Per Gessle’s Top9 Christmas songs

Somehow we could sense it wasn’t just a random post by Per yesterday when he shared the whole lot of the podcast series of Gessles nio i topp. Now we can see it was because there is a Christmas edition! Woohoo! Per and Sven sat together and had some Xmas fun their own way. They say they did it because of the very successful first season of Gessles nio i topp. Listen to the podcast HERE!

Per actually dislikes Christmas songs, but even in his career one of the biggest hits started out as a Christmas song. It Must Have Been Love (Christmas For The Broken Hearted) came out in 1987 and it became a gold record in Sweden. But the song became a worldwide hit only after it appeared in the movie Pretty Woman.

Mr. G’s Top9 Xmas songs:

9. Sjömansjul på Hawaii (1945)
8. The Who – Christmas (1969)
7. David Bowie and Bing Crosby – Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy (1982)
6. Wizzard – I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday (1973)
5. John & Yoko/Plastic Ono Band – Happy Xmas (War Is Over) (1971)
4. Slade – Merry Xmas Everybody (1973)
3. The Pogues feat. Kirsty MacColl – Fairytale of New York (1987)
2. Joni Mitchell – River (1971)
1. Charles Brown – Please Come Home for Christmas (1960)

 

The only Swedish Christmas song Per thinks is quite good is Sjömansjul på Hawaii from 1945. The music played on Hawaii guitar is quite cool, he thinks. Next song on Per’s list is The Who’s Christmas. One can find it on the double album, Tommy. Per says he is fascinated by that album and he can still listen to it from A to Z. The 7th best is Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy performed by David Bowie and Bing Crosby. The single became one of Bowie’s best selling in his career. Since Bowie hated Little Drummer Boy, he didn’t want to sing it and this way it was Crosby who sang that part and Bowie sang Peace on Earth which was written and added to the song especially for Bowie and Crosby. Per suggests you watch the video of the TV show. He understands why it became such a classic hit.

Song No. 6 is I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday by Wizzard, one of the best British glam rock bands. Per tells when Gyllene Tider got a contract at EMI in 1979, Lasse Lindbom was the producer and they made a Christmas album, Glitter, Glögg & Rock ‘N’ Roll with various EMI artists. 24:de December was GT’s debut song and Per also wrote Swedish lyrics to the Wizzard song and it became Om Jag Bara Fick En Elgitarr Till Jul performed by Lasse Lindbom Band on the album.

5th fave Christmas song is Happy Xmas (War Is Over) by John & Yoko/Plastic Ono Band. Per still has the original single in his collection. The coolest glam rock single according to Mr. G is Merry Xmas Everybody by Slade. Per thinks one of the most known Christmas songs is Fairytale of New York by The Pogues feat. Kirsty MacColl. Joni Mitchell’s River is magical music. And the No. 1 Christmas song is a fantastic one from 1960, Please Come Home for Christmas from Charles Brown. Even Eagles and Jon Bon Jovi did covers of this song.

It turns out Sven likes Christmas, he thinks it’s wonderful. Per asks if it isn’t sad that Christmas starts already in September nowadays and Sven says yeah it’s strange that Christmas songs start playing when birds are still singing. Per says he thinks Christmas is terrible nowadays, but he remembers it was nice when he got e.g. records for Christmas like Patterns by Ola & the Janglers in 1966. It’s an awesome album, he thinks.

Besides hearing some lovely ho-ho-ho’s, we get to know that the guys continue with their podcast on Swedish Radio in spring 2017. Awesome news!

 

Per Gessle’s Top9 guitar riffs in rock history

The last podcast in this Top9 series is about Per’s favourite guitar riffs. Per and Sven say that a good riff is often in the intro of a song, but it can also come back inside the song. Per collected 70-80 hits with great riffs and then narrowed down his list to 9. Listen to the podcast or download it from HERE!

Mr. G’s Top9 guitar riffs:

9. Black Sabbath – Paranoid
8. The Rolling Stones – The Last Time
7. Led Zeppelin – Kashmir
6. The Who – I Can’t Explain
5. AC/DC – Back In Black
4. Sex Pistols – God Save The Queen
3. The Kinks – You Really Got Me
2. David Bowie – Rebel Rebel
1. Norman Greenbaum – Spirit In The Sky

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PG screenshot is from the ZDF interview

Black Sabbath’s Paranoid has a fantastic guitar riff. Per thinks the song itself is a little too pop for being a Black Sabbath track. The Rolling Stones is a gigantic riff band, Keith Richards is called The Human Riff. The Last Time has a very catchy riff which goes on in a loop in the verses. The hook was played by Brian Jones, not by Keith and so it’s assumed to be composed by Brian. When the guys start talking about Led Zeppelin it turns out that Sven had a weak moment in the ’80s and got a ZoSo tattoo, which symbolizes Jimmy Page. Jimmy is also a fantastic, tricky guitarist.

Pete Townshend from The Who is another riff king, having a great archive of incomparable guitar riffs. Pete has a completely unique style. After I Can’t Explain got played, Sven asks Per which he thinks the coolest guitar riff is written by Mr. G himself. Per says it’s Sleeping In My Car. PG tells the story of how he wrote the song. When they recorded the album Crash! Boom! Bang!, the record company missed a very strong song to have a lead single. So Per went home and wrote SIMC. He says he thought about Paul McCartney’s album, Ram which includes the song The Back Seat Of My Car. He found it catchy and included it in the lyrics of SIMC. Mr. G played the demo for the song at EMI with Anders Herrlin and Clarence Öfwerman and they liked the song from the beginning and thought it had a real power pop title.

AC/DC make damn good pop music. Per remembers he saw them live as the support act to Black Sabbath at Olympen in Lund, 1977. AC/DC were an unknown band back then, but they actually became much better than Black Sabbath. Their song Back In Black has an awesome guitar riff. Sex Pistols with God Save The Queen is at No. 4 on Per’s list. It has a deadly guitar riff, awesome lyrics and it’s a fab pop song. Per says he missed Sex Pistols playing live in Halmstad 1977. Mr. G already talked about this memory in a previous podcast episode, why he and MP didn’t go in and see the show. They thought it was a bit too dangerous there. Sven and Per talk about Mr. G’s Sex Pistols single collection and that there was a most expensive single in England ”Pretty Vacant” which was worth 13,000 GBP. But that’s not the copy Per has in his library.

No. 3 is You Really Got Me by The Kinks. It has a legendary guitar riff, a very sexy groove. The first guitar riff Per heard from The Kinks was however another one, in Till The End Of The Day. The funny thing about YRGM is that it was written by Ray Davies on piano, but he then thought it would work better on guitar. It’s a super cool production.

Here comes David Bowie at No. 2 with Rebel Rebel. It’s a wonderful song and has a fantastic, intelligent guitar riff. The hit sounds a bit outside of the album, Diamond Dogs. Per loves DD. There were no lyrics to the album and there was no Google at those times. Per finds it important to have the lyrics to be able to follow the text. He bought a kind of sheet music where he could follow the chords and got the lyrics as well. The songs on the album have very sophisticated texts. Rebel Rebel feels like it’s the end of Bowie’s glam period and it’s David himself who played the guitar in it. Per says it was an incredible shock when Bowie died, but his music lives on. He is Per’s biggest hero, he was a fantastic artist and he changed PG’s life.

Mr. G’s No. 1 guitar riff is in a one hit wonder song, Norman Greenbaum’s Spirit In The Sky. Per thinks it’s the coolest riff one has ever written. The song is a tribute to Jesus or something like that. The guitar sound and the whole production are fantastic. The producer of the song is Erik Jacobsen, who also produced e.g. Tim Hardin, The Lovin’ Spoonful and even Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game.

 

Is it really the last podcast in this series? Can’t be! This should go on and on for the rest of our lives! The good thing in the podcast is that you can listen to it again and again anytime. In case you want to listen to all episodes again, check our article including the link to each of the 10 parts. Enjoy!

Thanx Per and Sven for your enthusiasm and sharing it with us and thanx to Swedish Radio for the opportunity! Keep up the good thing!

 

Per Gessle’s Top9 songs sung by John Lennon

The penultimate part of Swedish Radio’s Per Gessle podcast is about Per’s favourite Beatles songs sung by John Lennon. PG thinks this is probably one of the best lists he has ever put together. Mr. G says he is a big Paul McCartney fan, but he always loved John Lennon’s voice. He thinks Lennon had a completely different composing style vs. McCartney’s and it’s a little closer to Per. Paul is a little too advanced for Mr. G. Per thinks why John and Paul could work so well together, writing songs is exactly their very different style. Sven says he is a Lennon freak and he loves actually everything The Beatles did. Listen to the podcast or download it from HERE!

Mr. G’s Top9 Beatles songs sung by John Lennon:

9. A Hard Day’s Night
8. I Feel Fine
7. I Am the Walrus
6. You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away
5. Cry Baby Cry
4. I Should Have Known Better
3. And Your Bird Can Sing
2. Come Together
1. Rain

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Still is from the ”How did It Just Happens come to life” video

A Hard Day’s Night has the world’s coolest intro chord and it’s fantastic pop music. Gyllene Tider did a cover of this song on their early tour. Per couldn’t remember why, but they just couldn’t resist. Micke Syd was Paul and Per was John with a questionable result. Per thinks I Feel Fine’s intro sounds fantastic and he played it again and again to enjoy that ”nnnnnnwahhhhh”. Sven says it’s definitely an attention grabber pop intro, the riff is very original. I Am the Walrus is a fantastic song according to Mr. G. He always loved its nonsense lyrics, the amazing melody and John’s wonderful voice.

You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away is an incredibly attractive, John Lennon style song. Lennon’s acoustic guitar and his voice drive the whole song. It has no strange intro, it’s a super simple one. Per and Sven say there are many Beatles books around, but most of them are full of speculations. Cry Baby Cry is one of Sven’s absolute favourite hits. Per thinks it’s a terribly awesome song, one of John’s finest moments. Mr. G says The White Album is probably his favourite Beatles album. He was 9 when it was released and he played it a lot of times. I Should Have Known Better is a magnificent pop loop. John had the best voice during that period. Sven says in one of the books ISHKB was mentioned as a throw away track, even Lennon thought so and Per says he as a songwriter would love to have such a throw away song. PG says he can respect that and he also read that some of the Lennon songs he thinks are the best, John thought were throw away tracks. Per talks about his childhood when A Hard Day’s Night, the movie was on TV. There wasn’t too much pop on TV when he grew up and it was always sensational when any pop stuff appeared on the telly.

No. 3 on the list is And Your Bird Can Sing from the album, Revolver. The whole album is guitar-based and Mr. G loves it. Per tells Gyllene Tider recorded a Swedish version of AYBCS [Och jorden den är rund (And Earth is round)] on the EP which was included with their album Moderna Tider, 1981.

The second best Beatles song sung by Lennon is Come Together. It’s the first song on Abbey Road. Other Beatles albums sound very much ’60s, but Abbey Road is so modern that it still sounds awesome today. According to Per, Come Together has a sexy hypnotic groove. It has John’s fantastic voice, Paul’s cool bass play and Ringo’s drum beat.

Mr. G’s No. 1 Beatles song sung by John Lennon is Rain. It was the B-side of the Paperback Writer single in 1966. Per says 1966 is the best year when it comes to pop music. Rain is a bit hypnotic song, a very advanced one including backwards vocals.

Only 1 more podcast to go and this fab series of awesome chat between 2 pop nerds about great music is over. Tune in next Thursday for the last show!

 

Per Gessle’s Top9 producers

The 8th episode of Swedish Radio’s Per Gessle podcast is about producers. Per says they are very important in pop history. Actually, nowadays producers are sometimes more important than the artists themselves. Mr. G tells he works very well together with his producers, Clarence Öfwerman and Christoffer Lundquist. Listen to the podcast or download it from HERE!

Mr. G’s Top9 producers:

9. Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Relax
8. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Here Comes My Girl
7. The Ronettes – Be My Baby
6. The Cars – Drive
5. Lesley Gore – It’s My Party
4. The Spencer Davies Group – Gimme Some Lovin’
3. David Bowie – Sound and Vision
2. The Knack – My Sharona
1. The Beatles – Something

Per chose Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s Relax, produced by Trevor Horn as No. 9 on his list. The song has a sound Per had never heard before and he thinks it’s a great club music, a classic pop song. Here Comes My Girl was produced by Jimmy Iovine. Jimmy has a unique sound and he even worked together with John Lennon. Be My Baby by The Ronettes was produced by Phil Spector. Sven says he’s a legend. Mr. G is not the world’s greatest Phil Spector fan, but what he likes about him is how he produced all the girl groups’ songs. Phil Spector is the producer behind John Lennon’s Imagine as well.

Drive by The Cars was produced by Robert John “Mutt” Lange. He is also one of the greatest producers and hit makers. Quincy Jones is the producer of Lesley Gore’s It’s My Party. Per says he is a phenomenal musician and producer. PG doesn’t know much about Quincy, but he knows he was the producer of the classic Michael Jackson records. When the album Thriller came out, it sounded magical and it still sounds so. The Spencer Davies Group’s Gimme Some Lovin’ was produced by Jimmy Miller who also produced some Rolling Stones albums. Per thinks Jimmy made the songs attractive.

No. 3 on the list is David Bowie with Sound and Vision. Bowie’s producer was Tony Visconti and their cooperation was magnificent. Per and Sven have a long chat about both David’s and Tony’s greatness. No. 2 is The Knack’s My Sharona, produced by Mike Chapman who is a hit maker, mostly known for producing Blondie and The Knack. No. 1 is The Beatles with Something, produced by the greatest of all, Sir George Martin.

This part was the most nerdish so far, linking tremendous amount of songs and albums to each and every producer who were mentioned. It’s really so enjoyable to listen to these two pop nerds, Per G and Sven L. Too bad now only 2 podcast parts are left. Tune in next Thursday!

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Per Gessle’s Top9 new wave songs from England

After some awesome ’60s, ’70s and ’80s music, the 7th part of Swedish Radio’s podcast à la Per Gessle and Sven Lindström is about new wave songs. Sven starts the show with presenting Per as an old punk, but Per corrects him he has never been a punk, rather a new waver. He says in the late ’70s anyone could start a band even if they were not so talented at singing or playing the guitar and that fit him perfectly. Starting a band gave people a lot of self confidence. Per started a band with Mats MP Persson. The band’s name was Grape Rock and Gyllene Tider was born from that group. Listen to the podcast or download it from HERE!

Mr. G’s Top9 English new wave hits:

9. The Adverts – Gary Gilmore’s Eyes
8. Elvis Costello – Alison
7. The Pretenders – Stop Your Sobbing
6. The Damned – New Rose
5. The Stranglers – Peaches
4. Sex Pistols – Anarchy In The U.K.
3. Wreckless Eric – Whole Wide World
2. Nick Lowe – American Squirm
1. Buzzcocks – Ever Fallen In Love

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The still is from Spotify España’s promo video.

Before getting down to the list, Per and Sven talk about how Per and Co. went to England to buy a used Gibson Les Pauls guitar for Mr. G and a Fender bass for Gyllene Tider’s then bassist Janne Carlsson. They didn’t have money to pay the taxes, so the instruments were actually smuggled in to Sweden, but at the customs the officers seized the guitars. Per wrote a letter telling the whole story and then they got their instruments back after paying a fine. PG had to pay 2000 crowns which was an extremely lot of money back then. It was the sum he earned during whole summer for weighing mushrooms.

Per doesn’t know much about The Adverts. He had their single, Gary Gilmore’s Eyes and liked the bizarre story in the lyrics. Mr. G thinks it’s a fantastic pop song. Talking a bit about Gyllene Tider again, Per says it was quite clear from the beginning that he would sing in the band, because playing the bongo drums is not really his thing.

Elvis Costello is a lovely guy according to Per, everyone likes him. He was an intellectual new wave guy, writing fine lyrics. Per stopped listening to him after Costello’s Oliver’s Army single. Then it became too smart for Mr. G.

Per wasn’t a superfan of The Pretenders, but he thinks Stop Your Sobbing is a good song (the original was written for The Kinks). Before the song starts playing, PG makes Sven hum the tune of another The Pretenders song which Per thought he had missed completely, but then he realized he didn’t miss it, just didn’t like it.

The Damned’s New Rose is an awesome song and the band had a few other good songs. Per bought their debut LP in London. Here they talk about record labels. During the new wave in England Stiff Records guaranteed quality stuff and Parlophone or Atlantic Records were also associated with quality music.

Mr. G doesn’t know too many details about The Stranglers, but he says Peaches is a song that has the sound of those punk times. Funny how Per pronounces the band’s name and then jokes with the song title pronounciation as well.

Anarchy In The U.K. by Sex Pistols is a Top10 song in any category, Per thinks. It’s a specially written song to all 17-18-year-olds in the West. Sex Pistols played in Halmstad and Per went to their show with MP, but it was so chaotic they went home.

No. 3 on the list is Wreckless Eric who has eminent songs with great lyrics and he has a wonderful voice.

No. 2 is Nick Lowe who was a key person in England’s music business in the late ’70s. He produced Elvis Costello and he was a master mind at Stiff Records. He writes fantastic songs and he is one of the artists Per listens the most to. Nick Lowe still makes damn good records.

PG’s No. 1 English new wave song is Ever Fallen In Love by Buzzcocks. This song was No. 4 on Per’s list of Top9 ’70s hits. There he mentioned this is the best song of the British new wave era and here you go, Mr. G lists it at No. 1 on his new wave Top9. Many fast Gyllene Tider songs were inspired by the Buzzcocks.

3 more podcast episodes to go! Tune in next Thursday to hear the lads talk about the 9 best producers in rock history!