Story of Roxette in Expressen
The Swedish newspaper Expressen started today a 3-part article on Roxette’s history. Part 1 was published today and part 2 will follow in tomorrow’s paper.
Part 1 concentrated in the years 1985-88 when Roxette had success in Sweden, but not abroad. Everything started with a song called “Svarta glas” (“Black glasses”) that Per wrote for Pernilla Wahlgren in 1985. She didn’t want to record it, so the MD of EMI Svenska in those days, Rolf Nygren, suggested that Per would sing the song together with Marie Fredriksson, a popular Swedish singer who had had chart success with her albums “Het vind” and “Efter stormen”. Per translated the song into English and it became “Neverending Love”.
- Expressen’s article (in Swedish)
“I remember that Per had written a damn good song. I thought that Per and Marie would fit in as Per writes great music and Marie can sing phone book and get it sound good. Of course I’m a bit proud of getting the idea for Roxette,” Nygren says in Expressen.
Per and Marie had met each other a couple of years before in Halmstad where they shared a rehearsing room. They became good friends and often had long discussions at Per’s home or in a local pub Karl XI, dreaming of having together a career abroad, and having world tours and #1 hits. Marie was doing great with her Swedish songs and her friends told her not to play music with Per Gessle. Especially not pop music. And definitely not in English.
But Marie had made her decision. She liked the song and she finally wanted to try conquering the world with her music. In the spring of 1986, Per and Marie released the single, rather anonymously. They didn’t have their picture on the cover and they used the name “Roxette” – a name got from a Dr. Feelgood -song and used by Per’s formed band, Gyllene Tider, when they tried their luck abroad a couple of years before.
Per didn’t believe that the song would get to the charts on its own, so he made a bunch of postcards and handed them out to his friends with instructions to send them to “Sommartoppen” chart show. “Neverending Love” did become the summer’s hit and the single sold over 50,000 copies.
In November 1986, Roxette released their first album, “Pearls Of Passion”. A couple of singles from the album were released in West Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France, Holland, Belgium, Canada, Japan and Australia. In 1987 Roxette had a Swedish summer tour and they released the single “It Must Have Been Love” [Editor’s note: this was the Christmas version of the song, which was actually entitled “It Must Have Been Love (Christmas For The Broken-hearted)”].
In 1988, Roxette had a live performance in France. But nothing else really happened abroad.
In the summer of 1988, Roxette travelled to London to record their second album. “Look Sharp!” was released in October. Expressen rated the album 3 out of 5, and the critic Måns Ivarsson wasn’t really fascinated: “To consist of two such original persons as Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessle, the album sounds unbeliavably conventional.”
What Ivarsson didn’t know was that the album would sell 140,000 copies in 10 days.
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