Ghost Tracks: FINGERTIPS ’93
FEATURE – Ghost Tracks is BACK! Following the incredible feedback we got with our previous edition, Series 2 launches today with a 10-part special where we take a fun look back at some of the forgotten and rarely ever mentioned Roxette songs from their incredible thirty year history. As always, please get involved! Agree, disagree, share your thoughts, this is all about getting us talking about the music once again!
Song: Fingertips ’93
At the heart of the whole concept of Ghost Tracks is remembering the forgotten songs. In the past I’ve taken some poetic licence and written about one or two songs that aren’t really forgotten, but more of a chance to wax lyrical and push an agenda… “Crush On You” anyone?
But today, let’s kick things off by staying pure to what Ghost Tracks is all about, let’s focus the first entry on a song that has well and truly disappeared off the Roxette radar – and no, this song is not just a B-side, but would you believe that this song was released as an A-side single? I’m talking about “Fingertips ’93”.
Has there ever been a more forgotten A-side single release than this one? This song remains a complete mystery. Sure, many Roxette songs are over looked, we examined ten of them in the first volume of Ghost Tracks, but they were mainly album tracks – “Fingertips ’93” was an actual single… with a video!
So many questions with this song. Firstly, why was there a re-make of the song six months after the original? Who made the decision that the album version wasn’t any good? Were the Rox Team unhappy with the Tourism version? Was the 1993 version the way the band always wanted the song to really sound? And how did the track end up being a single? Did the band feel so bereft of choice for a single following “Queen of Rain” that they felt they had to jazz up the original “Fingertips” in order to make it a single? Did Roxette not realize they had another potential single on the album called “The Rain”? And finally, which version do you prefer? The drums? Or without the drums? So many questions.
“Fingertips ‘93” was only released in a few markets around the world in early 1993 including my home country, Australia, and yet I had no idea about its release at the time! That’s how “underground” and just how much of a minimal splash this song made! I doubt it ever reached the Top 100. In fact, the first time I ever heard this song was on the VHS release of 1995’s Roxette Greatest Video Hits.
Of course, for those who didn’t get this as a single, the first time this song popped up elsewhere was as a bonus track on the “Almost Unreal” CD single in certain markets. A nice synergy between the two songs of course is that the screen shots from the “Fingertips ‘93” video serve as the cover for “Almost Unreal” which would be released a few months later – confused yet?
Also, “Fingertips 93” would serve as track #2 on the “Rarities” release – and suffice to say that following the original song’s performance in January 1993 during the MTV Unplugged session, “Fingertips”, indeed “Fingertips ’93” has disappeared into the ethos, quietly resting in the land where singles go to die, right next to the aptly named “Goodbye To You”.
Whether you like the more upbeat, 1993 drumming version, or the traditional 1992 cow-mooing intro version from Tourism, without doubt the best part of both versions is the middle eight – “…It’s just a sunny afternoon, somebody singing songs of love, child! You love a lazy afternoon, once in a while, once in a while…” I could listen to that on a loop all day! An example of the perfect pop construction. Words fail to describe the perfection! How good is the bit where both Marie and Per harmonize in the “of love” bit in “somebody singing songs of love” and then you just hear Per say “child” at the end – then Marie kicks in again with the “lazy afternoon” – it’s so damn good. Not only the best bit of this song but one of the strongest tricks these guys have used on any song in their thirty year history. For me, the middle eight is ten times better than the chorus, it’s so cool and laid back and the lyrics are some of Per’s finest. Cannot speak highly enough of the middle eight. Don’t you agree?
As for the song as a whole? This song sums up the Tourism concept perfectly. It’s a very different vibe for Roxette and strategically placed early on the Tourism running order to perhaps send a message to listeners that this is a new style for the band – a more acoustic, rustic side. A non-Joyride style, perhaps? Maybe it was too stripped back for the teenie bopper fans at the time? Regardless, there’s a clear reason why it immediately followed the high-gloss pop of “How Do You Do!” – possibly to serve as a counter balance. Here’s what Per Gessle had to say about “Fingertips” (the original) in his book Songs, Sketches and Reflections:
“Written for the Tourism project, which was an album we recorded while touring all over the world in 1991-92. We had this idea that we should try to capture the energy in the band that comes from being on the road for a year or so. But I guess most of the band members wanted their well-deserved days off, instead of us (especially me) dragging them into yet another studio in Copenhagen or L.A. or an abandoned nightclub in Sao Paulo to make recordings. “Fingertips” was recorded during some hours in Rio De Janeiro by the way. No sunscreen needed that day…”
Here’s a thought – could this song serve as the acoustic number in place or addition to “The Heart Shaped Sea” on the XXX Tour? But then that would mean that the 1992 version is played and not the drumming 1993 version? Man, I’m getting confused.
Finally, how’s about the monochrome video for “Fingertips ’93”? Let’s be honest, probably not their strongest video but I think we can all agree that Pelle looks fierce with those sunglasses! However, the video holds some special significance in the history of “Roxology” as it marks the first time that the band collaborated with director Jonas Åkerlund, a man who would go on to make many more Roxette videos including the slick “Wish I Could Fly” and the colourful “The Centre of the Heart”.
So there you have it. Never played on a major tour. Never appeared on any official Greatest Hits package. Two versions of the RoxBox have been released and the A-side single “Fingertips ‘93” fails to make an appearance, twice! Limited release in its initial run in January 1993. Blink and you miss it; this song is definitely a Roxette Ghost Track.
“…somebody singing songs of love, child!”
Thoughts from The Daily Roxette crew:
Paul: Being in the UK the first time I heard this was the B-Side to “Almost Unreal”. Like Stevo I didn’t know it was a single until a couple of years later. The song is good, middle 8 is great I agree, but there was probably a reason why it didn’t set the charts on fire.
Thomas: I like the ’93 version a lot more than the acoustic version, and I think that the video is surprisingly nice to be a Jonas Åkerlund production. Do you see that Marie is pregnant? I seem to recall Per wrote this using a chord progression that normally shouldn’t work. So there’s that! Should this have been a single? Like so many other weird single choices Roxette has done, no. Anders has my haircut in the video!