Per Gessle on Nordic Rox – June 2024

Per Gessle and Sven Lindström do the final countdown of their favourite Swedish and Scandinavian songs from the ’60s in the June episode of Nordic Rox. Now they list the Top 5 songs. Per says it’s a wonderful chart, he is really proud of it.

The guys say they also have some new material just released, pop-rock sounds from the Nordic countries. But first, they go back to the Swedish ’90s and check out a band called Gyllene Tider. Per says he has heard about them. Haha. Sven explains this is Per Gessle’s Swedish power pop group. They started in the late ’70s. The song they play is from 1994, 1995 maybe. PG wrote it while touring with Roxette. He wrote it in a backstage area in Tokyo, Japan, because Gyllene Tider was supposed to release a compilation album of all their hits and they needed some new tracks. So he wrote this one for the band and when he returned from Asia, he recorded it and it became a big song for them. Sven confirms it was a massive hit and totally right with the times. It paved the way for the Gyllene Tider comeback. They had been sleeping for a couple of years. Per says GT broke up in the mid ’80s and then he started to focus on Roxette for many years. Then Gyllene Tider made a comeback in 1996, mainly because of this song and also because of the old hits that had become very popular again with the new generation growing up. Timeless pop, you know what it’s like. Sven knows exactly what it sounds like, they are going to play it now. Det är över nu, translating to „it’s over now”. Strange title for a song to open a show, Sven thinks, but there you go, that’s Nordic Rox for you. Benjamin Button, Per says. Haha.

The next song they play is The Golden Age by The Asteroids Galaxy Tour from their debut album called Fruit. It’s one of Sven’s favourite bands from Denmark in the noughties.

Coming next is Crystal Heart by Kye Kepler. Per asks Sven if he knows anything about Mr. Kepler. Sven says he seems to be an interesting guy. His real name is Max Borglowe. He seems to be a multi-instrumentalist and a producer. He is also a 3D artist and when he is not making guitar pedals, he is busy writing songs and getting atmospheric synthesizer sounds together. Busy guy.

Coming up next another band that Per has got some association with, Eskobar. They were a special guest on Roxette’s final European tour in 2015. They were opening up for Roxette at 33, 34 shows all over Europe. Per thinks it’s a great band, he always liked them a lot. The song they play is a collaboration with Heather Nova, Someone New. Sven says it was a big hit for them. Heather Nova, interestingly enough, was born in 1967 in the Caribbean, where her parents sailed around on their own sailboat. She grew up there in the ’70s and part of the ’80s. Whereas Eskobar, they grew up in a suburb outside of Stockholm. That’s the way life goes.

Live Again by Goldielocks, a Finnish band of which the guys don’t know that much, but they like the song. They are going to see if they can research and check them out in future shows.

Young Folks by Peter Bjorn and John is next. Per thinks it’s a wonderful song from 2006. Sven says it was a major hit in America. Slightly underground growing. It’s still played today, especially here on Nordic Rox. This song features whistling and Per is not a stranger to whistling. Mr. G says he was always a big whistler. He whistled on the Joyride track and some other songs. He can’t do it anymore, though, because he changed his teeth. It’s part of history, Sven says. Yeah, so Per needs sample sounds. Sven informs that when the Joyride album or single came out, the vinyl version had a sort of writing by the label saying, „was it really necessary to whistle?”. Sven asks Per to share the story behind that. Mr. G says it was one of their agents who didn’t like Per’s whistling. He said, „was it really necessary to whistle?” and they all thought that was hilarious, because that was like the big hook in that song. So when they pressed the vinyl single, they engraved „was it really necessary to whistle?” just where the label starts. You could do those things with vinyls. Sven thinks the agent would probably have said the same thing about Young Folks. Per agrees.

Now the final five songs on the ’60s list are coming. It’s been really tricky to pick out the top five spots, Per thinks, because there are so many favourites of theirs. No. 5 is Ola & The Janglers from Stockholm with a song called Alex Is The Man, from the album Limelight, written by guitar player Claes af Geijerstam in 1966, which was a great year for pop music. Sven laughs. Per explains they always have this argument about which is the best year in pop music: 1966 or 1965 or the outsider, 1971. Sven says, as most people would agree, 1965, of course. Per says, no, no, no, no, no. Haha. The discussion is ongoing.

The next band on the list is from Stockholm called the Mascots. It’s one of the guys’ favourite groups. They had a song called Words Enough To Tell You. Per thinks it’s a great band and they have great songs. A Sad Boy, is their best song according to PG. He thinks it’s really beautiful. Sven agrees. It’s a melancholy minor song tune. And it’s on an album called Your Mascots. The song is from 1965. Not a bad year for pop music, Per says. Haha. This argument will never end.

The guys stay in Stockholm for the third band, maybe the biggest of all the Swedish ’60s band, the Hep Stars. Per says the band is featuring Benny Andersson on keyboards. He was one of the founders of ABBA. He wrote this song, Sunny Girl. If you have a screen available, you can see the album cover, Sven says. Up there in the left corner is a very young Benny Andersson. Sven what better song to follow a song called A Sad Boy than a Sunny Girl, Sven laughs. Per says you can actually hear the trademarks of Benny Andersson’s songwriting here, which he sort of developed, of course, when the ABBA thing happened in the ’70s. He’s got this wonderful knack of putting a great melody together. And it’s not like what you expect all the time. He does his own thing. Sven says Benny’s keyboard gives this song the baroque pop feeling to it. Sven thinks Sunny Girl was another level of Swedish pop songwriting back then. This song is from 1966, which is a great year of pop music, Per insists. He had this as a vinyl single.

No. 2 on the list is a band that wasn’t really a pop band. Sven is pretty sure, this is their first time on American radio. They were more like an easy listening dance band. But they had a knack of writing songs that got them accepted by the pop crowd as well. Yeah, they had so many hits. Per personally never liked to listen to them, because they didn’t have long hair. That was so important in the ’60s. You wanted all the bands to look really cool and have this attitude. This band, Sven-Ingvars, didn’t have that at all, but they had their own sound. They wrote their own songs. And they truly deserved the runner-up position on this chart, PG thinks. Apart from the long hair, another thing that made them a bit suspicious among the young pop listeners was that the parents liked them as well, Sven says. Per reacts „yeah, terrible”. Sven thinks the song is very charming. Something that might get lost here, because they come from a part of Sweden called Värmland, which is very close to Norway and they have this wonderful Swedish accent. The dialect is very special and they used it a lot when they were singing as well. To their advantage. And this song is called Börja om från början, translating to „begin from the beginning” or „start from scratch”. It’s a breakup song, basically and it’s from 1965.

Before the guys reveal their No. 1, Per says they don’t really have that much in common with Sven. But one thing they have in common is that they consider Tages to be the best band of the ’60s in Sweden. Sven says they had two singers, as they mentioned that before in the last show. Tommy Blom was the major singer. He was the most good-looking, but maybe not the best singer. But he was good, Per says. They had a great bass player in Göran Lagerberg, who was a great singer as well. He also was a great composer, he was the main songwriter. Tommy Blom was singing the verse and Göran Lagerberg came in singing the chorus. Per thinks it’s brilliant. They were produced by Anders Henriksson, a great producer in the ’60s and ’70s. This 1967 song, Every Raindrop Means A Lot is one of the highlights of Swedish pop music from the ’60s, for sure. It’s a masterpiece, a well-deserved number one. The guys hope the listeners agree.

Sven and Per play some more music. The Wannadies is a band from Skellefteå, slightly in the middle north of Sweden. Per considers it the north, but he is from the south. PG says everything above Stockholm is the north. Sven agrees. Stockholm is north as well for those who come from the south. Hit is taken from an album called Bagsy Me. Sven asks „why did the ’90s end?” Every song should sound like this, he thinks. Per thinks it’s a great song, he likes it.

Doing It Again Baby by Girl In Red is next. Then Broken Promise Land by Weeping Willows is wrapping up this episode of Nordic Rox.

The guys thank the listeners for joining them and Cigarettes by Anita Lindblom closes the show, as usual.

Photo by Anders Roos (2019)

Thanks for your support, Sven!

Per Gessle on Nordic Rox – May 2024

Per Gessle and Sven Lindström continue their countdown of their favourite Swedish and Scandinavian songs from the ’60s in the May episode of Nordic Rox. Now they list the songs from No. 10 to No. 6. The tension rises, they got some stuff on this list that Sven believes is played for the first time on American radio. History in the making.

Sven asks Per what’s up and PG says there are lots of things on his agenda. Preparing for the world premiere of the Roxette musical, Joyride – The Musical in September in Malmö. There will be 110 shows in Malmö, then they move to Stockholm and Europe, he hopes. Sven finds it exciting and says he lives just around the corner to Malmö Opera.

Before getting down to the ’60s list, the guys got a lot of new material to present. They kick off with a joint venture between Anglo-Swedish band Alberta Cross & Band Of Skulls and play their brand new single Born In Amazement. PG thinks it’s a good song.

Ellen Krauss latest single Cherry On Top is next. Ellen broke through during a show called the Denniz Pop Awards, five or six years ago. Denniz Pop is a legendary pop producer.

Fading Like A Flower by Roxette comes next. Per says it was peaking at number two on the Billboard chart in 1991. Sven is not really sure whether it was in spring or autumn. It wasn’t the first single, but the second. Joyride was the lead single. Per thinks it was summer of 1991 and says it was number one on the Cashbox chart. Cashbox was competing with Billboard in those days. Sven read somewhere ages ago that when John Kennedy grew up and he was going to school or university, in a sports competition he had won a silver medal and his father looked at him and said, you don’t win silver, you lose gold. So Sven is curious how it feels being number two. PG laughs and says they were pretty pleased with being number two. It was the peak period of Roxette, Joyride was the big album for them and they were on tour in 1991-92. Fading Like A Flower for Per sums up the sound, the essence of Roxette. Marie is doing a fantastic job singing and the production, everything is classic Roxette. He is glad Sven picked this song. Sven is curious if Per remembers writing it, but he doesn’t.

Nails And Beauty by a band from Malmö, Going Big is played next. The band is from Malmö and this is their latest single. Sven loves the harmony vocals. It sounds a bit chilly like Bram Tchaikovsky.

Say Lou Lou’s new single, Dust comes next. The guys say they played a lot of Say Lou Lou songs already before this show. Julian is still Per’s favourite song from them. That was their breakthrough song. Sven loves it too. It’s such a great production and great track, Per thinks. Sven read that Dust is on a new EP and Say Lou Lou is going to release a couple of EPs in the upcoming months.

Next is The Soundtrack Of Our Lives with a great song, Believe I’ve Found, which is the opening track of their album called Origin Vol. 1. They made some great albums in 2001 and 2003, Per says. They came from Gothenburg, a great music city. Sven would say they came out of the punk movement, but then found their Stones roots. They had a sound of their own. Per agrees and he thinks this is one of their best songs.

Now it’s time to move on to the Nordic Rox list of Scandinavian ’60s goodies. And there is an emphasis on Swedish acts, but the guys have a Danish act coming up. Sven asks Per if he thinks that the Eurovision Song Contest is anything known in the States. Per doesn’t think so. It’s a very European thing and it’s only for certain European people as well. Lots of people are not interested and have never been interested in it. But funnily enough, it seems like it survived and only grew bigger and bigger and bigger. It was the breakthrough show for ABBA. They won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 with Waterloo. Sven adds ABBA sort of rewrote the music a bit, because the show became a lot more pop orientated after ABBA. It wasn’t before and after. Why Sven asked Per about this is because this guy they are going to play, he won the Swedish Eurovision Song Contest in 1968. Per and Sven picked this song for only one reason, because they love it. And because they are pretty sure it has never been played on US radio before. Det börjar verka kärlek, banne mej by Claes-Göran Hederström. Per thinks it’s a great track. The title is a bit tricky to translate, but it means It’s Starting To Look Like Love, Darn. Sven says this is also a kind of new chapter in Swedish Eurovision history, because here is when they started to move away from dramatic ballads and move closer to the pop era.

Most of the pop groups in Sweden sang in English, because that was the thing you did in the ’60s. Even today, of course. Ola & The Janglers is No. 9 on the list with a track called Love Was On Your Mind. Per loved that track when he was a kid and Sven loves it too. It was written by guitar player Claes af Geijerstam who was a really talented songwriter according to Per. There weren’t that many Swedish bands that wrote their own material. Sven guesses that Claes toured with ABBA later on as a backup singer. Per corrects Sven and says he was doing the front of house sound. There were a lot of hits for Ola & The Janglers. This song is sort of mega ’60s because it’s like a Swede pop ballad turning into some kind of The Swinging Blue Jeans frenzy and then back again. It’s really interesting.

Coming up next is Tages, an amazing band according to Per. They were called the Swedish Beatles. They also did covers of R&B songs and they wrote really wonderful pop songs themselves. It was like a mix, they had a little of everything. Great singer and bass guitar player in Göran Lagerberg and a wonderful front person in Tommy Bloom, who was all the girls’ hero. They also had a great producer, Anders Henriksson, one of the big producers in the ’60s and ’70s for them. Sven thinks their career started in 1964, very early on and it ended in the late ’60s, in 1968. The whole Swedish pop scene sort of ran out of steam. So a lot of those bands that were big in 1966, 1967, they quit and started doing other things. One of the last singles that Tages did is the one that the guys play at position No. 8 on their chart. Fantasy Island is a great song, Per thinks. He had this on a single when he was a kid. It’s a wonderful song, Sven agrees.

No. 7 brings us to Copenhagen, Denmark. Per says they have been pretty slow in playing Danish music on this show for so many years. Sven says, „for good reason. Did I say that?” Per says, „no, you didn’t say that.” Haha. The time has come to pick up one of the great songs from the ’60s. It’s two brothers and an uncle, who was almost the same age. The brothers were 14 and 13 when this was recorded and then it was released late in 1964. The brothers are Torben and Jørgen Lundgren. Per remembers this song when he grew up, but he must have heard it later on. Since Sven was three years older and much more mature than Per, he remembers when it came out. Sven thought they were sensational and their voices are so innocent. Per thinks the production of the song is really cool. The drum sounds great and it just sounds amazing. Sven agrees and says it entered the Swedish charts and they went down a storm in Sweden. The guys play Do You Know (How Much I Love You) by The Lollipops. After the song Sven says, The Lollipops clocking in at 1.56, that’s Ramones times. Per thinks it’s the perfect length of a pop song. Sven agrees.

The guys are back to Sweden to check out the founding father of the Swedish language in pop culture, Pugh Rogefeldt. Per says he was really early with writing songs in Swedish in the ’60s. The guys play his breakthrough song, Här kommer natten, (Here Comes The Night) from 1969. It wasn’t a big hit, but it was big enough to become a breakthrough for him. He became a really big figure on the scene for many years. Sven says he also rewrote the rules, because all the pop and rock guys in Sweden in the ’60s thought it would be too corny to write in Swedish. Per informs Pugh was very much influenced by artists like Captain Beefheart. He did some kind of strange sort of pop music and worked with a great producer, Anders Burman, a drummer who came from the jazz scene in the ’50s. Anders had his own indie label at the time and signed Pugh Rogefeldt. So he did three or four, maybe even five, amazing albums. Sven says we hear Georg ’Jojje’ Wadenius as well on guitar, who later would join Blood, Sweat & Tears. He was also in a band called Made in Sweden back then.

This Pugh song wraps up today’s snippet of the guy’s list of Scandinavian goodies from the ’60s. Next month they are back with the final countdown. (Here Per is humming the tune of Europe’s The Final Countdown.)

Coming up next is an interesting project by the Shout Out Louds from Sweden. They recorded an album in 2005 called Howl Howl Gaff Gaff and they have just recently made a new version called Howl Howl Gaff Gaff Revisited where they re-recorded a couple of songs. Per says they probably weren’t really happy with the original. Sven asks Per if he has ever considered re-recording any old material. Per says, absolutely, it happens all the time. Especially if you are not happy with it. It could be so many different things. Maybe the production didn’t work out or maybe it was recorded in the wrong key or the mood wasn’t right. Or you suddenly start to like the song more. Sven says we are going to hear a snippet of the 2005 version of a song called The Comeback and then we are going to seamlessly move into the 2024 version of The Comeback.

Sucker by Club 8 is played next. Per thinks it’s a great song. He doesn’t know anything about Club 8 though. Sven informs there is a band called Acid House Kings in Sweden and a band member there called Johan Angergård. This is his side project with a vocalist called Karolina Komstedt. Sucker is their latest single.

This wraps up the May episode of Nordic Rox. The guys thank the listeners for joining them and Cigarettes by Anita Lindblom closes the show, as usual.

Pic by Patrícia Peres, Book Fair 2014, Gothenburg

Thanks for your support, Sven!

Per Gessle on Nordic Rox – April 2024

Per Gessle and Sven Lindström recorded their April episode of Nordic Rox in March. The guys are having a good time, because it’s spring and they continue with their new special that contains their favourite Swedish and Scandinavian songs from the ’60s. They think the first episode was a great success, at least it felt like it, for them at least. They haven’t heard any comments from the audience yet, but they are sure they will come. This time they are going to count down from No. 15 to No. 11.

Before that, the guys kick off with something completely different. They start off with one of their favourite bands from Sweden ever, The Hives. Such a great band, Per says. Luckily for everyone, they are back in action again with their new album, The Death Of Randy Fitzsimmons. They are also touring everywhere now. The song played is Countdown To Shutdown.

The next song is He’s Peculiar by Norwegian power-pop star Vibeke. Per thinks she is amazing. She has lots of great songs.

Then comes Walking On Air by PG Roxette. Sven is curious about the story behind the song. Per tells him it’s the opening track of the PG Roxette album that came out in the fall of 2022, Pop-Up Dynamo! It was the first song that PG wrote for the album. Actually, he got a request to write a song for the Top Gun: Maverick movie, for a particular scene, which eventually they didn’t use. So they obviously didn’t use Per’s song either. But anyway, it became the kick-off for this album. It’s really cool, Per thinks. It’s like the missing link between Roxette’s Look Sharp! and Joyride sound-wise. The bridge between the ’80s and ’90s, so that’s why it sounds like it does. Sven thinks it’s a cool track. Per is really glad that Sven likes it.

Before the guys get down to their list of ’60s highlights, they play two more tracks. The band Hello Saferide is first. Per says, when Annika Norlin is working in English, she calls herself Hello Saferide. She has been doing some great tracks over the years. Sven says, this song is from 2008 or 2009. So it’s pretty old, PG reacts. It’s on a compilation album by the indie label Razzia Records and the track is called I Was Definitely Made For These Times.

The next track is the wonderful sound of The Hellacopter’s new single The Electric Index Eel. Sven thinks it’s good to hear them again. Per agrees and adds that this one came out in November last year. It sounds really fresh to his ears.

The best of Swedish music from the ’60s is coming. Per explains that what they are trying to do here is to focus a little bit on Scandinavian acts, especially Swedish acts from the ’60s who wrote their own material. So many bands and artists in those days were doing cover versions of American and English hits, but there were a few exceptions. Sven says, you can’t avoid a guy called Benny Andersson when you speak about original Swedish music. PG adds that he came out in the ’60s, before he formed ABBA with Björn Ulvaeus. He had this Hep Stars band. He wasn’t the original keyboard player there, but he became the second keyboard player and he changed the band forever. He was such a great writer. At position No. 15, the guys play Wedding, one of Hep Stars’ greatest songs. Sven loves this one from 1966. By then, it seemed like Benny could just write hits that went immediately up to the No. 1 position on the Swedish chart. Per agrees. 1966, by the way, is a great year in pop music, Mr. G says. Sven says they always debate about whether 1965 or 1966 is the best year. Per thinks 1966 is by far the best. Sven says it’s not a bad year. So we listen to the song, taken from one of Hep Stars’ best-selling albums, recorded and released in 1966. We hear Benny Andersson, future ABBA member, on the keyboards. Per thinks it’s a great track and it was released on Olga Records, an independent Swedish label.

Sven says, now it’s time to play some music in Swedish. Basically, everyone who was a pop star sang in English in the ’60s, because The Beatles did, but there were a few exceptions that actually sounded like a pop band, but sang in Swedish. Per says, this particular band Sven is talking about is Sven-Ingvars. They came from Värmland. Hillbilly, Sven says, but Per doesn’t want to say that. What made them stand out a bit, in a negative way, for Per, when he was a kid, was that they didn’t have long hair. They looked a little bit like how you were supposed to look. A sort of late ’50s look, Sven adds. For PG it felt like they weren’t really hip. They had people writing their music within the band. They were really great writers and great performers as well and they made some outstanding singles. Sven says they had a wonderful singer, Sven-Erik Magnusson. Mr. G adds, he sang with this dialect that made him stand out a bit. Those in the South thought it was a little bit so-so. Sven thought it was really charming. He adds that Värmland is close to Norway, up there in mid-Sweden and they have these people there who love to watch racing cars out on the gravel roads, in the woods. You wouldn’t expect a superb pop band to come out of the woods. Per says, in the ’60s, they had so many hits and they continued over the decades, up until Sven-Erik unfortunately died. Then the front position of Sven-Ingvars was taken by his son, Oscar and they continued up to this day. They are very successful and they are touring a lot. So this position on the chart is very well deserved. Sven says they are a class act for more than 60 years. And this track the guys play is from 1965 and it’s called Säg inte nej, säg kanske, which you can translate into Don’t say no, say maybe.

The next Swedish city is Gothenburg on the Swedish west coast. It’s the second song by Tages the guys play on this list. Per says, Tages is his favourite band from the ’60s. He thinks they are outstanding. Great writers, great singers, great players. They promoted themselves as the Swedish Beatles and PG can understand that. They were like a head bigger than most of the other bands. Sven says the song they play is from November 1966. Per inserts, 1966 is such a great year for pop music. Haha. Sven says there is a funny story behind this song, because it originated when the band was touring in Scandinavia. Their record label was Platina Records, another independent label. They really struck gold with Tages. The band played Denmark when their record company phoned them up on the road and said, hey, you guys, we need to print the sleeve for your new single. What’s it called? And they didn’t have a title. They didn’t even have a song. The band was unsure of what to record until (Sven is reading from the Wikipedia site here) they were sitting at the bar and guitarist Danne Larsson spotted an ad for Mac Baren Tobacco. Per remembers that tobacco, it was tobacco for the pipes. Sven confirms. And boom, the band had the title. The song is called Miss Mac Baren. Now all they lacked was a song, so they wrote one. They wrote it on the tour bus on the way to the recording session. According to Per, they did a wonderful job, because it’s such a great track. One of their best tracks. Sven thinks it’s pure hit and went straight up to No. 1 on the Swedish chart, he believes. PG was seven years old in 1966 and he has this song on a single, because he has loved that song ever since he was a kid. He still loves it.

The guys are moving up to Stockholm and back to 1965. Per says, that’s a good year too. They are heading for No. 12 on this chart with a band called The Mascots. Per says, they had some great songs as well. They sound very much like Mercy in style, with lots of harmonies. You can hear a little bit of Peter & Gordon in there as well.  They wrote their own songs, that’s why they are on this list. Words Enough To Tell You is a beautiful pop track that stood out in the Swedish ’60s. Per doesn’t know if this was a big hit. Sven doesn’t think so. There was a pop magazine called Bildjournalen in Sweden and they sometimes released a flexi single next to the magazine, on a sort of plastic. Sven remembers buying this one and it was rather hard to play it on his player. Per is curious how it worked. Sven says he used the vinyl single underneath it. He put the flexi disc on top of it. Per remembers this, his brother had such things. It was cool. You bought a magazine and you got two or four tracks for free. Sven says, that’s hard currency when you are 10 years old. Haha. Sven never gets tired of hearing this song and he still misses the feel of the flexi disc.

No. 11 on the list of classic ’60s moments in Scandinavia is a band from the north of Sweden called The Shanes. They had lots of hits. They did lots of covers, but this particular song that the guys picked is called Chris-Craft No. 9 was written by the main songwriter, Kit Sundqvist, who was playing the keyboards. There is a great guitar riff. Sven asks Per if he knows what a Chris-Craft is. He knows, it’s a boat. The band was from Kiruna. That’s really far up. That’s as far as you can go, basically, in Sweden. The song was recorded in the Abbey Road studio in London, The Beatles studio. PG didn’t know that. Sven guesses, when they started out in the early ’60s, sitting up there in Kiruna and when The Beatles came around and they realized that they wanted to be a pop band, they wouldn’t even dream of one day recording in the Abbey Road studio. Per thinks it’s really cool and it’s pretty rare that they have these acts from the far north making it big. Sweden is, by the way, a very narrow country, he explains. If you fly from the south to the very north, it’s a three-hour flight. It’s a very long country. So there is a big difference between the south and the north.

The guys will continue the chart in the next show, but they move into some more modern sounds now, the next song is just 15 years old. My Life Is Shit But I Am Funky by Konie. Per thinks it’s a cool one, he hasn’t heard it before, so he thanks Sven for bringing Konie into his life. Sven said, this sounds like basically a rough demo recorded at home. Per noticed that there was another guy involved, Joakim Åhlund was part of the production team. He is a great producer. He has been all over the place. He produced The Teddybears, for instance. A trademark of quality.

In The Dust by Atomic Swing is next. It’s one of the singles taken from their magnificent debut album. Per says Sven has a soft spot for Atomic Swing. He confirms, and says he still thinks they sound like nothing else really. They have their own brand. Per likes them too.

Then comes the beautiful sound of Tove Styrke and her song Start Walking from her recent album Hard. Per noticed that this song was produced by Lost Boy who also produced Kylie Minogue. He is a big producer in Europe, also a trademark of quality.

Sven moves on with a new track from Alberta Cross. Per doesn’t know anything about Alberta Cross. He asks whether it is a he or a she or an animal. Sven says it’s a band led by a Swedish singer, Petter Ericson Stakee. They have been based in the States and Sven thinks they are in England right now. He is not really sure. They moved 10, 15 years ago and have been working the live circuit and recording. So Far Out Of Reach is a track from late 2023.

The guys play one more song, All Day Long by The Royal Concept from Sweden. It’s their new single.

That brings the guys to the end of this show. All day long they have been sitting here talking about Swedish music from the ’60s. Per thinks it’s good fun. The ’60s was a very special time, the ’60s and the ’70s. He thinks they should do something similar with the ’70s. Sven thinks it’s a good idea. They will get back to that. He tells the listeners, you will never get rid of these lists. You have to live with this for the next year or so. Haha.

Cigarettes by Anita Lindblom closes the show, as usual.

Pic by Patrícia Peres, Book Fair 2014, Gothenburg

Thanks for your support, Sven!

Per Gessle on Nordic Rox – March 2024

Per Gessle and Sven Lindström started a new special in the March episode of Nordic Rox. The guys met in Halmstad to record this session on a wonderful grey day. Per says it’s been a very long winter here. Sven describes that it looks like the Berlin Wall outside there, but it’s the sky in 50 shades of grey.

The new special contains their favourite Swedish and Scandinavian songs from the ’60s. In this show, they play the first five of those 20. It’s going to be mainly English speaking songs, but also some Swedish versions. They try to concentrate on those few Scandinavian artists who wrote their own material in the ’60s. There wasn’t that many. Most Swedish pop music in those days were covers from English and American artists, but there were a few exceptions. Per looks forward to this chart.

Before they start the countdown, they go to the mid-Swedish town, Örebro and check out a very, very talented guy called Ludwig Hart. Per says he is very interesting. He has been around for a couple of years now and he is getting better and better. The song they want to play is Less I Try and it’s very inspired by classic American rock music, radio friendly. Per loves this track. Sven says Ludwig is a new Nordic Rox favourite and Per confirms again that it’s a great song. [There was probably a little hiccup at the editing room at Sirius XM, because the song played instead is Walk by Naâman, who is a French reggae singer. /PP]

The next song is Freak Show by Grass Show from 1997. It’s the opening track on their debut album with an interesting title, Something Smells Good In Stinkville. Per finds the album title very good. It gets five out of five from him. The guys play the brand new single of Say Lou Lou. Sven asks Per if he can pronounce its title. Hecan: Wong Kar-wai and he says it probably means something. Sven informs it’s named after the Hong Kong film director and script writer of the same name. Per says Sven is so talented. Sven laughs and says he can read, he didn’t really know that. Per thinks it’s a good song.

Another Nordic Rox favourite is coming. The next band they play is called Roxette. Sven asks Per if he knows anything about them. Per has heard about them. Haha. She’s Got Nothing On (But The Radio) is the song Sven picked. That was a single from the Charm School album back in 2011. Per says it’s a wonderful song to perform live. Sven thinks it’s a great pop track. Per says it becomes like a six minute guitar bonanza in the end. Sven says you really don’t hear that when you hear this sort of pop version, but there is something happening with Christoffer, the guitarist when he hears this song. Per says they played this song a lot with Roxette, but he also played it a lot on his own solo tours and it’s always a great one to play. People love it. The band is getting the chance to stretch out a bit. It’s cool. Per is glad that Sven picked this one. Sven says that’s a promising song title and let’s see if it delivers. Here they play it. Pure and shameless pop music written by Per Gessle, Sven says.

Now the guys get down to their Top20 songs from Swedish and Scandinavian artists from the ’60s. Per says they concentrated on original material. In those days, so many artists were doing covers of English and American hits in a Swedish style. But there were a few exceptions who wrote their own material. Sven and PG kick off with a song that could meander on forever. In the original version it’s 7 minutes and 15 seconds long, so Sven says they are probably not going to play that whole track. It’s by the duo Hansson & Karlsson and the song is called Tax Free. It’s got an interesting story to it. Per says Hansson & Karlsson were a jazz fusion, pop-rock, progressive thing, doing instrumental music based on Bo Hansson’s Hammond organ and John Karlsson’s drums. This particular song wasn’t a hit record at all, but it became a major track in Swedish music history, because Jimi Hendrix recorded it. He played it so many times live. So there are endless versions of Tax Free by Jimi Hendrix on Spotify, for instance. Per thinks it’s just a beautiful, haunting melody in there and it sums up this era in pop music so well. Sven says it was also quite a big thing among the pop aficionados back then, because in the ’60s, Sweden was like an isolated little island and nobody really thought they could break through in England or in the US. But when Jimi Hendrix came and grabbed this song and played it, that was quite an achievement. PG adds that the duo broke up, but Bo Hansson, the organ player became pretty successful on his own. He wrote music for Lord Of The Rings, which was a big album in the UK in the ’70s.

Next on the chart, number 19, is from the Swedish version of the Eurovision Song Contest in the ’60s. In those days, of course, there was a full orchestra and a band playing live in the TV studio and there were some really interesting songs. Per thinks this one makes you smile a bit, a song from the year of Sgt. Pepper, 1967. It’s Gå och göm dej, Åke Tråk by Mona Wessman. The title translates into „you can go away and hide you, boring old sod”. Sven explains Åke is a surname in Swedish and tråk is a boring old sod. Per adds it’s written by Peter Himmelstrand who was a journalist. He also wrote a lot of songs and especially his lyrics were always funny. Per thinks it’s a wonderful little song that has stood the test of time, if you are into this kind of thing, which Per is. Sven says it’s one leg into the easy listening genre and the rest is a bit pop. He thinks it’s an amazing track. Hard act to follow.

The next song is by Hootenanny Singers. They were a folk-inspired band in the 60’s and included Björn Ulvaeus, who eventually became part of ABBA. Björn was singing and writing on his own a lot before he started meeting Benny Andersson. The guys picked a song called No Time from 1966. Per says it was a great year in pop music. Sven says it was almost as good as 1965. The guys are laughing. Sven says the Hootenanny Singers was like a Swedish version of the Seekers or The Kingston Trio. Benny was in Hepstars, which was a pure pop band. They met during this time and realized that they had a lot of things in common. Per says they were really talented, both of them, as songwriters. And what PG guesses both Björn and Benny realized early on was that they weren’t that great lead singers. Sven agrees. Mr. G says they needed some brilliant singers and they found Frida and Agneta, of course. The guys play No Time. Björn Ulvaeus wrote the song and sang the lead vocals here. You couldn’t really guess that this would lead into Mamma Mia or Dancing Queen, Sven says. Per agrees, but he thinks it’s a good song anyway. They were a very successful band. They had lots of hits, like Greensleeves and stuff like that. Folk-inspired music was very popular in those days, deeply loved by the Swedish audience for 10 plus years.

The guys move on to another instrumental, a surf band from Gothenburg, Sweden, The Spotnicks. Per says it was before his time, so he doesn’t remember them that much. Sven either. They are from 1962, 1963 and they were really big in Gothenburg and in Japan. Big in Japan. Per adds they had space uniforms on. There was a trend in international music those days. The Ventures and all those bands that played instrumental songs, had instrumental hits. Per thinks The Spotnicks fit in quite well. One of their early hits was Amapola, which turns out to be a Spanish song from the ’20s. Per says one of the rules they had was that it should only be original material in this chart, but they made an exception here because it’s really old. Sven says they also made an exception because they had such a cool stage outfit with the space dresses.

The next band is also from Gothenburg, a beautiful city on the Swedish west coast, the second biggest city in Sweden. Sven says they are Tages, one of the bands that came up 25 minutes after The Beatles had performed live in Sweden. The guys are laughing. Per thinks Tages is his favourite Swedish band from the ’60s. Sven thinks they were very original and consistent. PG adds there were great writers in the band, great musicians and they had also the possibility to work with a really outstanding producer, Anders Henriksson. Per thinks Tages eventually went to London as well to record there. And buy their clothes at Carnaby Street, Sven adds, they were extremely well-dressed. The song played is I Should Be Glad from 1964. Sven says to him it sounds a bit like the early Mercy era with The Beatles playing minor songs with acoustic guitars. You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away, Per says. It’s a great little track, according to Sven, and wonderful timing as well, Ramones style, 2 minutes 17 seconds. And it’s on the number 16 spot on the countdown.

That brings an end to this 1960s special of Swedish classics for today, but the guys got 15 more to go. Until then, they play some wonderful ’90s sound. Hey Princess by Popsicle is next. Then comes Winter Saga by Gaeya & Anders Rane, a brand new version of an ’80s Swedish classic. The title translates into Winter Story. An interesting track according to Sven. He thinks this version is more subdued.

A Danish artist, MØ is next with her work on Spaceman, a song from 1996 by Babylon Zoo. Sven has almost had forgotten this track. According to PG, it was a great one. It was No. 1 in England and a big hit in Scandinavia as well. Per doesn’t know if it reached the American airwaves, but it was a great song. MØ used that chorus and wrote some other stuff around it. It came out in 2022.

With this, the show ends and the guys say goodbye. Cigarettes by Anita Lindblom closes the show, as usual.

Pic by Patrícia Peres, Book Fair 2014, Gothenburg

Thanks for your support, Sven!

Per Gessle on Nordic Rox – January 2024

Per Gessle and Sven Lindström wish you a happy new year with the January episode of Nordic Rox. PG is curious if Sven had a great New Year’s Eve. Sven thinks so and wants to know if Per had a great one. Mr. G says he can’t remember his NYE, but it was probably good. Haha. Obviously, they had recorded this show much before.

The guys chose to kick off Nordic Rox 2024 with a trip to their brothers in Denmark. Danish band The Raveonettes has it’s special this time. It’s one of Per’s personal favourite band, he thinks they are really cool. Sven thinks they had a base in the States for a couple of years and were produced by pop legend Richard Gottehrer. Per adds Richard produced so many amazing records over the years, e.g. The Go-Go’s debut album and also My Boyfriend’s Back by The Angels. [Here Per sings a line: My boyfriend’s back and you’re gonna be in trouble.] That’s a wonderful song, he thinks. Richard formed a record label Sire Records with Seymour Stein. He also produced I Want Candy by The Strangeloves. Sven says they are going to end up talking more about Richard Gottehrer than they speak about The Raveonettes and that’s an insult, so they are going to restrain themselves and get the show started.

The first track on the program is a brand new song, All Day Long from a Swedish band, The Royal Concept. The next one is Unseen Footage From A Forthcoming Funeral by Nicole Sabouné. A good and long song title it is, according to Per. It’s written by Nicole and Ola Salo from The Ark. A good track.

Then comes Fool by Roxette. Sven jokes that Per is sitting right beside him trying to remember this song. Mr. G laughs and says it’s from the Room Service album, which they recorded in 2000 at the old ABBA studio in Stockholm, the Polar Studios that doesn’t exist anymore. It was the last album they did before Marie got ill in 2002. Per remembers it fondly. It was a great album, a fun album to make. Still sounds good today, Sven adds. PG says they worked with an amazing engineer and a mixing guy called Ronny Lahti, who he has been working with so many times ever since. He is still around and he is just doing amazing work all the time. He made this album sound terrific, Per thinks.

Before The Raveonettes special is coming up, there comes a favourite track of Per. The guys play the Deportees who made a song together with Sarah Klang, who is one of PG’s favourite Swedish singers. This song, Lost You For A While is just amazing according to Mr. G. It’s fom the Deportees’ latest album People Are A Foreign Country. The band is from the north of Sweden, but they are… Sven finishes the sentence: „they are good anyway”. Per laughs: „You said that, I didn’t”. The guys are laughing.

The next song is Dead Of Night by the Dead Express from the album Brain Damage from 2019. It sounds amazing according to Mr. G. Garage rock always makes you get your vibes together, Sven says.

Now the guys get down to The Raveonettes. A great little band, according to PG, quite heavily influenced by The Jesus and Mary Chain. You hear that once in a while. Per thinks they are really cool and they have done some great songs. They kicked off in the early noughties. Sven and Per play one of the tracks from the first album called Whip It On, just to give a taste of what to expect. Attack Of The Ghost Riders.

The second Raveonettes song is Per’s favourite, She Owns The Streets. It’s from a later album called Observator, released in 2012. Mr. G shares the info if you don’t know it, The Raveonettes is a duo consisting of Sune Rose Wagner on vocals and guitar and Sharon Foo on vocals and guitar. One guy and one girl. Sven says they have an amazing background. They were recording stuff and then they heard about the Rolling Stone editor David Fricke that he was going to visit a Danish music festival and they decided to go there to play the festival in order for him to see them and possibly write about them, which he did. That sort of opened a few doors for them. They got Richard Gottehrer, the pop legend to produce them. Per thinks it’s a great band and he longs for listening to She Owns The Streets. Sven says it’s a slightly different area they are moving into, some hazy, wonderful pop dreamy stuff. Per loves that song. It sounds like a mix between the surf sound and Link Wray. They could be in any Quentin Tarantino movie. Sven agrees and says they could as well cover for The Everly Brothers if they got sick and somebody had to go on the road to replace them, especially in this upcoming song Here Comes Mary. It’s taken from their second full length album called Pretty In Black. It came out rather early in their career, in 2005. Per thinks it’s a great album produced by Richard Gottehrer. It’s amazingly Everly Brothers sound alike, the harmonies are sort of similar.

The last song from The Raveonettes is from an album Per can’t pronounce, Pe’ahi. That’s Hawaiian for you, Sven says. It’s a big surf break also called Jaws, the Jaws beach, Sven informs. He has been there, just looking, not surfing. He did surf on Hawaii 10 years ago or so, but that was absolute beginner’s surf. Per asks Sven if he was on the water. Sven says yes and laughs, because Per looks so impressed. PG laughs too and says he is stunned and shocked. PG thinks this last song, Endless Sleeper is a good example of what The Raveonettes is about. It’s sort of darkish, Doorsish combined with surf music. A very interesting and creative combination. The intro always makes Sven think of Break On Through by The Doors.

After The Raveonettes special Per sneaks in another song of his. It’s just because it was just released. This is the B side of a vinyl single that PG made a couple of weeks ago. It was an homage to a very big Swedish artist called Pugh Rogefeldt, who unfortunately died a couple of months ago. The B side is in English, so that’s why he thought it was cool to play it on Nordic Rox. It’s a song he always liked. Per recorded it the first time in 2006. It was released 2007 in Swedish, but then PG did an additional version a couple of years ago in English. The single is available on Spotify and everywhere, but Per’s intention was to make a vinyl single anyway. He likes vinyl singles. Sven says they are still having a market, but if you are going to buy a vinyl album today, you really have to fork it up. Per agrees, it’s very expensive, but it’s worth it. Mr. G belongs to that generation who really miss the album sleeves. The face of the music is the cover, don’t forget that. Sven says they are sitting in Per’s library and there are some vinyl albums here, but he doubts that it’s all of Per’s collection. PG says it’s most of his collection. He got rid of a couple of thousands albums a couple of years ago. Gifts from record labels and friends and stuff, records that didn’t really mean anything to him. So he kept only the stuff that he really likes, which is about 1500-2000 albums. Sven asks Per if they are going to follow him down into his grave. Per laughs and says most likely, he thinks so. Then, like in 3000 years, they are going to dig up the grave and find the vinyl albums and Per’s teeth. Sven says it’s an interesting thought. The guys are laughing. The song they play is If I Knew Then (What I Know Now).

The next song is Bang-A-Boomerang by ABBA, then comes Primitiv by Wilmer X, Nothing Out There by Alberta Cross and Shoreline, a great song by Broder Daniel from Gothenburg.

That wraps up Nordic Rox and the guys say goodbye. Cigarettes by Anita Lindblom closes the show, as usual.

Still is from a Sirius XM video recording a couple of years ago.

Thanks for your support, Sven!