Top 2000: The Untold Stories – Roxette – It Must Have Been Love

You surely remember the Dutch TV program, Top 2000 that interviewed Per Gessle on 19th November 2019 at Baggpipe Studios (the old EMI studio) in Stockholm. In December 2019 they broadcast the story of The Look and they shared it on their YouTube channel in February 2020. Later, in August 2020 they shared an acoustic version of It Must Have Been Love. Per played it the same day they recorded the program and now it turns out there was a story behind IMHBL they recorded as well. It was broadcast on Dutch TV yesterday. You can watch it HERE (if you are in the Netherlands or via VPN).

Per tells the whole idea with Roxette was that they wanted to go international. They had success in Sweden, Marie was a successful solo artist and Per was successful with his Swedih band. Marie’s career was climbing, but Per’s heydays were over. Marie and Per knew each other since the late 70’s and they always wanted to do something together. She had an amazing voice, Per could write songs for her and they shared the ambition. Per wrote different songs for Marie than what she could write herself. There is Soul Deep for instance. She is amazing in that song. She never really wrote material like that. After the success in Sweden with the first Roxette album they were a bit disappointed because they wanted to succeed abroad. So they talked to EMI in Germany and they said they should write a Christmas song, maybe then it’s easier for EMI Germany to get them on the radio. Per went home and wrote It Must Have Been Love (Christmas for the Broken Hearted).

Per is showing the demo to IMHBL where he is singing. He says it would have been Marie who would be whispering the line they hear (It’s a hard Christmas day, I dream away), to make it more intimate, but they gave it up, it was corny. Per explains this demo was before auto tuning, it’s really out of tune and he laughs. He says it’s a really bad demo actually. They recorded the song and released it in Sweden in 1987 and it became a hit. It was a big song for them, but Germany didn’t release it, EMI Electrola hated it.

Then they forgot about it. Per started writing the Look Sharp! album. They had all the success with it, with The Look and Listen To Your Heart. Then in 1989 they had a lunch with EMI in Los Angeles and they had the rights of a soundtrack to a movie called 3000. It was about a guy who hires a girl for the weekend for 3000 dollars. They said that they have David Bowie on board, Go West and Natalie Cole as well, all those EMI artists. They wanted Roxette to write a song for that movie, but Per said they had no time, they were travelling all around the planet to promote Look Sharp! But Mr. G said they have a Christmas song and he could very easily alter the lyrics to it. He got rid of Christmas day that became winter’s day. They sent it to them and they loved it. The title of the movie became Pretty Woman. Per remembers he was in this studio (the old EMI studio) when Garry Marshall, director of the movie called him to tell that he loves the song so much he had given it a great place in the movie and there is no dialogue over it, because it speaks for itself and it just gives the whole movie a certain character in that particualr scene. Per thanked and put down the phone. The movie became a blockbuster and they were surprised what happened there. IMHBL became this epic song it is today.

Thanx for the hint, Ludo van Denderen! (He also shared a screen recording of the program on his FB.)

Per Gessle on Top 2000 in the Netherlands

There was a short interview with Per today about The Look on Top 2000 (Dutch music program). The program is available in the Netherlands only, but hopefully, they will soon upload it to their YouTube channel as well.

The interview was done on 19th November at Baggpipe Studios (the old EMI studio) in Stockholm. Per tells they recorded a lot of Roxette songs there and shows the place where e.g. Jonas Isacsson was sitting, playing the guitar, where the drums were, etc. Per says it’s a magical place for him.

Mr. G thinks Pearls of Passion was a good album, but he wanted Roxette to be a bit more programmed, digital and modern. There was a conflict between him and the original producer of Look Sharp!, because the producer wanted to use his favourite musicians. Per was lucky in the end, because their engineer broke his leg and they got another engineer. He was an amazing porgrammer and digital guy. He, Per and Clarence wanted Roxette to go to the computer world. Per bought a synthesizer with a sequencer and started learning how to use that. He wrote The Look on it. 3 chords, 1 finger. It was written for Marie, that’s why he was singing ”he’s got the look” in the demo. Marie liked the demo, but said she can’t sing it, because there is no melody. It’s almost like rap. But then she said ”I can sing the nanana part and I can do the answering in the choruses”.

Per was against releasing it as a single, because the whole idea behind Roxette was that Marie was going to sing the songs and Per was the main songwriter. So in Per’s world it didn’t really make sense to release it as a single.

In 1988 there was an American exchange student in Sweden and he became a big Roxette fan. He moved back to Minneapolis and on his favourite radio station, KDWB there was a show where listeners can call in and ask for their favourite songs or they can leave their records there. He went there and gave them the Look Sharp! album. It was lying around for a couple of weeks and he went back to pick it up again. The program director was there at the reception and thought that’s a really cool album cover. Because it looks like a magazine. So he put on the album and the first song was The Look. He thought this is an amazing song. He put it on air and as soon as he did so, the phone started to ring and people were asking what’s that. They rush released the single because it was all over the radio and it took 8 weeks until it became No. 1. It changed their lives of course.

Per explains all the Nordic countries have great traditional melodies. That’s in their DNA. If you listen to old classic Swedish songs from the 19th century, it’s very beautiful melodies and they grew up listening to that kind of music. You can hear it in ABBA’s music, you can hear it in Per’s music.

That particular Roxette sound was created in the old EMI studio, in Stockholm, with Swedish people. EMI in the US wanted them to move to Los Angeles or at least to New York or at least to London, to be part of the international music scene. But they said no, because if they moved to Los Angeles, they would have sounded like Richard Marx or what was happening at the time in the US. Roxette sounds special because it was made in Sweden.

Still is from the interview.

Thanx for the technical support, Ludo van Denderen! (Until the original video is available on the Top 2000 YouTube channel, you can watch Ludo’s recording of it HERE.)

Update on 13th February 2020: Top 2000 a gogo uploaded the video to YouTube.

Per Gessle’s Roxette – Utrecht, the Netherlands – 25th October 2018 – #11

Now less shows left than how many we could already see on tour. The 11th gig happened in the Netherlands, at a cozy venue, Tivoli Vredenburg in Utrecht. Besides Dutch fans, there were fans mainly from Germany, but also from Australia and Argentina, as well as Hungary, Belgium and probably some other countries. Regarding the queueing, we can’t complain. We were let inside already in the morning, so we didn’t have to wait outside in the cold all day. We weren’t sure about the setup at the venue, if there were seats or a standing area. When we bought our tickets in March it was said to be standing in front of the stage and seated at the upper levels. It was confirmed also the day before the show at the ticket office. Then it suddenly changed into unnumbered seats down there in front of the stage. But it probably worked better this way. There was no mess, because here you could decide yourself where you want to sit. I mean everyone had the same general admission ticket and you could decide on place where you would want to sit.

The support act… oh well. It was Bottles of Love, they started at 19:45. Ehm, first it was even hard to recognize the language the singer used, then it turned out it was English, but with a very strong Dutch accent, so it was hard to understand what he was singing about. We missed Lee a lot. It would have been far much better to have him as a support act during the whole tour. Let’s see how the support will be in Sweden.

PG & Co. hit the stage at 20:45 and this is what they prepared for us:


1. The Look
2. Milk And Toast And Honey
3. Crash! Boom! Bang!
4. Dressed For Success
5. She’s Got Nothing On (But The Radio)
6. Spending My Time
7. I’m Glad You Called
8. Small Town Talk
9. I Have A Party In My Head
10. It Must Have Been Love
11. Opportunity Nox
12. The Big L.
13. Fading Like A Flower
14. Doesn’t Make Sense
Band presentation
15. How Do You Do! (in a medley with No. 16)
16. Dangerous

17. Queen Of Rain
18. Joyride

Encore 2
19. Listen To Your Heart
20. The Sweet Hello, The Sad Goodbye

The Look had its effect, everyone stood up immediately. However, mainly those remained standing during the whole show who were sitting in the front of stage area. One funny thing, when they take a break during The Look and pause for some seconds, now the whole gang point at each other. Who’s got the look? Haha.

After the first song Per talked to the audience and told this is the first time he is playing in U-track. Haha. At least this is how it sounded when he pronounced Utrecht. He asked the crowd to sing along if they know the lyrics.

MATAH sounded absolutely wonderful. After the song Per talked into the mic: ”Milk And Toast And Honey, make it sunny, in a chair.” Then talked about the most expensive pizzas and cheapest wines in Capri and they played CBB. Helena got cheered after the song.

Then came DFS to speed the tempo up a bit. Per asked: ”Are you sitting down? Standing up?” We shouted standing up, he said it’s a good move. Then came the cool live version of SGNO and Per asked Chris in the intro how he felt, Chris said he was happy. The drum solo at the end was outstanding as usual. Christoffer lost his hat again while rocking during the song, but went to pick it up while Per was talking about the next song.

After the first 5 songs we got to hear about Per’s good day in 1990. He woke up in the morning, found a note on his piano left there by his girlfriend: Hello, you fool, I love you. Per said he couldn’t resist but marry her. And it had to be a song, Joyride. He got a shout-in: well done! He showed thumbs up. He had lunch and ate Swedish meatballs, then he felt full. Watched 3 Ingmar Bergman movies on VHS and then he wrote the next song. SMT. Despite the soar throat, Helena sounded beautiful on this too. Actually, Per must have problems with his throat too, since he is drinking a lot of ginger tea during the concerts (already since the first gig), more than usual. And he must be chewing on some tiny bites of ginger in between the songs. At least I can’t imagine him chewing a gum, so it’s rather ginger. But who knows. The 2 soar-throated sounded fab on IGYC. Per said he wrote it for the Party Crasher album, but it wound up on an a Roxette album in the end.

Before STT, Mr. G said he went to record in Nashville and brought some friends along. Chris said into the mic ”I was there!”, then Helena also said ”I was there!”. I really can’t wait to have this live version mastered and released! Amazing!

The very typical Swedish hillbilly music, IHAPIMH turned out to be a unique one in Utrecht. Actually, the third verse became so beautiful, surreal that it was a blackout version. Per sang a little blablabla instead of the lyrics and it sounded too cool. First I thought he would remember the lyrics after the first line in the verse, but it stayed as it is. If anyone has a recording of it, please, share! It was really adorable! We love such ”surprises”! Per just smiled after he finished the song and said ”Thanx, I have a party in my head, all the time!” Haha. I hope it never ends, Mr. G! 😉

Here I went live on our Facebook page, so you could see how the intro talk to IMHBL went and you could also listen to the song and watch what’s happening on stage. This time it was 77 songs Per gave the band to rehearse. Magnus said: ”And we reherased 12. Per wasn’t very glad. So we rehearsed 112. And then he was glad again.” Per: ”Yes, I’m easy.” Magnus: ”Easy to please!” Per said there are a couple of songs that Magnus can’t really live without: Radar Love by Golden Earring, Venus by Shocking Blue and the next one they play, IMHBL. Beautiful live version. Magnus can be happy.

OppNox + TBL, the best part without a doubt! However, I was a bit disappointed that those who were sitting up in the seats were rather lame and stayed seated even during the party songs.

Before FLAF, Per asked Magnus about the ’90s and his ’90s girlfriends. Magnus said he’s happy it’s over with those many girlfriends. Helena got a huge applause after FLAF and she thanked the audience both in Dutch and in English.

While getting prepared for DMS, PG asked if we were having a good time. Yeees! Then something didn’t want to work with the capo and Per said: ”Me and technical stuff…” Magnus was kidding him and Per asked him if he saw his YouTube video on how to put a capo on the guitar. It’s 47 minutes. Haha. We are glad to see any tutorials on GessleHomeVids, feel free to share. The song anyway was fantastic in Utrecht too. Chris went wild at the end, but this time his hand fortunately wasn’t bleeding. However, he asked for a plaster, so his finger still must be aching.

During the band presentation Per said he has the greatest band. He introduced the members one by one and when he finished it he said that’s it. Then Chris said: ”You forgot someone. Vocals, guitar and many, many songs: Per Gessle!” The crowd cheered Per and he thanked kindly. He said he didn’t expect that, that Chris knows his name. Haha. Chris said: ”Surpri-i-ise!”

Then came HDYD and Per said now it’s the crowd’s turn to sing. The intro started and the audience started singing and didn’t want to stop. And just like in Cologne, Per let us sing until the very same line as at the previous show. Mr. G was dancing to our singing and was happy to hear we knew the lyrics. He said: ”Beautiful! Well, the rap section didn’t go that well… Sounds great, thank you very much! So join us on tour! Well, you do, some of you!” Haha. Love these spontaneous reactions. To both HDYD and Dangerous we could party hard and the band was on fire.

Then the gang went off stage and the audience wanted to have them back of course, so they came back and Per said: ”It’s been a great evening, thank you very much. Thanks for having us!” Then they played QOR first, then Joyride which became a little balloon party. Chris couldn’t handle the plaster on his finger anymore, so with the help of his mouth he took it off and threw it away. Some of the balloons ended up on stage while the audience were playing with them and either Per or Chris or Magnus kicked them and they got back above the audience. It was cool to see!

After Joyride the band said goobye, but the crowd didn’t get quiet. We wanted more and we got more in the 2nd encore. When Per was standing in front of his mic stand and got prepared to talk about LTYH a bit, someone shouted ”Hey Mr DJ!”. Per: ”Hey Mr DJ? That was song No. 78.” Haha. I really loved this spontaneity. And his sense of humor is top! So they played LTYH which was awesome and then Per asked the crowd if it’s always like this on Thursdays here. Then he said they do one more song, just for us, because they love us. So it was time for TSHTSG. Another song I’m looking very much forward to having mastered and released on a live CD.

At the end of the gig Per thanked the audience and from a fan he got a balloon on a stick. The balloon was an emoji, the heart-eyed one. He was laughing. Then before they took a bow, he gave it to Malin-My. Then the balloon fell off the stick, Mr. G played with it a bit, pushing it up into the air, then Andreas kicked it, but then Per felt sorry for it and grabbed it up from the stagefloor again and left the stage with that little fellow! Great idea it was from the girl who brought that balloon.

At the merch stand this time there were 2 drumheads, one with Utrecht’s skyline and another with the design of what’s on the T-shirts. Both drumheads were transparent. They put a used pair of drumstick on sale as well. What’s next…?

Here is Mr. G’s opinion about the gig:

UTRECHT, HOLLAND. Oh my God!!! In spite of sore throats and kinda weird acoustics the gig at the Tivoli in Utrecht became WUNDERBAR!!! Jeezus, what have we done to deserve a crowd like this? Amazing! Thanks for all your wonderful voices + keeping this band on its toes! We had the time of our lives tonite. Tomorrow we fly back home for a gig in jolly Halmstad before hitting Russia. But we’ll keep the Utrucht one alive forever! Cheers from Per & Co.

All pics in the article are taken by Patrícia Peres.


200 Roxette World related shows

As we mentioned it in our latest review, Sandra Knospe celebrated her 200th gig in Amsterdam 2 days ago. 200! What an impressive number! Hard to beat it except if you are member of the band or at least the crew. 😉 It’s not only Roxette, but also Marie and Per solo, as well as Gyllene Tider, but most of the shows she attended were Roxette gigs. She followed the band from South America to Australia, but being a German girl, she of course went to the most shows in Europe. And why I use past tense here I have no clue… she followed the band from here to there and she’ll never stop. Well, she was truly born to follow.

When Sandra enjoyed her 100th show she surely didn’t expect she would have such a special treatment 100 concerts later. The crew offered her to see the venue from a different perspective and showed her around the stage. Then on the concert the band mentioned her anniversary. What a night!

Here are Sandra’s thoughts about her 200th gig:


A Rox gig with a different perspective

Pic by Sandra Knospe

Another day another concert. After Rox had played in the famous L’Olympia just the other night it was Amsterdam’s turn now. Approaching the venue at around 5pm I have to say I was surprised to see way less people queuing in front of it than usually. There were two entries, one for people who had bought the expensive Early Entrance tix and one for the remaining concert visitors. I expected to see more “hardcores” in any of the queues, but I guess some just decided to come late since it didn’t make sense to queue the whole day with a normal ticket and no big chances of front row anymore. And other Roxers probably have decided to skip the concert completely and boycott the EE ticket policy from Live Nation. So maybe one doesn’t need to wonder that it felt a bit different outside this time. And in a way it continued inside.

The entrance for EE ticket owners was around 6.15pm and the others followed shortly afterwards. I can’t really tell how the entry was outside, because a friend of mine and I were lucky enough to get to see the stage from the other side of the fence while the doors opened. That evening I celebrated my anniversary of 200 concerts including Rox, P&M solo and GT and a very kind person suggested that maybe it would be interesting for me to see the things from a different perspective. And it was!! I am very happy and extremely thankful that we got this little special treatment!!

After that my friend and I found our places in the front and we were eager to see the show. Some chit chat with people around us and then Eskobar started to play. As a fan who has seen a few shows you can already sense during the supporting act what mood the crowd is in and if they will get infected by the vibe and atmosphere on stage. At least to 90% you can guess that already before Rox enter the stage. And this time it felt as if it would be a bit of a tough job to get the crowd into it. And it turned out to be like that. Of course Rox got a warm welcome when they finally entered the stage and people surely clapped and sang along to the choruses of the oh so well known hits, but in between it felt a bit quiet and the enthusiasm was, well, let’s say limited compared to all other shows of this leg so far. But that only goes for the audience. On stage the glorious 7 had a top night. Marie delivering a great performance, Per bouncing, spinning and dancing around. Lyrics where they belonged. Only Per with a cock-eyed brain once, when singing this line twice in a row during “Crush on You”. And speaking of Per I have to take the opportunity to mention here that there is a noticeable change since this leg in the way Per interacts with the audience. There is much more contact with the people in the front rows than before. Keeping eye contact for more than just a millisecond and checking out the first few rows quite often is not that usual for him. It feels nice to see him being so relaxed and acting and reacting to the crowd in a more open way on stage. And it’s not just me who has noticed it. So whatever has happened that made him change this I hope he keeps it and I am sure all other Roxers hope that, too. Because it adds some extra kix to every gig.

The band was in top shape as well. What I really like a lot is that meanwhile the short dialogues on stage are alternating. It’s not always the same every night and it looks and sounds more spontaneous and not that practiced anymore. Really funny. They should keep that. It adds a lot to the atmosphere. And if not for the normal concert visitors then for sure for the hardcore Roxers. OK, I have to admit I am probably not very objective now since I got a little extra mentioning on stage that night. And THAT surely made my anniversary even more special!! So unexpected and freaking amazing. You simply have to love them all. Not only for the music. But before going into raptures now I’ll rather stick to the review.

I enjoyed the concert to the full and the energy and mood on stage made it exciting for me. So after the gig I was all smiles. The only question I’ve asked myself was “Would it have been different audience wise without EE tix?” I tend to say yes, because I think more hardcores would have shown up and been in front row, partying and jumping all the time. But with 150,-€ per ticket one simply has to cross out some shows when you have planned to see them more than just once during their tour. So I really hope that EE ticket policy won’t become a regular thing. But that’s just my personal impression. And even if most of the visitors weren’t physically active, the general opinion of the people who were standing next to me was positive. They all enjoyed the concert. The only thing some mentioned was the feeling that the concert was too short. Well, what can I say? Surely, I agree on that and all of us would love to get more than 17 songs on a gig, but nevertheless, we enjoyed what we’ve got to the max. So thanks for playing and cheers to the next 200!!


The audience could have been more active, but anyway, even if there is a standing still crowd, you can always be sure there is at least one person jumping in the front during the complete show. And it’s Sandra Knospe. Indeed, to the next 200, Sandra!

Roxette XXX Tour – Amsterdam, The Netherlands (Heineken Music Hall) – May 27 – #34

After an exceptional show at an exceptional venue in Paris, Roxette performed in Amsterdam last night. Amsterdam. A magical place that rewrote Roxette’s future in 2009. In 2012 the band did a sold-out gig at the same venue as they played yesterday, at Heineken Music Hall. It was quite crowded this time as well.

You couldn’t tell there was no day off between 2 concerts. Everyone on stage gave all their energy into the show and enjoyed it to the full. Marie was in top form and Per was bouncing around like hell. The band was also animated, playing all the tunes with much enthusiasm. The crowd was rather reserved when it came to jumping and dancing, but their clapping technique was in top shape and they showed they knew the lyrics to all greatest hits.

You surely remember what happened during the Prague show, when Sandra Knospe had her birthday. Well, yesterday she celebrated her 200th gig (w.o.w.!), so she got mentioned on stage again before Crush On You, thanx to Magnus. To the next 200, Sandra!

As you could read the sad news, a great drummer working together also with Roxette and Per in the past, Christer Jansson passed away. Many well-known Swedish people posted about it and that he’ll be missed. You could even see a post on Roxette’s Facebook page. They decided to have Christer on stage with them last night, so Micke N-S placed a picture of him next to Pelle’s drum set. Nice gesture.

Per & Marie after the show:

AMSTERDAM: Yeah! Wow! Great evening with a most wonderful crowd + band! Thanx everyone for making this yet another Dutch Paradise taking place!!!! See you soon!!!! /P&M

Next gig is on Friday (29th May) in Antwerp, Belgium.


Articles and photos

Instagram: 1; 2; 3;

Heineken Music Hall: pics on their website; pics on their FB page
Mojo Concerts

Sandra Knospe’s review


The Heart Shaped Sea
Watercolours In The Rain / Paint
Fading Like A Flower
It Must Have Been Love
Band intro + Joyride
The Look + the goodbye
End of the concert; Another goodbye video

Sleeping In My Car
The Look



Pic by Tiina Pitkänen

Sleeping In My Car
The Big L.
Spending My Time
Crash! Boom! Bang!
Crush On You
She’s Got Nothing On (But The Radio)
The Heart Shaped Sea
Watercolours In The Rain / Paint
Fading Like A Flower
How Do You Do!
It Must Have Been Love
Dressed For Success

Listen To Your Heart
The Look