Q&A with Per Gessle in Classic Pop magazine

In the Jan/Feb 2021 issue of Classic Pop magazine (UK) there is a Q&A with Per Gessle about Roxette’s Bag Of Trix release.

Steve O’Brien asks Per to tell how this boxset came into existence. Mr. G tells he was looking around for live stuff and found so much material that he had forgotten about. There are a couple of leftover tracks from the Good Karma album that were never finished. He explains that during the recordings Marie had good days and bad days, so as soon as they had enough material for an album, they just stopped. Then he found songs from their Abbey Road session from the 90’s and some old demos too. Per explains there was a lot of material that had got lost (e.g. bonus tracks on CD singles) when they moved from CD into streaming.

Steve is curious how the name Bag Of Trix came about. Mr. G tells he has a list of titles and phrases in his computer and those could be song titles or album titles. When this compilation came into sight he started thinking and he thought of Bag Of Tricks.

Then I changed the ’Tricks’ to ’Trix’ so it reminds you of Roxette. It’s the marketing guy in me, I suppose.

Steve asks Per about the process, how he found all these songs. Mr. G tells he has a big archive of cassettes, CDs, CD-Rs and DAT tapes, all going back to the 70’s. Over the past 10 years he’s been transferring everything to his computer.

Only the other day, I found five cassettes that I’d forgotten about, from the early 80’s before Roxette. I wish I was more organized, though – I’m a seven out of 10.

Steve wants to know if Per rediscovered any songs that he wished, in retrospect, that they had included on an album. Per says on every album they had 8-10 leftovers, because they always had so much material. He thinks most of the time they made the right choices.

There are a couple of tracks off every album which I don’t really rate, like ’Physical Fascination’ off ’Joyride’, I think that’s a crap song.

Steve asks which songs from Bag Of Trix Per is most excited about sharing with fans. Mr. G thinks the live version of Wish I Could Fly is great and the Tom Lord-Alge mix of Soul Deep is really good, too.

Regarding what to include and what not to include, Per tells Classic Pop magazine that the original idea was to see if they can make one album with leftovers and then it just grew. Then someone reminded him about the Spanish tracks and that they weren’t available anymore, so it just went on and on.

To Steve’s question about how it felt revisiting the songs Mr. G replied that it was a very positive thing. He remembers Roxette very fondly, they had an amazing journey together.

It’s terrible when I think about Marie, she was only 44 years old when she got ill. But I listen to it and it’s all coming back. I just love to hear her voice still.

Per tells he is currently releasing a Swedish acoustic album [so the interview must have been done end of October / beginning of November 2020 /PP] and he is also writing a new album in English.

I’ve recorded eight tracks for that so far. Hopefully, that’ll be done by next spring. And one of these years, I’ll go out and do another tour. I miss touring.

The magazine published a Bag Of Trix review as well which is rather based on comparing this release to The RoxBox (Roxette 86-06). One sentence I had to laugh at: ”It’s hard to criticise the motives behind Bag Of Trix, as the collector gene means we all want every cough and spit from the vaults.” Haha. So true. The coughs and spits on those later found five cassettes would just be perfect for a next release from the vaults.

Interview with Per Gessle in QX magazine

In the January 2021 issue of QX magazine there is an interview with Per Gessle. You can read it HERE in Swedish and download it in pdf from HERE.

Anders Öhrman met Mr. G in Per’s office on Strandvägen in Stockholm to talk about Roxette. Anders loves Roxette since they released their first single, Neverending Love. He has the vinyl framed. He saw Roxette live, knows all their songs, followed them on all the charts in the world and managed to get both Marie and Per to participate in the QX Gala, but this is the first time he had the chance to interview the hit machine and pop star, Per Gessle.

Per welcomes Anders to Fort Knox with a big smile on his face at the elevator on the fifth floor. He tells they had to set up a gate on the stairs because Roxette fans sneaked in and slept there in the stairwell.

The interview is done almost the same day as Marie passed away a year ago. Anders says it’s obviously a huge loss. Per lost both a bandmate and a longtime friend. [Here there is a little misunderstanding regarding the dates I assume: the last recordings and the last show. /PP] Anders tells the last recording with Marie turned out to be on 8th February 2016 and says Per has written everything down in his diary from the recordings. [This date was the last Roxette concert’s date though. In Cape Town, South Africa. /PP] Anders mentions that Per flips through his diary and says Marie sang the song Good Karma. That was the last thing she did with Roxette.

The guys start talking about the beginning. The year is 1986 and Per Gessle is without a record contract, but with his third solo record written in Swedish. Per tells he had written a song ordered for Pernilla Wahlgren as well, it was called Svarta glas, but he didn’t get an answer. Roffe Nygren, who was head of Swedish EMI at the time, heard the song, liked it and said, “write an English text and record it with Marie Fredriksson”. Said and done. The song’s title became Neverending Love and Marie recorded it despite the fact that everyone was against it. Her solo career went straight up, she released the album Den sjunde vågen and had Ännu doftar kärlek as a hit, but Marie wanted to record with Per. Even producer Clarence Öfwerman didn’t want to produce Roxette’s single, but luckily, he was persuaded and since then Clarence has produced every single song of Roxette. Per tells QX magazine that there was a huge resistance in the beginning. There were just three people who believed in Roxette – Marie, Per and Roffe. On the cover of the single, there is a cartoon couple dancing. It’s because they thought if the song was a flop, it wouldn’t hurt Marie’s solo career.

Anders tells the song became a big hit in Sweden and an album was recorded. Per took the Swedish songs he wrote for his third solo album and translated them into English. Farväl till dig became Goodbye To You, Dansar nerför ditt stup i rekordfart became Soul Deep, En känsla av en kvinna became Call Of The Wild etc. Per tells the only song that wasn’t translated was a song called Kom ut till stranden, but it is actually on his latest solo album.

Roxette’s debut album’s title was Pearls of Passion and it sold 200,000 copies. Per started writing their next album, Look Sharp!, but before he did that, he also managed to write a Christmas song that the record company in Germany had wanted to get German radio to start playing them. The song was titled It Must Have Been Love (Christmas For The Broken Hearted). But the record company refused it and the song was only released in Sweden where it was a great success. When Look Sharp! was released, it was No. 1 in Sweden, but EMI in the US and the rest of the world didn’t want to release it, Anders says. Per tells QX magazine that they were completely uninterested in Roxette. Most people know the story of the exchange student from the USA who brought Look Sharp! home from Sweden. He sent it to a radio station at home in Minneapolis and asked them to listen to it, which they did [after a while]. The rest is history.

Per remembers sitting and eating lunch at Stureplan when a guy from another record company came to him and congratulated on their bubbling in the US. He read about it in Billboard magazine. Mr. G didn’t understand anything and was thinking what song could it be that they started playing in the US. First he thought it must have been Dressed For Success or Listen To Your Heart, but then he saw in the magazine that it was The Look and it rhymed so damn badly with his idea of Roxette where he was the songwriter and Marie the singer. Per laughs and says he thought it wouldn’t end happily.

QX magazine tells Per was wrong. The Look reached number one on Billboard in the US. Then Dressed For Success, Listen To Your Heart and Dangerous also charted. Being big in the US meant big in the rest of the world. Roxette topped the charts in 25 countries.

Anders himself was in college in the USA at the time and when one day in the spring of 1990 he heard It Must Have Been Love on the radio, as a Swedish Roxette fan he was wondering how it happened that they played that old Christmas song.

Per tells Anders they were offered to record a song for a Hollywood movie that would be called 3,000. Julia Roberts was not known then and Richard Gere was a bit passé. Per got the script from Los Angeles, but he remembers throwing it away already at the airport because it was so heavy to carry. He laughs. They didn’t have time to record a new song, so they changed the lyrics of It Must Have Been Love, Marie sang in a new version and so they sent it to them. Then it became a huge success and their biggest hit ever.

Anders is curious if Per remembers when he first saw Pretty Woman. Mr. G tells before the film went to the cinema they got a private screening in Burbank, California and in the middle of the screening there was an earthquake. The salon shook and the staff came rushing in and said that everything was OK, the house was earthquake safe.

Anders asks Per what he thought about the movie. Mr. G remembers that he thought it was a bit uninteresting or he didn’t think anything directly. But their song got a lot of space and today it is an iconic scene with Julia Roberts in the back seat of the limousine and their song being played. Per must admit that he actually bought back the script for the film afterwards, on a street in New York. He laughs.

Anders is curious if there is a Roxette song that Per thinks has not received the attention it deserves. According to Mr. G it’s Spending My Time. It could have been even bigger if it hadn’t been unlucky. It climbed sickly fast on Billboard when it was released as the third single from Joyride and it would be their fifth number one. But in the middle of the launch, EMI was bought up and 123 people who worked with Roxette were fired and 123 new people they never worked with were hired. Spending My Time stopped climbing the charts and stayed at No. 32. The record company was completely uninterested in Roxette. They opted for Wilson Phillips instead.

Regarding Crash! Boom! Bang! at McDonald’s in the US Per says it’s another example of how uninterested they were in Roxette. They released some sort of collection, Favorites from Crash! Boom! Bang! and probably sold a little over a million of it, but when the real album was then to be released, the record stores didn’t want to sell the record. But Roxette was so big in the rest of the world so then they didn’t care about the US anymore. Now he regrets it, but it felt right then.

Anders is curious if it’s true that Madonna saw Roxette in New York. Per confirms it. They were playing at the Beacon Theater and they knew she was coming, so Marie was very nervous. Marie was “hot shit” in the US at the time. People had an eye on her.

Anders tells Per that he has listened to a lot of Roxette demos and there are a lot of guitars on them, but not so much on the album. Per tells it’s because Clarence is a great man, but he doesn’t like guitars. He laughs. Per brought his demos and Clarence peeled away the guitars. He is a big part of the reason why Roxette sounds how it sounds. So Anders asks if Clarence was sick the day Sleeping In My Car was recorded. Haha. Per says Clarence never liked that song.

Anders asks Per about the gay audience. Mr. G tells they have had great support from the gay audience all over the world. He doesn’t know why, but there is some positivism and honesty in their music that finds a home.

Anders tells Jakub and Dawid from Poland are Roxette’s most famous gay fans. He asks what it was like to surprise them on stage at the QX Gala. Per says it was great fun to be part of the Gay Gala. Jakub and Dawid’s videos that they made for Roxette’s songs are so lovely. They are like cartoon characters, Per laughs. Mr. G says it’s great when people affirm something sincere and in this sense the gay community reminds him of their fans in Latin America. If they like something, they show it.

Anders asks Per in which country Roxette is the biggest. Mr. G tells Germany is their largest market, where they have sold 12-14 million albums. But they have probably meant the most in Argentina and Brazil, where there hasn’t been the same hysteria about any artist since they were there in 1992. They had the riot fence from the airport to their hotel, 50,000 people lined up in the streets and they played for 65,000 people in São Paulo.

Anders asks Per if he continues to write songs in the spirit of Roxette. Per tells it’s impossible musically, artistically and personally to replace Marie, it doesn’t work. But it also feels difficult for him who has written all their songs to just put the lid on. So right now he is actually working on an English language record which is an 80’s inspired uptempo pop record. A bit like Dangerous and very much in the spirit of Roxette. He hopes it will be ready by spring.

As a last question, Anders asks if it’s true that Per handed out the book Bög – så funkar det! (Gay – how it works!) to his dinner guests on a New Year’s Eve. Per laughs and says it’s true. He has a tradition of giving away New Year’s gifts that most people do not have or know about. It has often been a book and then a wide range between Calle Norlén’s literary fireworks and the Encyclopedia of unusual sex practices (Brenda Love) to Charlie Chaplin’s autobiography or an interview book with Tom Waits. The script for Fawlty Towers has also been handed out!

At the end of the article Per suggests a slightly unknown Roxette song. One of his favourites is a leftover song from Joyride called The Sweet Hello, The Sad Goodbye. They recorded a lot of songs for that album and several had to be left out. This one has a fairly typical production that feels a bit dated, but it’s a nice song that Marie sings in a way that only she could. You believe in her when you listen. Nice.

QX lists the 5 best “unknown” Roxette songs:

  1. Speak To Me: A song that didn’t reach a single list, except for an 18th place – in Finland! It would be worth a better fate. The chorus when Marie enters the song is one of the strongest Anders knows and a song he has become a little obsessed with – both the original from the album Charm School and the Bassflow remix where Marie gets even more space. Listen. Turn up the volume. Enjoy!
  2. Lover Lover Lover: The second song on Travelling from 2012 is a real road trip song that was released as a single for radio in Germany, but never became a real single. Lover Lover Lover would fit any Tom Petty record. Playful, melodic and fun!
  3. Shadow Of A Doubt: One of Anders’ absolute favourite Roxette songs and a mystery that it never got bigger. The song from Look Sharp! has such power and energy, and together with Marie’s slightly desperate singing, a killer chorus and a key increase from schlager-heaven, this becomes pop perfection!
  4. My World, My Love, My Life: A little gem from Room Service where Marie sings fantastically, there is a nice bridge where Per asks and Marie answers and the chorus is beautiful – and those who want will hear a little ABBA in the song.
  5. Piece Of Cake: The latest (and last?) single from Roxette. An uptempo song with a bit weird lyrics where Per sings that there is no hot water and he can’t find his comb… The song changes tempo in the chorus – and THAT is a chorus that can move mountains!

Photo of Per Gessle in the article is taken by Anders Roos.

Per Gessle interview on Radio ZET, Poland

Magdalena Barczyk did an interview with Per Gessle for Radio ZET in Poland.

Magdalena’s first question is about Bag of Trix. Per tells her he started digging in the archives in spring and found a lot of materials, e.g. the Abbey Road sessions from 1995, as well as their first demos that served as the basis for their debut album in the 80’s, or leftovers from their Good Karma album. This compilation is kind of a mishmash of everything. He didn’t expect to find that much, so it was a bit overwhelming.

Magdalena is curious if there is still something unreleased left in the drawers. Per laughs and tells there is more. After completing this compilation, he came across even more recordings. It seems to be some kind of infinity. It’s been a really long career. He also found a lot of live tapes from the Joyride and Crash! Boom! Bang! tours. Maybe one day he will release them, we’ll see. He says they sound pretty good.

Magdalena tells Marie passed away a year ago and asks Per how this year was for Mr. G without Marie. Per tells it’s been a crazy year because of the pandemic. He thinks it’s been a special year for everyone in a way. Marie was ill for 17 years and everyone was slowly preparing for the worst, because she wasn’t in good shape. But when the time came, he felt like he couldn’t really prepare for it. He thinks everyone who lost a family member or a close friend understands it. He tries to think positively about what they went through together, their relationship lasted a very long time. She has always been and will always be one of Per’s closest friend. They met when they were teenagers and the adventure they experienced as Roxette is still amazing and difficult for some to understand. He feels lucky that he had a friend like that and a partner like that in his music.

Magdalena asks Per how he sees contemporary music and if anything surprises or annoys him in it. Mr. G tells he noticed that as you get older, you realize how much you are stuck with the music you grew up with. He started listening to pop and rock when he was 6 or 7 years old. So he can say that pop of the 60’s and 70’s is his DNA. Therefore, in his work he has always tried to come back to it. He just likes that style and he likes the way the songs were written. Looking back, pop is a reflection of the era in which it’s been made. In the 60’s it referred to societies, now we live in the times of social media, computers and laptops. You can hear it in music, it’s done on computers, it’s done differently. If you turn on 40 of the most popular radios, you will notice that all the songs are in a similar style. It’s hard to tell these songs apart. He doesn’t say pop music today is better or worse, it’s just different. It’s reflecting its own time.

Magdalena tells now there is a noticeable trend of musical return to the 80’s and is curious how Per likes it. Mr. G tells it puts a smile on his face. Those were his times and he immediately recognize the synthesizer or even the drum sounds. He can hear the sound that young people try to imitate and the way they arrange their songs. It’s cool, he likes it and thinks that The Weeknd captured it sensationally in the song Blinding Lights. He thinks it’s a nice trend.

Magdalena is curious which contemporary artist Per finds interesting and if he likes specific songs. Per says it’s a good question. He likes a lot of artists, but if he is listening to e.g. Billie Eilish for too long, it’s too much for him. The same applies to The Weeknd, even if they make very good pop. Per has always been a fan of creating concept albums where he would write 12, 14 or 16 songs. However, these days people only listen to one song. Album format is dead.

Magdalena mentions that Per is not only a musician, but also a businessman. Mr. G says he doesn’t consider himself a businessman. He has a hotel, which he bought 25 years ago. It’s in his hometown on the Swedish West coast. But he is not managing it, his wife is doing that. Per drives there and checks out everything from time to time. Sometimes he signs autographs and takes selfies there. Haha.

Magdalena asks Per how this strange year was for him personally. Mr. G says it’s been a crazy year. None of us have experienced anything like this before and he doesn’t even know what to say about it. He spent his time in isolation with his family in their house on the coast, although now he is back in Stockholm. He misses travelling the most, because he has always lived out of suitcase. He would like to meet his friends from all over the world in real life, not only via Zoom, Skype or FaceTime. He just misses the socialization that doesn’t exist today. Besides that, they can’t tour. Many of his fellow musicians and technicians barely make ends meet because they have no jobs. It’s a tough year for this business. He hopes next year will be better.

Magdalena tells the word „Poland” and asks for associations. Per says there has always been great concerts there. He always tells that he has travelled the whole world and saw nothing. This is how it is on the road. You come to a country or a particular city, you go to a hotel, then you have to do a soundcheck, you play a concert and you leave. But he knows that every concert in Poland is a great pleasure. They have a lot of fans there who are still supporting them and he appreciates it. If it weren’t for them, he probably wouldn’t be here talking today. It’s the fans who make the band big.

Magdalena asks what Per wishes for himself and Radio ZET listeners for the upcoming holidays. Per thinks the previous months were a nightmare for all of us. It’s depressing for everyone working in hospitals, for children not going to schools and for teachers working in difficult conditions. That’s why he thinks that during this holiday, the most important thing for everyone is that we return to a somewhat normal lifestyle.

Magdalena thanks Per for the interview and Mr. G thanks for it too.

The radio also recorded Per telling their slogan: ”Hi! This is Per Gessle from Roxette. You are listening to Radio ZET – Si?a muzyki.” (= The power of music). With Per Gessle’s Polish accent. Lovely, haha.

Thanks for the technical support, Tomasz Wysocki!

Interview with Per Gessle by Wyborcza, Poland

Jarek Szubrycht from Wyborcza in Poland did a great interview with Per Gessle on the occasion of the Bag of Trix release.

He starts with asking Per about touring with Marie during the past few years. Jarek thinks it was sad to see that Marie, who was bursting with energy in the past had to sit during the concerts. On the other hand, it was touching and uplifting as well, that she didn’t give up. Mr. G says the last tours were a really tough experience. Per asked Marie many times, “Do you really want this? Should we really go?” Her answer was always the same. When Marie told she would be sitting from now on because she had problems with her leg, it was hard to believe for Per. She always ran around the stage and standing still was something unnatural for her. She said she would be sitting because she wanted to sing for the people, she wanted to see them. Per is convinced that the energy she got from the people at concerts and the love they showed for her helped her survive. She was sick for a long time and Mr. G thinks that if they hadn’t gone on the last two tours, she would have left earlier. All the doctors advised her against touring, but she didn’t listen. And if she wanted to go on tour, so did Per. It was all he could do for her, to be with her to the end.

Jarek asks Per if we will ever see Roxette on stage again, maybe with a new singer, or maybe with Marie’s hologram. Mr. G can’t imagine replacing Marie with another singer and he won’t do that. On the other hand, he would feel bad about never performing Roxette songs again. He considers touring with several female singers and tries to find a solution that works both on an emotional and musical level.

Jarek is curious why Marie and Per joined their forces while they both had separate careers. Mr. G tells they have been friends for years and they shared a dream to break through outside Sweden. Per knew that he could write songs, but he is not an outstanding singer, neither the best guitarist in the world. He believed that with the right voice he could do a lot. Marie, on the other hand, felt great on stage and sang perfectly, but she couldn’t take care of the repertoire herself. She needed Per’s songs. In their case, 1+1 made 3 and they were much better together than they were apart. Roxette’s debut album was a huge success in Sweden, but only in Sweden, so Marie’s label urged her to stop working together with Per and focus on her solo career. Marie was persistent enough and fought with them for Roxette’s survival. After achieving international success, they were unstoppable.

According to Jarek, Roxette is a pop band on the radio, but a rock band on stage. Per says Roxette’s strength was great concerts. They put together a really good band and Marie was not only a great singer but also a stage personality. And they put the emphasis on the strong guitar sound on stage.

Regarding Bag of Trix Per tells it’s not a greatest hits compilation. They have already released many such compilations and you don’t need another one. He was browsing Roxette’s archives and to his great surprise, he discovered a lot of recordings that he had forgotten about. Among them there are demos they recorded in a cramped basement in the southern part of Stockholm, still not sure how to divide the roles, how to choose the key, but already very curious how they will make music together. They felt that something special was happening. Per says he also has some great live recordings from the Joyride tour in Australia and he will definitely not keep them to himself.

The biggest surprise for Mr. G on Bag of Trix was Soul Deep. It was to be the first single when Joyride was released in the US and producer Tom Lord-Alge pulled the song more towards soul. In the end, Soul Deep never became a single and even Per himself is not sure that he had heard this version before. He was happy to discover it now.

The warmest memories related to any tracks on Bag of Trix is the Abbey Road Sessions. PG says he couldn’t stop smiling when he listened to it. When they released Don’t Bore Us, Get To The Chorus! in 1995, their label organized a promo concert for them in London. The day before, BBC invited them to the Abbey Road Studios to play some acoustic songs for them. They couldn’t refuse because they were huge fans of The Beatles. Marie said they should do something from The Beatles and since she always loved Help!, they did that cover and it worked out fine. Marie’s voice did all the work here.

Jarek asks if these memories are painful for Per. Mr. G says it’s not painful anymore, but when he was digging in the archives, it happened that he felt melancholy. He tries to remember only the good times and think about the magic that worked in Roxette. They managed to do something amazing, they were really lucky. Thanks to Marie – as a singer, but also an extraordinary personality – Per’s songs became better than they were. It’s not easy, because every day something reminds Mr. G of Marie and he knows it will be like that for the rest of his life, so he has to get used to it somehow.

While Jarek was listening to the demos of Roxette’s great hits, he wondered what distinguishes a good song from a great one that millions of people would later consider their own. Per tells that every time you try to do it the best you can. You follow the music, combine the melody and the words. He thinks there is also temperature and color of each song. He can’t predict which song will make the masses happy and which will get lost, but sometimes in the studio he hears that a new song has something special about it. This was the case with The Look, for example. When they recorded it, they were just one of the many Swedish bands that would like to play a little overseas. But in the studio, when they played The Look to people, they saw that they reacted differently than usual, that this was a song that had that notorious X factor. With Joyride and Milk and Toast and Honey he felt that too. Such songs write themselves, Per thinks. He knows immediately where he is going and how to get there. It’s a special feeling because usually he has no idea what he wants and the music guides him. Sometimes he gets stuck and he knows it’s sometimes better to leave it then and do something else.

Jarek asks Per if he thinks a career like Roxette’s would be possible to achieve today. Mr. G thinks it’s possible, but unlikely. The labels work completely differently, album format is history, radio has changed too much and social media has appeared. Per says pop music has always been a mirror of its era and it is also today. Most mainstream productions are made on laptops, using the same software, so they all sound great, but it’s difficult to tell them apart. Once upon a time, there was no doubt about who recorded which song, you could tell it by the sound. It doesn’t work like that anymore. Computers made everything similar. But the same thing happened with our lives, this is the modern world. On top of that there is an overproduction of music. 40,000 new songs premiere on Spotify every day, which means that new bands hardly have a chance to be noticed by anyone.

Jarek thinks that kids absorb and remember everything, but the older generation already have their idols and are not too open to new ones. Per tells his son is 23 years old and listens to music non-stop, and so do his friends. But they have no idea what the artists are called or what the titles are. Music just comes and goes. When Per was their age and he managed to get money for a new album, not only did he listen to it all the time, but he also studied every detail of the cover, learned the lyrics by heart, he even knew the serial numbers of the albums. He bought releases by specific labels because he knew he could trust them that he would like everything they released. This world is long gone. Mr. G is sorry for that, but his son is not sorry because he doesn’t know what he has lost.

Jarek is curious about when they felt that Roxette’s success exceeds their expectations. Per says they dreamed of touring Europe. To go to Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium and play in a few clubs. They couldn’t imagine much else, even success in the UK didn’t seem possible to them. Meanwhile, the first country where they achieved success outside Sweden was the US. Nobody heard anything like that, nobody understood it. That’s why everyone in America decided they were single shots, that they made The Look, but that was it. Their second single in the US was Dressed For Success and the biggest radio network refused to play it. They decided that since they had already played one track of these Swedes, as a curiosity, they would not play a second one. That’s why Dressed For Success peaked only at No. 14 on the Billboard. Fortunately, the next single was Listen To Your Heart and then everyone gave up and was waiting for their next album with open arms.

Jarek mentions ABBA, Roxette, Europe, Max Martin, successful Swedes and is curious about how it’s done. What do Swedes know about popular music that Poles don’t? Per tells in the 80’s, when music became digital, everything changed. When he was recording his first album in 1979, all Swedish music sounded awful. His music too. Only ABBA was the exception, they always sounded fantastic. After the digital revolution, with the spread of synthesizers and music software, everything changed. Productions from Munich, Buenos Aires and Stockholm began to sound more or less the same as those from London. Swedes have always liked new technologies, so a whole generation of producers and songwriters who could use these tools quickly emerged. This, however, doesn’t explain the success of bands such as Roxette, Europe, The Cardigans or The Hives. So Per thinks maybe the point is that northern Europeans – not only Scandinavians, but also northern England or Scotland – have an innate talent for composing beautiful melodies.

Thanks a lot for the hint, Tomasz Wysocki!

Marie Fredriksson – Sea of Love

It’s 9th December and it has been a year since Marie Fredriksson passed away. On the anniversary, the single Sea of Love is released on the family’s initiative to honor the memory of Marie. This is the last song Marie recorded.

During Marie’s final years, she released a series of singles that were close to her heart; the jazz ballad Alone Again (2017), the blues cover I Want To Go (2017) and the big band ballad Sing Me a Song which was released in 2018 in connection with Marie’s 60th birthday.

Sea of Love was inspired by the demonstrations in Stockholm after the terrorist attack on Drottninggatan 2017, and the sea of people who stood up for love and reconciliation.

Listen to Sea of Love HERE.

Sea of Love

Like a sea of love, of love

You and I, me and you
You’re so strong and I’m so blue
Close to you I feel the sun
One for all and all for one

Place yourself in a world
Where every voice could be heard
Not just me, not just you
But all of us like a sea, sea of love, of love, of love

I woke up in a dream
We were one just like a team
We marched together with a common goal
Peace in mind and in your soul

Free to live your only life
Without hate and with no strife
In a world where we could live
Side by side like the sea, sea of love, of love, of love

You and I, me and you
You’re so strong and I’m so blue
Close to you I feel the sun
One for all and all for one

Composed by Mikael Bolyos