DIRTY DOZEN: Should’ve been Roxette songs!

The Dirty Dozen is back!

In today’s special, we list the Top 12 songs that “SHOULD’VE BEEN ROXETTE” songs.

Throughout his illustrious song writing career, Per Gessle has had many musical incarnations. From a solo career in Swedish to a solo career in English, he’s done movie soundtracks, he’s had a 30 year run as the “fake guitarist” in Roxette, he was the Gyllene Tider front-man, he formed a new project titled Son of a Plumber and he’s even collaborated with European House DJs to name just a few. Hundreds if not thousands of songs written – but not all those songs can be recorded as Roxette projects. And that’s exactly what today’s list is all about. Throughout the band’s career, there have been some songs intended for Roxette but for whatever reason, have slipped through the crack – so today, we go digging and try and right those wrongs.

Of course, to compile this list, the easiest thing to do would be to simply submit the entire The World According to Gessle album and shut the article down and go grab a drink – but that’s the easy way out, and we don’t like that – so, let’s get on with the list and have some fun.



#12 – Always Breaking My Heart

Would’ve been fun to hear Marie sing this one. Recorded and released by Belinda Carlisle, this song was the follow up single to “In Too Deep” off the A Woman and a Man album released in 1996. This song peaked at #8 on the UK charts.

Per’s demo, as featured on the CD single release of “Do You Wanna Be My Baby?”, is close to perfection and feels grittier than the final version that was released by Belinda Carlisle – not to mention, Per’s original lyrics made a lot more sense before Carlisle’s camp tweaked it. Cool track, could’ve been even cool if Marie had a crack at the vocals!

#11 – Silly Really

Having spent the better half of the 2000s producing in the AGM with Christoffer and Clarence churning out more laid back, acoustic records – Per Gessle returned to “produced-pop” at the end of 2008 with this monster song from his Party Crasher record. Synths galore as this track really hovers around “Roxette” territory with all of it’s bell and whistles – in fact, this song could have easily been the opening track to Charm School. Throw in a bit of Marie on the vocals and this could easily pass as a catchy, action packed Roxette killer song – hence it makes the list at #11.

#10 – Kix

As stated earlier, the entire The World According to Gessle project qualifies as a “Should’ve Been a Roxette Album” but this song stands out in particular.

It’s pretty perfect as it is – but just imagine Marie all over that chorus á la “Fireworks” and hey presto, this would have made a great Roxette single for the late ’90s.  Along with “I’ll Be Alright”, this is the most Roxette-ish song on this timeless album.

Incredible video; intense, weird and edgy – really suits the song. The song’s production is insanely good – a marvelous effort by all involved. Would’ve been great live and even better if it were a Roxette product!

#09 – I Want You to Know

Again, we’re going back to The World According to Gessle record here, something you’ll hear quite a bit in this edition of the Dirty Dozen.

Although this track sounds like a traditional “Marie-Rox ballad”, Per’s vocals fits perfectly with the melody – maybe Marie could have handled the chorus like “It Just Happens” as the two ballads do have a similar vibe.

And how about that soaring chorus at the end when the music breaks down? No one can pull that stuff off like Gessle can, it makes you wanna leap out of your chair and float to the clouds – really intense production and would have been an ideal Roxette ballad – definitely a “should’ve been a Roxette song” song!

#08 – I Like it Like That

An all-time favorite and the only reason it isn’t at #1 is because this charming, cheery love song probably does sound better as a Son of a Plumber song – but gosh almighty just imagine if Marie had been given the chance to play with this one? Apparently it was always intended to be a Roxette song but during their early/mid 2000s hiatus, the track ended up being the third single of the Son of a Plumber record. Definite worthy contender to make this list – probably should be even higher don’t you think?

#07 – Sing Along

Often when describing songs, Per has used the expression “custom made for Marie” – and when you think of that saying, you instantly think of this superb ballad. We do need to stress that the beautiful Helena Josefsson does an incredible job (as per usual) – but this ballad in particular just feels like a Marie number. Was surprised when “Perfect Excuse” was chosen from the Party Crasher album to get a “Marie re-make” for Travelling as opposed to “Sing Along” – but fate works in wondrous way.

This ballad is just “classic Roxette” – it’s like Per planted a ballad tree in the late 2000s and “Sing Along” was the first flower that bloomed followed by “Speak to Me” and then “It Just Happens” – all three tracks fit that “mega produced, bad-ass ballad” style and they all sound bombastic! Just again wish Marie had a chance to try her hand at this incredible song.

Check out the live “acoustic” version of this song on YouTube from a performance on Swedish TV and fall in love with that melody.

#06 – Ghost in the House

Energy! Energy! Energy! This fast paced, head banging, toe tapping rocker is like is the best “legal” acid trip you’ll ever take! It’s full speed ahead with this adventurous track! So many false endings. Shredding MP guitars. Spooky sound effects. Love it! It’s got a “She Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” vibe with a sugary laced ’60s bop – it’s intense and definitely needed to be a Roxette song with Marie somewhere on the song.

Originally planned as the opening song to the Have A Nice Day album, the song was then engulfed by the adrenaline filled “Crush on You”. Hard to argue against a classic like “Crush” but surely there was room on the record for this song to feature, perhaps somewhere up near where “Cooper” sits? Or it could have even popped up on Room Service?

#05 – I’ll Be Alright

Yep, once again, our Dirty Dozen journey takes us back to The World According to Gessle – an obvious choice this one and to be fair, Marie does appear on backing vocals on this – perhaps the most “Roxette-ish” song off Per’s 1997 solo album. Perfect from start to finish, should’ve been a single – and is it just me –  but does this song not sound like it could’ve been on the Dawson’s Creek soundtrack or some American series about teen love? This acoustic ballad sounds like Per’s most “American-ish” song since “Fading Like a Flower” and it thoroughly deserves its high placing on the list.

#04 – Theme from Roberta Right

Can you believe somebody left this song off the Party Crasher album?? A travesty! Eventually released as a bonus for the digital world, this song should’ve been front and centre on that record! In fact, this song should’ve been a Roxette belter! Once again, no disrespect to Helena Josefsson but I really wanna hear Marie on the chorus “…come along, come alive”.

Just for a moment, imagine Marie’s vocals on the chorus – particularly with that “Soul Deep” and “Turn To Me” style of delivery. When Marie’s screaming in your face along with her sisters o’ soul who are about to burn the old house down! That version of Marie’s vocals would definitely make you “come along and come alive!”

What a beauty this song is! It’s got Roxette written all over it – and just to remind us once again – someone suggested losing this song off the album – speechless!

#03 – C’mon

Under-rated! Back in 2005, “Jo-Anna Says” got all the attention and sadly, this one missed some of that much deserved love.

So different. So ballsy! Vintage rock at its best! That falsetto from Per does work… but… imagine the mighty Marie dominating this one á la “Sleeping In My Car”. “C’mon” is such a unique gem and TDR were so tempted to put this one at #1 on this list – definitely could’ve been a Roxette song!

Such a brave direction for Per to go in with this track, love the title and everything about it and sounded great live during the Party Crasher Tour. Admittedly this would have been a bit different for a Roxette song but we’re confident it could’ve worked, especially as a rocking Marie-driven track. TDR will pay big money to hear them have a crack at this as “Roxette”.

Cool track, genuinely cool – but just misses out on the top spot… so what’s number one? Keep reading.

#02 – Monster Hangover

In February 2015, TDR had the good fortune to interview Per Gessle backstage at the Sydney Opera House. Right then and there, I told Per that if he released this song, that it will become a mega hit – you can bet the house on it. In fact, send this demo right now as it is to Addeboy vs Cliff and let them work their “Good Karma” magic on it and you just you wait and see!

I could listen to this song on a loop all day. The seductive and hypnotic energy of this production sounds like it could have easily made the Good Karma album. The demo was recorded during that uncertain Roxette era, the track laid dormant before it wound up as the Gyllene Tider song “72” from Finn 5 Fel! Understandably, Gyllene Tider needed material – but this song needed to be locked away in a Roxette vault, saving itself for an album like Good Karma.

We beg Team Rox to re-visit this with Addeboy v Cliff and give it a facelift – this is your 2017 hit! And of course, let Marie do a verse and chorus or two!

Let’s make a bet, if I’m wrong and this doesn’t become a hit, then I’ll personally fire Thomas Evensson from TDR (something we’ve all dreamed of doing for such a long long long time)…

#01 – Do You Wanna Be My Baby?

A triumph! If you only ever hear one Per Gessle solo song in your life, then this is it! Nearly 20 years old and it still slices through those speakers and grabs you by the balls. From start to finish, this song is pure perfection. Everything is perfect; the vocals, the arrangement, the production, the melody, that piano in the background, the shredding guitars and that video!

The planets aligned and this high voltage, high energy, high impact pop-rock masterpiece was born. And without sounding like a broken record – this should’ve been the lead single to a 1997 album called The World According to Roxette – alas.

Do you agree? Disagree? Did your favorite song miss the list? If so, let us know which one? Also, if there’s a special “count-down” topic you would like to see us explore in our next Dirty Dozen, then let us know in the comments below!

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  ★ Publishing date:

April 2nd, 2017

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  • Daniela

    There are so many nice songs Per has written which only figure on B-sides or which even weren’t recorded and only released as demo versions on the Per Gessle Archives so that it is extremely hard to decide which ones would have earned it the most to become real Roxette songs. They could have probably filled several albums. It is still sad to know that the Roxette tours are over.
    Regarding your choice: I wonder if it is really the case that Per’s lyrics of Always breaking my heart were changed because Belinda Carlisle or her team demanded a change. As far as I know, only Per is indicated as author in the album sleeve. I really love Belinda’s music as well and listened to the A woman and a man album yesterday and apart from the title song I would say that the two songs which Per has written for the Album, Always breaking my heart and Love doesn’t live here, are among the three strongest songs on this album. This means that Love doesn’t live here would be a great Roxette song candidate as well, in my opinion an even stronger one than Always breaking my heart as this ballad would have suited better to Marie than Always breaking my heart. According to Per’s lyric book, nobody in the Roxette camp really liked Always breaking my heart so I guess that this is the reason why he gave it away. The top 10 position was well deserved, Belinda was very convincing singing Per’s great song and there is no better song to listen to if you have had a bad day.
    Regarding TWAG: I still have an old radio interview from 1997 with Per on cassette during which he said he had presented the TWATG album to Marie and that she had said it was a Roxette album. I guess the only the reason why it became a solo album was the fact that Marie preferred to spend her time with her children. Oscar was not even one year old when TWATG was released. Yes, Do you wonna be my Baby was really great and would surely have deserved a high charts position. I’ll be alright would of course have suited the most to Roxette as Marie is already singing backing vocals on this one. This makes it a bit strange that it is only on Per’s solo album. Kixx, Be anyone you wonna be and T-T-T-Take it are also great. The entire album would have deserved much more success than it got at that time.
    I agree with you that it had been interesting to hear Marie on Sing Along. I am not a fan of Helena’s voice, definitely prefer Marie.
    Ghost in the house: makes sense! Another song proposal from me: Being with you! I can’t get it out of my head… And of course Stay (at home, at work, at play) and When I close my eyes on one can see me…

  • Coolbluez

    This is really interesting. Actually I’ve put many of these songs in Roxette music folders to make the albums more longer (cassettes used to be around 60 minutes so every Roxette album needs to be around 60 minutes for me) and more bearable (original Travelling and Room Service track-list was quite boring). One more song by PG that would’ve been more beautiful would be Burned out heart if sang by Marie.

  • Simon

    The world according to Gessle would have been the best Roxette album if there was an english version of “Tro” on it and as mentioned Always breaking my heart with Marie. Maybe Marie feels fit enough someday again to go with Per into the studio and re-record some of those songs with her voice as lead.

  • TheBavarianRoxinger

    I’LL BE ALRIGHT with Marie as lead should be the very last Roxette single, don’t you think? — A song to say official Good-bye and close the book. The song is a timeless beauty and the lyrics would fit Marie very well. Maybe they attach some strings to make it sound more like a big hymn — Could also work for radios.

  • Skyrider

    Always breaking my heart and Ghost in the house could have been ass-kickin’ rox songs. Do you wanna be my baby? could be cool with Marie on the chorus.

    I like the TWATG as it is, as a solo album but the style in general woud fit Roxette still very well.

  • Chris

    What I miss in this list is “Kissing is the key”. Imagine this as a duet between Per and Marie. Pure perfection! For me this is one of his best songs in the 2000s.
    “Stuck here with me” is another one. I think the beat is great but the high notes are not my cup of coffee. With Marie on lead vocals it could easily be an amazing track.

    Production-wise rox should’ve followed the “party crasher”-sound for their comeback album and the more organic stuff should have been on Travelling.

  • RobS

    Nice list. i don’t think i’ve listened to Monster Hangover enough to say much about it.

    TWATG being a Rox album, is something that i think any fan that listened to it has thought about. Even Marie has said so!

  • Dan J Kroll

    So this is completely off-topic, but it was what came to mind when I read the title for the article: Would it be possible to do a “Should’ve been a Roxette song” list of songs that are written/performed by other acts? I can think of quite a few songs by other artists that I would have liked to have heard done by Roxette.

  • Lucifer

    TWATG is a killer, even Good Karma album sounds old and dated after one year, TWATG still rocks the house after 20 years. Would have been a great Roxette album with Marie on lead vox on 90% of the songs.

  • Maryann Robbins

    I’ll Be Alright is one of my favorite songs of all time. I wish Per and Marie would record it. It’s strange how there are so many hidden gems of songs that Per writes and never does all that much with and they could be top 10 singles in the US. That’s a song that could be covered and end up a huge hit.

    • Chris

      Wish you the best is amazing and in the end it became a rox song on good karma. I think this is why it isn’t on the list 🙂

  • Ignasi

    These songs listed in here made me realise that lately (the last 20 years) Per seems more free creating songs for his solo output than for Roxette, both in terms of production and songwriting. What gave Roxette their momentum back in the 80s and 90s was both their songwriting and their production, but afterwards, once their sound and style was out of trend, the Roxette brand struggled to reinvent itself, while Gessle could shine tremendously in his World According to, Mazarin, Son of a Plumber & Party crasher albums. I don’t know if that makes any sense but it’s easier for me to get his growth as a creator in his solo output rather than with Roxette, even if he wrote all of it. Is it a production issue? No idea. But it’s funny that I’ve listened to his demos and fun stuff more than to Good Karma.

    • Ignasi

      What version of “Glad you called” do you prefer, the one with Marie or the solo version with Helena? I tend to enjoy the one with Helena more.

      • Chris

        I prefer the Per solo version. But its not Marie’s fault that I don’t like the rox version… its more Per who messed up the version with his “high notes” which sounds not really good to me.

  • Tridy

    I think that Marie with her strong loud vocals works best with power ballads, while Helena is best with romantic, more quiet songs. I don’t think that “Sing Along” would’ve work with Marie at all, for example.

    So I would’ve gotten “Always Breaking My Heart” a shot with Roxette.
    “Silly Really” is a good production in my opinion as well and could have worked well with Roxette by just changing the name.
    “I’ll Be Alright” is a great song and with some more commercial touches could sound great.

    • Chris

      But Marie’s voice changed a lot compared to the earlier days. so I think “Sing Along” could work very well with Marie.

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