Per Gessle’s Top9 songs from the 90’s

This program is from more than a year ago, but last summer there was a heavy Per Gessle solo tour, so I didn’t have the time to sit down and summarize Gessles nio i topp in English. Now I feel like I need to practice my Swedish, so why not listening to these enthusiastic PG podcasts again. Maybe you get into the mood too. 😉

Per and Sven Lindström talk about the 9 best songs from the 90’s in THIS podcast. The guys say there could have been thousands of songs chosen for this program and it was really hard to pick 9 real good hits that remained in the heart and brain. Per says it was the decade when Roxette had its greatest success, so he was also involved and actually listened to other bands’ music differently vs. how he listened to music e.g. in the 80’s or 70’s and 60’s.

Per’s Top9 songs from the 90’s:

9. The La’s – There She Goes
8. Matthew Sweet – Sick of Myself
7. Natalie Imbruglia – Torn
6. The Dandy Warhols – Every Day Should Be A Holiday
5. Guy Clark – Dublin Blues
4. Oasis – Supersonic
3. Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm
2. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Mary Jane’s Last Dance
1. The Cure – Friday I’m In Love

Per’s first choice is The La’s There She Goes, a song that was released in 1988, but it flopped, then it was released again in 1989 and it flopped again. Then it was remixed by Steve Lillywhite (U2’s producer) and re-released in 1990. Per thinks it’s an awesome song, survived all the trends and is still cool.

Per looks at his list and says there are several one hit wonders on it. Matthew Sweet is his next choice and Sven says besides the song chosen by PG, Sick of Myself, Matthew Sweet had at least one other hit. Per then laughs and says he means one hit wonders in HIS world. Sick of Myself from 1995 is a fantastic song, it’s kind of a bubblegum pop song. It’s from the album, 100% Fun, and that’s exactly what it is: 100% fun. Pure power pop, which fitted the 90’s so much.

Natalie Imbruglia (it’s worth listening to PG how he tries to pronounce her name, haha) is No. 7 with Torn, released in 1997. Per thinks this song has that magical power good pop music has to have. Mr. G says 1997 was the year when The World According to Gessle came out, while he and Marie were taking a break from Roxette. Sven says in the 90’s Per worked with Roxette, Gyllene Tider and solo as well and real power pop songs were born then, like June Afternoon or Sleeping In My Car. It was the decade of classic guitar pop. Sleeping In My Car he tried to write with the thought of Gyllene Tider power pop a la Roxette. Sven mentions SIMC was released on Crash! Boom! Bang! and Per says after they had been working on the album for more than a year, EMI couldn’t find a single. Then Per went home pissed off and wrote SIMC and that became the lead single off CBB.

No. 6 is The Dandy Warhols, Every Day Should Be A Holiday, also from 1997. Per thinks The Dandy Warhols made cool pop music, he thinks their song Bohemian Like You (2000) is a masterpiece. Sven likes their tough guitar sound and the melodies.

The next song on the list is a wonderful country song, Guy Clark’s Dublin Blues from 1995. Per thinks it’s incredibly good. Guy Clark lived in Nashville where Per recorded his latest 2 Swedish solo albums. Mr. G likes how Guy Clark expressed himself as a singer-songwriter and how he sang his own texts. Per says country music came into his life indirectly. His mum listened to Gunnar Wiklund in the 60’s, Jim Reeves classic country songs, then there was the Eagles, then The Rolling Stones’ Dead Flowers in 1971 and then Neil Young. There is country music everywhere.

Mr. G says one can’t write a list of 90’s songs without Oasis, so they come next with Supersonic from 1994. It’s a very well-done song with a really cool guitar sound, everything is good about it, the singing and title as well. Sven mentions Liam Gallagher said Oasis is like Ferrari. ”Great to look at, great to drive, and it’ll fucking spin out of control every now and again.” Per (a Ferrari lover) says Liam was right.

The third place is of a one hit wonder, Crash Test Dummies and their Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm from 1993. The song was produced by Jerry Harrison from Talking Heads. The exciting video made the song even bigger and it was shown on MTV all the time. It was an odd song, just like XTC’s Senses Working Overtime. Per likes the title a lot.

No. 2 on PG’s list is Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers with Mary Jane’s Last Dance, released on the Greatest Hits album in 1993. Per thinks it’s an awesome song with an awesome guitar sound. It had a fantastic video starring Kim Basinger. It was worth buying the Greatest Hits album for those 2 new songs on it. Sven jokes this is what they did with Roxette as well, releasing a greatest hits album with new songs. Per laughs. Sven is wondering why Per as a huge Tom Petty fan didn’t put this song to the first place, but Mr. G says it’s because the No. 1 on his list is a bit better than this song.

Saying that, you might be surprised that No. 1 is Friday I’m In Love from The Cure, from 1992. For Per they are a typical one hit wonder band, even if there are hardcore fans still following them. Friday I’m In Love is such a good song that no other hit comes even close to it. It has timeless pop quality and great production and has followed Per through all his life since it was released. After the song Per shows his high and low voice. It’s worth listening, haha. Awesome!

Sven says Per had at least 6 different lists before he finalized THIS list. There was a list that had Brainpool on it with Bandstarter, which is an awesome song and there could have been R.E.M. with Man on the Moon as well, but this Top9 wasn’t a double LP, so they got erased from the list in the end.

Per Gessle – En vacker signing session in Malmö

Per Gessle is in the middle of his signing session tour and today he had 2 stops on his list. First he signed his new album, En vacker natt in Hässleholm (from 12:30 according to the schedule, but he was there already before 12:00). HERE you can read about that session (Hässleholm) and see a short video of the signing session.

The next stop was Malmö. Per was scheduled to be there from 16:00 to 18:00, but he arrived already at 15:15. He entered Folk å Rock in great mood. Met the organizers and disappeared upstairs. Olle Berggren, the journalist who interviewed Per, came also well before 16:00. They probably discussed how things would be on stage from 16:00. The stage was rearranged in the meantime to have 2 seats for Per and Olle and a table with water and a rose. Lovely. 2 microphones were set, the ones you have to hold in your hands. The whole interview can be watched HERE! Starts blurry, but it gets better after some seconds.

For those who can’t speak Swedish, here is an English summary of what they were talking about. Olle Berggren welcomed the Swedish King of Pop, Son of a Plumber and they started chatting about Nashville. First about the hat that appears on some pictures in the booklet of ”En vacker natt”. Per says it was Anton Corbijn who took the pictures and they went in a hat shop and they just bought it. Hats can be different, like there are the ones Clarence Öfwerman is wearing, but this type of hat fits country more. Olle asks if Per will wear a hat on tour too, probably not.

Olle asks why Per decided to record in Nashville. Per tells the first thing they were thinking about was leaving Skåne (which sounded funny, given that Malmö is also in Skåne) after he spent 420 days in Vallarum in Christoffer’s studio during the past 10 years. It sounded crazy, so they thought they should do the recordings somewhere else this time. They thought about France and England, but then suddenly Nashville came in sight and they thought shit, they have to record there. There is a natural fusion between Halmstad and Nashville.

Per says his old albums contain a certain country sound too. The old Neil Young style or Lee Hazelwood. They talk about Per’s album from 1983 that it already had this American style. Then the discussion goes on about pedal steel that it’s also not a new thing in Per’s life. They even used it on Roxette tours. This time pedal steel came in when they were in Nashville and started working with local musicians. He played the guitar and sang, but then there was the idea that pedal steel could be used e.g. instead of keyboards or so. Olle asks if it was OK for Clarence. Per says yeah, he went to sit in the back and sleep. Haha. Per says Dan Dugmore, who plays the pedal steel, is fantastic. Stuart Duncan plays the violin. Stuart worked together with Alison Krauss and Robert Plant. When Stuart played, they thought they should skip the guitars and use the violin instead. So instead of guitars and keyboards it became pedal steel and violin. It makes a very big difference.

Talking about Alison Krauss, Olle says he heard Per wanted a duet with Alison. Per says he wished. His friend, who has an own record company said he could have Alison in the studio, but she is a bit tricky. So then they signed Savannah Church who sounds exactly like Alison Krauss. Olle says Savannah is very young. Per says yes, a bit younger than him, she is twenty-something. Olle says Savannah has a fantastic voice and they sounds very good together, like Per sounded so good with Marie together. Per says Marie was all the time fantastic. He says Savannah sang so clearly that they finished recording her part in 20 minutes. He asked Savannah if she ever sang false and Savannah couldn’t understand the question. Haha.

Regarding the tour, Per says he already met the band and designers and people ask about the setlist, what they will play on tour. But he has no clue yet. First he wanted the album to be released and now he has a band including a pedal steel player and a violin player. So there might be something like what we could hear on Skavlan, the live version of ”Småstadsprat”. They talk about Lars Winnerbäck. Olle asks who could replace him on tour when he is not there. Per jokes it could be Micke Syd.

Per says the whole album would be easy to play live. It’s very organic. Olle asks if there are any plans after the summer tour, besides releasing the autumn album. If a little club tour is in the plans maybe. Per says nothing is decided yet. He says it happens easily when you are on tour many times, you play your hits all the time and he has a huge hit catalogue. But he also has the need to try new things and that’s the easiest for him in the studio. Olle asks if Per writes songs also out of a project, being just inspired, without any project in sight, but Per says it doesn’t work for him. He likes deadlines.

Olle asks Per about Gyllene Tider’s 40th anniversary tour, if it happens next year. Per says nothing decided yet, but there are plans. Olle asks Per about the future, if he still sees an international career in his life. Per says he doesn’t know. He will go on writing both in Swedish and English. He tells Olle that for his own sake he has been zig-zagging among his 3 careers so far, doing something with Roxette, then with Gyllene Tider, then solo, to keep himself interested and also the crowds interested. Mainly in Sweden, which is a small country. People might get tired of you. As they say, how could we miss you when you won’t go away. So Olle thinks Per has plans to make an English album in the future. Per says could be. Olle says everyone knows when Per says could be, it means it will happen. Per says let’s see what happens, but he is always open to suggestions.

The last thoughts are on Per going back to Halmstad after the session and do another signing session tomorrow (in Ullared). He thanked for all and left the stage.

After the interview, the signing session started upstairs. It wasn’t too fan-friendly, since people had to be queueing on the stairs and had no chance to see Per until they got up to the top of the stairs. Per was standing behind a counter in a corner, which also made it difficult to take pictures with him for example. And the guy who organized the whole thing seemed to be more stressed than fans, as he was grabbing the stuff out of our hands to put them in front of Per, trying to make it faster. Oh well… Haha. I haven’t counted, but I think there were more than 100 people in the queue. Everyone got the autographs on whatever they wanted. En vacker natt CD, vinyl, older PG CDs, vinyls, books and even guitars. A guy from Germany came with 4 or 5 guitars to have them signed by Per. It was fun. Mr. G smiled all the time, he enjoyed the session and didn’t seem to be tired at all. Where does this guy gets the energy from? Haha. After the queue ran out of people, Per went into the office and probably signed some more stuff for the shop. He left the building at appr. 17:30.

It was a lovely session with the interview and the signing part, also a great meeting occasion for fans from Sweden and from abroad (Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Russia, Italy, Hungary, The Netherlands, Denmark). Besides the fans, there was Sven Lindström at Folk å Rock. We could chat with him a bit too. I asked him about the Swedish Radio podcast, sequel of Gessles nio i topp which was to be out this spring. He said they have recorded everything, it’s under production now and it’s out in summer. And there is even more to come soon! Sounds exciting!

And what’s also exciting is that a RoxBlog interview with Mr. G is on the way! Probably out tomorrow. Stay tuned! 😉

   

Interview and signing session stills by Patrícia Peres.

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!

 

12 Peaks of The Beatles by Per Gessle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

12 Peaks of The Kinks by Per Gessle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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