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.

“Charm school” cover idea

Per Gessle tells Sven Lindström in Nordic Rox Roxette Special why they did not do any photography session.

Pär Wickholm is a great Swedish designer. You leave vauge ideas on his desk and he comes up with 3, 4, 5 totally different concepts. Basiclly I said to him that we are not going to do any major photo session. We’re gonna collect pictures from here and there, favourite pictures, silly pictures, snapshots. I told Marie to collect 60 pictures and I collected 60 pictures and we just saw what would come up with them. After couple of weeks we decided that it’s good. I like it. It looks fresh and it reflects the album.

Thanks to Miedy Bishop for this information.

Per Gessle on SIRIUS XM concert

Yesterday at the Apollo club in Harlem an exclusive concert for SIRIUS XM listeners took place. SIRIUS XM launched a month-long “Paul McCartney’s Band on the Run Radio” channel devoted to the music of Paul McCartney. The concert also celebrated that SIRIUS XM reaching 20 million subscribers.

Per Gessle was one of the guests – he was sitting next to Keith Richard and Ronny Wood.

Great Paul McC-show tonight at the Apollo in Harlem. He started with Magical Mystery Tour. Hard to beat!

Interesting ppl in the seats next to me: Keith and Ron liked it when Macca did Marvin’s Hitchhike…

PER GESSLE ON THE RED CARPET

Sirius XM broadcasted the 100th episode of “Nordic Rox”

NEW YORK – January 23, 2009 – SIRIUS XM Radio (NASDAQ: SIRI) announced today that Per Gessle of the multi-platinum band Roxette and music journalist Sven Lindstrom will host a two-part special celebrating the 100th episode of Nordic Rox, SIRIUS XM’s exclusive Scandinavian music show. Nordic Rox airs weekly on Sunday nights at 8 pm on The Spectrum on SIRIUS channel 18 and XM channel 45.

“One hundred shows! Can’t believe it! We started out as rookies with this simple mission to bring Scandinavian pop and rock music to the U.S. It’s been a blast,” said Per Gessle. “We’ve had great response from listeners all over the country. The best thing, however, is to put these shows together. To dig out thatspecial track we just know is happening and demands a bigger audience than just the tiny local radio station in the north of Sweden. That, to me, is what it’s all about.”

“One of the original goals of creating Nordic Rox was to bring the most original and exciting English language music from the rich musical history of Scandinavia to SIRIUS XM subscribers,” said Scott Greenstein, SIRIUS XM Radio’s President and Chief Content Officer. “Per and his team have built the artistic bridge between the music of Scandinavia and the music fans of North America.”

The two-part special will spotlight the 50 best Swedish songs of all time. In addition, broadcast highlights will include Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist of The Hives and rising Swedish rock star Lisa Miskovsky as well as archival interviews featuring several of the recording artists from the list.

The first part of the Nordic Rox special will debut on Sunday, January 25 at 8 pm ET, with encore presentations on Wednesday, January 28 at 11 pm ET and Saturday, January 31 at 8 pm ET. Part two of theNordic Rox special will debut on Sunday, February 1 at 8 pm ET, with encore presentations on Wednesday, February 4 at 11 pm and Saturday, February 7 at 8 pm ET.

PART 1 // PART 2

Thanks to Majdy for recording the show and shirley for the press release.

Roxette Sirius XM Special 2010

Very interesting collection of photos taken during 2009 as well as these from the past mixed with the lastest interview with Roxette on American internet radio-station Sirius XM. Worth watching and listening!

If you would like to download the interview and songs, please read comment section here.