Per Gessle – Gessles nio i topp – Midsummer special

The fourth season of Gessles nio i topp kicked off with a midsummer special including the best songs about sun and rain. Per and Sven of course didn’t know whether it will be sunny or raining today in Sweden when they recorded this midsummer episode, so they decided to include sunny and rainy songs as well. Per explains it can’t be fifty-fifty, because they have 9 songs on each list. Sven laughs and says Maths was not his strongest subject at school and asks Per what his favourite subject was. Mr. G says it was drawing and Swedish, but then in the first year at high school he surprised himself with being good at Maths.

Per’s Top 9 sun & rain songs

9. Gerry & The Pacemakers – Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying
8. The Lovin’ Spoonful – Rain On The Roof
7. Sheryl Crow – Soak Up The Sun
6. Tages – Every Raindrop Means A Lot
5. The Beatles – Sun King
4. Garbage – Only Happy When It Rains
3. Traffic – Paper Sun
2. Tony Joe White – Rainy Night In Georgia
1. The 5 th Dimension – Aquarius / Let the Sunshine In

Per thinks Gerry & The Pacemakers are damn good and they had the same manager as The Beatles had, namely, Brian Epstein. Gerry Marsden, the singer in the group was also a songwriter and in the pop world it wasn’t very common back then that a band wrote their own songs. John and Paul did of course. Per thinks maybe Brian Epstein encouraged his bands to write their own songs. Sven says Gerry & The Pacemakers stayed in The Beatles’ huge shadow, however, they had some real hits. Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying is one of them from 1964. It peaked at No. 4 in the US. According to Per, it’s an awesome, heartfelt song.

Mr. G thinks it’s easier to come up with rain songs, he doesn’t really know why. He thinks it’s hard to come up with real beautiful songs about the sun and sunshine. It can be because the best pop music is a bit melancholic. It’s harder to write happy songs than sad songs.

The Lovin’ Spoonful is a lovely band from the 60’s and they were big in Sweden. Per always liked their song, Rain On The Roof from 1966. Mr. G thinks it has a very beautiful melody and is a typical John Sebastian composition. Sven says it’s from their ”Hums of the Lovin’ Spoonful” album and asks Per if he has this record. Per replies he doesn’t have it, but his brother had their ”Do You Believe in Magic” album. Sven highlights a couple of songs from the HOTLS album, ”Summer in the City”, ”Nashville Cats” and when he mentions ”Darlin’ Companion”, Per starts singing it. Mr. G tells a story when he and Anders Herrlin were in Los Angeles in autumn of 1981 and they ended up at an Improv stand-up comedy event where John Sebastian also played an acoustic set that night. His brother, Mark Sebastian was also in John’s band. They wrote ”Summer in the City” together, so Per was a bit starstruck by meeting Mark as well. The guys told they go to New York after Los Angeles and Mr. Sebastian invited them to visit him in Woodstock. Per tells they of course couldn’t say no to that and travelled to Woodstock and actually, lived at the Sebastian family for a couple of days. Per says it was very nice. John didn’t drink alcohol at all, but he was smoking a lot of grass. Haha. Per tells John has always been a sympathetic guy. His wife is a photographer, called Catherine. Sven says in John’s songs there is warmth and Per says John is coming from a jugband and folk music tradition, so his songs are very much melody-based.

After the song Per states 1966 was a great pop year. Sven asks what he thinks about 2002 then. Mr. G starts thinking what he was doing in that year. They already finished their Room Service tour and recorded songs for their ”Pop Hits” and ”Ballad Hits” compilations. Sven says Sheryl Crow’s Soak Up The Sun, the 7th on Per’s midsummer list is from that year too. Mr. G says he picked this song because you can’t really hear it anymore. He likes Sheryl and thinks she has a nice voice. The guys agree on the fact that she is very talented, she can sing phenomenally and even plays the bass, she is cool on stage and she is a bit of rock, pop and country, but somehow she hasn’t become a high profile artist.

The next song is the only one on the list by a Swedish band, Tages. If Per has to think of the Swedish music scene in the 60’s, there is this band that is better than the others. They were from Gothenburg. Per has 2 favourite songs from them, ”Fantasy Island” and Every Raindrop Means A Lot. The latter one is from 1967 and Per had it as a single. Tommy Blom sings the verses and Göran Lagerberg sings the choruses on it. It’s a little Beatles-inspired song. In 1964 the band won a pop contest, Västkustens Beatles, as Sven informs. Their producer was Anders “Henkan” Henriksson who was very good and ahead of his time, Per thinks. Their first single was ”Sleep Little Girl” in 1964. Sven tells the second week it was on the charts it beat a Beatles single in autumn 1964. Sven asks Per which Beatles single he thinks it was. Mr. G’s first guess is ”A Hard Day’s Night”. Sven says it’s very close, but it wasn’t that, so Per says ”I Should Have Known Better”. Bingo. Per says he was only 5 then, so Sven says it’s forgivable that he didn’t know it at first. Haha.

The next song could have been ”Here Comes The Sun” by The Beatles, which is the band’s most played song on Spotify, but since they haven’t played Sun King on this program yet, Per picked that one after Sven’s propaganda for this song. Both songs are on the same album, ”Abbey Road”. Per says he always thought the best in ”Sun King” was that ”Mean Mr. Mustard” came after it on the album. Haha. Sven thinks it’s John Lennon’s most fuzzy and dreamy and slowest song. You can also learn a little Spanish, Italian or Portuguese when listening to it. Paul knew a few Spanish words from school and they just inserted them, as well as paparazzi and obrigado.

The guys jump to the 90’s then and Per picks Only Happy When It Rains from Garbage. He thinks Garbage’s first album was awesome. ”Stupid Girl” from that record was also damn good. Butch Vig, drummer in Garbage was also co-producer of the band and he also produced Nirvana’s ”Nevermind” album. Per says he liked Nirvana’s singles, because they were very good pop songs, but he also thinks grunge is cool. Per likes Divinyls, an Australian rock band and compares Garbage to them. They have strong women as front figure singers in both bands. They are a bit like Blondie with Debbie Harry. Per thinks the lyrics of ”Only Happy When It Rains” are a bit depressive, but Sven thinks it’s a bit like a parody of depressive grunge songs’ lyrics. It was released in 1995 and Sven asks Per what he was doing that year. Mr. G says they released their compilation album, ”Don’t Bore Us – Get To The Chorus!” and they also went to Abbey Road Studios and recorded some songs with Roxette. A day before that they played a promo gig at Shepherd’s Bush in London for the compilation album. There was also a little Gyllene Tider comeback that year, a gig at Stora Torg in Halmstad.

The next song on the list is Traffic’s Paper Sun, the debut single of the band. Per says he liked Traffic’s singles. ”Paper Sun” flopped in Sweden, but Mr. G had the single at home anyway. Their next single, ”Hole In My Shoe” was a hit though. Steve Winwood left The Spencer Davis Group in April 1967 and formed Traffic together with Chris Wood and Jim Capaldi and released their first single in May 1967. Per likes the guitar hook in ”Paper Sun”.

Tony Joe White’s Rainy Night In Georgia is next. Sven says Tony Joe started writing his own songs in the middle of the 60’s after he heard ”Ode To Billie Joe” and recognized himself in the lyrics. He then decided to write a song that he can relate to and that became ”Polk Salad Annie”. ”Rainy Night In Georgia” was covered by many artists, Ray Charles among them, but the first hit version was made by Brook Benton in 1970. It’s a blues, soul, rock hybrid. It’s the No. 1 song in rain category, Per says.

Sven mentions Per wrote some rain songs too and asks which are Mr. G’s Top3 favourite rain songs he himself wrote. Per replies it’s ”The Rain” from ”Tourism”, ”Smakar på ett regn” from ”Mazarin” and then Sven suggests ”Queen of Rain” also from ”Tourism”. Per laughs and says he likes his own songs if he can say so. Sven notes Mr. G wrote more songs about rain than about sun. Per confirms and says it’s easier to write about rain than sun.

As No. 1 on the midsummer list, Per picked the medley of The 5 th Dimension, Aquarius / Let the Sunshine In from Hair, the musical. This medley is middle of the road pop with a little soul in it and even if The 5 th Dimension was quite big, they were still an anonymous band. The medley is damn good.

 

Per Gessle – Gessles nio i topp is back!

Last time we could hear Per Gessle and Sven Lindström in Gessles nio i topp on Swedish Radio was 1st September 2019. Good news is that they are back very soon! The first episode out of 10 of the upcoming podcast series will be broadcast on 20th June! All new episodes will be on air at 22:05 CET each Saturday and there will also be a midsummer special at 15:03 CET on 20th June. The podcast will also be available for download.

On June 13th the radio will repeat an earlier episode, from 25th December 2017.

Dates known so far:

  • 13th June 22:05 – Nio låtar ingen tror att jag gillar! (Nine songs no one thinks I like!)
  • 20th June 15:03 – Midsummer special
  • 20th June 22:05 – Nio i Topp om Blommor (Nine songs about flowers)
  • 27th June 22:05 – Nio låtar om Bilar (Nine songs about cars)
  • 4th July 22:05
  • 11th July 22:05
  • 18th July 22:05
  • 25th July 22:05
  • 1st August 22:05

Don’t forget to tune in on Swedish Radio P4 this Saturday, 13th June at 22:05!

Pic of Per and Sven is taken from Roxette’s Instagram.

Per Gessle interview on P4 Extra on Mother’s Day

Titti Schultz did an interview with Per Gessle today on P4 Extra on Swedish Radio. It starts at 1:42:42. After Titti welcomes Per, he says it’s an adorable weekend and the weather is fantastic on the Best Coast (West Coast). He is in Halmstad during corona time, because he lives there. He laughs. He has been home since Easter. Titti asks Per if he is thinking about corona or if everything is as usual. Mr. G says his life hasn’t changed a lot, because he most of the time works alone or only with a very few people. So it’s rather business as usual for him, but he has been very productive during this period. He wrote a lot of English songs and in between, Mamma and Pappa poppud up on a sunny Tuesday morning. He was dealing with a totally different type of music and then suddenly an idea came to his mind that shit, it’s mother’s day soon, so why not writing a song about a mom. It went quite easily and then he thought he should write a song about a dad, too. It was much harder. He laughs. He booked the studio, he worked there for 2 afternoons and then came Helena Josefsson to sing and then it was ready. It happened only in 2 weeks and it never went this fast before.

Titti says she knows Per’s mom is not among us anymore and asked Per if he celebrates her mom on a day like this. He said it doesn’t happen like this directly. Now there is another mom in his family, his wife, so it became rather her day. Per says when you are young, you don’t care too much about Mother’s Day, but by getting older, you think more about how it is to be parents and that kids are growing up. He thinks it’s a nice day. Tradition in their family is to give flowers and cake.

Titti asks Per if he thinks Mother’s Day has more meaning now for other families during corona time. Per thinks it could be. He thinks it’s a very special period we are going through now. It’s something we haven’t experienced before. When there is uncertainty, family and friends are more in focus and you realize that you can’t take any basic things for granted.

Per says he read that there were a lot of weddings cancelled. During this time people either still get married after the social distancing period or they get divorced. Titti says there can be a baby boom too.

Titti gets back to the songs and asks Per about the English songs he has been writing when Mamma and Pappa popped up. Mr. G tells he has Mono Mind, an electronic pop music project, but he was also writing guitar-based classic pop music. He doesn’t know yet what the future brings, but he wants to continue touring and play and make himself heard in a way. What he is writing now is based on the music he grew up with, the 60’s and 70’s (as usual) mixed with modern music. He can’t say anything about when this music will be out, but maybe next Mother’s Day. He laughs.

Titti asks if Per wants to say anything before she pushes the play button for Mamma. Per says just sit calmly and listen to the lovely lyrics and

Mom is the best!

Per Gessle interview on P4 Extra – ”There were so many Maries”

Swedish Radio P4 Extra did an interview with Per Gessle on 25th January, the day when the tribute concert was broadcast on TV. You can listen to it HERE. It starts at 34:10 and lasts until 54:38.

The program leader, Svjetlana Pastuhovic asks Per about the tribute event and if it was like a farewell. Per says it felt like a farewell, in a weird way. It was a strange evening. It was fantastic and tough at the same time. The hardest all the artists thought at the rehearsals was to see all those old videos between the songs for the first time. But later when there was the recording they rather closed themselves into their professional bubbles, so it became a bit easier. Per and Marie have been friends since the end of the ’70s and they did this fantastic journey of Roxette together. Those videos and pics made them remember Marie’s greatness. When you do such a concert it’s even more concrete and of course you get under its effect.

Here you can hear It Must Have Been Love from the tribute event. Only the first part that Per was singing alone, playing his guitar, accompanied by Christoffer. The program leader asks Mr. G how it was to play this song. Per says it was OK. He played it in this arrangement earlier too, so it wasn’t really new. But this is Marie’s song. He wrote it for Marie. One can hear it’s a hard work for him to sing it, but for Marie it was a piece of cake. She was singing it magnificently. Svjetlana asks what IMHBL means to Per. He says it is one of Marie’s signature songs. When you hear it you immediately think of Marie. It’s important in Roxette’s history, the Pretty Woman movie, how it all happened. All their songs have their own history, but this one is maybe their biggest ever. Then comes Listen To Your Heart and The Look.

The program leader asks what Per thinks was Marie’s secret of having an effect on so many people. Per doesn’t really know, but he says there were so many Maries. She wrote so many songs, she was a fantastic songwriter. She wrote and sang about things everyone could relate to. She was a talented artist on stage too, one of the best Per has ever seen. She owned the stage and the crowds even in huge football stadiums with 50-60000 people in the audience. That requires a special personality. And one of course one can’t forget about her amazing voice. She was a very complete artist, but at the same time she stayed a small town girl. All this was in her DNA and Per thinks people felt that.

Svjetlana shares her memory of a concert where she went with her mother. It was at Brottet, in Halmstad. Then she asks about how it was to work with Marie. Per repeats that there were so many Maries. She has always been very ambitious, mainly at the beginning. Mr. G tells the story that they printed T-shirts with the text ”Today Sweden, tomorrow the world” when they were recording their first album. They had a common dream. From day 1 they wanted to conquer the world. Everyone wanted Marie to concentrate on her solo career, but she wanted to work with Per. They were very good friends and had much fun together. They were a team where 1 + 1 makes 3. Per had the capacity to write all those songs and Marie had the capacity to sing them. And the better Marie was singing, the better songs Per was writing. They triggered each other. The last album before Marie got ill was Room Service (recorded in 2000) and until then everything worked like this. Later it became different of course, she was good in another way. The comeback she did in 2009 and lasted until 2016 was absolutely incredible. The doctors advised her not to tour, but she wanted to. She was longing for the stage and meeting her fans, as well as making a new Roxette album.

Here they listen to Den ständiga resan and then they talk about the fact that Per mentioned Marie was like a sister to him. Per says many thought over the years that they were a couple, but they never were. They were very close friends and it was more like a sister-brother relationship between them. But when you are working together so intensively, the friendship changes with time. When they were on tour constantly, it wasn’t Marie who Per called first when they finally got home. This is how a good marriage or a good friendship works according to Mr. G.

The program leader asks if they liked fame. Per says they could do another program about fame. Svjetlana is happy to invite him for another program where this would be the topic. Haha. One wants to achieve success with his music and at the same time you have this pop star dream. There are many negative things around when you are famous. For example, you go out and you always have to take selfies with people. It’s a special life, but it’s OK. Per thinks those who want to become famous don’t know what it is all about. But once you become famous, you can’t rewind the tape. Svjetlana asks if Per regrets it. He says absolutely not, but it affects your life all the time. In 1991 they did 1800 interviews in 7 months. But this is how the music industry works. Marie disliked all those promotional trips. It was very tough for her. Per tried to understand that this is how the industry works, so they need to do that to be able to compete with other bands. Marie didn’t like it, but she was a pro. They did all those many TV shows, back then it was playback almost all of them. You can find them on YouTube.

Many of Roxette’s songs are still played on the radio. Svjetlana asks how it feels for Per. He says he wrote all these songs, they are his babies and of course he would like to perform them still. He is very proud of them. But he also knows the soul in those songs was Marie. He tells he was touring with his own band in 2018 and played a lot of Roxette songs. It worked, but it was a different thing. One has to accept that Marie is not there anymore and it will never be the same as it was, but life goes on in a way.

They finish the interview with Things Will Never Be The Same which Per asked to be played.

Radio interview with Per Gessle about Marie Fredriksson – ”I’ve always thought she is a sister to me, it has always been so.”

Studio Ett on Swedish radio did an interview with Per Gessle after last night’s ”En kväll för Marie Fredriksson” event at Stora Teatern in Göteborg. You can judge by Per’s voice and reactions that he is still very much under the effect of what happened. Both last night and on 9th December.

It was the first time last night that he stood on stage without Marie since she has passed away. Per says it was quite long ago when he played together with Marie, in 2016. Yesterday the whole event was a really strong experience. It was fantastic being part of it, but at the same time it was tough. He says Marie was a fantastic person and he remembered the ’80s and ’90s when Roxette had their heydays. One forgets it over the years when so many things are happening. Their whole journey is unbelievable. They met at the end of the ’70s. Per was busy with Gyllene Tider, Marie had her solo career, but they shared this dream of succeeding abroad and they did and had this fantastic journey together.

The program leader says not everyone understands how big they are in e.g. Australia or South America. She asks what kind of reactions he got from there during the past month. Per says the response was tough, but fantastic. It shows how much Marie meant and still means to the people all around the world. The program leader says there was someone from Brazil in the audience last night. Per says he knows it, but there were many other hardcore fans too. There is a gang that follows everything they are doing. They live their lives via them in a way and he finds it fantastic.

The program leader asks Per how he looks back at the times when they broke through in the US. Per says it was an awesome time, the music industry and radio were totally different. They come from the pop world that has its roots in the ’60s and ’70s. They had the capacity and luck to follow up their first hit song, The Look with several others. Besides Marie singing so fantastically, she was also a fab performer on stage. When they started touring around the world, she was so good and they had a good band too, so they could also deliver on stage. A lot of artists can make records, but can’t go and perform live. It was a huge strength of Marie.

Studio Ett then asks about Per and Marie’s friendship. Per says they had a long journey together and over the years their friendship went through changes of course. They were friends from the beginning, they shared a dream, wrote songs together, played the guitar and the piano, they were singing, they shared the rehearsal studio while playing in separate bands, Per in GT, Marie in Strul. Then they went on tours and it became an intense, but rather professional friendship year in, year out with Roxette, so when they came home from a tour, maybe the first one whom he called wasn’t Marie. But they have always been very close to each other. He has always thought Marie is a sister to him, it has always been so.

Per says after last night’s event it’s very tough today. Everyone was very moved. It felt like a farewell yesterday. It was fantastic to do this, but it was tough for all of them on stage. He thinks it will be an awesome TV program. The band was a hybrid of Roxette’s bands and Marie’s solo band, consisting of fab musicians.

The program leader asks how much of Gun-Marie from Östra Ljungby was still in Marie as a successful world star. Per says there was still very much of Gun-Marie in her. She was very private. They did all this journey because they love pop music and singing and playing and writing. So why they were on TV, for example, was not because they wanted to be there, but it all came with their success. To the question how much is left in Per of Per Håkan who once worked at Bingo-Livs Mr. G replied while laughing that it’s hard to say, but he is a big part of him still. At least he thinks so.

To the question how he will go on with his songs he wrote for Roxette Per replies he doesn’t know yet, it’s a good question. During all his adult life he was writing songs for Roxette, so he wants to go on with them in a way, but he doesn’t know how.

It’s hard for Mr. G to tell what Marie would have said about last night’s event. Per thinks it was very touching, but he doesn’t know what Marie would have thought. Still the whole thing seems to be unreal.

To the question which of Marie’s songs are his favourites Per replies there are so many. One of Marie’s absolute finest lyrics is Den ständiga resan. It’s a very strong text and a very nice song. Over the years Per wrote tons of songs, while Marie was writing much less, but when she wrote something it was incredibly good. She has a fantastic song catalogue.