Marie Fredriksson tribute on Nordic Rox #2

As Sven promised in the first episode, here is the next Marie tribute on Nordic Rox, Sirius XM. Per and Sven start with Crash! Boom! Bang! Per tells they were recording the album in Capri for 6-7 weeks. Per always loved this song, because it’s so fragile and it’s so much Marie for him. Marie singing these big ballads is just mesmerizing. It’s a perfect Roxette song. Sven asks Per if he knew he would write it differently because of already knowing how Marie can deliver such songs. Per replies that he has always been a melody guy, so he could expand the melody a lot when he knew that Marie was going to sing it. For all the songs he wrote he made demos, singing them himself and some of the demos he had a really hard time to do, but it was piece of cake for Marie. If she liked them. Sometimes she didn’t like a song, then they didn’t record it. It’s natural. You have to really like what you are doing. CBB is like a trademark Roxette song. Sven says it also became a centerpiece on the live shows. According to Mr. G it’s a beautiful song and great production as well. It still sounds cool.

After CBB, the guys are talking about Roxette’s first two world tours. Sven says the CBB world tour (1994-1995) was not as big as Joyride (1991-1992), but almost. Per says it was big enough. It was different. The first world tour was when the band exploded and the tour got extended on the go. CBB was only like 100 shows. Here they start laughing. Sven says that was the first time when Roxette performed in South Africa. Per remembers they played big football stadiums. He also tells that the Crash tour was amazing for him, because they built up a great catalogue of hits, so they could make really wonderful concerts. Marie was amazing and they had a great band. They worked for basically 7 years in a row and those were the last 2 years of that period. They had their little peak there, Per thinks.

Sven asks Per if he knew in advance that Marie was such a rocker on stage. Mr. G says he doesn’t think so. Even Marie herself didn’t realize it before either. It just happened when they started making videos. When she performed her own songs with her own band, she was pretty boring on stage. She was sitting by the piano, like a singer songwriter. But suddenly, she just exploded on stage in the early videos. She always had this acting ambition. She felt very comfortable in front of the camera and eventually, she became an amazing performer on stage. That is also one of the reasons why Roxette became so big. They could deliver live as well, not only in the studio. They were a great live band, great musicians, Swedish guys and girls, all of them and of course, Marie as a centerpiece of everything. In the pop world it’s never been natural that even though a band has hits, most of them can’t deliver on stage. It takes a certain sort of quality to be able to perform for 55,000 people and have them entertained for 2 hours.

The next song they are talking about is Wish I Could Fly. Sven tells his special memory from later, from the Night of the Proms tour in Germany. The symphony orchestra was playing a piece to introduce Roxette and that was a Scandinavian piece which turned to WICF and Marie entered the stage from the floor, rising from there. When people realized that this classical piece turned into Roxette and saw Marie entering the stage through the floor, everyone stood up and started cheering. It was in 2009. Per explains Marie became ill in 2002 and she had a break for 7 years, so NOTP was the first comeback tour they did.

When Per wrote the songs for Have A Nice Day, he had a couple of years writing songs in different directions. Dance tracks, guitar tracks, electro music. Wish I Could Fly was just different to anything else. He was very surprised that the record label picked it as the first single for the album, because it was so different to what they had done before. Looking back now it feels like it’s a great part of te Roxette puzzle. Per really likes the song and Marie of course delivers it so well. Mr. G likes the lyrics and the way Marie sings it, as well as the arrangement. It’s so 90’s to him with the drum loop that goes on and on. It’s got a great riff too, almost like a Led Zeppelin riff. Sven adds that the song has also got an atmosphere to it that suits Marie’s voice so perfectly. She adds something magical to it. Per agrees. He says it’s a tough song to play live though, because it’s based on that machine loop that goes on and on and it’s hard to play it if you are not using sequencers and stuff like that. You can cheat a little bit if you want to, but they never did. The guys are laughing again.

The next song is from the album that could have been the last Roxette record, as Sven says. Milk And Toast And Honey from Room Service. The album was recorded in 2000. Marie was doing a solo album in Swedish and touring in the summer. She was planning to make more music with Micke. Per adds he is a great piano player. So Marie wasn’t really into making a new Roxette record, but Per wrote a lot of songs and they started to work on the album. Per personally thinks that Room Service contains some of their greatest works. There are some really outstanding songs on it. Sven agrees. He thinks it sounds great and it’s got a cool vibe to it. Mr. G says they used a new engineer, so they got a little bit different sound to it. They had basically the same players though. Jonas Isacsson plays amazing guitar. Marie sounded amazing especially on MATAH. According to Per, this is the best track on the album, because it’s a ballad, but not like a typical huge Roxette ballad, like Spending My Time or Listen To Your Heart. This is like a tiny little ballad that Marie just delivers and it’s beautiful.

By this time Marie already had 2 kids and family was much in focus for her. She wasn’t really interested in touring the world or promoting. She wanted to be at home with her family. Who could blame her for that? They had been doing it internationally for 12 years at that time, so Per thinks she wanted to have a break. The album was done very much by Clarence Öfwerman and Per and then they did a big European tour with that album as well.

Sven mentions the story of Marie arriving to the recordings of MATAH with a taxi and leaving right after recording her vocals. Per tells Marie’s vocals had been recorded already before, but he wanted her to do some different takes on the last chorus to change the melody, to bring the song home. So he called Marie and she came by taxi and kept the taxi waiting outside the studio, sang those 3 lines and she was out again, in the taxi and back home. Per is laughing while he is telling this story. Sven thinks it’s quite cheeky, but Per says that’s the way it was. Marie delivered, then Per and Clarence summed it up and finished the record.

After playing MATAH, this part of the tribute is over.

 

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to add a direct link to the program, but search for Nordic Rox and go some ”shift forwards” into the show to hear Sven and Per talking.

Thanx for the technical support to János Tóth.

Marie Fredriksson tribute on Nordic Rox

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

12 Peaks of The Beatles by Per Gessle

In this 12 Peaks, Per Gessle and Sven Lindström feel like teenagers and talk about one of their favourite subjects on the planet, The Beatles. Huge thanks to Sven again for sharing the program with us! You can download the sound file in 3 parts from HERE (link is valid until 22nd August).

Mr. G’s 12 favourite hits from The Beatles:

  1. 12 Peaks of The Beatles by Per GessleHey Jude (1968)
  2. A Day in the Life (1967)
  3. Taxman (1966)
  4. I Am the Walrus (1967)
  5. Something (1969)
  6. Dear Prudence (1968)
  7. Rain (1966)
  8. I Feel Fine (1964)
  9. I’m Down (1965)
  10. While My Guitar Gently Weeps (1968)
  11. Run for Your Life (1965)
  12. Strawberry Fields Forever (1967)

In PG’s book The Beatles is the biggest there ever was, the most influential band in his life. All their songs are masterpieces, so it was pretty easy to pick 12 favourites. It would be really difficult to find 12 bad Beatles songs, so there won’t be a 12 Peaks show like that.

Per says one of the best songs ever written is ”Hey Jude”. He thinks it’s brilliant and it changed the world for so many people.

The second song on the list is ”A Day in the Life”. When Per first heard it, there was just magic all over the place in his little room. His brother had the album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Per was listening to it all the time.

Mr. G’s 3rd fave hit is ”Taxman”, a song written by George Harrison and released as the opening track on the Revolver album, which is one of Per’s favourite Beatles albums. But he can’t really make up his mind about which album is really his favourite.

The fourth song is something completely different. Per thinks it’s one of the wildest songs he knows and every time he hears it, it puts a smile on his face. It’s ”I Am the Walrus”, John Lennon in top shape. Sven and Per are of course 2 of the biggest Beatles nerds and they talk about the hidden messages in the song, namely, the lines of Shakespeare’s play, King Lear which one can hear in ”I Am the Walrus” in the background in a radio broadcast.

”Something” was written by George Harrison and it’s on the Abbey Road album, which is a stunning piece of music. Another most favourite Beatles album for PG. ”Something” is probably the most mainstream track, covered by so many artists.

”Dear Prudence” has a beautiful melody, a simple production and it’s mesmerizing to hear this track. Per just loves the song forever and ever.

”Rain” is the B-side of Paperback Writer and it’s a magnificent song. The vocal performance by Lennon is just amazing. Per also loves the glasses everyone was wearing on the sleeve. Sven says things were starting to get slightly psychedelic then.

The intro to ”I Feel Fine” just blew Per’s mind when he was a kid. It’s still fantastic, but in those days you never heard anything like that. PG loves the great harmonies and the great voice of John Lennon in this song.

Before Per and Sven get down to the next hit, Per mentions Sven wears a Rubber Soul watch. Sven says it doesn’t work, but never mind. The clock is always quarter past Ringo. Haha.

”I’m Down” is a hidden gem according to Mr. G. He can’t remember which single had it as a B-side, because he always played this song all the time. [It was the B-side of Help! /PP]

”While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is a song written by George Harrison and it was also a stunning piece of music when it came out and it still is. There is Eric Clapton on guitar.

”Run for Your Life” is fantastic pop music. It’s from Rubber Soul, which is a great album and everyone loves it. It’s a jukebox and John Lennon’s voice at this time is just the best there is.

Per picked ”Strawberry Fields Forever” as the last track on his Beatles list. He thinks it’s a magnificent piece of recording and is a highlight in pop history for Mr. G. It’s still very unique and at the time it came out you never heard anything like this. Per says it was always so cool with The Beatles that they did so many different things all the time. You could never know what to expect.

Before they play the last song, Per and Sven talk about PG visiting John Lennon’s house on Menlove Avenue in Liverpool. Strawberry Fields was a place close to where John grew up. Per says it was very special to visit the house. They kept it intact, how it was when John grew up and the guide showed them a little room inside the door at the main entrance where John and Paul were singing, because there were great acoustics inside. Per says he was standing there and started singing to see how it feels like and it sounded fantastic in there. It was almost like an echo chamber.

 

12 Peaks of The Kinks by Per Gessle

1 month after we shared Mr. G’s 12 Peaks of Roxette, now it’s time to listen to another 12 Peaks. Sven Lindström kindly shared with us the program about one of Per Gessle’s favourite bands of all time, The Kinks. You can download the sound file in 3 parts from HERE (link is valid until 26th July).

Per listened to The Kinks a lot when he grew up and he still does. It’s timeless music and great songwriting by Ray Davies. Mr. G’s very first LP was The Kink Kontroversy. Per bought it from his brother (7 years older than PG) who needed money for cigarette. Per still has the album which he thinks is a brilliant one, having a great sleeve with a Guild guitar on it.

Sven and Per talk about what the magic behind The Kinks is. Per says The Kinks come from some sort of British R&B and evolved into a very British pop institution. Ray Davies’ songwriting is the essence of the whole thing, but they are all great musicians and together they combine the band’s fantastic sound. Per thinks The Kinks in general were an underrated band. They were a little bit out of tune all the time, but that’s what makes them so special. They had wonderful guitar riffs.

The guys talk about the band’s drummer, Mick Avory. Per thinks one can hear he’s got his R&B background and he became a great pop drummer. Sven also mentions what a cool voice Ray Davies has, it sounds like he has a perpetual cold.  Per says Ray’s voice is in perfect harmony with his brother’s, Dave Davies’ voice.

Mr. G picked songs mainly from The Kinks’ early days. Here is the list of his 12 favourites:

  1. 12PeaksofTheKinksbyPerGessleDavid Watts (1967)
  2. Till the End of the Day (1965)
  3. Waterloo Sunset (1967)
  4. Sunny Afternoon (1966)
  5. Lola (1970)
  6. Tired of Waiting for You (1965)
  7. Set Me Free (1965)
  8. Where Have All the Good Times Gone (1965)
  9. Days (1968)
  10. Dedicated Follower of Fashion (1966)
  11. Rosie Won’t You Please Come Home (1966)
  12. Sweet Lady Genevieve (1973)

When Sven tells before The Kinks broke through, they made 2 flop singles, Per reacts ”yeah, well, most of us did” and laughs. Per says he adored Till the End of the Day when he was a kid and still does. The guitar intro is the best. Waterloo Sunset is one of the best pop songs ever written according to PG. It has such a beautiful melody line, such beautiful lyrics and it’s just magic in 3 minutes. It was an inspiration for Per and took the characters, Terry and Julie from this song and used them in a Roxette song, Me & You & Terry & Julie. It’s a little homage to Mr. Davies. Per met Ray Davies once. It happened in London at the BMI Awards. Ray had a Swedish girlfriend at the time, so they chatted a bit. Per says Ray is a great guy.

Sunny Afternoon is THE summer song for Mr. G next to Summer In The City by The Lovin’ Spoonful. It was a big hit in Sweden, one could hear it a lot on the radio. Per had it as a single and played it over and over again. Lola is one of those brilliant songs Per wishes he had written. He just loves it. The lyrics have typical Ray Davies phrases with double meanings all the time. Sven says it might be the first ever song about a transvestite. Per says ”maybe… as we know. But we’re from Sweden, so what do we know…?” Haha.

Sven asks Per to list the best pop groups ever, Per’s Top10, but Mr. G says after The Beatles topping the list there are many bands at the 2nd place, e.g. The Kinks, The Who, The Rolling Stones and The Beach Boys.

Besides talking enthusiastically about The Kinks, the guys even share the recipe of semla cake, NOT. Haha. But they know it’s a bun with some cream in it and has a sweet little thing inside. The sweet bun by the way was offered for Sven by Åsa, ”sweet wife” as Per refers to her. How lovely!

 

12 Peaks of Roxette

It’s now 3 weeks without Per Gessle’s Swedish radio podcast series and we thought you might miss some more ear candy while non-stop listening to Good Karma. You surely remember Per and Sven Lindström have a program on Nordic Rox called 12 Peaks. The essence of it is Per Gessle choosing 12 songs according to the actual topic and he and Sven are discussing them. Earlier we shared some of these programs and now it’s time to share another episode. The one about Mr. G’s 12 favourite Roxette songs. You can download the sound file (in 3 parts) from HERE (available until 26th July). Thanks a lot to Sven for sharing it with us!

12peaksofroxetteAt the beginning of the show Sven mentions Roxette were playing in Halmstad yesterday, which means they recorded this part of 12 Peaks on 23rd July 2015. They shortly talk about the XXX tour which started in 2014 and was to end in 2016 which is the real 30th anniversary year. They also talk about the comeback in 2009 and that since then they had been touring. Per says their shows are rather greatest hits concerts and they are fortunate to have a big hit catalogue with so many songs that people love all over the world. Mr. G says they have so many beautiful fans out there.

Getting down to business, the guys start talking about Per’s 12 favourite Roxette songs. Of course, it was very hard to pick 12 hits, having released approximately 60 singles over the years.

I’ve picked songs that I really like and songs that I think are easy-going for people to recognize as a typical Roxette song.

Mr. G’s 12 fave Rox songs:

  1. Opportunity Nox
  2. A Thing About You
  3. Sleeping Single
  4. It Must Have Been Love
  5. How Do You Do!
  6. What’s She Like?
  7. Wish I Could Fly
  8. Joyride
  9. Breathe
  10. Listen To Your Heart
  11. (Do You Get) Excited?
  12. The Look

The first choice is one of Roxette’s best power pop songs according to Per. Opportunity Nox. Mr. G says they couldn’t make a video for this, because of Marie’s illness and that’s why they did the cartoon thing. Per says ON is the kind of music he raised on, bubblegum meets T. Rex. Opp Nox is one of Sven’s favourites as well. He thinks it’s power pop at its best.

The next song is A Thing About You. Per and Sven talk a bit more about The Ballad Hits and The Pop Hits and Per says when they planned to do those 2 compilation albums, he wrote a lot of songs in those 2 categories. ATAY is the first song on The Ballad Hits and the video for that song was the last they recorded before Marie got ill. Mr. G says it was the end of Roxette Chapter 1. Per thinks it’s one his best songs. The whole recording is based on Per’s demo, the guitars, the vocals and they just added things to it. It has a sort of mesmerizing melody, which is hard to write for Per, but when it happens, he is very happy.

They get back to 1988 with the 3rd song on the list, Sleeping Single off the Look Sharp! album. It was one of the first songs they recorded for that album. They were just goofin’ around in the studio and tried to create what eventually became the Roxette sound. He always loved this track, because the production is so sparse and it really shows what a great singer Marie is. For Per it sums up that whole era of his life. It was the times when he started feeling everything was getting together for Roxette. They started the programming thing. They kept the guitars and the keyboards, but most of the rythm sections were made by drum loops and drum machines. It opened up a new dimension for them. They didn’t release Sleeping Single as a single, because they didn’t need one more single off Look Sharp! and they were touring and travelling a lot and wanted to record a new album, so Per was writing songs constantly for Joyride.

They got really lucky when they were asked to write a song for a movie. We all know he didn’t have the time to write a new song for that project, so he gave them It Must Have Been Love with slightly changed lyrics. Per says it was a perfect bridge for them between the Look Sharp! album and Joyride. It’s probably their biggest song still today. They didn’t go to see the premiere of Pretty Woman, but they had a screening in Burbank, CA. An earthquake was happening at the same time and the whole cinema was grooving a bit. For the first watching Per thought the movie was kind of soft. It didn’t blew his mind at all, but when he realized the potential of the film he saw it in different lights.

Talking about the XXX tour again, Sven asks Per if they get excited by playing these songs night after night. Per says they’ve been lucky to have these fantastic crowds everywhere and the positive energy and love and affection they get from the crowds every night is amazing. So they don’t consider it like ”Oh no, not another version of Listen To Your Heart!” It’s a blessing to have those songs. Mr. G says it’s hard to describe how much fun they have by playing these hits.

How Do You Do! became a huge hit in Europe (in Germany it was No. 1 for 12 weeks or so) and a big one in South America as well. It’s always a crowd pleaser. HDYD was recorded meanwhile touring with the Joyride album. The band hated Per for doing the album Tourism, because on all their days off he dragged them into the studio to record. Haha.

The next song on the list is off the album Crash! Boom! Bang!, which was recorded (most of it) in Capri, Italy. What’s She Like? is one of Roxette’s finest songs with Marie’s vocals. Per thinks it’s an outstanding track in their catalogue. He likes the melody, but he especially likes the way Marie is singing it. It’s just amazing. When they recorded Crash! Boom! Bang!, they already had the Roxette sound, the production in their heads, so they just had to get down to the songs. The album was about putting all the things together what they learned over the last 5-6 years. Marie is a great R&B and pop singer, but she is definitely one of the best ever ballad singers. Per says Marie is one of those persons who can sing the telephone book and it just sounds amazing, you believe her. It could be a B side: ”Marie Fredriksson sings the telephone book”.

After the CBB tour Roxette took a break for a couple of years, Marie had her second child and Per got together with Gyllene Tider. Then in 1998 they reunited to record Have A Nice Day. The first single off the album was Wish I Could Fly. It was recorded in Marbella, Spain. When Per wrote the song it was an experiment for him, because he never really worked with drum loops in the sense that he did in the studio. It was a side step from the classic Roxette sound. Mr. G says, when time goes by, you get a little tired of your style, so sometimes you need to drag in new people to get new blood in the system. When he listens to the album today, he thinks it sounds like a natural progression from CBB. The sound of pop music had changed and they started working with a new engineer, Michael Ilbert.

Sven and Per talk about The Look. Mr. G tells the story of how surprised he was that this song became their breakthrough hit. Their plan was Per being the songwriter and Marie the singer, but Marie had never found PG’s bubblegumish, power pop segment of songwriting too attractive, so all these songs fitted Per much better than Marie.

Regarding Joyride the guys talk about a radio convention in the US where Roxette went to present the new album. There was the Kuwait crisis back in those days and the single was held back for 6-8 weeks. After the radio convention , radio programmers came to Marie and Per to congratulate on their next No. 1, because they thought it was going to be a monster hit. And it did became their 4th No. 1. Sven and Mr. G talk about the title that it came from Paul McCartney when he said songwriting with John Lennon was a long joyride. They also mention the line ”Hello you fool I love you” which came from Åsa, leaving this note on Per’s piano in Swedish. Sven jokes Per should give a slice of the royalty to Åsa.

The next song is Breathe, which Per wrote for The Ballad Hits. It’s one of his favourite songs. Sven thinks it’s an easily overlooked song, but listening to it now it sounds really fresh. He jokes saying to Per to stop pointing that gun at him. Haha.

Listen To Your Heart comes next, their 2nd US No. 1. For Per the song sounds really American, the style of the music and the production. When they recorded it, they were just a Swedish band without an international career and they never thought it would become a No. 1, however, they strived for US success when they decided to do something really American in the studio in Stockholm. When they started recording Look Sharp!, Per made T-shirts: ”Today Sweden, tomorrow the world”. Back then it was just a silly joke. He asks Sven if he still has the tee. Together with IMHBL, LTYH is one of Roxette’s biggest songs. It got more than 5 million air plays on the radio in the US, same as IMHBL. Per says it’s amazing, Sven says it’s mindblowing and it helps to pay the rent.

Mr. G and Mr. L talk about the live performances again and Per explains in the past they tried to reproduce the albums live on stage, but nowadays it’s 100% live, without click tracks and all. Roxette live is a much more guitar-driven band, a much more rockier band than they are on the records. It’s much more fun for them to play like this and it’s much more organic.

(Do You Get) Excited? from the Joyride album is Per’s next choice. It’s a fantastic production by Clarence and it has great vocals by Marie. It was supposed to be a single in early 1992, but it never was. However, they did a beautiful video to it. There was a fusion going on between EMI and SBK Records at those times and the song just disappeared. They released Church Of Your Heart instead.

Per closes his 12 Peaks list with The Look. It’s still a big song for them and they just finished a remake of it (in 2015) with Addeboy vs. Cliff. It’s not that they ran out of new material, but they had the opportunity to be part of a commercial thing with a Swedish clothing company, KappAhl and they wanted to use The Look as the theme of their campaign. Per just felt if they do it, they should do a new version of it, so it sounds fresh and it doesn’t sound like 1989. But he realized he can’t do it himself, because he is still stuck in the old mode, so they needed fresh blood into the system. He gave the song to Addeboy vs. Cliff to think about it as a demo and do whatever they want. Then the guys came up with a backing track which Per thought was interesting. Marie, Per and their normal production team took the backing track, put guitars and keyboards on and vocals as well. So it sounds like The Look, but fresh. Sven says he sees Per keeps an eye on the new songwriting scene, keeping track of what’s happening. Per says he is really interested in what’s going on and in the record company where he is a co-owner they get a lot of music coming in. There is so much talent out there. Sven asks how it works when a songwriter who is doing it since 40 years teams up with a young talent to write songs together. Per replies it’s just fun to do that and he often gets comments like ”that’s so typical your style” when they start working together. In young songwriters Mr. G can hear that they are sort of developing their own style, but it takes time. You need to write a lot of songs, you need to find your taste, you have to follow your gut feeling all the time, you have to develop your own style in a natural way. Regarding The Look Per tells the story of how he wrote the song on the Ensoniq ESQ-1 synthesizer. He thinks when you buy a new instrument, you should write a song on it, because that’s the best way to learn how to play it. This is how The Look was born, while he was learning how to program the synth. He still has the synthesizer, by the way.