’s kindest and most misunderstood person, Daniel thinks. This woman has a heart of gold, he thinks. Lotta says she has met another person who had been with Gunilla at the Fort and who had slightly different types of stories related to that. Daniel defends Gunilla and he thinks in Sweden, people are a little too hard on her.

Lotta plays Too Late For Love, song of John Lundvik that was the winner 5 years ago at Melodifestivalen. John says it’s still fun to hear it, however, when you have a hit, it’s a little love and hate. He is looking at Per. For example, he thinks of Lionel Richie when he sings Hello. It might not be fun for him to sing it every night, but he still loves it somehow. Lotta asks Per how he feels about this. He has a lot of hits. Lotta is wondering if there are any songs Per got tired of and never intend to perform again. Per says he thinks a bit like what John says, that you have to respect that it’s actually music that a lot of people like. When you stand on a stage and play Sommartider with Gyllene Tider, it might not be the most fun musically, but the communication create with this song is priceless. He thinks all artists feel the same way.

Now that John mentioned Lionel Richie, Lotta asks if he was in the movie that both John and Per recommended on Netflix. Yes, it’s a documentary about the recording of We Are The World in the happy ’80s. Lotta asks what is so special about this docu, because there are several who say don’t miss this. Per thinks it’s a very cool movie. It was a cool decade with very cool shoulder pads in the jackets and high hairstyles. John says you get an insight in that room, the reason why he sings today. It’s the absolute elite in that room and everyone went there after a party. Daniel thought this was a Julia Roberts movie. Haha. Lotta asks Daniel about Britney Spears. He says he has just read her book for the seventeenth time and he sees new shades all the time. Daniel asks Per what he thinks about Britney Spears. Per says he doesn’t think anything about Britney Spears. She was damn cool when she broke through. She had very good songs that Max Martin put together at the time. Daniel’s reaction is „did you all hear? Per Gessle approves of Britney.”

Lotta starts talking about Per’s upcoming movie about Gyllene Tider. Per says it’s not his movie. Haha. Lotta asks if PG is happy with the actor who plays him. Per is really happy with him. He is Valdemar Wahlbeck. He has the same ridiculous dialect that Per has, so that helps, Mr. G says. Lotta adds he is Peter Wahlbeck’s son. Per says he is super talented. Lotta goes on and says there is a Parnevik boy who will play Micke Syd on drums. Phoenix Parnevik. Lancelot Hedman Graaf plays Anders Herrlin, Sweden’s most handsome guy in 1981. Lotta asks when the movie will be finished. It’s still in cutting phase, so it will premiere at the cinema in July. Lotta is wondering how Per will feel when he sees it. Per doesn’t really know what he got himself into with this one. Haha. Lotta asks whether Per has approved the script or he has given free hand. It’s not a biography, PG explains, but it’s based on a true story with some artistic freedom taken. But it will be fun, Per thinks.

Now Lotta and the guys are talking about the signs of spring. For Daniel, the biggest sign of spring is that many of his old friends have started contacting him. Haha. John has broken down after this answer, so Lotta gets down to Per. Mr. G says it’s a little hard to top Daniel’s answer, but for him it’s that the Formula One season starts. He is crazy about Formula One and it starts in Bahrain next weekend. There are test days this weekend. It’s a fantastic thing according to Per. Lotta asks him if he is going there, to Bahrain. Per won’t go there, but he tries to go to at least one race a year. Lotta asks where he has planned to go this season. Per doesn’t really know, but he would love to go to Las Vegas. But it’s not until November. Lotta says that dude, the one who is supposed to be the best has switched teams, if she knows it right. Per asks if she means Lewis Hamilton. He will switch teams next year. It will be exciting.

John’s spring sign is left for last. John says he is now talking as a father, so the spring sign for him is when the gravel is swept away, because the kids are out skateboarding and riding bikes.

Here Lotta plays a new song, Misstag by Miss Li. She is curious if any of the three guys would put this song on their playlists. John would add it to his playlist, he thinks it’s cool and it would be great to hear it live. It would be sweaty. It’s almost like a rap. Daniel likes Miss Li a lot, he thinks she is very talented. Lotta says that the texts of all Miss Li songs work even when they are translated into English. It’s really special. Per agrees that it’s special, but it isn’t really his cup of tea. But he can hear the charm of this one. But it probably wouldn’t end up on his playlist. He has a lot more older songs on it. Daniel says he likes it, Per likes it too, although it’s not his kind of music. You can still like things. Not everything is for everyone. We have to respect that. But we love Per Gessle, Daniel says. They are laughing.

Lotta asks Per if Miss Li is one of his duet partners. Mr. G says, unfortunately, he can’t answer that. As Per said earlier that he would reply to Lotta’s question in another language, Lotta asks him in English, then Per says „sorry, I don’t understand”. Haha.

Lotta asks the guys what they are going to do today. Jan Lundvik, what are you going to do today? They are taking it easy. Lotta turns to Per and asks him in English if he is making some international phone calls. Per answers yes, of course. He says, jokes aside, he is going to take it easy this weekend. He will do Nyhetsmorgon on Sunday morning.

Lotta thanks everyone for coming and the guys say goodbye.

Pic from Janne Innanfors’s Instagram

Per Gessle’s single premiere on P4 Extra

P4 Extra premiered Per Gessle’s new single, Beredd last Thursday. Titti Schultz invited Per on the show. You can listen to it HERE, 43:24 into the program.

Titti welcomes Per and offers him some sweets. Some remaining candies from the Eurovision panel where they discussed the songs. Per points at a sweet and says it looks completely life-threatening. He loves sweets. Titti is curious if there are any of those in the bowl that Per is particularly fond of. Per says he actually likes all of them. He likes everything with chocolate. He also likes liquorice, black liquorice, salty liquorice and sweet liquorice. He points at one that he doesn’t like. Titti says it’s peach. Mr. G says it’s the kind of nonsense he doesn’t have. He says he has reached the age that he likes Bridge Blanding and stuff like that. Titti says it’s something you grow up to. Haha.

Titti says she has claimed today that Per has become a bit sociable (longing for company). Sällskapssjuk. At least that’s the title of the upcoming album, coming this fall. The first taste comes tomorrow. Titti says Per sings a duet with Molly Sandén, but Per corrects her that it’s Molly Hammar. Titti excuses herself and says it’s her who read it completely wrong. She laughs and says they will have to cut that out later.

Titti asks Per if he considers himself a sociable person. She is curious if it’s more fun to work with others than to work alone. Per thinks he is sociable, like anyone else. But he is quite much of a lone wolf as well. It is a rather solitary work that he has chosen, to write and compose and think about ideas. He is pretty much to himself. Titti says there are artists who gather in large groups and are working on creating songs together. She wants to know if that would have worked for Per. Mr. G says he has tried that, but he gets tired, because there is so much compromising and that doesn’t suit him. But of course, he also needs feedback. If we look at his entire career, he has been very dependent on collaborators. Producers, Marie Fredriksson, the entire Gyllene Tider band, not to mention all the people behind the scenes who have helped him. So he is not alone in that way. Titti asks if it is always Per Gessle who has the last word. Per asks back if she means on planet earth. Haha. Titti says, knowing Per, the world would look different if he had the last word. She referred to having the last word regarding Per’s music. PG’s reaction is „absolutely”. He has always been lucky and privileged to be in the position of being able to do so.

Titti wants to know how Molly Hammar and Per found each other, how this collaboration came about. Per says it came about because he thought of writing an album in Swedish. After a while he realized that it would be fun to do a lot of duets. And that’s why the record is called Sällskapssjuk. It contains seven or eight duets. He can’t really remember, but it doesn’t matter. Haha. And if he had this song, he thought he would love to work with Molly, because she is a fantastic singer. She has that little extra that makes you want to listen to her. He met Molly in a TV show a few years ago, then he got into contact with her and asked if she wanted to join. Per was so proud and happy that she said yes. Then Molly came to Halmstad and they spent a few hours in the studio. Then they had a good dinner in Tylösand and now Per is sitting here.

Titti says we have to wait a little longer for the album, but the first single is here. It’s called Beredd. Titti is curious if there are only newly written songs on the album or if Per has picked up any favourites from the past. Per says there is an old Gyllene Tider song that they did on their English record in 1984. He translated it into Swedish and he has recorded it in a completely different version, so you might not even recognize it. That sounds exciting, Titti says.

Titti asks Per if he could tell about some more duet partners that he has worked together with, but Per doesn’t reveal any other names. You’ll have to wait and see. Titti accepts that she shouldn’t be nagging Per.

Titti mentions that the last time they met, they were talking about the Gyllene Tider movie that was in the making back then. Now the premiere is getting closer, the film is out this summer. Titti is curious how much of it Per has seen. PG says he hasn’t seen much more than 5-6 scenes, which are much fun. He is really looking forward to this movie. He thinks he said that when they last met that the script is great fun and he really hopes that the film will be as fun as the script. Because then it is a home run and everyone will love it.

Titti and Per start talking about Joyride – The Musical, the Roxette musical, which has its world premiere at Malmö Opera this autumn. Titti is happy that it comes true, because earlier there were thoughts about a musical, but it has been scrapped before. Per says, many people have contacted them and wanted to do a Roxette musical, but it has always failed on the script, that the script has not felt good enough. It’s not that easy to make a script where you have to add this song catalogue in the right way. But now they have succeeded. The story is based on a book called Got You Back, written by Jane Fallon from England. It’s a very exciting project. Per says anything can happen, but he thinks it will be amazing. Titti guesses Per is pretty much involved in it. PG confirms. Last week he was down in Malmö for two days and attended the readings and met people and listened and discussed. So he is absolutely involved. After all, these are his songs. Titti says Per has to have the last word there too. They are laughing.

Titti thinks it will be lovely to hear the whole album of duets. Now they should listen to Per and Molly Hammar. It’s the premiere, because this song is not out yet. It is released tomorrow.

Before they play the song, Titti thanks Per for coming and says it was nice to see him. PG says it’s always fun. Titti offers Mr. G the remaining sweets. They are laughing.

Photo by Helen Ling, Swedish Radio

Thanx for the hint regarding the interview, Martina Letochová!

Per Gessle on Musikplats about his upcoming Swedish album

Per Gessle was Fredrik Eliasson’s guest on Musikplats, Swedish Radio on Friday. Fredrik asked Per about his new single and upcoming album, as well as the Gyllene Tider movie and the Roxette musical. Listen to the interview HERE!

Fredrik asks Per to talk about his new song, Beredd, which is a duet with Molly Hammar. Per explains his upcoming album will be a duet album and he wrote songs that he thought were lyrically suitable to be duets. Molly is one of his favourites. Mr. G thinks she is an outstanding singer. She is completely unique and Per was so happy that she wanted to join. The song turned out damn good. According to PG, it’s magical to work with the kind of powers that many of his partners on this record have. But above all, Molly is superb.

Fredrik asks Per why he wanted to do a duet album. Per explains, if you do it right, when you do duets, the songs become even better. A good singer has such a strong personality and such strong power that you can take advantage of that in the composition. Time usually flies when you listen to a duet that is well done. Then there is another aspect. Purely musically, it will be exciting. You usually work with different registers and different tones. You might make a lot of modulations from a purely technical point of view in the composition and how you arrange everything. That’s also exciting. Sometimes it can happen that you bring in a singer and it falls flat, because the communication between the two in the duet is not happening. Now that hasn’t happened, because he has chosen very talented and competent singers. In this particular case, he got lucky with each partner and it worked well thanks to the artists he has chosen. He won’t reveal who they are. Fredrik was already going to ask who else is there. PG won’t tell, he says Fredrik has to wait a bit.

Fredrik is curious if it was difficult to bring them duet partners along. Per says he is a bit like „will I really dare to ask this person”, because you never want to be rejected. But no one has actually turned it down. It is also the case that nowadays you work a lot together, e.g. in songwriting teams. But this is not like that at all. These are Per’s songs. So he sort of brings in guests for his music and his lyrics.

Fredrik wants to know if Per sees these partners almost as an instrument in his music. Mr. G says, you could say that in this case, it’s a bit like that. It’s a test. When you first go in and record a new voice, it’s automatically a test and you never know if it will work. You do everything you can, which is in your power, trying to find the right keys, trying to write a text, a song that you think fits this particular individual. But you never know. Per says he doesn’t know what to call it. It might sound negative if he calls it an instrument, but it has absolutely only been positive.

Fredrik says the thing with duets is that they must end up somewhere, so that you have the feeling that one and one makes three. That’s how it is, Per says. Fredrik is curious if that is what Per is after, in this form. Per laughs and says he tries to do that with everything all his life, that one and one makes three. The text and the music makes three. His family, inserts Fredrik smiling. It’s been like that through Per’s whole journey. He tries to find partners and people around him who make him and what he does even better. His job is very much to try to find such people that he feels that he or she and Per communicate well and they convey something that makes things a little bit better than they might have been in the beginning. And then if they succeed, one and one will make three.

Fredrik says Per has a lot going on right now. Per should have become a juggler. Haha. Per says he is retired, for God’s sake. Haha. Fredrik says Per is far from quitting his job. Per says he has a hard time doing that. He is his job in a way. It’s probably a bit of a coincidence that a lot is happening around him and his music this year. It’s the Gyllene Tider movie this summer and the Roxette musical has it’s world premiere in September. It’s super exciting, he says.

Sommartider, that’s the title of the Gyllene Tider movie. Fredrik asks Per what was it like to see himself on the screen. Per says it was super weird. He hasn’t seen the movie yet, he has only seen some scenes and they are great. The script is fantastic. The concept is that the movie is about five guys in a small town who form a band and for some inscrutable reason try to enter Café Opera in clogs. The film is not a tribute to Gyllene Tider’s long 40-year career. It ends when Sommartider is released in 1982. So it’s about five small-town boys who meet and get to be part of a very strange fate.

Fredrik asks what Per thought when they came up with the idea that this would happen. Per says he was both flattered and horrified and he thinks that applies to all of them in the band. But at the same time, it’s a very special story that they have been part of and how it happened. They had actually only done six concerts in front of an audience when they became No. 1 with Flickorna på TV2. So they were all rookies. Then it went so fast and with the background they come from, it’s a very exceptional journey. So it’s clear that it’s very grateful to make a film out of it.

Here they play a little bit from the trailer for the movie. Fredrik asks Per if what we get to see is how it really was, if the feeling is there. PG says the feeling is absolutely there and that is the most important thing. It’s there how they meet, how they rehearse and how Marie comes into the picture.

Valdemar Wahlbeck plays the role of Per. Fredrik asks PG how Valdemar found Per and the character. Per says he wasn’t at the auditions at all. Mr. G says when Valdemar was chosen and got the job, they met quite a lot and talked and he always came super excited and had a thousand questions about how it was, how Per did this, why Per did that etc. And Per answered as best as he could and what he remembered. So Valdemar must have brought that into his role in some way. Valdemar is from Halmstad, his father and family are from Halmstad, so he has this dialect that Per has. That also helps.

Fredrik says, the film takes place in the early years up to 1982, Sommartider is released and then, he is curious what happens next. If there will be a sequel. Per mentioned that Marie Fredriksson comes into the picture in the movie. So he is curious if there will be a movie about Roxette. Per says you never know, but there is nothing planned at all. One thing at a time and this is a really exciting thing. Per smiles and says, let’s see how it turns out.

Speaking of Roxette, Fredrik mentions that there is a very close connection between Roxette and Gyllene Tider. He refers to Per’s recent post on Instagram, where he states that Gyllene Tider was called Roxette internationally on the Heartland record. Per says, after the guys in the band, everyone but him did the military service in 1983, then they made a new album in English. Their first and only English album, The Heartland Café. That record came out under the title Heartland in the US on Capitol Records and then the band was called Roxette. So the first Roxette record is actually Gyllene Tider’s Heartland album. Per remembers that he was in Los Angeles in 1984 and found this Roxette album at Tower Records on Sunset Boulevard next to Roxy Music. That was pretty damn cool. Fredrik says then Per saw straight into the future. Haha. Mr. G says he was very impressed. Fredrik says, and imagine that it turned out the way it did a few years later. Per says it’s unbelievable.

Here they play The Look, Roxette’s first US No. 1 in 1989. Fredrik informs that Roxette’s music becomes a musical. Joyride – The Musical premieres later this year, but it’s not about Roxette. Per says the musical is based on a book called Got You Back written by Jane Fallon, who is a great English writer. It is a love triangle drama about a man who has a wife in London and a lover outside London. The ladies find out about the situation and they take revenge on him. That’s the story briefly.

Fredrik asks how it all came together. Per says they have been looking for a good script for many, many years. And this is the first script that has all the components to build a good musical on it. Then people have processed the script to get the songs in at different places and tested and discarded and inserted new ones. Right now they are at a slightly too long version, Per smiles, but it’s fantastically cool to be a part of that journey.

Mr. G says that both the film and the musical are completely untrodden ground for him. He is just like, „wow!”, „oh my God!”, how many people are involved. He was at the costume department and there are 370 different garments that are handmade and hand sketched, ’80s and ’90s style. It’s a hell of a job and they have fantastic skills. It’s a completely different world. So Per is super happy to be a part of this. The musical premieres on 6th September in Malmö.

Fredrik knows the question is almost impossible to answer, but he is curious, when Per browses the Roxette song catalogue, which is the one for Per, no matter if it’s been the biggest hit or not, but that’s been the most defining song in the catalogue, that has really taken him to a place, emotionally or in any other way. So simply, which song means the most to Per. PG says the one that has taken him to another place should of course be one of the great songs, It Must Have Been Love or Listen To Your Heart, but one song that he has always loved is a song that is actually in the musical as well. It’s What’s She Like?, which is on the Crash! Boom! Bang! album. He likes that song for different reasons. He likes the song composition, the lyrics, and Marie is as good as only she could be when she sings this song. So PG thinks that’s his favourite song. Fredrik thanks Per for stopping by and plays What’s She Like? at the end of the conversation.

In the program it turns out that Beredd is the song of the week. Congrats!

Photo from Fredrik Eliasson’s Instagram