When earlier this year, months before the GT40 tour it turned out that there would be a book about Gyllene Tider written by Jan-Owe Wikström and photographed by Anders Roos, I knew the end result would be fab. This duo created another wonderful book, Alla tiders Gyllene Tider 6 years ago, but not only that. Jan-Owe already wrote a book about the band and another about Roxette many many years ago and actually, he wrote the very first Hallandsposten article about a young band, Gyllene Tider more than 40 years ago, on 8th July 1978. He has been following the guys ever since. Anders’ work we also know from other Per Gessle related projects. His amazing photos we could see from several tours and studio sessions over the years.
Jan-Owe and Anders visited the Golden Guys in France when they recorded their last studio album, Samma skrot och korn and were following them on their farewell tour to catch and eternalize the magic around this boy band 40 years after their break-through.
Already by looking at the cover, one can be sure that what’s inside is of high quality. The front cover shows a pleased and proud gang in 2019, while when you turn the book around, the back cover shows a young, promising band in 1981. Wonderful. And this time travel appears inside the book too.
I don’t know how others start reading it, but to me the book shouted out for a start from the end. Which is actually the beginning of all. You will read about all the important years in GT’s life, how MP and Per met and decided to become pop stars, how Anders and Micke met and how Göran with his Farfisa came into sight and how all 5 of them got together to establish one of Sweden’s, if not the greatest bands ever.
In between the historical happenings over the decades, the break-through, early tours, studio sessions, the break-up, the come-backs detailed by Jan-Owe one can read a couple of fan stories about what GT means to the fans. Stories from the ’80s, about Gyllene songs being played at weddings or even funerals, hunting the guys and their autographs. Things what only fans can understand.
Besides all these, you can also get to know what albums and bands had an impact on Per, MP, Micke, Anders and Göran and what their Top10 GT songs are. The lists are not so different, but there isn’t one single song that you would find in each band member’s Top10. How strange.
After the past, you turn the book around again and arrive to 2019. The Intro and the Outro, before and after the very last Oslo gig give a great frame to the whole GT40 farewell. The chapters guide you through the complete process from what happened between the last concert on the GT tour in 2013 and the first thoughts of an anniversary tour, through the creative process of recording a last album and creating the set for the last shows, till the very last performance of the greatest Swedish band of all times.
Besides the Golden Guys’ feelings and actions, their stories of how they met their wives and how their families (their parents and their close families now) supported them over the years, the book also tells you about other important people around the band. You can read about what BoJo’s (Bo Johansson, Live Nation tour leader) job is on a tour as per logistics and organizing all details, what the head of crew has to do and that a gig couldn’t happen without the best crew. You get to know how Malin-My Wall and Dea Norberg came into sight for this last tour and how they contributed to the shows, but you can also read about veteran Fredrik Lilliestråle Stéen and Micke Syd’s friendship that resulted in the fact that GT invited a group of policemen, firefighters and ambulance, as well as defense veterans to thank for their service at each GT40 concert in Sweden.
The fans’ part in 2019 is represented by a handful of hardcores. Thomas Evensson (an essential establishing member of TDR) is there from almost the very beginning of Gyllene Tider. You get to know how he got involved and became the creator of the non-official GT website. You meet Bradley Coverley from Australia, who represents all the non-Swedish speaking fans from around the world and shows that distance is nothing when it comes to your idols. Jan-Owe and Anders travelled together with Sandra Knospe who saw now more than 250 GT, Roxette and PG related concerts in her life and travels thousands of kilometres on each tour to follow the band to as many places as possible. She can also compare how touring life of a hardcore fan was in the ’90s and how it is nowadays. Nowadays I join her in this ”craziness” and travel together with her. The GT40 tour was the first one for me when I had the chance to attend each gig and added my reviews show after show on RoxetteBlog.
In the book, almost all stops on tour are present. The emotional ending in Halmstad with all the TACK signs held up by fans couldn’t be left out either. Including the tears on and off stage, of course. Per’s words to the crowd at the last concert in Sweden: ”Thank you for following and supporting us for 40 years. Without you, we would be nothing.”
Anders Herrlin is right about what GT’s essence is.
Gyllene Tider is like a mud pie. There are lots of different recipes for mud pie, but here I, Micke and MP are the bottom of the cake with our own way of playing together, while Per’s voice and Göran’s Farfisa are the topping on the cake. However, how much you add from each element, that recipe is a secret and is locked in a safe in Harplinge.
This book is really a must have for all the fans, but also a good reading for anyone who has ever bumped into Gyllene Tider’s music. How Jan-Owe writes down the discussions it feels like you are there with guys in the studio in France or the final rehearsal before the premiere gig or at the concerts themselves. And the photos taken by Anders Roos give you a visual to all this, so you have kind of a movie playing in front of your eyes.
Yeah, now we need a DVD too. To be able to relive the GT40 magic as many times as possible.