Top 2000: The Untold Stories – Roxette – It Must Have Been Love

You surely remember the Dutch TV program, Top 2000 that interviewed Per Gessle on 19th November 2019 at Baggpipe Studios (the old EMI studio) in Stockholm. In December 2019 they broadcast the story of The Look and they shared it on their YouTube channel in February 2020. Later, in August 2020 they shared an acoustic version of It Must Have Been Love. Per played it the same day they recorded the program and now it turns out there was a story behind IMHBL they recorded as well. It was broadcast on Dutch TV yesterday. You can watch it HERE (if you are in the Netherlands or via VPN).

Per tells the whole idea with Roxette was that they wanted to go international. They had success in Sweden, Marie was a successful solo artist and Per was successful with his Swedih band. Marie’s career was climbing, but Per’s heydays were over. Marie and Per knew each other since the late 70’s and they always wanted to do something together. She had an amazing voice, Per could write songs for her and they shared the ambition. Per wrote different songs for Marie than what she could write herself. There is Soul Deep for instance. She is amazing in that song. She never really wrote material like that. After the success in Sweden with the first Roxette album they were a bit disappointed because they wanted to succeed abroad. So they talked to EMI in Germany and they said they should write a Christmas song, maybe then it’s easier for EMI Germany to get them on the radio. Per went home and wrote It Must Have Been Love (Christmas for the Broken Hearted).

Per is showing the demo to IMHBL where he is singing. He says it would have been Marie who would be whispering the line they hear (It’s a hard Christmas day, I dream away), to make it more intimate, but they gave it up, it was corny. Per explains this demo was before auto tuning, it’s really out of tune and he laughs. He says it’s a really bad demo actually. They recorded the song and released it in Sweden in 1987 and it became a hit. It was a big song for them, but Germany didn’t release it, EMI Electrola hated it.

Then they forgot about it. Per started writing the Look Sharp! album. They had all the success with it, with The Look and Listen To Your Heart. Then in 1989 they had a lunch with EMI in Los Angeles and they had the rights of a soundtrack to a movie called 3000. It was about a guy who hires a girl for the weekend for 3000 dollars. They said that they have David Bowie on board, Go West and Natalie Cole as well, all those EMI artists. They wanted Roxette to write a song for that movie, but Per said they had no time, they were travelling all around the planet to promote Look Sharp! But Mr. G said they have a Christmas song and he could very easily alter the lyrics to it. He got rid of Christmas day that became winter’s day. They sent it to them and they loved it. The title of the movie became Pretty Woman. Per remembers he was in this studio (the old EMI studio) when Garry Marshall, director of the movie called him to tell that he loves the song so much he had given it a great place in the movie and there is no dialogue over it, because it speaks for itself and it just gives the whole movie a certain character in that particualr scene. Per thanked and put down the phone. The movie became a blockbuster and they were surprised what happened there. IMHBL became this epic song it is today.

Thanx for the hint, Ludo van Denderen! (He also shared a screen recording of the program on his FB.)

500 million views of Roxette’s It Must Have Been Love video

It was on Valentine’s Day in 2016 when It Must Have Been Love’s official video reached 100 million views on YouTube. Now 4.5 years later we are celebrating 500 million views! Half a billion! Amazing! That’s almost 1,475,695 days (4,043 years!) of playing the video constantly.

IMHBL is definitely Roxette’s biggest hit and what a history it has! Even if Roxette’s debut album became double platinum in Sweden, it wasn’t released abroad. EMI in Germany said they should write a Christmas song, then they might get airplay on the radio. Per went home and wrote It Must Have Been Love (Christmas for the Broken Hearted). It was a big song in Sweden in 1987, but it wasn’t even released in Germany. The first video to the song was made for a Swedish chart show, Listan and was later used as a semi-official clip.

One day, after Roxette broke through in the US, they were having lunch with their record company in Los Angeles. The record label said they signed a contract for a soundtrack to a movie then called 3000 Dollars. Julia Roberts was to debut in that film and it was a comeback for Richard Gere. It was said to be a low budget movie for which they wanted Per to write a song. Roxette was travelling a lot, so Mr. G didn’t have the time to write a song, but he said he has a Christmas song that Marie sings beautifully and he can re-write the text and take away the Christmas reference in it. So Christmas day became winter’s day. Then they partly re-recorded the song and sent it to Garry Marshall, director of Pretty Woman. Per and Marie were already working on the Joyride album when they got a call in the studio in Stockholm. It was Garry Marshall himself who called Per to tell him he loved the song so much he even re-edited the movie, because he didn’t want any dialogue during the song being played. He wanted the song to speak for itself. Someone once told Per he could have won an Oscar with IMHBL, but it couldn’t have happened, because the song wasn’t originally written for the movie. Anyway, it became a big hit. Big! Huge!

Of course, the song had to get a proper video and so the second clip which became the official one was shot in a warehouse. According to Marie, shooting the video was a weird experience:

The director wanted all movements in slow motion so I had to lip sync the vocals in double speed. My first lesson in how to sing an emotional ballad Mickey Mouse style. A strange way to make a living.

It Must Have Been Love became Roxette’s 3rd US No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1990 and spent 2 weeks at that position.

Per told about IMHBL in his Songs, Sketches & Reflections book:

It Must Have Been Love was written quite early on in the Roxette career, in the spring of 1987, and probably is the first example of my being about to find my style in English. But that as well contains some grammatical oddities. ”Lay a whisper on my pillow / Leave the winter on the ground / I wake up lonely, there’s air of silence”. That last line – ”there’s air of silence” – is a questionable phrase, so when English speaking artists cover the track, they often change that very line.

During my European solo tour in 2009, I also changed the first verse to ”I wake up lonely to the silence in the bedroom, it’s all around”. But otherwise I still like most of the lyrics, and a simple line like ”it’s where the wind blows, it’s where the water flows” still sets the right feeling and temperature, I think.

I read in an English magazine that the opening line of IMHBL – ”Lay a whisper on my pillow” – was an unusually beautiful metaphor, which I of course also thought when I wrote it. But such a line is completely depending on the fact that I’m navigating in a foreign language. It would never have hit me to write a line like ”Lay a whisper on my pillow” in Swedish. But it felt completely right in English.

Per says this is Marie’s song, he wrote it for her. It was a piece of cake for Marie to sing it and she was singing it magnificently. Always. Besides the official releases in four different versions, we could hear it on so many concerts on several tours live. No one else could and no one else will ever be able to sing this song the way Marie did. This is HER ballad, one of her signature songs. When you hear it, you immediately think of Marie. And that won’t ever change.

 

Roxette on Rocksmith

Rocksmith is an award-winning method, the fastest way to learn to play guitar. You can plug any real guitar or bass into your PC, Mac, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3 or PS4 and join over 3 million people who have learned to play guitar with this method that adapts to you as you play. Hundreds of songs are available and now 3 Roxette hits are also added. The Roxette Song Pack contains The Look, It Must Have Been Love and Listen To Your Heart and is available on Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, and Steam. The songs may be posted later for players in territories served by the European PlayStation Store due to differences in publishing times. See the tunings and arrangements in THIS VIDEO.

Roxette Song Pack

  • “It Must Have Been Love” – E Standard – Lead/Rhythm/Bass
  • “The Look” – E Standard – Lead/Rhythm/Bass
  • “Listen To Your Heart” – E Standard – Lead/Rhythm; D Standard – Bass

Thanx for the hint, Gaby Hildebrandt!

 

Roxette reached 100 million views of It Must Have Been Love

Roxette’s official video to It Must Have Been Love was uploaded to emimusic YouTube channel on 4th March 2009. Today, almost 7 years later the video reached 100 million views! Awesomeness! 100 million views!

IMHBL_100_million_viewsAs we all know, the ballad started out as a Christmas song with the title It Must Have Been Love (Christmas for the Broken Hearted), recorded in 1987. Roxette’s German record company suggested them to write a Christmas song, to help the duo get played on German radio. It Must Have Been Love (Christmas for the Broken Hearted) was a hit in Sweden, but German stations still refused to play Roxette. This is how Per remembers it:

EMI Germany asked us to make a Xmas record. “It’s gonna be easier for you guys to get airplay in this market”, they said. Danke Schön. So I wrote It Must Have Been Love and made a slightly clumsy demo. We then recorded it properly with Marie and Clarence at the brand new digital Audio Sweden Studio in Stockholm, released it in Sweden and had a huge Xmas hit! Germany? Nah, they didn’t want it! No release there. Sorry guys, next time…

The video to the original version of the song was shot also in 1987. As Per says:

It was made for a Swedish Chart-show called “Listan” and was later used a semi-official video-clip. Low budgets. High hair. My Veillette-Citron guitar is present!

Regarding how Pretty Woman came in sight, Mr. G says:

After we had made it in the US with The Look and Listen To Your Heart, we got invited to write a song for the Pretty Woman-movie (it was called something else at the time, can’t remember what…)* But I didn’t have any time left since we were busy doing promo all over the world, so we offered them It Must Have Been Love with slightly new lyrics (Christmas day became winter’s day). Life was never the same again.

*[3,000 Dollars – it was the title of the script back then. PP]

IMHBL_01_rs  IMHBL_02_rs

Garry Marshall, the director of the movie liked It Must Have Been Love and called Per after 3-4 months and said he just had to call him to tell he loved the song so much he even re-edited the movie, because he didn’t want any dialogue during the song being played. He wanted the song to speak for itself. Per didn’t really know what Garry was talking about since he hadn’t seen the film, but a couple of months later the movie came out and it became a blockbuster. With this, It Must Have Been Love became a blockbuster, too. Per says:

It shows that you have to have the song and you also have to have a little bit of luck and you have to be in the right position at the right time, which is really rare for anyone in any profession. It’s all about timing. It was exactly the same song in 1987 when no German station wanted to play it. Of course we made a new intro to it, rerecorded it and Humberto Gatica, the hippest mixing engineer at the time, used his ‘lucky snare’ on it, but the song was the same.

Of course the song had to get a proper video clip and so the second video which became the official one was shot in a warehouse. According to Marie, shooting the video was a weird experience:

The director wanted all movements in slow motion so I had to lip sync the vocals in double speed. My first lesson in how to sing an emotional ballad Mickey Mouse style. A strange way to make a living.

IMHBL_03_rs  IMHBL_04_rs

It Must Have Been Love became Roxette’s third No. 1 in the US and spent two weeks at this position on the Billboard Hot 100 in June 1990. Billboard magazine listed the song as the No. 2 Hot 100 single of the year. The single also topped the charts in more than 20 other countries around the world.

This is what Marie says about the Billboard success:

Our third #1 in the U.S. … not bad for a song that was lying around, gathering dust.

Not bad indeed. There are different versions of the song on several Roxette records. It’s an obvious track on the greatest hits albums and we still can’t get enough of it. It can’t be missed on the live setlist on tours and we love hearing the intro talk to it:

It started out as a Christmas song in the ’80s and found its way to hot hot Hollywood!

A fantastic crowd sing along is always guaranteed!

The song’s unbreakable success is also shown by the number of American radio plays. Per got BMI’s Million-Air Award for 4 million plays in 2005 and for 5 million plays in 2014.

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of It Must Have Been Love, a limited edition vinyl single was released in May 2015.

The hit is a real evergreen. Many try to do covers and participate in different talent shows with the song, but no one can make such outstanding versions as Roxette themselves and sing it from the deep bottom of the heart as Marie does.

Wishing many more hundreds of millions of views and radio plays, as well as further heartwarming sing alongs all around the world!

 

25th anniversary It Must Have Been Love single on Spotify

As we already informed you about it, a 25th anniversary It Must Have Been Love 10″ single in red vinyl will be released soon. The physical release date is 6th May, but today, on the 25th anniversary of Pretty Woman’s movie premiere the single is made available on Spotify. Click HERE to have a listen!

Check Bengans, Ginza and CDON for the limited edition vinyl!

imhbl