The Per Gessle Archives for Dummies
Towards the end of last year, Per Gessle delivered a very special and impressive collection. One of the biggest collections to our knowledge actually. As always, Per responded to the fans’ desire to know more about his work, his long lost demos and the origins of his classic songs. The fans were generously rewarded with a mammoth box set; The Per Gessle Archives which covered a wide range of demos, 186 to be exact, from Per’s solo days, some of his Gyllene Tider career (possibly more to come, Per says) and of course, the mighty Roxette era!
Not only did Per kindly share his very personal work with us but he also provided us with an exclusive insight into how he created his wonderful songs through a collection of short conversations with master Roxette interviewer, Sven Lindström as the pair discussed every single demo on the collection! Impressive right? For any die-hard Roxette nerd out there, then this is the collection for you! A truly comprehensive and accomplished catalog that we should feel privileged having access to! Please note that the interviews aren’t included in the actual box, but online only.
Having said that, there are 186 songs in the Box Set. That’s quite a lot. So, for those of you who don’t have the time to sit down and absorb all the songs, we here at The Daily Roxette decided to make your life a little easier and collate a list to help you navigate your way around the Archives. Below is a list of the “must-listen-to” songs. Now these aren’t necessarily the very best demos, but some of the key important ones to check out if you don’t have the time, to help you appreciate the collection.
- The Look
Thomas: He’s Got the Look. Without the famous riff the song is not as great. Hit potential maybe, at best. Very good that they stayed with Per singing it.
Stevo: Not as enjoyable to listen to as the other demos but this is arguably the most crucial Roxette demo and the most important one to listen to purely as a historical artefact. How this demo was spotted as a hit and turned into their most important song is anyone’s guess!
- Sweet Emotions
Visa: The story is interesting; first it was Almost Unreal, but when it was dropped from the Hocus Pocus movie, Per wrote these new lyrics but nobody liked them. Then they decided to use the original lyrics again in the ill-fated Super Mario movie.
- Honung & guld
Thomas: A song from 1982’s Puls album here in a beautiful acoustic version from 2012 just because he “felt like it.” It’s become a totally new song almost. Feel more like this, Per.
- If I Knew Then (What I Know Now)
Paul: Weird story – I was listening to Per’s En händig man album, when “Om jag vetat då (vad jag vet nu)” and wondered what an English version of that song would sound like. A week later, this little beauty was released. Very similar to the finished product on EHM. Love it!
Stevo: Imagine if this song got Coldplay’s “A Sky Full of Stars” type of production with Marie’s gentle vocals. A light EDM feel running over this could have this chorus soaring all over dance-floors around the world!
- Västra sidan
Thomas: This Per wrote for his album PG III, which later became in part Pearls of Passion. This has (had?) hit potential, and it’s just too bad it got lost in the shuffle.
- Monster Hangover
Stevo: There is only ONE song in this box set. The rest just make up the numbers. A quick but minimal 2015 re-interpretation is needed on this track and Roxette are back on the charts with this biggest “Roxette should’ve been”. Awesome!
- The Big L.
Paul: The long lost demo. Who ever thought we’d hear this. I sure didn’t! It’s superb to finally get to be able to sing along to those “You take a walk, it’s such a beautiful day…” lyrics in the car!
Stevo: EVERY true fan needs to listen to this for the simple fact that it teased us since 1991’s documentary “The Making of Joyride” and it all finally makes sense now… not sure where Marie’s cry for hamburgers is though? MP must’ve cut it out.
- Being With You
Thomas: Both versions but mostly the 1997 version. Same here, huge hit potential. I talked to Per about this a few years ago and said he must do something with it. He agreed, he felt it was a “big gun” (great song) but then it appears it “just” ended up here. Also I do love these fully instrumented demos compared to the acoustic ones.
Paul: I can hear parts of the Dancehall remix in this demo. Per’s spoken intro is so wonderfully ‘80s as well. Really love the whole vibe in this demo.
- Faller ner på knä
Thomas: From Gyllene Tider’s EP, but here in the original ballad version. One of Gyllene’s best songs ever, and again the demo paints a whole different picture. You need to hear this.
- Hold On My Heart
Paul: Both versions are nice. 2000’s Room Service attempt sounds like a completed song, whilst 2012’s a typical acoustic Per demo. Sometimes I prefer the acoustic version, sometimes the other. Either way – another great tune!
- Inte tillsammans, inte isär
Thomas: Hear this if not for the different lyrics, but also for the interesting partner Per sings with! Åsa Nordh? Not Nordin!
- Drowning In You
Paul: I never liked the ‘80s demo of this so I wasn’t expecting much from this, but it turns out great. Clearly one that was demo-ed for Charm School. Could be worked on in the future I think…
- Ghost in the House
Thomas: The fabled song that never was recorded. But apparently it was, a few times at that! Funny track, which also became Gyllene’s “Ande i en flaska” but without the waltzy middle 8.
Stevo: I can do without all the breaks, ringing phones, baby cries and other effects, but remove those gimmicks and listen to this as the pounding, fast rock song that it is and my friend, this is what I want Roxette to sound like. Energy! Energy! Energy!
Thomas: Which turned into “Knockin’ on Every Door.” This is better, without the shuffle beat. Also it has weird lyrics. Of course.
Stevo: I know I shouldn’t like this. Deep down, Clarence was right to make Per re-visit the track. I know I shouldn’t grin like an idiot when this comes on, but I do. Guilty indulgence. It makes me feel like a 10-year old again, it’s so catchy and so what I fell in love with back in 1991.
Stevo: And here’s a vote for “Fireworks” because “Fireworks” has become the fat kid that never got picked for the team!