Per Gessle – Akustiska kvällar – photo book from the unplugged tour

It’s been a while since we could flick through a new tour photo book, but now we will have the chance again! The Per Gessle Unplugged adventure started in summer 2021 when Per decided to do 2 shows at Hotel Tylösand. Those 2 planned gigs became 10 in the end and that unplugged session in Solgården turned into a concert hall and theatre tour in autumn 2021. Due to several changes in the live show restriction rules because of Covid, the tour lasted until May 2022 and so it became 31 acoustic evenings altogether.

Photographer Anders Roos joined Per and the gang on many occasions and took thousands of pictures on and off stage, behind the scenes, before and after the shows, during rehearsals and make-up fixing. A couple of photos we could already see on Per’s official social media sites and I think many of us kept their fingers crossed we would get more of them in the form of a book.

Our prayers were in good hands and now a photo book is out! The first selling point is Hotel Tylösand – where it all started. There you can already buy the book in case you are around. The official publishing date is 17th October when the book will be available at Bengans and some more Swedish book stores. You can pre-order the book on Bengans’s website – they also deliver to many countries outside Sweden.

Mr. G took his time the other day and signed all 1000 copies, so either you buy the book at Hotel Tylösand or at Bengans, you’ll get a signed photo book.

Per about his “signing session”:

It’s a pleasure and I’m so happy that I have a really short name!

Besides Mr. G’s artistic signature on the front cover, you’ll read a foreword by Per and you’ll find a surprise inside the book. Each copy includes a print of one of the pics from the book in size 18 cm x 24 cm. There are 30 different prints circulating.

Per says:

Fate will decide what’s coming with your book!

Secure your first Xmas present already now and buy your copy at Hotel Tylösand or pre-order it at Bengans!

It’s a beautiful memory for those who were fortunate to be there at any of the shows and also an amazing item in the collection for those who listened to the unplugged live album or saw the SVT film and want to have the images in print too.

 

 

Stills are from the videos shared on Per’s and Tres Hombres Art’s sites: 1; 2; 3; 4; 5.

Per Gessle on Nordic Rox – October 2022

The October episode of Nordic Rox on Sirius XM was a special one with three guys on The Spectrum. Anton Corbijn joined Per and Sven for a nice chat. He was in Stockholm to open a new exhibition at Sotheby’s. Sven introduces Anton as a world famous photographer, visual designer and director of legendary music videos, as well as award-winning feature films that have captivated millions of fans for decades.

Before the three guys start talking, we can listen to Good Samaritan by The Hives first. Here Sven has some issues with pronouncing the word Samaritan and they laugh, because Sven says Samatarian. Per tells Sven is from Malmö in the South, so he is a little bit off. Sven agrees and says it’s a handicap, but he is trying to get over it. Haha. Then comes Poetic by Seinabo Sey, which Per thinks is a beautiful track. It’s taken from the album Pretend. Mono Mind’s All Over Your Body is next. Sven asks Per what kind of group that is, Mono Mind. PG replies it’s a very good group and it’s Helena Josefsson who is singing and Per is writing. Sven tells this is another one of Per Gessle’s many projects. Per finds it quite cool.

Here Anton joins the guys and he comes with a list of 5 songs that can easily change tomorrow. He says he put it together after he woke up with a bit of a hangover, which is very rare for him to have a hangover. Per says „welcome to the club!” The guys are laughing. Anton says it was actually nice to concentrate on and make a list of five songs for Nordic Rox.

Sven asks Anton about when he got to know Per. Anton tells it was in the ’90s when they made a video in Positano, Italy in 1999. Per tells they did a Roxette video for Stars, then for Salvation. Anton tells Per can’t really remember the Stars video because he was hardly in it. Per says he felt overweight, so he did a kind of cameo appearance in the beginning and then he ran off. He was the bum lying in the doorway. Per says that was his fat Elvis days. The guys are laughing. Anton says he thought Per didn’t want to be on HIS video, so he took it personal. Per says „yeah, we’ve been fighting ever since, Anton”. The guys are laughing again. Per and Anton worked together later too. Anton says it was Per’s 3-4 solo albums. Per tells they started off in Rome with the Mazarin album in 2003. Anton took some amazing pictures of him. Then they went on to do Son Of A Plumber in London and Skåne in Sweden. The cover was taken in a record store in London. Then they went to Lisbon to do En händig man in 2007. Per asks Sven what else he wants to know. Sven tells he wants to know why Anton chose Buffalo Stance by Neneh Cherry as the first track on his list. Anton says since they are talking about Nordic songs and Neneh is from here, he recalls the song as being so innovative in terms of sound and Neneh has such a presence on TV. Anton has great memories of her. He photographed her and actually everybody on the list he put together.

After the song Per tells they have a great guest from Holland, this mighty photographer and personality that we all love and cherish, Anton Corbijn. The next song is Jojo by Winona Oak and Sven has to admit he has never heard anything from her. Anton says it’s a wild card, but he became familiar with her music and really loved it. It’s very open, minimal and Winona’s voice carries it. Anton got into contact with Winona through a magazine in LA for which he shot a lot of pictures of young talents. Winona was one of them. Per tells the song was written by Joakim Berg from Kent and Gustav Nyström who is the producer as well. Per thinks Winona’s got an amazing voice and she’s got a great personality.

The Anton Corbijn special goes on with a track from Iceland. The song picked is from Björk’s first album, Debut. It’s Human Behaviour. It was such an alien appearance of Björk with her voice and visuals and it’s mindblowing, Anton thinks. She’s a beautiful force to be reckoned with. Sven is curious if Anton has a certain style of music he likes when he is listening to music. AC: „Yeah, I have style, man! I put the record on a player and I press play!” The guys are laughing. Anton says he is quite eclectic. He likes Nina Simone, Miles Davis and of course he sometimes also plays the bands he works with. He loves the Bee Gees, for instance. There is a lot of music that he maybe doesn’t work on, although he shot the Bee Gees a few times, but it’s hard to find an act that he hasn’t shot. Sven asks Anton if there is anyone on his list who he hasn’t shot yet, but he really wanted to. Anton says Pharoah Sanders just passed and he would have always liked to photograph him. But age catches up and when he has exhibitions, now there are a lot of people he puts on the wall who are no longer with us. That’s the way the cookie crumbles. Sven is curious what Anton thinks is so special about Björk. Her voice is amazing, that’s an instrument. Human Behaviour is a great title because we are all dealing with human behaviour these days in a negative way. Anton loves the cover, the visuals were always strong and Björk is an inventive person.

Sophie Zelmani’s Going Home is next. Per personally thinks it’s a brilliant choice, he loves Sophie Zelmani. Anton takes photos of her many times, he did three albums with her. He first met Sophie in the late ’90s and he kind of fell in love with her after seeing her video and thought he had to photograph this girl. He somehow persuaded the record company to introduce Anton to her. Anton is very happy they did, because it’s a privilege to know her and to listen to her music. It’s kind of velvety, it makes you feel warm. She has a very beautiful voice and is a real talent. Per thinks all her early albums are amazing and so is the production by Lars Halapi. It’s very sparse with lots of air and it makes a lot of space for this amazing voice Sophie has. Sven agrees that it’s indeed atmospheric.

Sven quotes Monty Python. „Now for something completely different” comes Anton’s last song he picked. Anton says he thought that after all these female voices we need some Viagra Boys. He thinks it’s a very funny name, it gets your attention straight away. It’s a kind of punky band, but quite melodic. They are Swedish, but the singer is American. Anton photographed them too. The song he picked is Sports and he thinks both the song and the video to it are so funny. It’s very dry kind of humor they have. They mention all the sports and that’s the song. Per likes it too and thinks they have never played them on the show, but Sven corrects him that they did. He can’t blame Per for not remembering, because they played zillions of songs.

The guys thank Anton for coming to the show and play three more songs, Bad Life by Sigrid & Bring Me The Horizon, Got To Go by Damn! and Get Jealous by ShitKid.

Anita Lindblom’s Cigarettes is closing the episode, as usual.

Stills of Per and Sven are from the Bag of Trix comment videos recorded by Anders Roos.

Anton Corbijn still is from this interview.

Thanks for your support, Sven!

PG Roxette’s second single is out!

PG Roxette released his debut single, The Loneliest Girl In The World on 3rd June. The song was the first taste from the upcoming album, Pop-Up Dynamo!, which will come out on 28th October. Before we get to hear the debut album, Per decided to surprise us with a second single. Walking On Air is released today, 23rd September and just like the first single, it also contains another song that won’t be included on Pop-Up Dynamo! The vinyl single has two B-sides: Necessary and a remix of Walking On Air made by Bridge & Mountain.

You can order the 7” vinyl at Bengans, Ginza and some more Scandinavian online shops. The single is also available on all streaming services. Actually, on streaming it became a mini EP, because now all PG Roxette releases will appear under three “brands”: PG Roxette, Roxette and Per Gessle, to make sure anyone can find them easily. Listen to the EP on Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music or YouTube!

Regarding the vinyl single availability Per says:

It’s up to the local Warner office to order it. If they don’t, you won’t find it in that particular country.

To the question if it was the original plan to release two singles before Pop-Up Dynamo! comes out PG replies:

Well, this album has been postponed a few times for various reasons; Covid – legal things – internal Warner reasons. It was finalized already in April 2021.

This spring we made a plan where Loneliest Girl” became the first single. Then the album-release got delayed again because we couldn’t get any slot time making the vinyls. So we decided to go with a second single before the album comes out. There will be a lyric video popping up soon, too!

The lyric video is set to premiere at 12 pm CEST on 23rd September. Don’t miss it! You’ll be able to watch it HERE! The video was made by Ebba Gustafsson Ågren, based on filmed material and photos by Fredrik Etoall and Per Gessle.

Per tells about WOA:

“Walking On Air” was the very first song written for “Pop-Up Dynamo!” I got a request to write something for the “Top Gun: Maverick”-movie in the fall of 2019. So I wrote “WOA”.

It was actually written for a particular scene in the film where someone was going to dance on a beach (hence the lyrics “oh I’m sure you love to dance on the beach”). However, the movie people involved didn’t use the song. Maybe they didn’t like it as much as I did? Or maybe they took away the scene? I don’t know. I haven’t seen Top Gun yet.

So I kept it to myself and started writing more stuff in the same ’80s-’90s style that reminded me of “Look Sharp!” + “Joyride”. That’s how the whole new PG Roxette album came about.

It’s Helena and Dea combined that sing the lead vocals in the choruses. Helena is the driving force but Dea is overdubbing her and also sings harmony vocals. And they share the “wailing duties”. They have such different styles which I love to work with.

This is the sound, combined with my own voice, that shines through the whole new album. Together they create almost a “third persona”, it’s hard to say who’s who. A little bit like Agnetha + Frida in ABBA.

Btw, there is a version with Helena singing the verses. That’s how I wrote originally for the Top Gun-movie.

Mr. G shares some details about Necessary too:

“Necessary” was one of the songs I wrote for “Pop-Up Dynamo!” It’s one of only three recordings I did with Christoffer producing this time. And only one made the album! You’ll notice!

One of them was actually a different version of “Sunflower” that I didn’t like… I preferred my own version that’s on TLGITW single.

The rest of the album was produced by Magnus Börjeson + Clarence Öfwerman + myself. Christoffer came in late in this production to do some overdubs. Jonas joined us a couple of days as well. It’s basically the same people that did the Metallica-song who are involved.

Besides other Gessleish phrases, there is one that pops out in Necessary. Here is what Per has to tell about it:

Glad you like the “pop just like a bubble”-phrase. “Pop Like A Bubble” was actually the working title of the album!!!

There’s no doubt the new PG Roxette single Walking On Air is keeping the Roxette sound alive. The classic and familiar Roxette ingredients of a smart production with great hooks and a “don’t bore us, get to the chorus”-attitude shine through the entire song.

Per says:

There are millions of people out there who still love Roxette so of course I want to keep our music relevant. At first, I wasn’t sure which way to go but as time passed by it became clear that I want to continue this fantastic joyride. I want to keep the legacy of Roxette alive.

Tracklist (7” vinyl)

Side A

Walking On Air

Side B

Necessary
Walking On Air (Bridge & Mountain Remix)

 

Walking On Air

If you could stick around
No need to bother with the other side of town
Set the mood make it bright
I wanna go and be your Saturday night
Oh oh oh – it couldn’t get better
Yea yea yea – listen to what I say

Hey hey, my eyes just stop and stare
I got it good you got me walking on air
Every time you’re coming around
I wish you were here to stay
Hey hey, my eyes can’t look away
I got it good you got me walking on air
Every time you’re getting so near

Would you mind stick around
No need to bother with the glass on the ground
Summertime within reach
Oh I’m sure you love to dance on the beach
Oh oh oh – it couldn’t be better
Yea yea yea – listen to what I say

Hey hey, my eyes just stop and stare
I got it good you got me walking on air
Every time you’re coming around
I wish you were here to stay
Hey hey, my eyes can’t look away
I got it good you got me walking on air
Every time you’re getting so near
I’m walking on air

WORDS + MUSIC BY PER GESSLE

Necessary

When I walk
I tend to move sideways
When I talk
I only get halfway
Well, you pop just like a bubble
And I only want to keep good company

Oh oh oh oh
I’ve been up all night where I used to be
Oh oh oh oh
Hey I can’t believe my own memory
Oh oh oh oh tell me baby
What are you doing to me?
Is it really necessary?

When I call
It sounds like I’m praying
When I fall
All songs keep on playing yea

Oh oh oh oh
I’ve been up all night where I used to be
Oh oh oh oh
Hey I can’t believe my own history
Oh oh oh oh tell me baby
What are you doing to me?
Guess it’s really necessary

WORDS + MUSIC BY PER GESSLE

Marie Fredriksson’s biography in English – official press release

We have just received the official press release to the English edition of Marie’s biography, so we share it with you.

Marie Fredriksson’s Final Memoirs Gets English-Language Release
Iconic Roxette Singer Documented Her Influential and Inspirational Life Due From 1984 Publishing April 25, 2023

Cleveland, OH — Marie Fredriksson’s final memoirs, Listen to My Heart: Life, Love & Roxette, will see a worldwide English-language release from 1984 Publishing on April 25, 2023.

The 260-page hardcover is the fully candid and compelling life story of one of rock music’s most resilient lead singers. Given only a few months to live following a harrowing diagnosis in 2002 — yet surviving for 17 more years, until 2019 — Marie boldly forged ahead into a life with newfound courage and inspiration. She continued as both a solo singer and with Roxette, where she performed over 550 concerts to millions of fans, sold 75 million records, and released over 50 singles including several global hits. Stateside, the duo had four #1s with “Listen to Your Heart,” “It Must Have Been Love” (from the film Pretty Woman), “The Look,” and “Joyride.” In all, Roxette is Sweden’s biggest music group — second only to ABBA.

Heart-wrenching yet winning, and told with exceptional energy and sincerity, Listen to My Heart sheds new and revelatory light on the life and work of one of our generation’s most talented and courageous artists.

Marie wrote her memoirs in tandem with author Helena von Zweigbergk. “Ever since co-writing Marie’s memoirs in Swedish, I’ve always been asked about an English-language version; after all, Marie sang primarily in English with Roxette. I’m glad that we finally have that answer,” says Helena. “I was so deeply moved by the enormous amount of love that Marie both gave and received over the years, and I know how much this release would have meant to her. It’s a book about strength, love, a remarkable career and a woman who gave life her all, each and every day.” Helena wrote a new afterword for the book in August, 2022.

Marie’s family continues, “We know Marie would have been very excited seeing her biography in so many different languages, reaching fans in so many countries. This English version makes her life story available to even more people in the world, keeping her legacy alive.”

Filled with behind-the-scenes stories involving everyone from Tina Turner and Elton John to The Rolling Stones and Frank Sinatra, Listen to My Heart also explores her humble family beginnings, an early tragedy in the sudden loss of Marie’s sister, her transition into the music industry as a solo artist, and the formation and challenges of being in one of the world’s most successful pop groups. All while trying to maintain a strong marriage and be a mother to two young children in the face of a life-altering illness.

A new book foreword was penned by acclaimed director Jonas Åkerlund, Marie’s longtime friend and colleague. “Marie was my first true break in the industry,” says Åkerlund. “I’ll always be grateful for that — not only because of the projects that followed, but more because of the integrity, focus, and creative generosity that she taught me . . . this book is but one testament to the boundless creativity she exuded throughout her life.” Åkerlund directed Marie and Roxette in nearly twenty music videos and documentaries, and later worked with Madonna, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney, U2, and Metallica.

A limited special edition of the book will contain Marie’s celebrated English-language solo CD The Change (2004), its first physical release in North America, along with Marie’s final recording “Sea of Love” (2017) as a bonus track. Along with the newly remastered music, the limited edition hardcover will contain foil gilding and a satin ribbon marker.

Both physical editions (plus an ebook) will be available worldwide at your local bookstore, plus on-line retailers including Amazon and many more. Store inquiries should be made to Consortium (US), Ingram (US, UK, Europe), PGC (Canada), and URP (record stores). If the title is not available in your country, please contact 1984 via e-mail.

Book cover photo is by Mattias Edwall, with book design by Midnight Marauder. Marie Fredriksson created the artwork for The Change album cover.

             

Listen to My Heart – Hardbound Cover            Listen to My Heart – Limited Edition Hardbound

             

Marie Fredriksson’s biography to be published in English

Marie Fredriksson’s autobiography, Kärleken till livet was first published in Swedish in 2015. It was then translated into several languages and published in German in 2016 (Listen to My Heart: Meine Liebe zum Leben), in Czech in 2017 (Listen to My Heart: Moje láska k životu), in Spanish in 2019 (Listen to My Heart), in Hungarian in 2020 (Listen to My Heart – Hallgass a szívemre), in Portuguese in 2021 (Listen to My Heart) and in Russian in 2022 (Love for Life). Finally, an English edition is in the making under the title Listen to My Heart: Life, Love & Roxette. It’s planned to be published by 1984 Publishing (USA) on 25th April, 2023 and it’s already available for pre-order e.g. on Amazon (look for other countries’ Amazon sites too, to get the best price regarding postage), at Barnes & Noble and on Book Depository, but probably more online book stores will pop up later.

The English version of the biography you can buy as an e-book or a hardcover, which is a limited edition – as stated on Barnes & Noble’s website. The limited collector’s edition includes Marie’s 2004 English-language solo album The Change on CD – previously unreleased in any physical format in North America – as well as bonus track Sea of Love (2017), the last song that Marie recorded. This edition also contains foil gilded page edges and a satin ribbon marker.

Listen to My Heart is a completely candid and passionate, heartbreaking yet often witty life story of one of rock music’s most resilient lead singers, Marie Fredriksson from Roxette (“It Must Have Been Love”, “Listen to Your Heart”, “The Look”, “Joyride”).

Given only a few months to live following a harrowing diagnosis in 2002 – yet surviving for 17 more years, until 2019 – Marie boldly forged ahead into a life with newfound courage and inspiration. She continued as both a solo singer and with Roxette, where she performed over 550 concerts to millions of fans, sold 75 million records, and released over 50 singles including several global hits. In all, Roxette is Sweden’s biggest music group – second only to ABBA.

Filled with behind-the-scenes stories involving everyone from Tina Turner and Elton John to The Rolling Stones and Frank Sinatra, Listen to My Heart also explores her humble family beginnings, an early tragedy in the sudden loss of Marie’s sister, her transition into the music industry as a solo artist, and the formation and challenges of being in one of the world’s most successful pop groups. All while trying to maintain a stable marriage and being a mother to two young children in the face of a life-altering illness.

Heart-wrenching yet winning, and told with exceptional energy and sincerity, Listen to My Heart sheds new and revelatory light on the life and work of one of our generation’s most talented and courageous artists.

The book contains a foreword by Marie’s longtime friend, director Jonas Åkerlund (Madonna, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Paul McCartney, U2) and personal photographs from her family’s collection.

The picture is here for illustration. The final English cover has not yet been revealed.

Update on 17th September 2022: Amazon has just shared the cover: