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.)