Per Gessle on Tack för musiken

When Marie Fredriksson appeared on SVT’s Tack för musiken TV show in 2013 – which was fabulous and it was amazing to see Marie on it, hear her stories and her wonderful performances –, it was an obvious question when Per Gessle would also be a guest. I even asked program host Niklas Strömstedt via some website back then and he replied „we will see”. Well, we had to wait 10 years only. Haha.

Recording of the Tack för musiken TV show with Per took place at Intiman in Stockholm on 27th March. It’s great that one could buy a ticket to be part of the audience, because it’s always fun and very interesting to see how a TV show is made.

The recording started at 18:30, but the doors opened already one hour before. It was nice to bump into many fans, mainly from Sweden, but also Germany, Finland, the Netherlands and Hungary represented the European fan base.

The promo screen on the theatre facade showed Niklas Strömstedt and the dates and names of guests on the program during this season. Entering the theatre, your tickets got controlled and you could leave your stuff at the wardrobe and drink something at the bar.

Some minutes before the program started, we entered the theatre hall and found our seats. There were microphones and cameras all around the place. Microphones also in between some of the rows, so that they could record clear sound of the audience – singing and applauding.

On stage there was everything ready – instruments on the left and in the back, armchairs and tables on the right in the front. Peter Fredriksson and Mikael Nogueira-Svensson were technicians of the show, so it was nice to see them preparing the instruments and stuff and at one point, Malin-My Wall also appeared on stage to check her instruments and spot. Lovely!

When most people were already sitting, Åsa Gessle and Marie Dimberg came from backstage and sat down in the middle of row 7 or so. The hall got full and floor manager Pierre Bredstenslien entered the stage to share some instructions with us. He showed where the exits were and other useful info. He explained it was a TV show, the audience would also be visible on TV, so they would appreciate it if the crowd didn’t use their mobiles during the whole program, because it would look weird on TV. However, there would be parts when they ask us to use it – the lights when Per and Niklas perform It Must Have Been Love and they allowed us to take photos and videos during the last song, so that we could share content on social media with #tackförmusiken. Pierre also asked us to put the mobiles on mute or flight mode, so that no phones were ringing.

The first part of the fun was when they recorded our clapping and shouting and laughing based on instructions by Pierre. We laughed and cheered a lot already when the show hadn’t even started. Haha. They also checked the picture of the audience when we stood up, when we used the lights on mobiles etc. They checked all the noise we made after Pierre counted in: 3-2-1 – laughing out loud, loud applause, quieter laughter, looking at Per and reacting on something fun he just said. It was really entertaining, but we couldn’t wait for the main guest to appear at last. Haha.

Then the Tack för musiken band entered the stage. Ola Gustafsson, Charlotte Centervall, Jonas Gröning and Marcus Liliequist. Then came Niklas Strömstedt and he said we would do the world’s best TV show very soon.

And here the show starts and I switch to the transcript of the TV cut – watch it HERE! The program starts with Niklas and the band playing Det hjärta som brinner. That puts the audience in a party mood immediately.

After Niklas and the band finish the song, Niklas says he has known tonight’s protagonist for 45 years. He guided him and his friend Mats MP Persson around Stockholm city when they were there to record their first album. They didn’t have a clue. Niklas thinks they probably had never even used an escalator before. Since then they have been through a lot together. They have slept together head to toe at a billionaire’s place in Malmö and when his guest was interviewed on a TV sofa in Lisbon, Niklas stood behind a keyboard inside a strange cake, ready to start playback to Listen To Your Heart. Of course, he was also there when Gyllene Tider played their very first gig outside Halland. It was at the youth disco Village in Stockholm on 30th November 1979. Less than three months after this gig at Village, Gyllene Tider was No. 1 on the Swedish charts with Flickorna på TV2. The rest is modern Swedish pop history. Niklas welcomes Per Gessle on stage and the audience is cheering.

The guys take a seat and Niklas starts from the beginning. They are going back to Halmstad of the ’60s and Niklas shows a picture on the screen behind them. He asks Per who that guy he sees on the pic is. PG says he very much lived in a pop bubble. It was pop music for him from day one. As long as he can think back, it’s records and music and the romanticism around pop music. A little longer hair on the guys and noise and fuzzbox and stuff. Niklas wants to know if it was just music Per was interested in. Mr. G says he was a little interested in handball, soccer and ice hockey, but it was music that mattered. He remembers gathering together with his friends and everyone had these sticks from the Couronne game – cheap version of billiard, Niklas explains. Per forced his friends to have those sticks, so they would be The Animals or Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich and they mimed those songs. That was his youth, PG says. Niklas won’t force Per to do it now, but he is curious about what Per’s first real instrument was. It was the piano and Mr. G learned to play Für Elise with a classical piano teacher. Per explains he never understood that classical music is the same thing as popular music, that it is based on chords in the same way. Time went by and he left that piano thing behind, because he thought it was miserable. Reading sheet music and stuff like that wasn’t for PG. He wanted to go home and listen to Led Zeppelin. Niklas realizes that Per knows some sheet music. PG confirms, he knows G clef and stuff like that, but if you give him sheet music, he can’t play it.

Niklas wants to know when Per got his first guitar or if he bought it himself. Mr. G got a nylon string guitar from his mother. It might have been in 1975, when he was 15-16 years old. Per started writing lyrics a few years before, when he was 14-15, but he couldn’t write music. He wrote melodies to those lyrics. He says those lyrics are lousy, by the way. Niklas is curious if Per remembers a line. Per laughs and says no. Haha. He wrote melodies to the songs in his head and then for some reason, he got a really nice guitar from his mom. He points at the guitar, which is there next to him. Of course, Niklas wants to have a look at it and PG picks it up. There is a little crocheted cat hanging there on the guitar, made by Per’s mother. He explains they had a white cat in the family, named Sissel.

Niklas asks Per what he played on this guitar. PG played everything he could learn, e.g. Blowing In The Wind, Streets Of London. He even wrote songs on this one, e.g. Billy. Here he plays some tunes from Billy. He also wrote music to a Hjalmar Gullberg poem. It was one of the first songs. Per says Gullberg wrote much better lyrics than him. Haha. He asks if he should play it. Of course. The title of the poem is Lägg din hand i min om du har lust. Per takes a paper out of his back pocket and Niklas asks him if he always has the lyrics to that particular song with him. Haha. Per says it’s his shopping list for the next day. Haha. Per puts the lyrics on the table in front of them and Niklas flattens it out a bit. PG plays the song and says it was a seven-minute-long solo. He was maybe 16 when he wrote this song. Niklas can hear a little John Holm in it. PG says he loves John Holm. His first two-three records are magical. When he tried to learn to write songs, he translated a lot of Leonard Cohen, Bowie, Patti Smith, to try to learn how to write lyrics, how it goes. Niklas is curious what Per learned then. He learned how to tell a story and that there are countless ways to tell stories. He still uses that. Maybe you set a tone in the first verse, but then you completely change the environment in the second verse, although it’s about the same thing. There are different styles.

Niklas says they will soon talk about Per’s criminal past. He asks if it’s OK to do that. Per asks back if they have enough time for that. Niklas says they got extra time for that. Haha. But first, they are going to play a Gyllene Tider song that was inspired by a movie. Mr. G explains he saw a movie with Jack Lemmon called Save The Tiger. It’s a great movie. There is a scene where he is asked if there is anything he wishes for or if he is missing something that hasn’t happened and then he says, „I want that girl in a Cole Porter song”. Then Per thought, „shit, what a great title!”

The guys play Flickan i en Cole Porter-sång. The audience stands up and sings along.

The guys sit down again and Niklas states they were not called Gyllene Tider from the beginning. Per says they were called a lot of things, e.g. Hjärtekrossarna after Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, of course. That was their name for a few hours. Haha. There was Grape Rock, too. Original Grape Rock was just MP and Per. It was the two of them who started it all. They did a lot of Dr. Feelgood and Patti Smith covers. Then they started writing songs together. Niklas asks if they did that on real instruments. And why he is asking it is because he got hold of a document. A verdict. He shows a picture of it on the screen behind them. It’s a verdict from November 1977 where Per smuggled in 0.7 liters of spirits, an electric guitar, two microphones and two stands with cables. Per says the cables were important. Haha. Niklas asks where he bought these things. PG explains they went to London and he bought a Gibson guitar and an amplifier. When they got back to Sweden, they found out they should have paid VAT, but they didn’t have any money, so they took a chance and it was stupid. Niklas says Per has admitted the crime. PG confirms, he confessed and he sent a letter of remorse to the police where he wrote they were poor students who just wanted to play pop music and apologized. So he got the stuff back, but he was fined 2000 bucks, which was a fortune back then. Niklas says Per was still lucky that he got the instruments back, because it led to him playing and it led to an article in Expressen. Per says they were very ambitious and as soon as they wrote a new song and recorded it, they sent around demo tapes. They sent the tapes to radio programs and newspapers. Mats Olsson at Expressen was the first to write about Gyllene Tider. He liked their demos very much and he wrote: „Per Gessle lives on Hamiltonsväg in Halmstad”, in case record companies wanted to find him. Niklas asks if record companies were queueing up then. No, they weren’t. Haha.

Niklas says GT made the first real record after that. He has it with him and picks it out from under the table. Per smiles and says what a stock Niklas has here. Niklas reacts that he has a treasure trove underneath the table. He gives the yellow EP to Per and asks him to talk about it. PG says they recorded it in a little area called Kärleken outside Halmstad, in a four-channel studio. It was pressed in 900 copies and all records came crooked. The guys were totally depressed. They got 900 new records and they threw away all the crooked ones. They sent the album to all the record companies, Björn & Benny and also to EMI. Kjell Andersson from EMI responded. He liked Billy and När alla vännerna gått hem. Niklas says they should play a bit of När alla vännerna gått hem. They stay sitting in their armchairs and both of them play the guitar and Per sings.

The guys continue talking. Niklas says, the dream was of course to get a real record deal. He asks Per if it was difficult. PG says it wasn’t difficult. They made this EP and Kjell Andersson at EMI called him to tell he was interested and asked if they had more songs, similar to what he liked. Per said they had tons. Then EMI sent down a happy young man called Lasse Lindbom from Stockholm to check them out and he thought they were good, but they were quite like the cousins from the countryside. Per says it was true, but they got to record an album. Niklas says it wasn’t that easy. Per sent around a lot of cassettes to different record companies. PG says, but that was before they made the EP. Niklas says then they got a rejection letter. PG confirms, they got that all the time. Niklas shows one on the screen and asks Per to read it out loud.

„We have listened to your material with great interest. Unfortunately, we have no opportunity to use it in our planned production, but you are welcome to send us new contributions and ideas in the future. Yours sincerely, Polar Music AB, Björn and Benny through Åsa Bergold.”

Per says he has several rejection letters from Björn and Benny via Åsa Bergold. Niklas says he thinks they regret it a little now. He thinks they are still sitting and waiting. Per says they are sitting there depressed. Haha. Niklas shows a video on the screen. Its Björn:

„Hi Per! I just want to take the opportunity and say that we are still interested. If you have new material, send it in.”

Niklas says the chance is still there. Per laughs and says, „Thanks, Björn!”.

So, EMI agreed and Gyllene Tider was going to release their first single, but they picked the wrong A-side. Per explains, the record company wanted the single to be a song that had some kind of disco groove that was in trend at the time. Then the guys picked a song called Himmel No. 7 and since Flickorna på TV2 was their favourite, it became a double A-side. Niklas and Per talked about Village before, Village started playing it and then it started to spread. Even if it’s not so easy to dance to Flickorna på TV2, it went well anyway. Niklas confirms, it went great for those at Village to dance to the song and at Atlantic too. Niklas thinks it’s a fantastic title and it grabbed the attention. He also states Per had many fun titles, e.g. Ska vi älska, så ska vi älska till Buddy Holly, (Dansar inte lika bra som) Sjömän and he is curious where Per got all these from. Mr. G says he has always loved writing stories. When he started writing lyrics, he wanted them to have something that stood out. He loves nonsense lyrics, e.g. I Am The Walrus. Fantastic lyrics. Many Bob Dylan lyrics are very fuzzy. Per loves them. The Look is also such text. Here Niklas shows a part of the lyrics of The Look on the screen. Per starts reading it, but he immediately gets into the rhythm and kind of raps it and the audience is clapping to the rhythm. Niklas asks Per what the text means. Per’s reaction is: „Can’t you speak English?” Haha. Per thinks the text is obvious. Niklas says almost everyone he knows who writes songs in Swedish, always writes a kind of made up text in English first. Per says it was the case for him with the first verse. This one he read was the second verse. Niklas asks what the first verse is, so PG starts rapping that one too and the audience joins in. Per explains that the whole song is based on rhythm so he tried to find words that had that swing. Niklas is curious what the English-speaking audience thought of these lyrics. Per says they wondered what drugs he was doing. Haha. There was someone who said that no Englishman or American could have written this and that made it stand out and it became something special. Niklas states this was Roxette’s first US No. 1 and that was the beginning of their fabulous collaboration with Marie Fredriksson. Niklas says they will talk more about it later, but Per has managed to surround himself with many talented singers over the years. Now we meet one more, because they are going to play a brand new song. Niklas asks PG to tell more about it. Mr. G says there is a new record that will come out this fall, which contains a lot of duets. He has chosen a lot of female and male singers that he admires and thinks are fantastic, and one of the coolest of our time is Molly Hammar. Then Niklas invites the fantastic Molly Hammar on stage. The guys are greeting Molly and they perform Beredd together.

Niklas introduces the band after they finish the song. Jonas Gröning on keyboards, Marcus Liliequist on drums, Charlotte Centervall on bass, Ola Gustafsson on guitar and especially today, Malin-My Wall on accordion, violin and guitar.

The guys sit down again and Niklas says Per has had incredible success not only in Sweden, but also abroad. He thought they would remind us of what it has been like and show a footage from Per’s career on the screen. From Gyllene Tider through Roxette’s US break-through to award-winning moments. In the video, Julia Roberts is also shown from an old report, where she says It Must Have Been Love was the tearjerker song in their movie.

Niklas can see that Per is very touched when he sees these pictures. PG says it’s always incredibly fun to see Marie. Niklas thinks so too. Niklas wants to know what kind of memories come to life, when Per sees these pictures. Mr. G says it’s a long life, a long time. Gyllene Tider was fantastic in the ’80s, but it became a completely different thing when Roxette broke through. After all, they had about eight years that they just worked around the clock, between 1988 and 1995. Fantastic years. Niklas asks Per what the biggest thing was that he got to experience. PG says, at that time, it was not particularly common to succeed in the industry unless you were from England or the USA. So the whole thing to come from little Sweden and get all the hits. They were on the US charts for almost four years without falling off. They just changed the song. Then it spread to South America and Asia and Australia.

Niklas wants to go back to the beginning. A few years after the Gyllene Tider era, Per asked Marie Fredriksson if she wanted to start singing with him or collaborate with him. Niklas is curious what Marie thought then, because she was big then as a solo artist. Per smiles and says they got to know each other in the rehearsal studio in Harplinge in 1979. So they became good friends. They said early on that at some point they will do something together. But then the Gyllene Tider era hit and Marie got her own record deal. Then when Per’s career went down in 1985, he was a has-been when he was 26. Niklas says it’s easy to become one. In 1984-1985, Per wrote songs, mainly lyrics for other artists. Among other things, he wrote a song for Pernilla Wahlgren called Svarta glas. They never came back to say whether they liked it or not. Her record company didn’t get in touch. Niklas asks what happened to Svarta glas. Per didn’t have a record deal anymore, but he played it for EMI. The manager, Rolf Nygren, when he heard it, he said Per should write an English text to the song and record it with Marie. Rolf thought that’s exactly the song Per has always talked about needing. So PG wrote an English text called Neverending Love and that became the first Roxette single.

Niklas says the gang around Marie and maybe Marie herself was a bit unsure too. PG says the conditions for this were that it was in English, so it was something that did not compete with Marie’s career. She was on the way up with her career. Per was thrilled that Marie agreed to this, to record Neverending Love. It became a summer hit in 1986 in Sweden. Niklas shows the sleeve of the single and says they were a bit secretive. PG confirms, it was because if something went wrong, it would not affect Marie’s career. It was a strategic move from the record label. Per’s chance to keep Marie was to try to make it successful. Niklas thinks it must have been a pressure. PG says of course it was. He had made a Swedish album that was never recorded, because nobody wanted it. He translated it into English and it became Roxette’s first record. So all these songs like Soul Deep, I Call Your Name and Goodbye To You were written in Swedish first.

Niklas says Roxette is Sweden’s biggest music export after ABBA. Per thinks so. Niklas says they got a song in one of the world’s most popular movies. When Marie was on this show, she sang this song, a stripped down version on the sofa. Niklas thinks they should do it with Per too. PG agrees and the guys pick up their guitars and play It Must Have Been Love while the audience is holding up their mobiles with the lights on and singing along.

Niklas asks Per what he thinks is more fun: playing alone or in a band. The immediate answer is: in a band. Then you are part of a puzzle and it’s nice to find your role. Per usually says to all young people – that’s most people on Earth when you are Per’s age, haha – that everyone should try playing in a band. It’s a fantastic feeling that „I do this, you do that and you do that and together it will be this fantastic thing”. Playing in a band is magical.

Niklas says Per did a couple of solo records in the early ’80s. He is curious how it was. Per says it was chaotic. He made his first solo record the year when the others in Gyllene Tider did the obligatory military service. Per says he skipped it, because he was too kind and green didn’t fit him anyway. Haha. Then it became a singer-songwriter record. PG wasn’t quite ready for that. Both that record and the second album are pretty hard to listen to. Niklas asks Per if he has not grown in the singer-songwriter role. Mr. G says it’s a bit weird when you write that kind of lyrics when you are 22. Per was incredibly happy to make a record called Mazarin in 2002 after he had been working with Roxette for 18 years in English. Looking back, it feels like one of the most important records, because there Per was ready to make that kind of music and that kind of lyrics and you can feel and hear it.

Niklas says there was a song on Per’s first solo record that he remembers they wrote together in Per’s room while PG’s mom was making pancakes in the kitchen downstairs. Per says his mom really loved Niklas. Niklas says she loved Per much more. It was the opening track on that record which the guys have never played live together. It’s a lovely song, Per thinks. Niklas wrote the music and PG wrote the lyrics. Per asks if they should play it. Niklas asks the audience if they want to hear it. Of course, here comes a loud cheering, so the guys pick up their guitars, use Capo 2. Niklas asks Per if he needs a plectrum, but PG refuses it. Fingerstyle is better and they start to sing På väg. They hi-five when they finish the song and Per says it wasn’t bad. Niklas says then they got pancakes.

Niklas says Per talked about Mazarin that it was a very important record and it was so good and successful. He is curious if it has anything to do with not having any expectations. Per doesn’t really know. To predict if something is going to be successful is incredibly difficult. The most common question he gets is „how do you write a hit?”, but he has no idea. Everyone laughs here. Niklas says there were many hits on that album. Per confirms and says he didn’t even want to include Här kommer alla känslorna on the record, because he thought it sounded like that ’50s pastiche, a song without a chorus. But that was the one that everyone got hooked on, so Per had to bite the bullet and accept it. Niklas says there were more songs on that record that became hits, including the one they are going to play now. It’s Tycker om när du tar på mej.

After the song, the guys sit down and Niklas asks quick questions. First: major or minor? Per picks major. Niklas wouldn’t have thought so. PG explains that if you work in minor, you are locked in, but if you work in major, if you are a little ingenious, you can bring out a minor feel even only with major chords. This kind of melancholy can be achieved with major chords, which you are a bit stuck on if you work in minor.

Niklas wants to know what Per thinks is the world’s best song title. PG thinks Love Hurts is a good title. A good song title should make you curious about the song and Love Hurts is like that. You want to find out what it is about.

Niklas says Per prefers to write alone, he doesn’t often write with others, but he is curious if PG would be forced to write with someone, anyone in music history, who he would choose. Per says his big musical hero is Tom Petty. He recognizes a lot of Petty’s style in his own style. They have completely different traditions, but there are similarities. Mr. G thinks Tom Petty was a great songwriter and lyricist too. Burt Bacharach is another one who he always admired. It’s a different musical level than Per’s, but it’s amazing to be able to be on that level and still write such „simple” melodies.

Niklas asks Per what’s the first chord he plays when he picks up a guitar. PG tries it immediately in the air. Niklas tells him he can pick up a guitar and try, so Mr. G picks it up. He says he doesn’t know what chord it is, but he always takes this one. Here he plays a chord. It’s Am7, he thinks. Niklas says it comes from a real major guy. Haha.

Niklas wants to know how many guitars Per has. Per asks if they talk about the guitars he has here with him. No, Niklas talks about all of his guitars altogether. Per doesn’t know. A hundred maybe. 80-90-100. Guitars are like good friends. Every time you buy a guitar, you write a great little song. That’s what happens in Per’s case.

Niklas remembers that about 20 years ago, Per had the guitar hanging very low. He is curious why. PG says, it was tough. The guys stand up and demonstrate how it looked. Niklas says 30 years ago it was OK, but it gets more difficult when arthrosis strikes. That’s why Per quit holding the guitar like that. He had a disc herniation. Niklas asks if it was because of the guitar hanging so low. Per says he realized he had a disc herniation in the lower back in 1996, just before a Gyllene Tyder concert in Lysekil for 25,000 people. He was in the restroom and reached for a towel and felt ouch. Niklas asks what happened then. PG says they had to postpone the gig by 90 minutes. He got some weird injection that hasn’t let go since then. Haha.

While they are at it, Niklas asks Per what it’s like to age like a pop star. Haha. PG says it’s not that bad. He has crowned his career now with being on the cover of Senioren magazine. Haha. Niklas of course has the magazine underneath the table so he shows it to the camera. He says he got it home in the mailbox, but it must have gone wrong.

Niklas wants to know if Per sees any advantages of being older in the music business. Per can’t see any direct advantage in the industry, but he thinks it’s not so crazy to get older as a person. He is much calmer and takes everything easier now than before. Things are not as important as they used to be.

Talking about the future, there will be a musical. Niklas asks Per to tell more about it. PG says there is a Roxette musical that premieres on 6th September in Malmö. It’s called Joyride and it’s a whole new world for him. He hasn’t gotten into it before. It’s very exciting. There is also the Gyllene Tider movie this summer and then there is a bunch of other new stuff next year that you don’t know about.

Niklas thought they would end the show with one of those songs that’s featured in the Roxette musical. Niklas says when they rehearsed it, it was like being 12 years old. It was fun being in the rehearsal studio and it’s been a long time since he had this much fun. Per says it was noticeable on Niklas. Haha. Niklas thanks Per for coming and for 45 years of friendship. Per thanks for it too.

The guys stand up and they perform Dressed For Success together with the band. The audience stands up and party hard at the end of the show.

Regarding the songs, the ones the guys played on guitar while sitting were recorded during the talking, but all other songs were recorded separately, at the end of the session. So when the guys were talking about the upcoming songs, they stood up as if they were to start playing them, but then sat right back without playing the songs. Haha. There were some fun reactions both from Per’s side and from the audience during those moments. Only Flickan i en Cole Porter-sång was played twice, all other songs were performed only once. We were joking after the recording ended that we, the audience, should have messed it up, so they would have had to record it once again. Haha. Maybe next time.

There were also some more fun stories at the recording that are not included in the TV cut. It would have been impossible to include everything, since the recording took more than 2 hours and the TV cut is only 1 hour long. The program itself is still amazing. It’s much fun not only for hardcore fans, but also for those who want to know more about the artists who are guests on the show.

The TV team is very professional and did a fantastic job. The camera angles, the editing, the sound, everything is perfect, but it wouldn’t have been possible without the complete crew, the musicians, Molly as a guest star and of course, the main characters of the show, the two pop nerds and good old friends, Niklas Strömstedt and Per Gessle. Hats off to everyone involved and thank you for this beautiful program!

Stills are from Tack för musiken.








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 and Molly Hammar on Nyhetsmorgon

Per was Jenny Alversjö’s guest on Nyhetsmorgon, TV4 this morning. Molly Hammar joined them via Zoom. Watch the interview HERE!

Jenny informs that Per is back with a new single, Beredd. On Friday we got a taste of what’s to come this autumn, because PG will release a new album, Sällskapssjuk. On Beredd we don’t only hear Per’s beautiful voice, but also Molly Hammar’s, Jenny adds.

Here they play a short part of the video to Beredd.

Jenny welcomes Per and asks how it feels to release this song. Mr. G says it feels great. There are only very positive reactions and it’s wonderful to have Molly in this. Per is very happy. Jenny understands that and she says now he works in Swedish again. PG says he has also done some Gyllene Tider in between, but it’s been seven years since he made his Nashville records that were in Swedish.

Jenny says Per is always active. Now this is the first taste from the album Sällskapssjuk, which will be out this fall. Jenny is curious if there is any special reason why the first single is released now. Mr. G says it’s mostly because he wanted to release different duets before the album is out and this way he needed some leadtime. The next single comes in May.

Jenny wants to know more about the background. Why Molly? Because that’s pretty much the only thing they can talk about now, since Per is so secretive about the other collaborations.

PG tells Jenny that he wrote a lot of songs and felt it would be fun to have a different angle this time, to do duets and work with different male and female singers that he likes very much. So he called around and found a bunch of singers that he likes. It’s been an incredibly fun project.

Jenny asks if it was difficult to find these partners. Per says it was easier than he thought. PG says you want to work with people you like, but who have something to add. When you write a song and another personality comes in, things happen with the song both lyrically and musically, so it’s important to find the right one. He thinks it has turned out very nice in this case.

Jenny says it sounds like no one refused to collaborate. Per confirms that and says smiling that it’s unbelievable.

Jenny asks how Per has chosen Molly. Mr. G says Molly is a favourite. She is an absolutely magical singer. She has this magnet, when you hear her voice, you can’t stop listening to her. Jenny says Per mentioned Molly could sing a phone book. PG says she is the classic one who could do that. She is a bit like Adele, she has that kind of voice. You can’t help, but listen to it. So Per is glad she wanted to join him.

That’s a nice compliment according to Jenny. Here they call Molly via Zoom. She is in London. They greet each other and Molly thanks Per for the compliments. Per asks Molly how she is. She feels great, and asks if she doesn’t look fresh. PG says she does look fresh despite that it’s Sunday morning.

Jenny says Molly looks splendid and asks her about how it feels to hear what Per has just told about her. Molly says it’s huge. When Per called her, it was a very big deal for her. Because Per is a legend and a fantastic musician. When they got to meet and then hung out in the studio, then she started liking him as much as a person too. Molly thinks it’s fun that you can be a legend and be incredibly nice at the same time. So she is very happy.

Jenny asks Molly what she thought when she heard the song for the first time. Molly says she loved it right away. She thinks that it’s a classic fine, cross-generational pop song, because it’s a theme that everyone can relate to.

Jenny is curious about how they did the recordings, if they were in Stockholm or in Halmstad.

Per says they met in Stockholm and tested some keys and such. Then Molly came down to Halmstad. The whole album was recorded in Halmstad, by the way, with lots of local musicians. So Molly came down to Halmstad and they had a good day in the studio and a very nice dinner in the evening in Tylösand. Molly confirms it was super nice.

Jenny asks Molly how important she thinks it is to hang around when creating together. Molly thinks it’s important to have a lot of fun together when making music. Otherwise it just gets weird and she doesn’t think this magic could happen then. You have to have fun and laugh together.

Jenny says they would have loved to see Molly in the Nyhetsmorgon studio, but she is in London. She is curious what Molly is doing there. Molly is running around writing songs and she has a great time. Jenny says she should come to the studio when she gets home. Molly says it would be her pleasure.

Jenny says it’s great that they could have her on the show this way. She knows Molly has a lot to do, so they will let her go now and wish her to have a nice time. Molly thanks for that and says goodbye to both Jenny and Per.

Jenny says Per has been in the business for a very long time, but she wants to know if Per has learned anything from this collaboration. PG says it’s hard to say that you learn something, but as he said before, songs grow and change when you work with other people. And as everyone knows, he has worked a lot with duets in Roxette. He wrote so many songs for Marie that changed and raised the quality of the songs simply because of her voice and her personality. And it’s the same here. All these people he has worked with have changed his songs. It’s not like he sat down with seven or eight people and wrote new music together. It’s his songs and his lyrics that they come in and sing to. So there is a big difference here.

Jenny thinks that many people, including her, will forever associate Per with Marie, of course, even if he does duets with other artists. She asks Per what it was like working with others. Per says it’s always exciting. Before you go into the studio and you have a song, it might not feel right. The keys might not fit or there might be too much modulation for it to work. When he chose certain singers, he listened to what kind of voice they have and in theory he tried, this person fits this song, that person fits that song. And some have not worked at all. Then he already knows in advance that it won’t work. Jenny asks if there were a lot of singers on Per’s list to revise, if he had to revise Molly. Per says no, it was simple with Molly.

Jenny can imagine that when Per and Marie worked together, they must have known each other inside and out, so Per rarely got to revise things there. Per says no, but he was listening to the Roxette catalogue and sometimes he heard some strange key changes to lower and higher, so that they can both sing. You can do such technical tricks. The songs Marie sings herself, they are in her register what she enjoyed the most.

Jenny can imagine that there might be an extra reminder of Marie when Per has collaborations and someone else is at the microphone. Per says not really. It’s been so long since Marie and Per have worked together. It was a lovely era in his life that he preserves. But he doesn’t think too much about it now. But the loss is still there, definitely.

Jenny says she knows that Marie wrote some of the music on the new album. Per says it’s actually a song that is not a duet, but he sings it himself. Marie and he wrote it together in the ’80s. Per wrote the lyrics and Marie and Per wrote the music. So it is also a bit special. It was written long before Roxette, when Marie and Per hung out in his attic apartment in Halmstad in the early ’80s and watched Dallas and Dynasty and stuff like that in the evenings. Jenny finds it lovely and she can see Marie and Per in front of her like that.

Jenny wants to know how Per finds such a song. If it was on paper or they recorded it on cassette. Per says it was on cassette and there have been a few demos on it over the years. It has been a little too good to throw away, but it has never found its rightful place.

Jenny asks Per if he has an overview of everything they have worked on. Per says he doesn’t. A few things have appeared in recent years that he has forgotten about, but they are somewhere on cassettes and strange minidiscs. There has been a lot of technology over the years. It’s such a long time.

Jenny asks if the song that Marie co-wrote is also a duet. Per says it’s not a duet, he sings it himself.

The album will be released this fall. Jenny asks Per about the title, Sällskapssjuk. PG says he wrote a song called Sällskapssjuk and he thought it’s a good title when you have a lot of duets. He also thought it was a nice expression, a nice word.

Jenny says Per mentioned before that he worked on the album in Halmstad, he recorded it there. So some of the songs are probably very organically recorded. Per confirms it. He has worked a lot with local musicians to try to find a new angle, a new sound on the record. Everything is a bit homegrown. It’s hard to explain music, but it’s very organic. There is a lot of lap steel and there is a lot of violin. It’s good.

Jenny wants to know how Per finds inspiration again and again. Mr. G says he doesn’t really look for inspiration, but it pops up from time to time. He is not the kind of person who goes and sits down to play the piano and guitar and writes every day. He usually says that he writes as little as possible. Because when he has something on his mind, he becomes very focused and it goes quite quickly. So Jenny says this means Per doesn’t really like sitting and writing like that. Per says he doesn’t like it at all. He has to do it only sometimes. It’s something that has to come out in some way.

Jenny asks how it is to record in Sweden and elsewhere. There must be a big difference between Sweden and the rest of the world. Per has experienced both. PG says there really isn’t that much of a difference. It’s a completely different thing to work in the studio and to be on stage, of course. This communication that you work with when you have an audience in front of you, it’s fantastic. Many people always ask if it’s fun to play Sommartider or The Look, which you have played a thousand times. When you have an audience in front of you that gives so much back, it’s clear that you love to play your hits. That’s why you work, so to say. Jenny says it must be amazing to see those songs live on through different generations too. What a gift!

The album is coming this autumn, there will be more duets. The next single comes out in May. Jenny asks who will be Per’s partner in that, but Mr. G doesn’t reveal. Jenny asks for a hint. Per says it’s a fantastic male or female singer. Haha.

Jenny thanks Per for coming and hopes to see him again in spring. Per says it’s always fun to be here.

Stills are from Nyhetsmorgon.

Per Gessle’s new single, “Beredd” is out!

Per Gessle has released Beredd as the first taste from Sällskapssjuk, his upcoming Swedish album. The single contains two songs:

Side A             Beredd
Side B             Ingen förstod vad som hände

Beredd is a duet with Molly Hammar, who is one of Per’s absolute favourite singers. PG thinks Molly has that magical power that makes you can’t stop listening to her. Per is proud that she wanted to join him.

Molly says:

When Per called and asked if I wanted to do “Beredd” with him, I felt very honored and it was obvious for me to do it. It’s a cross-generational song in many ways as I relate to it on many levels as I think others will, and when Per Gessle calls there is no other answer than yes.

Per says:

The recording was almost impertinently easy. Molly came down to the Sweetspot Studio in Harplinge outside Halmstad, took a microphone, sat down on a couch and did some testing. After the second take, it was done – as clear as it gets.

Listen to the single on any streaming platform HERE and don’t forget to pre-order the physical copy, 7″ vinyl that is released on 1st March at Bengans and at Ginza!

A video to Beredd premieres at 12 pm CET HERE! Don’t miss it!


Ingen förstod vad som hände
Hur gick det egentligen till?
Vi var bara två vänner
Som gjorde att tiden stod still

Och ingen av oss var beredd
Vi kände det vi kände, kanske blev du rädd
Jag tog dina händer och höll nästan andan
Vi såg på varandra
Såg på varandra

Du lämnade dörren vidöppen
Och sprang nerför gatan mot stan
Musiken och festen och livet
Blev aldrig mer likadant

Ingen av oss var beredd
Det hände det som hände och kanske blev du rädd
Jag tog dina händer och höll nästan andan
Vi såg på varandra
Såg på varandra

Ingen av oss var beredd
Vi kände det vi kände, kanske blev du rädd
Jag kysste dina läppar och tappade nästan andan
Vi såg på varandra
Såg på varandra

Ingen av oss var beredd
Det hände det som hände, kanske blev du rädd
Jag kysste din mun och tappade nästan andan
Vi såg på varandra
Såg på varandra

Words & music: Per Gessle
Published by Jimmy Fun Music

Produced by Per Gessle + Andreas Broberger

Recorded at Tits & Ass, Halmstad February + March + November 2022 + January 2023 and Lost Boy Studios, Umeå December 2022 + January 2023 and Sweetspot, Harplinge November 2023

Engineers: Mats Persson (T&A), Andreas Broberger (LBS) + Staffan Karlsson (Sweetspot)
Mixed at Lost Boy Studios, Umeå by Andreas Broberger + Anton Ekström November 2023

Per Gessle: acoustic guitar + keyboards + vocals
Molly Hammar: vocals
Helena Josefsson: backing vocals
Fredrik ”Gicken” Johansson: electric bass + lap steel
Mats Persson: electric guitar + mandolin
Andreas Broberger: keyboards + programming + electric guitar + backing vocals

Ingen förstod vad som hände

Words & music: Per Gessle
Published by Jimmy Fun Music

Produced by Per Gessle + Andreas Broberger

Recorded at Tits & Ass, Halmstad February + March + November 2022 + January 2023 and Lost Boy Studios, Umeå December 2022 + January 2023

Engineers: Mats Persson (T&A), Andreas Broberger (LBS)
Mixed at Lost Boy Studios, Umeå by Andreas Broberger + Anton Ekström January 2023

Per Gessle: acoustic guitar + keyboards + vocals
Helena Josefsson: backing vocals
Fredrik ”Gicken” Johansson: electric bass + lap steel
Mats Persson: electric guitar + mandolin
Andreas Broberger: keyboards + programming + electric guitar + backing vocals


Photo by Fredrik Etoall

Sleeve design by Wickholm Formavd., Stockholm

Per Gessle in duet with Molly Hammar

Per Gessle releases the lead single from his upcoming album on 23rd February. Beredd is the first taste from Sällskapssjuk – Per’s first record with new material in Swedish in seven years. The album was recorded in Halmstad and mostly consists of duets with a number of brilliant singers and artists.

Per says, smiling:

Somehow it seems to be my destiny ever since Marie Fredriksson and I started working together in Roxette – my songs always get a little better when another strong personality comes into the picture and adds their unique thing.

On Beredd it’s Molly Hammar and Per who get together at the microphone – in a way that makes the creator slightly lyrical.

Molly is one of my absolute favourite singers. She has that magical power that makes you can’t stop listening to her. I’m so proud that she wanted to join.

Molly says:

When Per called and asked if I wanted to do “Beredd” with him, I felt very honored and it was obvious for me to do it. It’s a cross-generational song in many ways as I relate to it on many levels as I think others will, and when Per Gessle calls there is no other answer than yes.

Per says:

The recording was almost impertinently easy. Molly came down to the Sweetspot Studio in Harplinge outside Halmstad, took a microphone, sat down on a couch and did some testing. After the second take, it was done – as clear as it gets.

“Sällskapssjuk” is a very exciting album and project for me. It’s a wonderful challenge both as a songwriter and a producer to try to put together the puzzle of different voices and talents. The Molly song is first out. More to come!

Pre-save the single HERE! Watch the video teaser HERE!