Per Gessle interview and “The Loneliest Girl In The World” premiere on P4 Extra

Svjetlana Pastuhovic did an interview with Per Gessle on Swedish Radio on 2nd June. PG was guest of the day on P4 Extra and he talked about PG Roxette, the debut single, Marie, Roxette, the Roxette musical, Gyllene Tider and songwriting. The interview starts at 28:39 into the program. Listen HERE!

Svjetlana welcomes Per and introduces him as a small town guy who showed great interest in music at a very early age. His nerdiness led him to success and worldwide fame. Now he returns to one of his biggest successes, Svjetlana says. Per thanks for having him on the show. Svjetlana is uncertain, maybe „return” is not the right word when it comes to PG Roxette. Per tells one can say it’s a new chapter in Roxette’s history.

PG can be pronounced the Swedish way or if you want to make it sound cool, the English way, Per says. He laughs. Svjetlana asks Per how HE pronounces it. PG then pronounces the initials the Swedish way. The debut single is out the next day (3rd June), but Swedish Radio got the chance to play it for the first time on radio and they are very happy about it. Svjetlana asks Per how he feels about it. Per tells the whole PG Roxette project is a new chapter, as he already mentioned and it’s based on him and the old Roxette band. He brought in several people who helped him e.g. with the singing and production. It took about a year to record the album and it was much fun. He looks very much forward to release it. Per got very good response from those around the world whom he already showed the songs. It feels great.

Here they premiere the The Loneliest Girl In The World. Svjetlana tells she becomes happy when she hears this song. Per says it’s nice to hear. He tells it’s an ear candy. The album comes out in September. Mr. G tells he tried to write an uptempo album and it’s a challenge to write such pop songs. Especially when you are getting older, because it’s something that you do very easily when you are 20. It becomes harder when you get older, because you have written so much and you become too sophisticated in your writing when you know all the tricks. Svjetlana is curious what Per means by this, if it means you get more serious when you get older. PG tells pop music builds very much on instant energy and it’s just there when you are younger. When you have written hundreds of songs, you learned all the crafts very well and it’s hard to write these 3-chord pop songs when you get a bit older. Per thinks Svjetlana probably has also noticed it regarding other artists that the finest and fastest songs they wrote in their twenties. Svjetlana asks PG if he was struggling with this a bit. Per tells he had the idea that he would make a sibling to Roxette’s albums they recorded at the end of the 80’s, beginning of the 90’s, so he tried to think about how he was working back then. Then he sat down and spent time with writing. Actually, it went very well. The Loneliest Girl In The World was the third or fourth song he has written that immediately felt it had a great chorus.

Svjetlana wants to know if it was an obvious choice to go on as PG Roxette. Per tells it wasn’t obvious at all, because it was really tough when Marie passed away in 2019, so he didn’t really know what to do with Roxette. He knew there is the legacy of Roxette that someone has to take care of. Also, he devoted 30 years of his life to Roxette and he has written almost all the Roxette songs and it would have felt weird not to go on with Roxette in a way. He has the ambition to take PG Roxette on tour and play the old Roxette songs. There is a huge amount of people around the world who still like those songs.

Svjetlana tells Marie was ill for many years and she is curious if Marie and Per talked about the future of Roxette. Per asks if Svjetlana means about the future without Marie. Svjetlana says yes, because Marie was ill for a long time, however, when she got better, they went on tour together again. Per tells Marie was ill for 17 years before she passed away. She never really got better, but despite the doctors’ advice, she went on tour between 2010 and 2016. It was fantastic that she did that. In 2018 Per went on a European tour that was called Per Gessle’s Roxette and Marie had no problem with that. She thought like Per, that someone has to take good care of the legacy. If you look at other artists who kept their audience, they worked actively, e.g. Queen with the Bohemian Rhapsody movie or ABBA with the Mamma Mia! musical and movies and now also with the Abbatars in London. Per thinks you have to work actively to keep the legacy alive. You just have to let it go on and who else could take better care of the legacy than Per himself. It’s not about replacing Marie with another singer – even if Per worked together with several female singers on this record. Dea Norberg and Helena Josefsson appear the most on this album. Both of them worked with Roxette as backing vocalists on tours. But there are other female singers as well, so it has Per and his songs in focus.

Svjetlana asks how it was to look back on the 80’s and 90’s, those crazy times when they were touring so much with Roxette. Mr. G says it was crazy indeed. They had their peak for 8 years between 1988 and 1995. They were touring all around the world, they had 4 US No. 1s and they were the most played artists for 3 years in a row. It was a fantastic period. Svjetlana asks how they could cope with their success. PG tells when you are in the middle of it, you don’t think about that. You are working, you go on. He was anyway triggered by it back then. When they toured with and promoted Look Sharp! he wrote Joyride, when they toured with Joyride he wrote their next album, Crash! Boom! Bang!, etc. Svjetlana notices that Per wanted to do more and more. She asks how he felt about it back in the days. PG says he travelled all around the world, but didn’t really see much. He was mainly in hotel rooms and at the concerts. When you are in such busy period, you just can’t make it. After the pandemic it’s fun to travel to cities he knows he had been to before, but doesn’t remember much. When you wanted to keep everything at the same high level as they did their things, you had to work 24 hours a day and stay focused and keep yourself in top shape. It’s like what sportsmen do. They enjoyed being up on stage every night and perform to tons of people who loved what they were doing. That’s the best reward ever. It’s a fantastic job Per has, he says. Even if it was tough at times, it only has positive sides.

Svjetlana says it’s almost unreal what happened with Roxette abroad, all their success. She asks if there is melancholy besides pride when Per thinks back at those times and if such thing can happen again. Per says it can’t happen again, because we live in different times now. It’s 30 years of his life he has devoted to Roxette and he is very proud of Roxette. As he already said, when you are thirty, you are at a certain stage in your life, now that he is 63, he is at another stage. He of course hopes that the new album works well, but it’s not the most important, it’s not why he made it. He made it because he wanted to have fun and he tries to follow his way as a songwriter and artist. He is doing several things at the same time. He has just finished an acoustic tour in Sweden with 31 gigs, they had a Gyllene Tider tour earlier, many other things.

Here Svjetlana plays What’s She Like?, which she knows is a special song for Per. After playing it, she tells how wonderfully Marie sings. Per agrees, she sings fantastically. Svjetlana asks if this song will appear in the Roxette musical. Per laughs and says it’s a very exciting project. There is a very nice script that the musical will be built on, a book written by Jane Fallon. Per thinks that Roxette’s music matches very well in such a conetxt. There are so many nuances in the Roxette song catalogue, one could use really many of them. It’s gonna be tricky to match the songs to the story though. What’s She Like? could be one of the songs used, they both think.

Svjetlana tells Roxette sold more than 80 million records, they had an international career, there are millions of Swedish crowns on their bank account. She is curious what is Per’s driving force still. PG tells it’s about finding your place in life. He is super grateful that he could work with music fulltime, writing songs and playing them since he was in his teens. It’s not just a way he is following all the time, it’s not like he has plans that in 5 years he has to reach this or that. He has a lot of ideas and tries to implement them as well as he can. Svjetlana says, so it’s not fame, not money, not such things. Per says it mattered when he was young, e.g. when they started Gyllene Tider. When they played at schools, they dreamed about playing in Stockholm or Gothenburg, when an album became gold, they wanted a platinum, when they had a platinum, they wanted to have a double platinum. That’s how people work. It was the same with Roxette. The idea at the beginning was that they wanted to go abroad, because he himself felt he covered Sweden with Gyllene Tider’s success. But when Marie and Per talked about abroad, they meant Belgium, Germany or the Netherlands. Or maybe playing in Copenhagen. Svjetlana laughs and asks „no South America or China in your thoughts?” Per laughs and says no and also not the success that they had in the US.

Regarding keeping the legacy alive, Svjetlana asks Per if he is doing it because he thinks Roxette would be forgotten. Per says he knows there is a fantastic power in Roxette’s music. Also in his Swedish music. It’s not that he thinks that „oh, maybe in 30 years we would be forgotten”. He wants to experience it again, to be standing on stage, singing his songs and feel the communication with his audience. It’s the most awesome feeling. The acoustic tour he did was one of the most amazing things he did so far. It was so intimate in those small theatres in an acoustic arrangement. Sometimes it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. In certain songs he played only one string at a time, because it was so quiet. It was awesome that people were sitting there and listening. It was also fantastic that he played some old Gyllene Tider songs in a totally new arrangement. Lyrics of songs like Ljudet av ett annat hjärta that he wrote when he was 22, had a totally different meaning, both  for him and for everyone else, now that he sang it as a 63-year-old. There is another thing in there what wasn’t there in Gyllene Tider in 1981. There is a different energy as well, but the core of the song changes. And it also feels good for Per as a songwriter that the time goes by and the lyric becomes a different thing. It’s the same with What’s She Like? When he wrote it, he wrote it for Marie, because he knew that when Marie sings it, it will have a totally different meaning when he sings it. If he sang it, it would have been What’s He Like? That’s awesome in music. You can change it all the time.

Svjetlana tells she asked people about Per and most of them said he is an ordinary guy. She asks Per if that’s correct. Per says he doesn’t know what „ordinary guy” means and it’s hard for him to judge, but he is happy that people think so, because he doesn’t think he is an unusual guy, even if he has had an unusual life. He had much luck in many ways, but he is also very ambitious. His family and friends often say that he is working too much, but that’s in his personality and he knows you have to work much to get to where you want to be. He is not talking only about commercial success, but also about his writing. He wants to do his best all the time, otherwise he can’t sleep well at night. He laughs. Svjetlana notices Per has high expectations of himself. Per agrees. Svjetlana says the other thing people mentioned was they were wondering how Per keeps himself in shape. PG says he tries to pay attention to what he eats. When he was a kid, he looked quite like a meatball at school. That was always his Achilles heel, but especially during the past few years he tried to shape up. Svjetlana asks if Per is training. He quickly reacts he isn’t at all. He is rather walking and listening to things he is working with or tries to hatch an idea and to find answers to all the weird and stupid questions about his projects. So he sticks to his headphones, he is antisocial and he is in his own bubble then.

As a last question, Svjetlana asks Per about Gyllene Tider. PG says it’s a nice little band. Svjetlana thinks it’s a damn good band. Per says it’s also something he is very proud of. He is very proud of them being good friends and that they have fun when they meet. He can’t promise anything, but he hopes that there will be more Gyllene Tider in the future. But he doesn’t know anything yet.

Svjetlana thanks Per for coming to the show, PG also thanks for having him.

Per Gessle in radio documentary about Jonas Åkerlund

Swedish Radio P3 did a radio documentary about Jonas Åkerlund’s career. They interviewed Jonas about his collaborations with tons of world famous artists, the music videos he directed, his black metal band, Bathory, his dyslexia he struggled with and also about his movies. Besides his wife, Bea Åkerlund, Jan Gradvall and Per Sinding Larsen, Per Gessle was also interviewed for the docu.

The Roxette-related part starts with Jonas’ collaboration with Marie Fredriksson at 17:21. It’s Marie talking in the Den ständiga resan docu. Jonas tells that during Den ständiga resan project in 1992 Marie and he became good friends which was easy with Marie, because she was so kind and friendly towards everyone, including Jonas who says he was a nobody back then. He is thankful to Marie that he got the job and that led to so many others. It was that half-hour-long documentary and the videos to the album that Per Gessle saw. Then Jonas began to work with Roxette and that was his break-through.

The first collaboration with Roxette was the video for Fingertips ’93. Jonas thinks it’s a good song. Marie was pregnant and she didn’t want it to be visible, so the clothes she was wearing were hiding it. Jonas was working together with Roxette for 25 years. In 2016 they released Roxette Diaries, a documentary made of home videos recorded by Per and Åsa in the 80’s and 90’s during tours and recordings.

Per tells Jonas is an amazingly creative explosion all over. They became very close friends, both are music nerds. Their style is very different, but both of them are workaholic and dedicated to their own job. Mr. G tells every recording occasion with Jonas was an adventure, because anything could happen. Per thinks Jonas is quite organized in a way, but he is also very spontaneous. If a new idea comes up, he is testing it.

According to Per, Jonas’ best videos are like a very good pop song that is interesting in its whole length, no matter if it’s 3 or 4 minutes long. Jonas is very talented in building up a video that you want to watch again. Per feels it’s the same how he works with his pop songs, to make it interesting and catch the attention. That’s what Jonas is doing both when he is filming and cutting.

Per Gessle appears at the end of the docu again (at 1:24:53) telling Jonas will go down in history as one of the greatest music video directors not only because he has been working with many of the greatest artists, but also because his style is so unique and innovative. Mr. G says he is superproud to have been working with Jonas.

During the documentary, you can hear Small Apartments soundtrack several times and of course, part of Marie’s DSR docu and songs, as well as parts of Roxette songs.

Jonas photo by Allis Nettréus/TT/SR, Marie and Per stills are from Fingertips ’93 video

Per Gessle on Swedish Radio P3’s morning show

The program leaders of Morgonpasset i P3 were very excited to have a „legend, Sweden’s greatest songwriter, the one and only” Per Gessle on their show last Friday, 24th September. Mr. G arrived to the studio and was on air some minutes after 8:30 am. HERE you can listen to this episode of the morning show and hear Per himself from 2:08:38 to 3:08:10 in the complete version and from 58:15 to 1:28:08 in the „utan musik” (without music) version.

After the program leaders give a loud welcome (applauding him and shouting „Per! Per! Per!”), Mr. G thanks for it and says now he has woken up. One of the guys tells Per that probably not all his mornings start like this. Mr. G jokes and says it’s his family – his son and wife – standing in line shouting „Per! Per! Per!” „Wake up! Wake up!” – one of the program leader guys adds. They all laugh.

To the question how he is doing Mr. G replies all good, he is back in Stockholm for a while and it feels great. The guy asks Per if he has a place to stay in Stockholm. PG tells he has an office and an apartment there. He loves Stockholm and thinks it’s a very nice city. He tells he is so old that he has seen how Stockholm has been changing over the years. It has become a very cool city, much more international than when they were hanging out at Café Opera in 1981. He adds that becoming pop stars in 1980 was awkward. There were gangs who wanted to make jokes of them, e.g. once they got an open can of surströmming in their tour bus.

The guys are talking about the upcoming PG tour. Per tells it’s going to be an unplugged tour. They play the songs in an acoustic arrangement, without drums. He tells that in summer they had 10 concerts at Hotel Tylösand with appr. 480 people sitting in the audience each night, due to the restrictions because of the pandemic. The band was also sitting on stage and it was much fun. Per tells he had never played in such an intimate atmosphere before. They played songs that were quite lyrics-based and he was telling anecdotes in between the songs. It was a new experience for him.

To the question why he wants to be on the road Per replies that in his case it has something to do with the fact that he got hooked to the pop world and pop music when he was 6-7-8 years old. There is an incredibly strong romance in pop culture Per is stuck in. He can’t describe it better. It’s in everything he is doing from when he wakes up and probably also when he is dreaming. He loves everything about pop culture. When he was young it was e.g. the long hair guys had, which might sound a bit ridiculous nowadays that it meant something back then, but it was awesome. Per tells there are many pop nerds out there who won’t become musicians or songwriters, but he ended up in the creative processes. He adds that with Roxette they travelled around the world and there are different religions and cultures all around, but everyone sings It Must Have Been Love, The Look, Listen To Your Heart and Spending My Time. It’s magical to experience it and this connection is simply indescribable.

The program leader lady asks Per what songs he plays on the unplugged tour, if Tycker om när du tar på mej is one of them. Mr. G tells it is and they play mainly Swedish songs, but also a couple of Roxette songs.

The guys are talking about Per’s hairdos and it turns out Per goes to the hairdresser in Stockholm. One of the guys asks Per if there is a style on which he looks back like „what the hell did I think?”. Mr. G tells all hairdos and clothes have something to do with the times you live in. When they started

Roxette, Marie e.g. had red hair and Per had purple hair. It might have been a little odd, one can think now, but it felt hot back then. Old clothes are trendy again, so the ones they bought at Trash and Vaudeville in New York in 1989 are stylish again.

One of the guys asks whether you become less or more conscious over the years. Per says it’s a tough question, but he feels the older he gets the calmer he becomes. Now he doesn’t have to prove anything, but he was under pressure and had performance anxiety when he was 20 years old. He is the ambitious type and he has always been working very intensively to achieve something. Now he still works intensively, but such things don’t bother him anymore.

The lady asks Per if he has written 500 songs. Per says he thinks it’s more, he has 1000 songs registered at STIM.

The guys are talking about how Per grew up. Mr. G tells he had an older brother, Bengt who was 7 years older than Per. In the middle of The Beatles era Bengt and his friends showed Per the true spirit of 60’s pop and that actually became Per’s life. He started writing lists all day. Lists of songs or who played the bass on different songs, he just liked lists. Later, as he got older he sold Christmas magazines and was handing out newspapers. With that he earned 50 öre and he bought a single for that money. He had 100 records in his collection when he was 10 years old. The lady asks if there was any musician in Per’s family. Mr. G says not really, but he heard that his father’s father’s father was a musician. He played the violin.

One of the guys asks PG if the nerd in him has disappeared, maybe now he thinks he is too cool for that. Per laughs and says he has never been cool. The lady says c’mon, he became a world famous pop star already in the 80’s. Per tells when they broke through with Gyllene Tider they all came from the countryside. He came from Halmstad, the other guys from Harplinge and Åled. He only started singing in the band because no one else wanted to. The whole journey of GT was about being lost in the woods, but they were very ambitious, had fun ideas and they were lucky that a guy at EMI in Stockholm liked their song, Billy. One of the program leader guys asks if that guy from EMI went to listen to GT, but Per says it wasn’t him, but Lasse Lindbom who was sent down to Halmstad. Later he became their producer, but at first he wasn’t impressed at all. Per thinks they were a very good band. He still has rehearsal cassettes from 1979-1981. When Per listens to those today, he thinks it was more than OK, it’s rather wow, how damn good they were already then. And they were only 20-year-olds. The arrangement was good and all songs sound quite ready. PG thinks GT is still a fantastic pop band. When they play together there is something special happening. The lady asks if there is a plan for another comeback. Per replies one can never know when it comes to GT.

After playing It Must Have Been Love on the radio, the guys are talking about what this song means to people all around the world. Per thinks it’s amazing and it’s the best thing in his job that you get so much back from those who are listening to your songs. The lady asks about the story of IMHBL. Per tells it started out as a Christmas song. When Roxette recorded their first LP they also wanted to go to other markets, e.g. Germany, which was the biggest market in Europe. Their songs didn’t get airplay, so EMI Germany asked them to write a Christmas song, because maybe with that it would be easier to get airplays. So Per wrote It Must Have Been Love (Christmas For The Broken Hearted). It was released as a Christmas single in Sweden in 1987 and it became a gold record. The Germans didn’t like the song, so they didn’t release it. The lady says „Germans have no taste” and Per reacts: „it wasn’t me who said that”. They laugh. Mr. G tells that Marie was releasing a solo album then and he was writing songs for the album that became Look Sharp! 3 years later he was asked to write a song for Pretty Woman, but he didn’t have time for that, but they had this Christmas song. They made a new intro to that and changed the lyrics. The guy tells Marie sadly passed away and asks Per what he thinks about when he hears this song nowadays. Anytime Per hears a Roxette song Marie was singing, he is amazed how good she was. She was totally awesome. He remembers the early Roxette days when he heard in the studio what Marie could do with his songs. The idea behind Roxette was that Marie would be the singer and Per the songwriter. Everything he wrote was written for Marie. The Look he also wrote for her, but Marie thought it didn’t suit her style, so in the end Per sang it.

Mr. G tells Marie and he met at the rehearsal studio in Sperlingsholm outside Halmstad. Gyllene Tider and Marie’s band, Strul shared the studio. When Per first saw Marie she was playing the electric piano, she had long brown hair and she was singing fantastically. Per tells Marie’s gang was rather progressive rock, while GT was pop and never wanted to deal with politics. Marie had many sides, she also liked e.g. The Monkees. They became friends and very early, already in 1980 she sang with Gyllene Tider, she was there with GT on TV too. Marie was doing her solo things too with the same producer GT had.

The lady asks Per to talk about the relationship between Marie and him and to tell what Marie meant to him. Mr. G tells he and Marie lived quite intensively together for years, Roxette took all their waking hours from the time they broke through till Marie had her first child. Then she had her second child and then Per also had a son in 1997. Then everything became a bit calmer and they were working together until Marie became ill in 2002. Then they did a comeback in 2009 and toured until 2016. After her illness she became a different Marie, but the band also became different and it changed how they could work in the studio and on tours. On the last tour Marie was sitting on stage, because she couldn’t walk too well. One could see her conditions got worse, but it was she herself who really wanted to tour and work, even if her doctors advised her not to go on tour at all. So they did everything on Marie’s terms. She was the warrior type. She wanted to meet her fans. One of the program leader guys asks Per if he remembers the last time he met Marie. Per says of course he does. Here the program leaders feel they shouldn’t ask more about this topic.

One of the guys asks Per if he has ever met Sir Paul McCartney. Per tells he met Paul when McCartney played at the Apollo Theater in Harlem a couple of years ago. The event was presented by Sirius XM where Per also has a show, Nordic Rox with Sven Lindström since more than 10 years. The guys intervene here and say Howard Stern is also at Sirius XM. Per tells Howard Stern will also appear in his story with Paul. So he goes on with his anecdote. The boss at Sirius XM asked Per if he had ever met Paul and Per said no. So the boss organized a meeting. Per and Åsa and Howard Stern and his wife went to the green room before the concert and had a small talk. There was a photographer too. Suddenly, a door opened and boom, there was Paul McCartney with his thumbs up and said „Hey, fancy a picture anyone?” Per stood there, Åsa stood in the middle, Paul on the other side. Per suddenly felt a hand on his ass and he hoped it was Åsa’s. They laugh. He tells they took that picture, which he still has. After they left, Per asked Åsa if it was her who put her hand on his ass. Åsa said she put one hand on Per’s ass and the other hand on Paul’s to see who had the firmer ass. Paul had it. They laugh. Per says „that’s my wife in a nutshell. She is from Trelleborg.”

The lady tells she heard Per was at Mickey Rourke’s 30th birthday party back in the days and that he was also at Prince’s Paisley Park Studio. She asks about this latter one, how it was. Mr. G tells Prince wasn’t there himself. They went there because they planned to work in the studio. The first thing they saw was a giant white cage with a giant white bird. The studio manager asked „Do you want to see Prince’s private apartment?” They thought why not. The bedroom had a removable roof, so you could see the sky and Prince’s bed was purple of course and it was heartshaped. Regarding the roof the guy says Per must have tested the button and here Mr. G imitates the sound of the moving roof. Haha. The lady asks Per if he saw Prince’s bathroom and PG says he probably did, but he can’t remember and he doesn’t like to lie.

The guys ask Per about a most memorable story that happened to him related to another famous people. Mr. G tells the story that made him very happy. It was when Marie and him were in Amsterdam in 1989 and they were giving an interview. Someone from above shouted „hey man, I love your record!” and it was Tom Petty. Per shouted back something like „we love your record too!”. That meant a lot to Mr. G. Tom Petty is the best, Per thinks.

One of the guys asks Per how it is when Mr. G goes abroad. In Sweden everyone knows him, but how is it abroad? Per says he doesn’t get recognized abroad or if it happens, it’s mainly Swedish people who recognize him. He tells it’s quite calm in Sweden nowadays, he is most often recognized in Halmstad of course, when e.g. he fuels the car. As a last anecdote, PG tells that appr. half year ago he was walking on Storgatan in Stockholm and a 40-year-old woman asked him if she could take a selfie with Mr. G. He said OK and while they were taking the selfie, two 12-13-year-old boys were passing by, looked suspiciously at Per and asked him if he is famous. Per said how come they didn’t recognize him, he is Foppa (Peter Forsberg, famous Swedish ice hockey player). The kids were like „whaaat?!” and so Per signed their backpacks as “Foppa”. The guys are laughing at the fact that PG didn’t write Foppa on a paper that can be thrown away, but on expensive backpacks. Per laughs and says it was the boys’ punishment. Haha.

At the end the guy asks Per if he has the photo with Paul McCartney on his phone, but Mr. G tells the photo is in his office.

The guys thank PG for coming and Per tells „my pleasure”.

Stills are from the Foppa story video on Morgonpasset i P3’s Instagram.

Vote for Roxette – Piece of Cake for Song of the Year 2020 on Musikplats!

Musikplats on Swedish Radio P4 Stockholm organized a voting for Song of the Year 2020. The jury for Song of the Week has voted and put together a list of 20 songs for the decision and now the power is in the listeners’ hands. Roxette’s Piece of Cake is also on the list, so hurry up! Click HERE and vote for it!

Voting runs until 11:00 CET, 18th December. Then 5 songs that enter the final are presented. After another listener voting (the counter is reset before this), the winner is published the same day at 11:50 CET. So don’t forget to vote on 18th December at 11:00 CET again!

Fingers crossed!

Top20 songs – pick your favourite HERE!

Vargas & Lagola – Always
Agnes – Fingers Crossed
Albin Lee Meldau – På Riktigt
Jakob Hellman – …Och Känner Mig Utanför
Victor Leksell – Svag
Dotter – Bulletproof
The Sounds – Things We Do For Love
Gustaf & Viktor Norén – Rise Again
Laleh – Det Kommer Bli Bra
Thomas Stenström – Ser Du Månen Där Du Är Ikväll?
Roxette – Piece Of Cake
Mando Diao – Själens Skrubbsår
Miriam Bryant – Nån Av Oss
Darin – En Säng Av Rosor
Sarah Klang – Canyon
Hurula – Tro På Er Ruin
Kygo & Avicii & Sandro Cavazza – Forever Yours (Avicii Tribute)
Miss Li – Komplicerad
Ana Diaz – Bästis
Håkan Hellström – Tillsammans I Mörker

Per Gessle on P4 Extra

Per Gessle was a guest on P4 Extra, Swedish Radio last Friday. Host Erik Blix asked him about his new solo album, Gyllene Tider, Marie Fredriksson, Roxette and his new project.

Erik asks Per what the album title, Gammal kärlek rostar aldrig means to him. Mr. G says it means to him more or less what it says. He realized that this album is an old love that’s still there. One can say it’s a pandemic album, because he started recording it while he was isolated in Halmstad. Erik says it’s Per and Paul McCartney (who did the same). Per laughs and says there are more who did the same. Per had the idea to record acoustic songs and play as many instruments as possible himself. He didn’t have any material for that, so he thought he should dig deep into his archives from the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s. There are a lot of songs he thinks didn’t come out of their shadow before. He says it was exciting.

They play Ömhet here. Erik says Per sings together with Helena Josefsson. Mr. G tells Helena is fantastic and it would have been difficult to record this song without her. She is awesome. Ömhet was written right after Mazarin was recorded in 2002. The text remained the same, but he wrote new music to it for Gyllene Tider’s Dags att tänka på refrängen album, but they never recorded it. Then it was lying in the drawer until now. Erik asks how many songs Per has in the drawer. Per reacts: ”You don’t want to know!” And laughs. He himself doesn’t know it exactly either. There are tons of sketches. Before he starts a new project, he is listening to some of his old stuff to get inspiration. He has been writing songs for such a long time and he felt that slowly but surely his style is changing a bit. Erik asks if it can happen that a sketch matures, that earlier Per thought nah, it’s not good for anything, but now it seems to work. Mr. G says it can happen, for example that the text in a verse has a good idea, but it doesn’t reach the goal or you couldn’t make it in 1986, but maybe now you can get your teeth into it. On GKRA it happened that Per corrected verses he thought were clumsy. And there is also the fact that if you write a song when you are 25 and sing it when you are 61, it gets a different meaning. Erik asks if it was the case with Ömhet. PG says not really, because there the lyric is straightforward, but Tända en sticka till is a good example. It was released on Per’s first solo LP in 1983, he wrote it in 1982, so when he sings it today, there is a sentimental, nostalgic feel to it. It changes the text’s angle.

Per tells he works together with Helena since Mazarin. She came to sing backing vocals on 1 song and ended up singing on 10. He knew he wanted a female voice and they did a little audition at the studio in Skåne. Helena was the first he heard on the audition and he said he doesn’t want to listen to the others. She was the one he wanted.

Erik asks Per why he decided to make this album an acoustic one. Mr. G says he wanted to make it personal and organic and he wanted to play as many instrument as possible himself. There is mainly piano and acoustic guitar. He also tried playing bass and drums, but he realized his limits. Erik adds Paul McCartney plays all instruments himself. Per says he knows it. He is very curious about Paul’s new album. He is amazed that at his age, Paul is so sharp and he is doing this recording in his home studio alone.

Erik asks Per if he rewrote any of the lyrics for the album. Per tells he rewrote certain verses. There are songs in the drawer that have a text Per was not satisfied with, but now he has the capacity to make them relevant.

Mr. G tells now he is making an English album and he’s got a kick doing it. Erik asks when it will be released. Per says when it’s ready. They laugh. Erik says it sounds like a good startegy.

They play Du kommer så nära (du blir alldeles suddig) here. It’s a duet with Uno Svenningsson. Erik asks Per when he wrote this song and what it is about. He wrote it for En händig man in 2006. First it was mostly just an observation that sometimes things get so close that they get really blurred and you can’t really take it in. Per tells he didn’t know Uno too well. He called Per in summer and asked if they could meet and have dinner together. Per said sure, just he has to sing on one of his songs first. Then Per quickly changed the key in the song so that it suits Uno’s and Per’s voice. Mr. G thinks Uno is a lovely person and he has a fantastic voice.

Erik tells Per is more acoustic during these recent years and his music is softer. He asks if Per became softer over the years. Mr. G laughs and says he doesn’t know. It’s hard for him to answer this question because he thinks he is the same as he has always been. PG says he is lucky that he has a big tree with a lot of branches: Gyllene Tider, Roxette, solo in English and in Swedish, Mono Mind. Many different things. His classic singer songwriter side is reflected in this new album.

Erik asks Mr. G about Gyllene Tider and says he opened the door to a comeback. Per smiles and says: ”That I can never keep quiet…” They did their last tour last year, but who knows. There is nothing planned. He loves the guys in GT and he loves playing with them. When the five of them play together, the outcome is always something very special.

The guys start talking about Roxette. Erik asks Per to describe his friendship with Marie. Per says it’s hard to describe it shortly, but they got to know each other when they were teens, at the end of the 70’s. They shared a rehearsal studio in Sperlingsholm, outside Halmtad. Per was in Gyllene Tider and Marie was in Strul. So they have been friends since then. That friendship became a musical partnership in which they could develop their good sides. The basic idea with Roxette was that Per writes the songs and Marie sings. Marie could sing fantastically and Per could write OK songs. Sometimes it felt like 1 and 1 makes 3. Per says he is incredibly proud of the journey they were on together and feels honoured to have worked together with Marie over so many years. Erik tells Roxette started out as a game with a friend. Per tells they had the ambition and dream to succeed outside Sweden. They loved pop and rock music and they liked the same bands and artists, David Bowie, Joni Mitchell, The Beatles. When they were sitting and chatting in Per’s apartment in Halmstad, they were talking about Germany, Norway, Denmark or Belgium. To succeed in the US and play there and in South America and Roxette being global surpassed their dreams. They had their heydays between 1988 and 1995. Then Marie had her second child and wanted to have a break, so they had a break after the Crash! Boom! Bang! tour. During those 8 years they were together 24 hours a day and worked. Erik adds they travelled around the world, but probably didn’t see anything. Something like that, Per confirms. They were constantly travelling to another city, another country or were locked in their hotel rooms, spent their times at airports.

Erik asks Per how much he misses Marie. Per says it’s difficult to talk about it. It’s almost a year ago that she passed away. There is emptiness. When you lose someone very close or your family member, there is emptiness. It’s difficult to deal with it. Even in Marie’s case when they were kind of prepared, because she was sick for a long time. But still, when it happens, you know that you can’t get prepared for that. Erik asks if Per misses the partnership as well, to work together with someone the way they worked together. Mr. G says of course he misses it, however, the last albums they recorded in a different way than they recorded before Marie’s illness. It wasn’t such an intensive cooperation as during the years before her illness. But there is something special when you are working together with someone or with a band like GT. There are things that only they can share, something only Marie and Per could discuss, Roxette’s success, since it’s them who achieved it with a lot of people’s support around them. There was an enormous tightness between them, so of course he is missing it. He misses calling her and chat and fight and joke around. Erik asks if they did that often. Per says maybe not as often as they should have, but one thinks about it only now. After Marie got ill in 2002, she of course became much more private and he respected it.

Erik asks Per about his musical partnerships, how those work. Per says he is much of a lone wolf, mainly in the creative part of his work. He writes alone and he doesn’t take orders easily if someone wants to tell him how this or that should be. It’s hard for him to write music for someone else. It’s difficult to keep the balance. But then he of course needs other musicians and other singers and other producers who help him on the way.

As an end to the conversation, Erik asks Per to pick a Roxette song to play. Mr. G chooses Let Your Heart Dance With Me that was released recently. A leftover song from their last recordings. He says it’s so nice to hear Marie on it again.