The year in review 2004: A second chance and a golden reunion
Despite everything else going on, unquestionably the biggest news of 2004 for the readers of this newspaper was, of course, Marie's return from a two-year-long sick leave. She decided to keep herself away from the public, but released a new album, "The Change." To the surprise of many, the album was partially created even before her illness. Still, many of the songs speak about recovering, about the second chance she feels she's received.
Another huge event was Gyllene Tider's 25th anniversary tour. This long-awaited reunion took Sweden by storm. Almost half a million people saw the boys back on stage, performing their evergreen songs to sold-out arenas and a multitude of new fans. This was also a year of new (and recovered) Gyllene Tider releases. They released no less than four DVDs, a new album, a compilation CD (in two editions), a live CD, and two singles. They also re-released their first three albums. And since there are fans buying all that stuff, there's at least one single, several re-re-releases and a DVD still in the pipeline.
Awards, awards, awards…
The year started with Per's solo album "Mazarin" still fresh in mind. He received four Grammis awards (artist of the year, song of the year, best male pop artist and composer of the year), three Rockbjörnen awards (best male artist, best album and best song) and a Radio NRJ Award for best Swedish male artist. All of the publicity propelled the album back to the top of the Swedish album chart, first time since September 2003, although the album had remained in the top 20 all the time. In the Grammis Awards Per got 65% of the votes in the "song of the year" category, voted by the public. In February, "Mazarin" was awarded five times platinum, equaling 300,000 copies (the sales to date is 340,000.)
But this was just beginning. Following the success of Gyllene Tider's new "Finn 5 fel!" album and the 25th anniversary tour, Per and his band received even more awards. In October, Per received "Lyricist and/or Composer of the year" award at the Musikförläggarnas Pris (Music Publishers' Prize) and "Best Nordic Male Artist" at the first Swedish version of Kids Choice Awards. Later that month Gyllene Tider won a Nordic Music Award as the "Best Swedish artist" and Per was awarded by the Swedish Performing Rights Society (STIM) with a platinum STIM Guitar award for his career.
Probably the only award Per didn't win this year was the "Halland Resident of All Time," which went to "Beda Hallberg, the woman who came up with the idea almost a hundred years ago of selling small paper flowers on May Day to raise funds to fight tuberculosis." I guess selling paper flowers to fight tuberculosis does beat selling Gyllene Tider DVDs to buy a new Ferrari.
The Boys (almost) beat the Boss
Gyllene Tider tour tickets went on sale on March 3. As soon as the lines were opened at 9am, both the phone and the web services got jammed by the enormous amount of people trying to access them. According to EMA Telstar, the tour promoter, 100,000 tickets were sold in less than three hours!
Soon after the first-day chaos, five additional gigs were added to the schedule, including a concert in Halmstad on the next evening after the premiere at the city's soccer stadium. Several concerts were moved to larger venues.
The tour launched in Gyllene Tider's home town on a cold and rainy July evening. The warm up bands, The Latin Kings and Pugh Rogefeldt, didn't quite warm the audience that was shivering under the pouring rain. Gyllene Tider entered the stage at 9pm and played for almost two hours. The setlist consisted of all the hit songs and was very much identical to their 1996 tour. Still, the concert got raving reviews.
Like the premiere concert, the whole GT25 tour was a blast. Wherever the band went, huge crowds welcomed them. They played at the biggest arenas in Sweden, filling both the Stockholm Olympic Stadium and Ullevi in Gothenburg to capacity, not to mention the smaller venues across the country. One of their targets was to break Bruce Springsteen's record of 64,312 attendees at Ullevi, but unfortunately they didn't quite manage to do that (not that they could have, since Ullevi broke and was rebuilt after Bruce was there, and seats were lost.) All in all, 492,252 people saw Gyllene Tider on stage. This figure doesn't include the people in Halmstad who were watching the concert displayed live on Jumbotron for free at the town square.
Access all areas
Just before the opening concert, The Daily Roxette (with Judith sadly missing at the time) received a unique invitation. Visa, Thomas and Lars-Erik (who had just flown from New York City to Halmstad) got the chance to visit the famous Tits & Ass studio where Mats "MP" Persson and Per record their demo tracks. The old T&A house has been abandoned in favor of a new studio established in the basement of MP's home. MP was on his way out prepare things at the venue (TDR met him on the way to T&A), so studio technician and co-owner Staffan Karlsson showed us around.
The studio was in a dark basement with a low ceiling. Every nook and cranny was filled with studio equipment, instruments and computers. The walls were covered with framed Roxette and Gyllene Tider posters, BMI Awards and gold records. And because all the gold records hadn't fit on the walls, there were still more crammed into a sauna-turned-storeroom.
The second chance
Since Marie's illness was discovered in September 2002, fans have been eagerly waiting for her comeback. Last year she told she's been working on new solo material and finally this fall the wait was over. In the end of October, her first new album in eight years, "The Change," was released. It's a story of a strong woman who's gone through difficult times, but was given a second chance in life. The lead single of the album was aptly named "2:nd Chance".
"Making 'The Change' feels like a victory to me. An incredible cool and fantastic feeling that's hard to describe in words," Marie Fredriksson said in a press statement. "Suddenly it felt necessary to do this. I wanted to share emotions and experiences from our worst time. There were moments where I thought I didn't have the strength to finish the work, but I got by, little by little."
Despite the international release and the public interest, Marie decided to stay out of the limelight. The only public appearances were a couple of promo shots and a TV documentary featuring interviews and private video clips from the recording sessions, recorded by her husband Micke Bolyos. In the documentary she describes how she got strength from God when she had to relearn how to write and count and even how to sing.
In the year 2005
As mentioned, Gyllene Tider will still push several releases following the success of their album and tour. Per has said in interviews with the Swedish press that he will release new solo material in 2006, but he told The Daily Roxette "there will be an album in 2005" because he just can't rest. Roxette will probably be on hiatus unless Marie decides otherwise. Per has many times said it's up to Marie and her condition how Roxette's future will look like.
Just to whet your appetite, I can tell you that The Daily Roxette will have some major enhancements next year, including some new features you have asked for, but we won't tell you more at this point.
The editors of The Daily Roxette wish you a happy new year! See you in 2005!
- Gyllene Tider: GT25 - Samtliga hits!
- Gyllene Tider: Gyllene Tider (remastered)
- Gyllene Tider: Moderna Tider (remastered)
- Gyllene Tider: Puls (remastered)
- Gyllene Tider: Finn 5 fel! (promo sampler)
- Gyllene Tider: Finn 5 fel!
- Gyllene Tider: GT25 Live!
- Marie Fredriksson: The Change (promo sampler)
- Marie Fredriksson: The Change
- Replay Dance Mania - Svenska Hits Vol 1 (includes dance beat covers of some Gyllene Tider songs)
- Replay Dance Mania - Svenska Hits Vol 2 (includes dance beat cover of "Här kommer alla känslorna")
- Gyllene Tider: Tuffa tider (för en drömmare) / En sten vid en sjö i en skog
- Gyllene Tider: Solsken
- Marie Fredriksson: 2:nd Chance
- Marie Fredriksson: All About You
- Mysterio: Fading Like A Flower (dance beat cover)
- Gyllene Tider: Parkliv
- Gyllene Tider: Karaoke Hits!
- Gyllene Tider: Återtåget
- Gyllene Tider: En scen vid en plats i en stad (GT25 Live!)
- Join the Flumeride (parody film of Roxette and Gyllene Tider)
Technical errors may occur.