The year in review: TDR looks back at 2002
Marie’s brain tumor… withdrawing from “Night of the Proms”… thousands of get-well wishes from fans around the world… releasing a ballad hits compilation that included new songs… Per in court…
A lot of things – unfortunately not all of them good – happened to Roxette in the year 2002. We invite you to look back at the year just ending with our Year in review! Read on… and Happy New Year!
Marie’s sudden illness
Last year we were shocked by the events of September 11th – and by a strange twist of fate, on the exact same date this year, Marie fainted after returning home from jogging. She sustained a concussion and while being treated for that, tests revealed that Marie had a brain tumor. The tumor was later removed successfully, but it still left Marie in pain and she is being treated with chemotherapy, if only as a preventative measure.
“It’s up and down, she has good days and not so good days. On a scale, she is pretty bad… but she’s a strong and tuff gal so she will be back!” said Per in an interview with Halmstad’s radio station recently.
For fans, the news of Marie’s illness was of course a shock. Judith Seuma quickly put up a guestbook for get-well wishes which were subsequently printed out, bound into a book, and forwarded to Marie.
Ballad hits and copy-protection
Marie’s illness also changed Roxette’s plans for the autumn. They were supposed to participate in a unique tour, performing as the headline act of the “Night of the Proms” concert series. They did not, however, change their plans to release a ballad hit compilation, originally entitled “LovePeas,” but changed at almost the last minute to the less original title “The Ballad Hits,” once it was discovered that “love peas” had other slang connotations.
The ballad album featured two new songs, “A Thing About You” – which was also released as a single – and “Breathe”, a beautiful end track. A special, “limited” edition of the album also included a bonus EP with previously unreleased tracks: “The Weight Of The World”, “It Hurts” and “Every Day”. The fourth EP track, “See Me,” had already been released as a single B-side.
One of the topics of the year was CD copy-protection. In January, Philips argued that copy-protected CDs shouldn’t be called CDs nor be allowed to use the CD logo – which is owned by Philips. Despite the controversy, EMI Capitol released Roxette’s “The Ballad Hits” CD (or whatever it should be called) using the Cactus 200 copy-protection system. In August, TDR demonstrated that the copy-protection was somewhat of a joke. Anyone with normal CD burner software was able to rip the songs from the album – but many legitimate owners of the CD were not able to play it in their car stereos. “Cactus 300 will be incorporated to Roxette’s “Pop Hits” compilation, and it should be a lot better than 200, both problem-wise and protecting-wise,” said EMI’s technical representative to TDR.
In October, Per talked with The Daily Roxette about copy-protection and the story behind the title “LovePeas”. In this exclusive interview, he also revealed that he’s set up TDR to be his web browser’s homepage (a fact which we are naturally very proud of)!
Per in court
One of the most peculiar episodes of the year was when Swedish songwriter Stephan Malmstedt took Per to court in London where Malmstedt now lives. He accused Per of stealing “Sleeping in My Car,” a claim he had made twice already in Sweden.
According to Malmstedt, “Sleeping in My Car” is similar to his demo song “Jenny And I” which he had sent to EMI. “The song has already been checked twice and both times it was rejected. I assume that the same thing will happen this time,” Roxette’s manager, Marie Dimberg, told TDR at the time.
“Malmstedt realized pretty soon that he didn’t have a case so he starts claiming that if you take the upper part of the ‘Jenny and I’ vocals and play that backwards – plus adding a note – then it’s really close to the lead melody of ‘Sleeping in My Car’,” Per said in the interview with TDR before the court’s decision. It wasn’t a surpise that the court ruled in favor of Per. Malmstedt has threaten to take the case to the EU court, so the story may continue…
Releases of this year – and the next
The releases of the year were more or less compilations. It wasn’t only Roxette’s “Ballad Hits”: Per made a Ramones cover for a tribute album, a selection of Marie and Gyllene Tider’s old songs were released on Parlophone’s Swedish summer album and Marie’s solo albums were released as a spectacular box set. Awaited release, or publication, was the Roxette discography “The Look For Roxette”, compiled and authored by Robert Thorselius. The book hit the stores after eight years of work.
Although Roxette’s future may look a bit uncertain, they are planning to release pop hit compilation in the spring and they have already revealed that one of the new songs featured on the pop album will be called “Opportunity Nox”. And despite her illness, Marie was able to work in studio and finalize the song with Per in November.
We’ll see what the year 2003 looks like, but Per isn’t pessimistic. “The only thing that we canceled was the tour. I’m sure [Marie’s illness] in itself won’t affect Roxette’s being or not being. It may affect how we work in the future though,” he said in the Radio Halland interview.
Technical errors may occur.