It must have been love (and it still is 25 years later)

It’s hard to believe that a song written as a modern day, intelligent Christmas carol, one that was collecting dust on a shelf, would go on to be one of the biggest hits of the 1990s from one of the most beloved movies of the same decade.

25 years ago this week, “It Must Have Been Love” topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song was originally written in 1987, for EMI Germany, as a Christmas song with the title “It Must Have Been Love (Christmas for the Broken Hearted).” The original incarnation of the song was released in Sweden, where it became a top ten hit. But it went nowhere anywhere else. EMI Germany didn’t even release it. In late 1989, as Roxette was coming off the massive success of their first international release, Look Sharp!, the duo’s record label, EMI, asked if Roxette would be willing to contribute a song to the soundtrack of an upcoming romantic comedy starring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts called “Pretty Woman.” The group was busy touring and didn’t have time to work on a new track, so Per Gessle retooled “It Must Have Been Love,” swapping out the lyric “It’s a hard Christmas day” to the now familiar “It’s a hard winter’s day.”

The memorable video for the track featured scenes from “Pretty Woman,” but filming the music video called “a weird experience” by Marie Fredriksson. “The director wanted all movements in slow motion so I had to lip sync the vocals in double speed,” Fredriksson recalls. “My first lesson in how to sing an emotional ballad Mickey Mouse style. A strange way to make a living.” “It Must Have Been Love” would go on to top Billboard’s Hot 100 for two weeks – the longest run for any of Roxette’s four chart toppers in the United States. It was also ranked as the #2 song for all of 1990 by Billboard. #1, in case you were wondering, was “Hold On” by Wilson Phillips. “It Must Have Been Love” also topped charts around the world, including Australia, Norway (where it spent a whopping 12 weeks at #1), Poland, and Switzerland. In 2005, Per received an award from BMI signifying that the song had been played four million times on U.S. radio play.

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June 14th, 2015

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