“Att vara Per Gessle” – a review
LJUSDAL - Per Gessle approved this biography to be written by old friend and journalist Sven Lindström when Marie Fredriksson was diagnosed with cancer. He felt that his story should be told while the people he had been hanging out with were still alive. Immediately the idea came up to use the quotation-technique used in the book "Please kill me," which both Sven and Per regard as a major inspiration. Sven drafted a few pages and sent to Per who immediately changed his mind, he didn't want people talking about him!
Then both Marie and Rolf at EMI got sick, so Per changed his mind again, and here we are!
"Att vara Per Gessle" is mostly filled with information the regular fan already knows, but this information is better, straight from the sources, more meat on the bones so to speak. And Sven's writing is superb. If I compare this book with the previous ones about Gyllene Tider and Roxette, this one is miles ahead, both information-wise and language-wise. We also get literally heaps of photos, and pictures of old letters, faxes and notes. Basically a plethora of "new" information for the ever thirsty fan.
The book is heavy, it weighs 2.2 kgs (5 lbs), and is in LP format (12"x 12") - a nice coffee table book with a bonus CD named "Doppade bara tårna - demos 1977-90" containing seven demos (nine if you buy the special Ad Libris version);
"Saken slår mej som på huvudet"
"Lägg din hand i min om du har lust"
"It Must Have Been Love"
"Listen to Your Heart" and finally
The two missing tracks from this CD are "Dansar ner för ditt stup i rekordfart" ("Soul Deep") and a full demo of "Joyrider."
8,000 copies of the Ad Libris version have been printed, compared to 22,000 copies of the normal version.
Of course these demos alone are worth the price of the book. "Svarta glas" is for instance the fabled Swedish demo of "Neverending Love" - Roxette's first hit from 1986.
Among the more interesting information in this book, to me, is the full tracklist to the never released Modern Times album! Too bad the world never (?) will find out how Gyllene Tider's album would have sounded. Worthy noting is that the single "Beating Heart" ("När vi två blir en") didn't make it to the final cut…
The other interesting thing is that we get to know more about how Per feels about EMI worldwide, he even used the phrase used many times here at TDR "Every Mistake Imaginable" when talking to the execs at EMI USA. That wasn't very appreciated! Per has been very frustrated with EMI over the years.
Now I know this book is very hard to find outside of Sweden but if there's a will there's a way. Many fans have imported this via local book stores or via Swedish fans. Shipping is a killer due to the weight of course, in most cases more than the book itself. An interesting fact is that Bonnier's is thinking about a release outside of Sweden. Nothing more is known at this point.
Do I miss anything in this book? Of course, I always miss things, more demos, more info more photos! Seriously, Per is very generous with his demos, he draws up one from his pockets at the weirdest of times, which artist does that? I don't miss much in this book, there are always angles that I would have wanted to know more about, but maybe part II will be out in a decade or two? It's also not 100% pro Per, and even if the negative quotes are at a minimum, they are still there. In my book that adds to the credibility.
All in all, a great book for the fan who thinks he/she knows it all, and for the common man interested in Per Gessle. Get it when you can! The price is not at all bad (in Sweden.)
A huge thanks to Sven and Bonniers for the review copy.
Technical errors may occur.
December 7th, 2007
Internal reference code for TDR's Good Reporters: [tdr 111402]
This article was posted here on TDR in these categories:
Archive, TDR:Editorial, TDR:Exclusive, TDR:Per Gessle, vintage.