Jan Gradvall’s podcast interview with Per Gessle

Jan Gradvall in his podcast tries to find out what drives Per Gessle, what his secret is and what happens if you analyze Gessle’s songs in depth. Jan is trying to do it via analyzing ”Allt gick så fort”, which is one of Per’s most personal songs he has ever written and can be found on the new album, ”En vacker natt”.

Per says it’s the central song on the album. He tells he read an interview with David Crosby who told he had five guitars in his bedroom and that all of them were tuned differently. Per thought it’s cool. Mr. G experimented a lot with traditional tunings, but then he googled David Crosby’s tunings and found out there are a lot of variants and found one which was very odd. So Per tried some new tricks, playing his old chords in a new way, creating completely new sounds.

”Allt gick så fort” is very text-oriented. It starts with an accident Per witnessed during a visit to France. Per says it’s a song that kind of writes itself. It matures through a whole life and suddenly it feels ready to be written down.

Jan asks Per what he is singing about when it’s in the lyrics that he was 8 years old. Per says the lyrics tell a whole life in a way. The text starts with an unknown person, but then suddenly, you sing about yourself, when you are a child and then it’s about when you are 18 and in love for the first time. In between there is another person seeing the whole thing from another angle, in the middle of his life, in the middle of his career and realizes it all went so fast. Per says the song was written very fast, but the guitar tuning was tricky. Jan asks how exactly that tuning is done. Per says when he wrote the song he went to Halmstad, to MP’s studio to record a demo. It went very well with all that new tuning. Then he went to Nashville to record it properly, but he had no clue how he did that in Halmstad, so they had to use his demo.

The whole Nashville project was different to whatever Per has done before and it’s not like today’s pop music when everything is done on computers. Per wanted to try something new. It became a completely organic album. It’s not an album for everybody. It’s for a certain audience. Per thinks many can identify with it, but many will think it’s too slow or the violin is too whiny. But it doesn’t matter. For him it was important to make this record. He wanted the lyrics and his voice to be in focus. The fantastic musicians in Nashville added a lot to it, Dan Dugmore with his pedal steel playing or Stuart Duncan with his violin playing.

Jan finds the expression ”I sin icke dansande generation” (= in his non-dancing generation) fantastic and he asks Per how he came up with this. Per says when you are sitting and chatting you realize that your generation is a non-dancing one. He finds the rhymes and songwriting exciting.

Jan mentions there are many returning symbols in Per’s lyrics on the new album, like sea, beaches, nature. Per says he has always used symbols like flowers, sea, winds, things you associate with images when you are listening to a song. It somehow makes the listener be part of the song. They recognize the smell, the taste, the feeling.

Jan and Per talk about Per’s family, that he has lost his mom, brother and sister during the past 3 years. When his sister, Gunilla died, her son found a box of 25-30 old diapositives from 1965-66. Even Per appeared on some of them. Mr. G chose a pic of Gunilla, standing and singing probably in Tylösand, to be on the album cover. Per thinks the colour of the diapositive fits the album very well.

Per tells Jan that Anton Corbijn was in New Orleans, shooting Arcade Fire when Per was in Nashville and so Anton came over and took some fantastic pictures of Per. First Per thought one of those should be on the cover, but after her sister’s diapositives were found he changed his mind. This way it is more personal and even more unexpected. The second album ”En vacker dag” will have a 1965 pic of Per’s mom on the cover, with a picnic table just behind the family’s Volvo Amazon.

Jan asks Per if losing his relatives has affected Mr. G in a way that it can be heard on the album. Per says yes and no. It of course has affected him, but none of the songs are directly about this. ”Allt gick så fort” might sound like that a bit, but the rest of the songs were written last spring after Roxette stopped touring. Some of the songs were left-overs and were re-written, but most of them are newly written.

Jan and Per talk about an earlier interview from the Son of a Plumber times and Jan remembers Per told him that his father died when Gyllene Tider broke through and Per wrote ”När alla vännerna gått hem” after his dad died. Per says it’s true and of course what happens in your life has its effects on you. These two albums he has made now he couldn’t have done 10 or 15 years ago. You must have a certain experience, a certain security, a certain courage to be able to do it. You have to find your style, your language, your strength to be able to do it.

Jan tells Per he feels that when Per sings on this new album, he is more ”naked” and asks if it is conscious. Per says he wanted to put the lyrics in focus.

Jan says the album sounds in a way very much Nashville, but also very much Halmstad. Per was travelling around the world, but always came back to Halmstad. Per says the older you get the more you go back to your roots, where you come from. It’s like when sometimes he is sitting and checking songs on Spotify and sees billions of them and he goes back to listen to songs he likes from 1967. And yes, there is a Nashville sound on the album, but at the same time, it’s Per’s stlye.

Mr. G says he wanted an album that is text-oriented and very simple, acoustic. First they just thought they shouldn’t record it in Sweden. They thought about studios in England and France, then Nashville popped up and Per liked the idea of a fusion between Tennesse and Halland. A little country has always been there in Per’s solo music. Neil Young’s “Harvest” stlye. They had no plans at all when they left Sweden for Nashville. First Per played the acoustic guitar and sang a bit, then they asked the studio if they could help to find local musicians. There are two world famous pedal steel players, Dan Dugmore and Paul Franklin. Dan Dugmore is the one who plays the pedal steel on Per’s album. When he listened to Per’s songs he wrote down numbers instead of chords. How Dan played changed the songs. Since they wanted to save time, they recorded 3-4 takes and then edited them later while mixing.

The same day Dan Dugmore came to the studio, Stuart Duncan came too to play the violin. When Per heard him playing he said wow. Everything became better and better, like the intro to ”Småstadsprat”. Then they needed a harmonica player, so Mickey Raphael plays on 3-4 songs.

Jan asks what Per thinks why his melodies are so special that they are attractive even to those who can’t speak Swedish. Per thinks they are beautiful, that’s why the albums are titled “En vacker natt” and “En vacker dag” (“A beatiful night” and “A beautiful day”). At least that was his ambition. Jan asks where Per’s melodies come from. They come from the ‘60s, but also from the Swedish traditional music. Here Per talks about his adventures with his friend, Peter as troubadours who played at nursing homes for old people. Per played the guitar and sang, Peter also played the guitar and the flute. They played everything they could and it included a lot of country as well. As troubadours, once they had to play at an old people’s nursing home in a new place in Halmstad. They entered a big table tennis hall and there were two men lying in there, they were not moving at all. They didn’t know what to do, there was no personnel around, so they just sat in the middle of the hall and started playing some songs, Proud Mary or something. Suddenly a nurse came and asked what the hell they were doing. They said they were just playing songs. A lot of doctors rushed in and then it turned out that one of the men there was in coma and he woke up to the sound of Per and Peter playing music. The day after it turned out that they shouldn’t even have to be there, at that place, but he will never forget that day. One can see that music makes miracles.

Pic from Jan Gradvall’s Instagram.

 

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!

 

Per Gessle’s Top9 songs from the ’80s

The 6th part of Per’s Swedish Radio podcast became available this morning. It’s about the lovely ’80s. Listen to the podcast or download it from HERE!

Per’s Top9 ’80s hits:

9. Gary Numan – Cars
8. Madness – Our House
7. INXS – Need You Tonight
6. Stevie Nicks – Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around
5. Billy Idol – Dancing With Myself
4. The Romantics – Talking In Your Sleep
3. XTC – Senses Working Overtime
2. Tom Petty – Free Fallin’
1. David Bowie – Modern Love

Mr. G mentions he listened a lot to Gary Numan’s Cars. The synth revolution happened in the ’80s and it affected and inspired many other musicians, not only Per. Cars combines the new sound of those times with a real good pop melody. Sven comes up with Gyllene Tider, saying it was the time when GT modernized themselves. Per agrees. In the ’80s there was a lot of make-up, big hair and funny clothes in general.

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Still is from Warner Music Sweden‘s PG short video

Our House from Madness is incredibly awesome music, Per says. It feels new and fresh. INXS from Australia had groovy songs. Per chose Need You Tonight, because he thinks it sounded like nothing else. Sexy and funky. Mr. G tells that they (Roxette) were recording in Capri, Italy in 1993 and INXS was recording there before them. (Don’t miss out on Per snapping his fingers at about 16:52.)

At No. 6 you can find a real cracker (smällkaramell), Stevie Nicks with Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around. It’s an outstanding song and here she sings with Tom Petty, who originally wrote the song together with Mike Campbell as a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers song. Sven and Per talk about 1981-82 when Mr. G and Marie were sitting in the studio, planning their conquering the world. Per says they started writing songs together, e.g. Ingen kan som du; Innan du går, kom tillbaka. Sven mentions the latter became a Roxette song later, at least the title of it (Come Back Before You Leave). Then Per laughs that he steals from himself.

Billy Idol is very much the ’80s for Per, he likes Billy’s ’80s singles. The Romantics is a Detroit band and their song Talking In Your Sleep is a well-produced hit with lovely guitar sounds. Per says they (Roxette) were headliners at some German or Czech festival and the singer, Wally Palmar from The Romantics was performing before them with Ringo Starr & His All Star Band. [It was at Bospop Festival in the Netherlands, 2011. 😉 /PP]

When XTC’s song, Senses Working Overtime came out, Per thought that was the best song he had ever heard. It has an odd composition. You can find Tom Petty at No.2 on PG’s Top9 list. Free Fallin’ is an awesome song. Tom Petty has a blues side as well, which Per never really liked, it’s not his cup of tea. Mr. G mentions Tom Petty is the king of the ’80s for him and David Bowie is the king of the ’70s. At No. 1 you can hear David Bowie’s Modern Love. Per says he is a die hard Bowie fan and he thinks David is a terribly good singer and the whole Let’s Dance album is fantastic.

Now only 4 parts left. Tune in next Thursday as well!

 

Per Gessle’s Top9 songs from the ’70s

The fifth part of Per’s Swedish Radio podcast starts with Mr. G opening a bottle of water and Per says ”En flaska vatten” (”A Bottle of Water”) would be a great song title. Sven jokes it sounds like a late Gyllene Tider song. Badabam! Listen to the podcast or download it from HERE!

 

Per’s Top9 ’70s hits:

9. T. Rex – Metal Guru (1972)
8. The Allman Brothers Band – Midnight Rider (1970)
7. Joni Mitchell – River (1971)
6. Lobo – Me And You And A Dog Named Bo (1971)
5. Fleetwood Mac – Go Your Own Way (1976)
4. Buzzcocks – Ever Fallen In Love (1978)
3. Blondie – Hanging On The Telephone (1978)
2. Mott the Hoople – All The Young Dudes (1972)
1. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Refugee (1979)

 

Per says the ’70s was a fantastic decade for music with so many genres and it was a decade that formed him a lot musically. He grew up on Tio i topp and on early ’70s music, then he himself started playing music in the middle of the ’70s and they started Gyllene Tider in 1977. Mr. G says everything started in the ’60s in the pop world, but in the ’70s even more things happened, including glam rock.

T. Rex is a fantastic band with a unique sound and a fab singer-songwriter-guitarist (Marc Bolan), according to Per. The Allman Brothers Band’s Midnight Rider is an incredibly catchy, awesome song, thinks Mr. G. Joni Mitchell is an obvious part of this Top9. Per listened to her and The Beatles the most during his life. Joni Mitchell’s singer-songwriter period from the ’60s until the mid ’70s was absolutely fantastic. Then she became a bit too jazzy and fusion for Per. She is the type of artist who other artists look up at and everyone loves her. Per mentions that during those times he started writing lyrics. He couldn’t play any instruments, but he had the melody in his head.

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Still is from the Warner Mexico video

For Sven, Lobo is a surprising choice by Per after Joni Mitchell. Mr. G says they had some songs that were damn good. They weren’t a one-hit wonder band, but a three-hit wonder band. Here Per googles Lobo and he realizes that lobo means wolf in Spanish. Then Sven mentions Los Lobos and Per says aaaah. (You learn something new each day.)

Fleetwood Mac’s studio album Rumours is a pop masterpiece according to Per. He chose a song off that album. Besides talking beautifully about the band, Mr. G also mentions all guys of his generation were in love with Stevie Nicks. From Buzzcocks Per chose a song that had a great effect on them in Gyllene Tider. He thinks Ever Fallen In Love is the best song of the British new wave era.

No. 3 is Blondie with Hanging On The Telephone. The song is a rocket, a magnificent hit according to Per. The album, Parallel Lines is a jukebox of hits, says Sven. Per says David Bowie meant incredibly lot to him and he chose a song written by Bowie as No. 2 on his Top9 list. It’s Mott the Hoople’s All The Young Dudes, which Per thinks is a terribly good song. Don’t miss out on Per’s reaction at the end of the song. 😉 He mentions sometimes it’s almost as much fun talking about music as listening to it. No. 1 on the list is Refugee by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Mr. G says when they started Gyllene Tider, they wanted to sound exactly like them. The band is extremely competent and Tom Petty is a fantastic singer and songwriter. Winning!

At the end of the podcast Sven says he hopes we liked the show, but if not, we can write to Per Gessle. Per says no, write to Sven instead. I guess we won’t write to anyone, but wait for next Thursday to hear the next part, right?

 

Per Gessle’s Top9 songs from the ’60s

The fourth part of Per’s Swedish Radio podcast is about the ’60s, Per’s happy childhood. Mr. G and Sven among other things talk about their favourite tunes from the decade and how Per started collecting records by buying his first The Kinks LP from his brother who needed money for cigarette. Listen to the podcast or download it from HERE!

Per’s Top9 ’60s hits:

9. The Kinks – Days (1968)
8. The Monkees – Steppin’ Stone (1966)
7. Alma Cogan – Tennessee Waltz (1964)
6.  Small Faces – All Or Nothing (1966)
5. Bee Gees – To Love Somebody (1967)
4. Paul Revere & The Raiders – Kicks (1966)
3. Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood – Summer Wine (1967)
2. The Trashmen – Surfin’ Bird (1963)
1. The Beatles – Dizzy Miss Lizzy (1965)

Per loves The Kinks, they are a fantastic band, they did incomparable music. The Monkees did the best version of Steppin’ Stone. First time Mr. G heard the song, he got hooked. Tennessee Waltz is a country song and Alma Cogan did a great version of it, she has a fantastic voice, Per thinks. Here you can hear Mr. G using Google to find out some info about the song. All Or Nothing by Small Faces still sounds good today and the guitars in it are special, just like its whole sound. The Bee Gees did fantastic pop music, they have a great catalogue and among other songs of theirs, Per loves To Love Somebody. Mr. G’s copy of the single has Per Gessle written on the backside, because he lent his friends his vinyls, so it was good to state who they belonged to. Paul Revere & The Raiders is another fantastic band with great guitar riffs. Summer Wine is at the 3rd place on the list. It’s a real masterpiece, Per thinks. Nancy and Lee have awesome voices. The Trashmen’s Surfin’ Bird is No. 2. This song is one of the party songs on Mr. G’s mixed tape we love to dance to while waiting for a Roxette show to begin. The video to it on YouTube is irresistible, Mr. G says. The Beatles is the greatest band of the ’60s, so it’s obvious they are at No. 1 on Per’s Top9 list. Dizzy Miss Lizzy is an inspiring song, a masterpiece, one of the best songs of the ’60s.

 

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Still is from the Thank you! video posted on Roxette’s Facebook page.

One week left until the next podcast part is out.

 

9 best female singers according to Per Gessle

Yay! It’s Thursday again! In today’s part of Per Gessle’s podcast Mr. G and Sven talk about the best female singers. Per has a very long list of fantastic female singers, e.g. Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Diana Ross, but here he lists those ones who had formed his songwriting and musicmaking in the early years. This way you won’t find Marie on the list of course, but we all know what an important role she has in our pop king’s life. Listen to the podcast or download it from HERE!

Per Gessle’s Top9 female singers:

9. Joan Jett & The Blackhearts – I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll
8. K.D. Lang – After The Gold Rush
7. Stevie Nicks – Dreams
6. Ann Wilson (Heart) – Love Alive
5. Dusty Springfield – Son Of A Preacher Man
4. Nancy Sinatra – These Boots are Made For Walking
3. Joni Mitchell – Rainy Night House
2. Chrissy Amphlett (Divinyls) – Pleasure And Pain
1. Deborah Harry (Blondie) – Heart Of Glass

Per says Joan Jett is a fantastic singer. Her cover of I Love Rock ’N’ Roll is from 1981 and with her voice, a woman singing the song gives another meaning of the lyrics and her version is more cheeky and sexy. This is what Mr. G is also trying to reach with his stuff together with Marie for example. When she sings a song, it gives another meaning to the lyrics.

K.D. Lang is from Canada and she is outstandingly good. She did a cover version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah and it’s the only cover of that song Per likes. K.D. Lang has some virtuosity in her voice what makes it fantastic.

Stevie Nicks has a very appealing voice. She is best known for her work with Fleetwood Mac, a band that meant a lot to Per. She is a unique artist and has mysterious lyrics.

Ann Wilson is an incredibly talented singer and Love Alive is a fantastic song. Per and MP listened to this song a lot when they started Gyllene Tider and got inspiration from it. Magdalena is one of those GT songs inspired by Love Alive.

Dusty Springfield’s delivery of songs is charming and her personality comes through the songs. One can’t stop listening to Son Of A Preacher Man. Dusty’s voice is very sexy and magnetic.

No surprise Nancy Sinatra is also in Per’s Top9. One hand is not enough to count how many times he shared These Boots are Made For Walking on Roxette’s Facebook page over the years. Mr. G says one can only fall in love with Nancy’s voice. Per loves her cooperation with Lee Hazlewood and their song Summer Wine (which you could bump into on Roxette’s Facebook page also quite frequently).

Joni Mitchell is at No. 3 on Per’s list. He listened to her all his life. Rainy Night House has the typical Joni Mitchell sound and it is beautiful. How Joni Mitchell expresses herself feels like she is a painter, painting all her lyrics.

Chrissy Amphlett  from Divinyls is the No. 2 female singer on Mr. G’s list. She has a very unique voice, one melts while listening to her.

Debbie Harry from Blondie is the best female singer according to Per. She’s the one who stands out as a singer and with her personality in pop music. It’s probably only Madonna who is as outstanding as Debbie. Heart Of Glass is one of world’s best pop songs according to Per. It still sounds like a hit today.

 

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Per Gessle. Foto: Jesper Molin/Sveriges Radio

 

Next podcast part will be available next Thursday.

 

Per Gessle’s nine Swedish heroes

Another Thursday, another part of Per Gessle’s podcast. Lovely to listen to. In this one Mr. G and Sven Lindström talk about those Swedish musicians and songs that had an effect on Per’s own music. The chosen songs are again from the ’60s and ’70s. Listen to the podcast or download it from HERE!

Per Gessle’s Top9 Swedish heroes:

9. Ola & The Janglers – Come And Stay With Me
8. Ola Magnell – Nya perspektiv
7. Tages – Fantasy Land
6. November – En Ny Tid Är Här
5. Ted Gärdestad – Come Give Me Love
4. Cornelis Vreeswijk – Balladen Om Fredrik Åkare Och Den Söta Fröken Cecilia Lind
3. Ulf Lundell – Sniglar och Krut
2. Pugh Rogefeldt – Klöver Linda
1. John Holm – Den Öde Stranden

Per has always been an Ola & The Janglers fan, because they have a unique sound. Come And Stay With Me he listened to many, many times. The lead member is called Ola Håkansson, so Per and Sven start talking about their second names and mention Per’s mum called him Per Håkan and Sven’s other name is Magnus. Mr. G says he also listened to Ola Magnell a lot in the ’70s. He is a great songwriter and a fantastic singer. Tages is a band from Gothenburg and Per still likes them very much, their songs still sound great. November is a band that also formed Per’s songwriting, he listened to them a lot as well. He sees November in his world as a pop band. Per listened to Ted Gärdestad a lot when he grew up. Come Give Me Love is one of the nicest and most brilliant Swedish songs, Mr. G thinks. Per compares TG to Paul McCartney. Cornelis Vreeswijk has very good lyrics and he is a unique artist, Per thinks. Ulf Lundell’s best song according to PG is Sniglar och Krut that’s why it’s at No. 3 on his Swedish heroes list. Pugh Rogefeldt’s 2nd album, Pughish is the best Swedish album of all times, with fantastic songs and production. Per chose a song from that album as the 2nd on his list.

No surprise that John Holm is at No. 1 on Mr. G’s list. He is Per’s greatest Swedish idol. You surely remember he met John last year after John’s concert in Halmstad and got a wonderful hug from him. So heartwarming to think about it. Per says John has a very special voice, he does great music and melodies. Den Öde Stranden is a very attractive song to Per, he even covered it on his first solo album in 1983.

Next podcast part will be available next Thursday.

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9 songs Per Gessle wishes he had written

As we already informed you about it, Per has his own podcast on Swedish radio together with Sven Lindström. The first part was made available this morning. Listen to the 57-minute-long show HERE!

It’s about 9 songs Mr. G wishes he had written. Earlier on Nordic Rox there was a Twelve Peaks show where Per listed 12 songs he wished he had written and discussed his choice with Sven. The list from today is completely different, which shows there are many awesome so well written songs mainly from the ’60s.

It’s always very entertaining to listen to these 2 pop nerds who know everything about music. They know when the songs came out, if those hits were on the charts and at which position, who the songwriter is, etc. While they are talking about the songs on the list, of course Per’s songwriting is a topic as well. This way they relate to Roxette and Gyllene Tider. Per and Sven also discuss what songs they were listening to in the ’60s and ’70s and how those songs effected them.

Here are the Top 9 songs Mr. G came up with during the show:

9. Petula Clark: Downtown (1963)
8. The Byrds: Goin’ Back (1967)
7. The Carpenters: Yesterday Once More (1973)
6. B.J. Thomas: Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head (1969)
5. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Something Big (1981)
4. The Young Rascals: How Can I Be Sure (1967)
3. The Kinks: Waterloo Sunset (1967)
2. Astrud Gilberto: Never My Love (first released by The Association in 1967; Astrud G. in 1968)
1. The Beach Boys: God Only Knows (1966)

Per says he remembers he was listening to her sister’s singles when he was 8-9 years old. Besides Presley’s Jailhouse Rock and The Beatles, Petula Clark was also among those singles. He says he was never a real fan of The Carpenters, because it’s a bit too nice music for him, but Yesterday Once More is a well-produced song, it has a feel-good feeling and he loves the sha-la-la-la in it. He mentions that one of the songwriters he likes the most is Burt Bacharach. They also talk about B.J. Thomas and they have no clue what his real name was (Billy Joe Thomas). Per says Tom Petty always had an important place in his heart, he likes his lyrics and his storytelling style. How Can I Be Sure charmed him with its damn good lyrics and the waltz tempo. Terry and Julie from Waterloo Sunset appear in the Roxette song Me & You & Terry & Julie. All in all, these 9 songs are either catchy pop songs or wonderful love ballads, they are easy to listening to and all of them are masterpieces. One can’t stop listening to them.

The show is an awesome listening even if you don’t speak Swedish. Hearing 2 friends chatting, having much fun while talking about their favourite topic, laughing a lot, kidding each other. Fab start into the day! Is it next Thursday yet?

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Video to the new Roxette single

As you could read in our article this morning, Per starts a radio podcast on 24th March. A great chance to practice your Swedish by listening to 2 nerds chatting about music.

Today Per visited Swedish Radio P4 Halland and talked about the podcast. In the short interview he also mentioned that he is busy with other things as well. Besides that he started his own record label Space Station 12, there are also a lot of things happening around Roxette. The new album is out in summer, the single is out in April and he confirmed there will be a video to the single which they are shooting next week. Too cool!

Another interesting thing Mr. G mentioned is that they are playing 18 shows in Europe this summer. We know about 14 dates so far, so there are at least 4 more to come. Sounds promising!

Listen to Per HERE!

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Per Gessle’s podcast on Swedish Radio

According to today’s news, Per Gessle will have a podcast on Swedish Radio P4 together with Sven Lindström. The title of the program is Gessles nio i topp (Gessle’s Top 9).

It will premiere on 24th March and will have 10 parts:

  • 24 March: Nio låtar jag önskar att jag skrivit (Nine songs I wish I had written)
  • 31 March: Nio svenska hjältar (Nine Swedish heroes)
  • 7 April: Nio bästa sångerskorna (Nine best female singers)
  • 14 April: 60-tal – de nio just nu bästa (’60s – the nine best right now)
  • 21 April: 70-tal – de nio just nu bästa (’70s – the nine best right now)
  • 28 April: 80-tal – de nio just nu bästa (’80s – the nine best right now)
  • 5 May: Nio new wave från England (Nine new wave songs from England)
  • 12 May: Nio bästa producenterna i rockhistorien (Nine best producers in rock history)
  • 19 May: Nio bästa Beatleslåtarna sjungna av John Winston Lennon (Nine best Beatles songs sung by John Winston Lennon)
  • 26 May: Nio bästa gitarriffen i rockhistorien (Nine best guitar riffs in rock history)

How exciting! Listening to Per and Sven talking about music is one of the best things in life. And now we will have some ear candy each Thursday!

When Per was asked about the idea by Per Scholander from P4, he never hesitated. He says it was obvious to say yes.

Sven and I like to talk at once and have no respect for each other’s opinions. Perfect breeding ground for a podcast.

The podcast will be available HERE!

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Per Gessle’s deep song title analysis

PG_Gradvall_podcastPer had been interviewed by Jan Gradvall for his Swedish Radio podcast and the program was made available last Saturday. You can listen to it or even download it from HERE. Per’s part starts at 7:18 and ends at 21:50. The second half of the program is an interview with Kajsa Grytt.

The topic was “I Want You”, a song title that you can find among The Beatles, Bob Dylan and Elvis Costello classic songs, but Jan and Per also went into a deep analysis of song titles in general.

Per’s opinion about Bob Dylan’s “I Want You” is that it’s an awesome song on Dylan’s fantastic Blonde on Blonde album. It was released in 1966 when Per was 7 years old, so he says he didn’t know what the song “I Want You” was about, but he remembers he listened to it a lot of times.

According to Per, “I Want You” is a very good, simple and direct title. It makes you curious. Gradvall asked him what makes a song title a good song title. Per says, even if today’s generation doesn’t really look at album covers, actually it’s usually the title of the song you see first. It has to raise curiosity about what the song is about. He thinks a good title is very important, but it’s also a matter of taste. He likes simple titles, but he also likes strange titles, e.g. of his GT songs ”Allt jag lärt mig i livet har jag lärt mig av Vera” or ”(Dansar inte lika bra som) Sjömän”. Per thinks many artists have boring song titles.

Jan asked Mr. G what he thinks, which his best song titles are. Per says “Dressed For Succes” is really good, “Ska vi älska, så ska vi älska till Buddy Holly” is very good, “Sleeping In My Car”, “How Do You Do!”, because it makes you curious what the song is about, “Queen Of Rain” is an exciting title, “Crash! Boom! Bang!” which is coming from Elvis Presley’s Jailhouse Rock [here he is singing the tunes 🙂 ], “Flickorna på TV2” is a superb title.

They talk about Elvis Costello as well. Per likes him and liked his first album and the song “Watching the Detectives”. He thinks he became a little bit too clever with a little bit too many chords for Per, but he is a fantastic musician and singer. He listened more to Costello’s producer, Nick Lowe. Per prefers simplicity and beautiful, simple melodies.

“I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” by The Beatles is very simple and direct. Per thinks it’s a fantastic mix and it’s an odd, but a damn good song on “Abbey Road”. The album came out when Per was 10 and it was an important one for him. “Come Together” is also an outstanding song on it. George Harrison’s “Something” and “Here Comes The Sun” are masterpieces on “Abbey Road”. “Octopus’s Garden” and Paul’s medley on side two are also fantastic. Per explains he did a medley on his “Son of a Plumber” album, the “Junior Suite” and it was inspired by the “Abbey Road” medley. It was real fun doing it.

Gradvall asked Per about his thoughts on The Beatles song titles. The early songs had more simple titles (“I Should Have Known Better”, “I’ll Cry Instead”, “Love Me Do”, “Please Please Me”), but later the titles became more nonsense and abstract, e.g. “Happiness Is A Warm Gun”, “Tomorrow Never Knows”, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”. If he looks back at Lennon titles, they were rather simple, e.g. “It’s So Hard”, “Jealous Guy”, “Imagine”, “God”.

Jan asked Per about his own “I Want You”. Mr. G clarifies it’s not his own song, he did it together with Marie Fredriksson, Eva Dahlgren and the Ratata guys in 1987, during their joint tour Rock runt riket. The producer was Anders Glenmark and it does sound like a Glenmarkish song.

To the question how many words are optimal in a song title Per replied sometimes he thinks as many as possible. For example, for the latest Gyllene Tider album he wrote a song with a long title “Jag tänker åka på en lång lång lång lång lång resa”. It could have been “Jag tänker åka på en lång resa”, but with 5 långs it sounds better and it is to emphasize how long the journey is. It’s that “The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill” is much better than “Bungalow Bill”. Or as an album title, “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” is much better than “Ziggy Stardust”. But a song title can be short or long, the important thing is to raise curiosity. It can be a question that might not be answered in the song or e.g. he has the title “I Never Quite Got Over The Fact That The Beatles Broke Up” which is not in the lyrics, but the content reflects that he didn’t get over the fact.