Per Gessle – Gessles nio i topp – Nine songs about sweets

In the latest episode of Gessles nio i topp, Per Gessle and Sven Lindström are talking about sweet songs. Sven says Sweets for My Sweet from The Searchers should have been No. 1 on the list, but rumor has it, there is something else on the top. Per grabs his list and says he can’t even see that song on it. Honey from Bobby Goldsboro is also not bad, there was a Swedish version of it, Raring by Björn Ulvaeus, but it’s not on the list either. Per rather chose old songs from the ’60s and ’70s.

Per’s Top 9 songs about sweets

9. Millie Small – My Boy Lollipop
8. The Rubettes – Sugar Baby Love
7. Marcy Playground – Sex And Candy
6. The Velvet Underground – Sweet Jane
5. The Strangeloves – I Want Candy
4. Lynsey De Paul – Sugar Me
3. Echo & The Bunnymen – Lips Like Sugar
2. The Kinks – Sweet Lady Genevieve
1. The Archies – Sugar, Sugar (medley with Wilson Pickett’s version of Sugar, Sugar)

My Boy Lollipop from Millie Small was a mono release in 1964 when Mr. G was only 5 years old. It was one of the first ska songs. Per remembers he saw Millie on Swedish TV, maybe on Hylands hörna and Swedish radio also played MBL. It’s an awesome song still today. Millie passed away not so long ago [5th May 2020]. Sven mentions she didn’t receive royalties for this song which he can’t understand. The original version was recorded in New York in 1956 and record company executive Morris Levy purchased it and listed himself as one of the authors of the song. When John Lennon did Come Together, Morris Levy sued him because of using a line, ”Here come old flattop” from Chuck Berry’s You Can’t Catch Me. As penalty, John recorded three songs from Levy’s publishing catalogue for his Rock ‘n’ Roll LP. MBL was the first hit for Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records. Sven adds that Blackwell bought records in New York and sold them to DJs in Jamaica after he recorded them on tape. When Millie came into sight, he found the recording of the original version of MBL and that’s what they recorded in Millie’s version. After playing the song, Per and Sven are discussing who played the harmonica on this one. Per says it was Rod Stewart as Millie also told about it in an interview, but Sven says it was Pete Hogman. It stays a mystery why it wasn’t clear who played the harmonica.

Sugar Baby Love from The Rubettes is next. Per thinks it’s a guilty pleasure song, a one hit wonder, but it’s damn good. The falsetto voice is awesome in it. Mr. G has the single, he bought it in 1974 when it was released. Sven tells ”Bop-shu-waddy” is being sung over the whole song and Per presents it by singing it two times. Everyone told the songwriter it won’t work to sing ”Bop-shu-waddy” for 3 minutes, but the more people said that to him, the more convinced he was doing it that way. 6 million copies were sold of the single. Per tells the guys who wrote this song wrote another awesome hit, Nothing But A Heartache for The Flirtations in 1968.

Per picks Sex And Candy from Marcy Playground from the ’90s (1997), to have a modern song on the list too. Marcy Playground is a band from Minneapolis that was at the same record company as Roxette. The song has a psychedelic aura which Per thinks is appealing. Sven says he likes a lot of ’90s songs and it was a phenomenal decade. Mr. G says there was a natural development of pop music. Technology advanced and it sounded different, but Sex And Candy is still a very good song. Sven adds it’s innovative.

Sweet Jane from 1970, from The Velvet Underground’s fourth album, Loaded comes next. Sven asks Per if he listened to The Velvet Underground back in the days. Per tells he had an album, he can’t remember which one it was, it had a black & white cover and Pale Blue Eyes was one of the songs on it. It was a very strange album with very good songs. Mr. G says he discovered Lou Reed on his live album, Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal. Sven says it was the same with him. Until Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal Lou Reed was just a name for him, but he was fascinated by that album. Per says Sven probably heard Walk On The Wild Side from the Transfomers album. Mr. Lindström didn’t have it, but he heard it on the radio. Per is kidding Sven and acts like he is surprised that they had radio in Växjö. Sven laughs and says they had pirate radio. The Velvet Underground was present in the arty New York scene during the Andy Warhol era. Sven says they were style makers and went their own way. The guys agree that at the age of 13 they were not matured enough for that. Sweet Jane is a phenomenal song according to Per. There are several live versions released of it, but the original is on the album, Loaded.

Song No. 5 is a real dynamite hit, I Want Candy from The Strangeloves from 1965. Among others, it was also covered by Bow Wow Wow in 1982. Per thinks The Strangeloves was a great band, they had several good songs, e.g. Night Time. Richard Gottehrer, who was part of the band formed Sire Records together with Seymour Stein. He produced Blondie’s first album and Marshall Crenshaw’s debut album too. Before forming The Strangeloves, the 3 guys were writing songs for other artists, girl group acts included. The girl group sound was going out of fashion due to the British Invasion style, so the guys decided to form an own beat group. They couldn’t fake British accent, so they pretended to be Australians. Per tells one version of Hang On Sloopy was on the same album as IWC. Per finds the Bo Diddley beat quite cool in IWC and tells that they also used the beat in Roxette’s Harleys & Indians.

After the song is played, the guys get back to Bow Wow Wow and are talking a bit about their debut album. It had a very strange title, See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang Yeah, City All Over! Go Ape Crazy! Sven asks what a record company can say when you come up with such title. Per says he doesn’t know. They laugh.

Sugar Me from Lynsey De Paul is next. Per says he bought the single when it was released on MAM Records. Lynsey De Paul was a singer-songwriter and it was she who wrote and also produced the song. Mr. G mentions Lynsey took part in the recording of one of the best pop songs of all time, Roll Away the Stone from Mott the Hoople. She is the one who is whispering ”Well I got my invite” on the album version. There is another story related to Mott the Hoople. When new guitarist, Luther Grosvenor joined the band, Lynsey De Paul suggested to change his name to Ariel Bender. Per says he saw them on their farewell tour last year in London and Ariel Bender was wearing quite tight pants that left nothing to the imagination. The guys are laughing. Sven tells they had their 40th anniversary reunion in 2009 and then he saw them in London. Lead singer Ian Hunter is still fantastic, the guys say. Getting back to Sugar Me, Per says one gets hooked immediately because of the piano intro. He thinks it’s very special.

Before talking about the Top3 songs, the guys mention two more that could have been on the list, Pour Some Sugar On Me from Def Leppard and Sugar Town from Nancy Sinatra. These didn’t make it, but No. 3 is Lips Like Sugar from Echo & The Bunnymen. The band is from Liverpool. Per thinks this is their best song and Sven says they broke through with this one. It’s very typical of the time, 1987 music (U2, Simple Minds). Mr. G thinks the song is a bit too long, but the chorus is awesome and they could have get to it a bit earlier. Sven reacts maybe ”Don’t bore us, get to the chorus!” was inspired by that. Haha. Per informs that the cool video to the song was directed by Anton Corbijn.

No. 2 is Sweet Lady Genevieve from The Kinks. The band is a favourite both for Per and Sven. Mr. G says that at the beginning, The Kinks were not an album band at all, rather a hit factory. Ray Davies was writing big stories and in 1973 they released Preservation Act. There was Preservation Act 1 and 2, the latter one was a double LP. The first one was a fantastic album according to Per. If you are looking back at the ’60s, Ray is definitely one of the best songwriters of that era. Sven says there is something disarming in his style. Per adds he started with songs like You Really Got Me, 3-chord riffs and he had his style, but he also left his style. Sweet Lady Genevieve is one of Per’s favourites from The Kinks, it’s absolutely magical. Sven asks Per as a songwriter what he thinks the magic is in this song. Mr. G says the magic lies in the complete song, in Ray Davies’ voice, in his expression, the whole story and the sound. It sounds how only The Kinks can sound. They had their own studio, Konk Studios. If you look at albums from before digital times, they sounded in a certain way (e.g. Olympic Studios). The Konk Studios sounded differently. It’s hard to do it these days when everything is digital. It sounds the same if you make songs on your laptop or e.g. in Ocean Way Studios in Los Angeles. Sven jokes and says it would be cool to have a Konk plugin.

No. 1 is Sugar, Sugar from The Archies. According to Per it’s one of the absolute best songs that has ever been written. The Archies is a cartoon band that featured in an animated TV series in the US. The song was written by Jeff Barry and Andy Kim. Per says Andy Kim had an own hit, Rock Me Gently which was a big hit in the US. Jeff Barry worked together with his wife, Ellie Greenwich and Phil Spector. They wrote together e.g. Da Doo Ron Ron, River Deep – Mountain High. Sugar, Sugar was released in 1969. No one really knew who The Archies were, but Sven says they found out 2 older gentlemen were involved. One of them, the guitarist was born in 1922, which was unusual in the ’60s pop world, to have a 40-year-old guitarist. Per says it’s real, sugar sweet bubble gum music. Sven first thought it was The Archies who invented the bubblegum pop genre, but he realized it was Ohio Express a bit earlier with Yummy Yummy Yummy and Per adds Simon Says by the 1910 Fruitgum Company was also an early bubblegum success. Sven asks Per if he says Sugar, Sugar and soul, what Mr. G thinks about. Per says Wilson Pickett. He did a soul version of the song which is fantastic. So the guys play a medley of The Archies’ and Wilson Pickett’s versions as the last song in the sweet podcast.

Real Sugar pic of Marie & Per by Jesper Hiro

 

Per Gessle – Gessles nio i topp – Nine fuzzbox songs

Last Saturday Per Gessle and Sven Lindström discussed fuzzbox songs in Gessles nio i topp on Swedish Radio. First of all, the guys explain what fuzzbox is. It’s a device which distorts the sound of an electric guitar or other electric instrument. This technique popped up in the ’60s. Per says he chose this topic, because he has always been thinking about why we like certain sounds in music and why we don’t like others. Fuzzbox is an important thing in Mr. G’s life. He says the first albums he bought when he was a little boy, contained a lot of distorted guitar sounds. He finds it interesting why one likes fuzzboxes and distorted sounds. Sven adds it sometimes sounds like a killer bee, bzzzz and sometimes it’s crunchier when there is an amplifier.

Sven plays a short part of Marty Robbins’ song, Don’t Worry from 1961. There is a fuzz effect in it which Per finds fantastic. Sven mentions that in 1962 Phil Spector recorded the song Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah with Bob B. Soxx and the technician pressed the wrong button, so it became a different distorted sound. Sven plays a bit of it and Per finds it wonderful. Mr. G says the fuzzy sound is only one of the many colors on the ’60s sound palette. One was looking for some unique sound to make the soundscape more interesting. Nowadays it’s much easier to distort the sound.

Per’s Top 9 fuzzbox songs

9.  David Bowie – Moonage Daydream
8. Jimi Hendrix – Purple Haze
7. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction – The Rolling Stones
6. The Yardbirds – Heart Full Of Soul
5. The Beatles – Think For Yourself
4. The Animals – Don’t Bring Me Down
3. T.Rex – 20th Century Boy
2. Ola & The Janglers – Poetry In Motion
1. The Spencer Davis Group – Keep On Running

No. 9 on the list is David Bowie’s Moonage Daydream from the Ziggy Stardust album (1972). Per says here it’s more about Mick Ronson than David Bowie why he picked this song. There is a fantastic distorted tone in his guitar. On all the albums they worked together one can recognize it’s Mick Ronson playing the guitar. He most often used Gibson Les Paul. Sven mentions Moonage Daydream came out already before Ziggy Stardust, Bowie recorded it with his band Arnold Corns.

Next on the list is Purple Haze from Jimi Hendrix. The guys agree that the ’60s fuzzbox sounds were more authentic than the ’80s fuzzy sounds. The intro of this song is so cool, one couldn’t hear anything like that before. It was released as a single in spring of 1967. When in December 1966 Hendrix was in the studio in London with Chas Chandler and Chas heard the riff, he said it would be the next single. Sven asks Per why he put this song so high on his list and if he was hooked on Jimi Hendrix. Per replies he can’t say so, but he liked Jimi’s hit singles, e.g. Hey Joe or The Wind Cries Mary. One can realize what a pioneer Hendrix was. When the Woodstock film came out it was magical to watch Jimi playing the guitar. Even though he was a rock star, in 1967 Hendrix was very much pop. He was trying to make black music for white audience. There was a lot of rhythm & blues and soul in his music, but also pop.

After the song Sven asks Per if he remembers when he got hold of his first fuzzbox. Mr. G says it was the same day he bought his first guitar in 1977 or 1978. It was a Maestro Fuzz and there were 2 fuzz modes on it: 1 and 2. Mode 1 was nice and mode 2 was awesome. The problem was that it occupied a huge space in the soundscape, so one couldn’t hear anything else.

It’s The Rolling Stones turn on the list. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction from 1965 is the next song and Sven says he thinks the first time he heard a fuzzbox sound was on this one. Per says it’s a fuzzbox signature song with its immortal riff. Sven says The Rolling Stones recorded ICGNS in Hollywood on May 12 and released it on 6th June in the US. It became an instant superhit. That’s why Sven can’t understand why they waited so many weeks with the UK release on 20th August. Per thinks maybe they had another single in England. Sven says they released The Last Time in the UK before that as a single, but one must add that they also released a live EP, Got Live If You Want It! in June. So because of that their biggest hit had to wait 10 weeks to be released. As Per is reading about the song, he realizes and proudly states that Keith Richards also used a Maestro fuzzbox on ICGNS. Don’t miss Per singing at the end of the song. Haha. Sven asks Mr. G if he knows which song dethroned ICGNS on the US Billboard Hot 100 in 1965. Per doesn’t know, so Sven tells it was I’m Henry VIII, I Am from Herman’s Hermits.

The guys play a little quiz. Sven says the song titles that were in the Top10 on Swedish Radio (Tio i topp) in August 1965 when ICGNS was No. 1 and Per has to find out the bands. Help! was No. 2 from The Beatles and No. 3 was Mr. Tambourine Man from The Byrds. No. 4 We Gotta Get out of This Place from The Animals. No. 5. I Got You Babe from Sonny & Cher. No. 6. Wooly Bully from Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs. No. 7 I’m Henry VIII, I Am from Herman’s Hermits. No. 8 Bald Headed Woman from Hep Stars. No. 9 One More Time from Them (this is the only song Per couldn’t match a band with, but he realized it was Van Morrison’s group). No. 10 I’m Alive from The Hollies.

Song No. 6 on Per’s fuzz sound list is Heart Full Of Soul from The Yardbirds. Mr. G asks Sven if he likes The Yardbirds. Mr. Lindström says they are not his favourite, even if several phenomenal guitarists played in the band. Per says HFOS is the first single with Jeff Beck on guitar, but also Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page played in the band. They worked with outsider producers, e.g. Mickie Most on their singles. HFOS was produced by Giorgio Gomelsky and written by Graham Gouldman who was a teenager songwriter. He was only 18-19 years old when he wrote this song and many others for English bands. He wrote e.g. Look Through Any Window, Bus Stop, For Your Love. Mr. G thinks he is a complete mystery that at such a young age he could write such songs. Sven asks Per if he had the HFOS single. Mr. G says his brother had the Shapes of Things single, nothing else from The Yardbirds. But one could listen to it on Tio i topp and record it, before Pirate Bay existed. The guys are talking a bit about producer Giorgio Gomelsky who owned the Crawdaddy Club in London where The Rolling Stones were the house band. After The Rolling Stones became so big, he hired The Yardbirds as the house band.

The next song includes a fuzz bass, Think For Yourself from The Beatles’ 1965 album, Rubber Soul. It was written by George Harrison and it was Per’s favourite song from the album when he was a child. It’s one of Sven’s favourites too, but there are many others, e.g. Drive My Car or Girl. Per mentions In My Life too. Sven tells Paul McCartney used a Rickenbacker on TFY instead of his usual Höfner violin bass, because that sounded a bit better. Per is thinking again why one likes this fuzzed sound and he says it jumps out all the time and it works like a magnet, you want to listen to it again and again. It’s a nice song, but the distorted bass sound gives it a little aggression and makes it a little rougher. Sven tells he heard in an interview with George Harrison that the fuzzbox sound was not inspired by The Rolling Stones, but he credited Phil Spector’s production of Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah by Bob B. Soxx.

Don’t Bring Me Down is next from The Animals from 1966. It was written by songwriters who worked at Brill Building in New York, Gerry Goffin and Carole King. Per thinks the guitar sound in it is damn good. Sven says it was a new sound for The Animals, a little tougher. Their producer was Mickie Most at the time, but they changed him for Tom Wilson, who also produced Bob Dylan. According to Per, Goffin and King was one of the ’60s biggest songwriter teams. Sven adds it feels like The Animals were on their way out from the R&B world towards something else. Per is hooked on the fuzz sound on DBMD.

No. 3 on the list is 20th Century Boy from T. Rex from 1973. It was recorded in Tokyo while the band was on tour. Per thinks T. Rex is the world’s strangest duo with Marc Bolan who did everything except for hand clapping and playing the conga. Mickey Finn did that. Sven says conga was a popular instrument in the ’70s. Per laughs and says it was for Osibisa and Santana. 20th Century Boy had its revival in the ’90s when it was used in a commercial.

No. 2 is a song from a Swedish band, Ola & The Janglers. Poetry In Motion was released in 1966 on the album Lime Light. Claes ”Clabbe” af Geijerstam plays fuzz guitar on it. He does an awesome job, he is a fantastic guitarist. Sven says the band wrote the soundtrack to the ’60s and back then he thought Ola & The Janglers, The Mascots and Hep Stars were as good as… maybe not The Beatles, but they were very good. Mr. G thinks Ola & The Janglers made several very good albums and Ola Håkansson had a great voice, while ”Clabbe” af Geijerstam wrote great songs and drummer Leif Johansson was one of their strengths too. Sven says the keyboard guy was also good. The guys are playing the quiz again. When Poetry In Motion was No. 1 on Tio i topp in October 1966, the other songs in the Top5 were: No. 2 Just Like A Woman from Manfred Mann, No. 3. Little Man from Sonny & Cher, No. 4 The Kids Are Alright from The Who, No. 5 All Or Nothing from Small Faces.

Keep On Running is Per’s No. 1 fuzzbox song from The Spencer Davis Group. Mr. G says it’s actually a reggae song written by Jackie Edwards. When you are listening to Edwards’ version you are wondering how the arrangement became how it is on The Spencer Davis Group’s version. Per thinks the guitar sound in it is incomparable, you want to listen to it again and again. Steve Winwood on lead guitar was only 17 when they recorded Keep On Running. Per thinks the band was awesome. They had hits like I’m a Man, Somebody Help Me (also written by Jackie Edwards), Gimme Some Lovin’.

Marie Fredriksson tribute on Nordic Rox #4

A couple of days ago there was the final episode of the Marie tribute program on Nordic Rox, Sirius XM.

This time Per Gessle and Sven Lindström were back with 2 more classic tracks and Per commented on those songs. Until Mr. G joined Sven, Mr. Lindström played a Roxette beauty, A Thing About You from 2002.

The first song Per picked is from Roxette’s biggest selling album, Joyride. He chose Things Will Never Be The Same. Mr. G says it’s one of the fan favourites, it has always been very popular among the fans. Per always loved this track. It’s got that Roxette gimmick in there: Per is singing a bit and Marie is singing 80 percent of the song. It just made it sort of special and sounded like no one else. Like in Dressed For Success or Dangerous, it’s that little trick they used. TWNBTS has a Spanish guitar intro and outro. It sounded different. It has a beautiful melody and of course, amazing vocals by Marie. Sven asks Per if he remembers any special tricks in the songwriting regarding this song. Mr. G says if there are 2 singers, you can use the strengths or hide the weaknesses. They laugh. Per tells he basically wrote most of the songs for Marie’s voice, but then sometimes in the lyrics you can ask a question like ”Whatcha gonna tell your brother?” in DFS and she can answer. You can just use that you are two people, a female and a male having a dialogue in the lyric. It’s an old country trick. It makes sense in TWNBTS lyrically and it’s just a beautiful song. Sven asks Per if he remembers how he presented TWNBTS for Marie, if he played it live on an acoustic guitar or if he made a demo and sent it to her. Per thinks he made a demo in the studio. For Joyride he started making pretty advanced demos. Lots of the arrangements on that album were already there when he made the demos. Joyride for instance sounds almost the same as his demo. Songs which are sung by Marie become totally different when you record them, because you change the keys and as soon as you change the key, it sounds different. In TWNBTS they brought in the Spanish guitar part and producer Clarence Öfwerman’s trademark synthesizers are all over the place. A little drum machine is also in there. Per thinks it’s a cool track, a typical production for its era. You can hear its early ’90s sound to it. It’s very Roxette for Per. Sven says the title is perfect for the feelings we all had when Marie left us before Christmas last year.

After the song, Sven tells they are sitting in the ABBA room at Live Nation in Stockholm. Per asks him if he feels like a dancing queen. Sven replies ”not exactly” and asks Per if he feels like it. Per answers ”always”. Haha. He mentions he is looking at an old ABBA picture in the room, an old poster from the Voulez-Vous Tour when they played Gothenburg in the ’70s.

Queen Of Rain is the other song the guys are discussing. It was a single from Tourism in 1992. It was actually recorded for the Joyride album in 1990 and it was supposed to be the final track on Joyride, but then Per wrote a song called Perfect Day, which included an accordion. They thought it was fitting because it had a different sound to it, totally different to the other tracks on the album. So they used Perfect Day as the last song instead. They had a backing vocalist called Vicki Benckert who was also a great accordion player. Tourism was the tour album from the Joyride tour. Per says the album was recorded basically on the road. They booked studios in São Paulo, Copenhagen, Los Angeles. Some songs they recorded in hotel rooms. It was like a tour album, including a couple of live tracks as well, but most of it was studio recordings. The live recording of Joyride seamlessly goes over to QOR on the album. They did a video to QOR in Northern France. Per thinks it’s a beautiful song and it fits Marie perfectly. She is just a great singer and QOR sums up Marie really well for Per. Sven says they talked about her rock ’n’ roll side, but she also had this melancholy in her personality. Mr. G says Marie loved to sing songs like Queen Of Rain, Crash! Boom! Bang! or Spending My Time, telling stories. You can hear it in her voice that she becomes the song and that’s how she communicated so well to everyone who listened to her. Per thinks it’s one of his best songs if he may say so himself, but it’s Marie’s voice that brings it home. Amazing!

Waving goodbye in Kalmar 2015. Pic by Patrícia Peres

 

Thanx for the technical support to János Tóth.

Per Gessle – Gessles nio i topp – Nine songs about dogs

Last Saturday Per Gessle and Sven Lindström talked about dog songs in Gessles nio i topp on Swedish Radio. ”Tea at 8 o’clock I took the dog for a walk in the morning. I never really liked him but let’s keep that between you and me.” Touched By The Hand Of God. Nah. It wasn’t on the list.

Per says he likes cats much more than dogs. He is a cat person. Sven is also a cat person which is probably because their neighbour’s dog in Växjö in the ’60s bit him in the leg. Since then he has a skeptical attitude towards dogs. Per tells they had a Norwegian Buhund when he was a little child. His name was Buster. When Mr. G’s mom was coming home by bus, Per put a leash on the dog and Buster was so happy he dragged Mr. G along for tens of metres until they reached Mamma Elisabeth. Per says he must have been 5-6 years old then. He still likes dogs anyway.

Per’s Top 9 songs about dogs

9. David Bowie – Diamond Dogs
8. The Everly Brothers – Bird Dog
7. Led Zeppelin – Black Dog
6. Tom T. Hall – (Old Dogs, Children And) Watermelon Wine
5. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Dogs on the Run
4. The Who – Dogs
3. Elvis Presley – Hound Dog
2. Neil Young – Old King
1. The Beatles – Martha My Dear

The first song the guys are talking about is David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs. Sven is surprised, because he thought this would be on top of Per’s list. Mr. G says Diamond Dogs is an eminent album from 1974. He already loved it when it was released and still does. It is related to George Orwell’s novel, 1984 and the science fiction touch is there all over. It’s David Bowie himself who plays the guitar on the whole album and the influence of The Rolling Stones can be heard. Previously, it was Mick Ronson who played the guitar and he was one of the world’s best guitarists. He had his own style. One could hear it when e.g. Rebel Rebel was played live, it never sounded like on the album, because it was Bowie who played it on the album. The riff in Diamond Dogs sounds a bit like Keith Richards, Sven says. Per adds that the saxophone sound fits the guitar amazingly well in the song. Sven mentions the single flopped and Mr. G says maybe because it was 6 minutes long. The lead single from the album was Rebel Rebel, but according to Mr. G, there are no real singles on this album. It’s not that type of an album. There was more single material on Aladdin Sane. Diamond Dogs is more like an epic.

Next on the list is Bird Dog from The Everly Brothers from 1958. Per first heard this song in the interpretation of Hep Stars. It was written by Boudleaux Bryant. He wrote a lot of songs for The Everly Brothers and for many others. Bryant was often writing together with his wife, Felice. Their better known songs are Love Hurts, All I Have to Do Is Dream, Wake Up Little Susie, Bye Bye Love. All phenomenal songs. Per says he met their son, Del Bryant. He was the leader of BMI, the largest music rights organization in the United States. Del visited Per in his apartment in Stockholm, he handed out awards for their success on American radio. He is a very nice person, still lives in Nashville and talks a lot about his parents. Sven says one gets starstruck by meeting a legend. Per jokes and says it’s cool he knows someone whom Sven doesn’t know in person. Regarding Bird Dog, Sven says it was released only a few days after it had been recorded and a couple of days later it already entered the US Billboard and very soon became No. 2. It succeeded fast. Per says releasing a song so fast after recording it is not unique. John Lennon’s Instant Karma is another example of that. Mr. G thinks Bird Dog is shockingly good.

The guys are talking about nostalgy and Per says the older you get you realize that you heard tens of thousands of songs and you like maybe 2-3-5,000 of them. When you like 5,000 songs, it’s hard to take in new music. Sven says there are some artists who don’t sound like anyone else and they are hard to be copied. The Everly Brothers were like that. Many tried to sound like them though.

Mr. G asks Sven about his dog-related bravados. Sven says the closest he got to a dog-related bravado was buying an album in 1971 where the first song was about a black dog. It was Led Zeppelin’s fourth album and Black Dog was the first track on it. The title refers to the black labrador that was wandering around outside the studio while Led Zeppelin were recording their album. It was their most successful record. Jimmy Page once read in a magazine that Led Zeppelin was compared to Black Sabbath and he hated Black Sabbath. He thought they sounded ridiculous and played primitively, while Page was an equilibrist on his instrument. Many thought it was Jimmy Page who wrote the riff to Black Dog, but it was John Paul Jones, bassist in Led Zeppelin. It was inspired by an old blues riff, as Per heard, but according to Sven, it was inspired by Muddy Waters’ Electric Mud album, which is more acid jazz than blues. The guys agree that it’s something one had not heard before and they haven’t heard anything similar since then either. The riff is fantastic and so are Robert Plant’s voice and John Bonham’s playing the drums. It’s one of rock history’s coolest recordings of all time. Black Dog wasn’t released as a single in the UK, but they released it in the US with Misty Mountain Hop as a B-side.

The next song is (Old Dogs, Children And) Watermelon Wine from Tom T. Hall. Per says there was a quite controversial Swedish version of it, Hundar, ungar och hembryggt äppelvin by Alf Robertsson. Sven says it’s rather a black hole for him. Mr. G says he always liked Tom T. Hall’s songs, e.g. Harper Valley PTA, which was a big hit when Per was a child. He also always loved That’s How I Got to Memphis. There are many versions of it, one by Solomon Burke for example. Per asks Sven if he has any relations to Tom T. Hall. Sven replies that Tom for him sounds very similar to one his old favourites, Roger Miller who made country songs, but with a little pop feeling. Mr. G says the storytelling style that was present in those times’ country music is fantastic. Sven asks Per if he knows what the ”T.” stands for in Tom’s name. Per jokes and says ”Tax” [Swedish name of Dachshund /PP]. Sven says the T was just added to make the name look better. Per jokes further that it could have stood for Teddy. Sven asks Per if he knows who made a Swedish cover of Harper Valley PTA. Mr. G thought it was Siw Malmkvist, but it was Björn Ulvaeus and the song’s title was Fröken Fredriksson. The Swedish lyrics were written by Stikkan Andersson.

Song No. 5 is Dogs on the Run from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Per asks Sven if he has any relations to this song. Sven replies he does, but it’s not really positive. Mr. Lindström says the album on which it was relased, Southern Accents was a concept album, but he doesn’t know what the concept was. Sven thinks Tom Petty should have renamed the album to Southern Accidents. Per agrees that this one is Tom Petty’s weakest, but there is e.g. Don’t Come Around Here No More on it. Tom wrote it together with Dave Stewart from Eurythmics. Sven thinks that’s the only good song on Southern Accents. Per disagrees. He also likes The Best of Everything, co-produced by Robbie Robertson. Mr. G also likes the title track, Southern Accents. He thinks it’s one of Petty’s finest songs. Mr. G says Tom Petty was magical at the end of the ’70s and in the beginning of the ’80s with albums like Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers or Long After Dark. Then came some boring years. Then he came back with albums produced by Jeff Lynne. Full Moon Fever and Into the Great Wide Open. Per thinks Petty needed some new collaborators to satisfy his recreational drug habit. The guys agree that Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers is one of the world’s best rock bands.

No. 4 on the list is a song from 1968, Dogs from The Who. Per didn’t have it as a single, but always loved it. It was also released on an early compilation album of The Who. Mr. G thinks it’s a strange song, it’s not a hit in any way. It’s like the result of a weird mid period between all the big The Who hits and Tommy. Dogs has a wonderful melody. It is about greyhound dogs and people are talking in cockney accent in it. Sven thinks it might have been inspired by Lazy Sunday from Small Faces. Singles by The Who released before were Pictures of Lily and I Can See for Miles. Phenomenal, classic The Who singles. Then nothing and then comes Dogs. Per thinks it’s brilliant. Mr. G also listens a lot to Join Together and The Seeker.

No. 3 is Hound Dog from Elvis Presley from 1956. Per thinks they add Elvis Presley rarely to their top9 lists. According to Mr. G, Elvis was a great singer and Sven says one can understand why his songs exploded in the ’50s. Hound Dog was recorded originally by Big Mama Thornton 4 years before Presley’s version came out. They sound very different to each other. Elvis’ version was a bomb on the radio, one can understand it. Sven tells that in 1956 Elvis was a flop in Las Vegas. A band called Freddie Bell and the Bellboys did a version of Hound Dog with somewhat changed lyrics and that became Elvis’ version later. Per says they should watch an Elvis movie in the evening. Then some dog movies. Sven says maybe they could combine it. Elvis did like 600 movies in Hollywood, are there any dog movies among them? Per laughs and says Lassie. Haha.

No. 2 on the list is Old King by Neil Young. Per says the song has a nice melody about Neil’s dog called King. It’s on the 1992 album, Harvest Moon. It’s kind of a spiritual follow-up to Harvest (1972). Harvest Moon is fantastic from A to Z. Sven also thinks Neil Young is awesome. One of his absolute favourites is Long May You Run from him. He always comes back. Per says it feels like Neil Young has so many things that when he opens a box that he forgot to open in 15 years, suddenly a song pops out which he wrote 15 years ago and was absolutely amazing already then. Per and Sven are wondering what kind of dog Old King could have been. Maybe a labrador. Mr. G asks Sven if he could imagine Neil Young with a poodle or a Dachshund. Sven adds Chihuahua. Haha. Sven mentions there is a photo taken by Henry Diltz where Neil Young appears with a dog and it’s definitely not a Chihuahua. Per adds he knows the picture where Neil is inviting the dog for a joint, which is not politically correct.

No. 1 is Martha My Dear by The Beatles. Martha was Paul’s dog and the song is about her, Per says. Sven asks if he is sure about it, because there were speculations that the song might be about Jane Asher [Paul’s former girlfriend]. Per says he is 100% sure it’s about the dog. Sven adds that’s what Paul says too. According to Mr. G, it’s a typical dog song. It was one of the last songs to be recorded for the White Album in 1968. According to Per, it’s an absolutely fantastic composition, only Paul McCartney can write such music. Sven thinks it’s a complex and tricky song. Mr. G thinks it’s kind of music hall music and no one else in The Beatles wrote this type of pop music. It’s a typical McCartney song, like Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da. The guys agree that the White Album is The Beatles’ best album ever. It’s not an album of singles. John’s songs don’t sound like Paul’s and George Harrison blossomed as a songwriter on this one with While My Guitar Gently Weeps. Sven shares a trivia at the end of the program. Martha was born in 1966 and passed away in 1981. She was a sheepdog. One of Martha’s offspring, Arrow, appeared on the cover of one of Paul’s live albums.

5-year-old Per Gessle with Buster (photo from Per’s archives published in Att vara Per Gessle)

Per Gessle – Gessles nio i topp – Nine songs about cars

Last Saturday Per Gessle picked nine songs again in Gessles nio i topp on Swedish Radio. This time it was all about cars. Per thinks cars are a basic topic in pop and rock history and you can find tons of songs about cars. He states at the beginning that he didn’t include Sleeping In My Car in the list, just like he didn’t include Fading Like A Flower in the flower songs list. Sven adds that car songs reflected a time before climate anxiety. They were always connected with pleasure, freedom and youth. Sven asks Per if there is any Bruce Springsteen song on the list. Per answers he could have come up with Pink Cadillac, Born To Run, but they are not on the list.

Per’s Top 9 songs about cars

9. Deep Purple – Highway Star
8. Canned Heat – On The Road Again
7. The Cars – Drive
6. Iggy Pop – The Passanger
5. Gary Numan – Cars
4. Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers – Roadrunner
3. Wilson Pickett – Mustang Sally
2. The Beatles – Drive My Car – Remastered
1. Billy Ocean – Get Outta My Dreams, Get into My Car

The ninth on the list is Highway Star from Deep Purple. Per thinks it’s an awesome song, terrifically good music and he loved it when he was a teenager. It’s on Deep Purple’s Machine Head album, but Mr. G heard it on the band’s live record, Made in Japan. No one Per knew was listening to the drum solo in The Mule. Smoke on the Water, Highway Star and Child in Time were fab songs on it. Sven says ’70s hard rock doesn’t get any better than that. Sven adds the guys wrote Highway Star because they wanted to have a new opening song on tour in autumn 1971. Before that, they always opened with Speed King. They wrote HS on a tour bus while on their way to a gig and actually played it on that gig for the first time. They were effective. Per recommends the song ”if you haven’t heard it before, you’re in for a treat”. After they play HS, Sven says Per has just finished his air guitar playing. Mr. G says it’s so hard to resist.

The next song is On The Road Again from Canned Heat. Per says his brother had this album, Boogie with Canned Heat and this song was outstanding on it. Mr. G always loved Alan Wilson’s falsetto vocals. Bob ”The Bear” Hite was the other singer in the band. Sven says Alan was collecting old blues records and tells the story that Son House, American blues singer and guitarist was rediscovered in the ’60s. House had forgotten his songs due to his long absence from music and it was Wilson who showed him how to play again the songs House had recorded before. Alan Wilson was a real blues nerd. Per says the band members died at a very early age, however, the band still exists, there is one living original member. Sven adds Alan died at the age of 27. Jimi Hendrix died 2 weeks later at the age of 27, then 2 weeks later Janis Joplin also died at the age of 27. Per says it’s scary.

After the song, Sven and Per are talking about falsetto singing. It’s fun to hear Mr. G’s falsetto voice saying ”I don’t know” in Swedish at 12:25. Haha. Per says he sings falsetto quite often, e.g. on Come On from Son of a Plumber. Sven says it’s one of his favourites. Sakta mina steg is another one. Here Per mentions Marie Fredriksson’s vocal capacity that was similar to Joni Mitchell’s.

Seventh song on the list is Drive from The Cars’ Heartbeat City album. The production was new, it sounded really special in 1984. The producer was Robert John ”Mutt” Lange who is still great. He also produced Def Leppard and the early Bryan Adams albums, AC/DC and Rock n’ Roll Love Letter from The Records. The Cars was a guitar-oriented pop band in the beginning, but here they used a new sound. There was synthesizer and they used programmed drums that sounded better. It felt more digital. The Cars sold millions of their debut album, but Drive was kind of a turbo fro them. Per says it was in the early years of MTV and The Cars shot cool videos. They became an MTV band. Heartbeat City was their greatest album and Per thinks it’s still an awesome record. Sven remembers that in spring of 1984, when the album was released, he wrote hastily about it. Then when he was on his way home from Malmö to Lund on a Friday evening and Drive came on the radio, he didn’t recognize it and thought that was the best he had heard. Then he realized it was from that album. Per says Drive is written by Ric Ocasek who was lead vocalist in The Cars, but this song was sung by bassist Benjamin Orr. He sings phenomenally. Per says Ric has a very special voice and that doesn’t really fit this song, so he understands why it wasn’t him singing it. The guys say it wasn’t No. 1 in the US, but peaked at a high position. Sven adds it was Paulina Porizkova in the music video to Drive, who later became Ric Ocasek’s wife. She was Czechoslovakian, but lived in Lund from the age of 10 and as a model she left for Paris and New York. Per says it’s such a romantic story, it’s so warm he has to take off his sweater. Sven laughs and asks Per to keep it on.

Song number six is The Passanger from Iggy Pop. The guys are laughing again saying apropos romantic, there is this guy who never wears a sweater. Per says it’s maybe not a car song, but a vehicle song. He thinks the riff in it is so ridiculously simple, it’s brilliant. It was a B side song on the single Success. Per says if you check Iggy Pop on Spotify, you can see that his most popular song is The Passanger. Iggy has a kind of roughness in everything he does. When he sings lalalala is also a bit dangerous, but one must like it. The song is from Iggy’s Lust for Life album that came after The Idiot, which had a little arty sleeve where Iggy was standing in the rain. Lust for Life also has Iggy on the cover, with a huge smile, however, Sven says one can never see Iggy Pop laughing. Per adds the album was recorded in Berlin together with David Bowie. Mr. G says it was a productive year for both of them. Bowie released 2 albums, Low and ”Heroes” and Iggy released The Idiot and Lust for Life.

The fifth song is Cars from Gary Numan and Per thinks it’s still an awesome song. Gary is from Tubeway Army, a band Per was listening to a lot. When the song Cars came out, it was innovative pop music. The riff sounds exciting. Sven says it’s 1.5 minutes singing and then 2.5 minutes synth festival. What differentiates it from other songs is that the other songs were programmed, while there is live drums and live bass on Cars. Per says the song is from 1979 when they were young. Sven says Per is still young. Mr. G reacts ”like Benjamin Button” and they laugh.

Sven says he has the feeling that the next song was written and recorded at the same time. It’s Roadrunner from Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers. There are a lot of versions of this song from different years with different producers. The first version was recorded in 1972 and produced by John Cale. Many say that it’s the first new wave single in a way. It sounds a bit like it was inspired by the Velvet Underground.  Jonathan comes from Boston and he also played in the movie There’s Something About Mary. There was a version of the song produced by Matthew King Kaufman for Beserkley Records. Starting Stiff Records was inspired by Beserkley Records, Sven mentions based on Nick Lowe’s biography.

Song number three is Mustang Sally from Wilson Pickett, released in 1966. The original title was Mustang Mama, but songwriter Mack Rice changed it after Aretha Franklin suggested Mustang Sally because of ”ride, Sally, ride” in the chorus. The song was recorded in the famous FAME Studio. Sven tells the story that Rice knew a singer who wanted to give a Lincoln as a thank you gift for one of her band members, but at the time everyone wanted a Mustang. Rice got inspiration from this story and wrote the song. According to Per, Wilson Pickett made the best version of it. Sven comes up with The Commitments, a movie about an Irish band. There this band also plays Mustang Sally.

Drive My Car from The Beatles, released in 1965 is No. 2 on the list. It was written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon. They sing this song wonderfully together, however, Paul is dominating. DMC wasn’t a single, it was released on Rubber Soul as a fantastic opening song. Sven thinks ”beep beep yeah” in the lyrics is 100% pop. Per likes it too. The text refers to dirty things like in old blues songs. In the ’60s, ”drive my car” referred to intimate relations. Per thinks this one is one of the coolest songs in the world.

Before Per announces which song is No. 1, he mentions a few other car songs. Then it turns out that on top of his list is Get Outta My Dreams, Get into My Car from Billy Ocean. This is the second song on the list produced by ”Mutt” Lange who is also the songwriter of it. It was before he met Shania Twain. Per likes Billy Ocean’s songs, e.g. Carribean Queen which is a cozy pop song. Get Outta My Dreams, Get into My Car is very much of an ’80s hit. Sven says one was kind of bombarded by this song and he always tried to avoid it. It came out in spring of 1988. Sven tells when he was collecting info about Per for his book, he found out Mr G. bought a synth in spring of 1988 and wrote The Look on it. It was inspired by ZZ Top. Per says there was a lot of synthesizer music back then, dance music of the time. If you are listening to it today, it’s quite radical. Get Outta My Dreams, Get into My Car went to No. 1 on the US Billboard Hot100. And one year later, Marie and Per were No. 1 with The Look. Per says he didn’t think about it when he bought that synthesizer. Mr. G says he liked the ’80s style. After they play GOMDGIMC, regarding the No. 1 song choice Sven says Per is the man of constant surprises.