Year in review 2006: Roxette turns 20, releases stir dispute
Year 2006 is nearing its end and it's time for the annual The Daily Roxette "Year in review" article.
This year was obviously a very important one for Roxette, since it was the band's 20th anniversary. On July 8, 1986 a mysterious duo called Roxette released their debut single "Neverending Love." The members of the duo, Per Gessle and Marie Fredriksson, didn't even put their faces on the single sleeve. The song became an instant summer hit in Sweden. It still took some time before the band broke through in other countries, but that's a completely different story — a story you've heard so many times before.
The first half of 2006 was mostly about Per's solo project Son of a Plumber, although the fans were already anxiously waiting for news about how Roxette will celebrate their big year. Son of a Plumber — or SOAP, as we call it — released its second single in Sweden, "Hey Mr DJ (Won't You Play Another Love Song)." Per also convinced some of the European EMI branches of the SOAP project and "Hey Mr DJ" was announced to be the first SOAP single outside Sweden. To promote the song, a music video was shot and a remix EP was released in digital format only.
Bad Hair Day was another digital tryout by Per. To the delight of fans around the world, he released "Mazarin" and "Son of a Plumber" demos for free on the Internet using the pseudonym Bad Hair Day.
While Roxette is in the headlines again, fanclub calls it a day
A surprise or not, in March the Netherlands-based Official Roxette Fanclub announced that it will cease all operations immediately, with disgruntled fans and obvious management problems. The problems still keep going on to this day as their debts are still not settled. Marie Dimberg of d&d management, manager of Roxette, released a press statement saying that there will be no more official fanclub in the future. The fanclub, in this format, opened its doors during the mid-nineties after the UK-based fanclub closed for much of the same reasons.
An interesting coincidence was that at the same time as the fanclub quit, Roxette was in the headlines again, the press touting their comeback.
In March TDR met Per in Vienna where we discussed Son of a Plumber and of course the upcoming Roxette 20th anniversary, which showed an excited Per. Per was traveling around promoting SOAP. However, the few countries that picked up the album, didn't manage to sell it to the extent it was worth. So what else happened in March? Well, TDR met Per in Stockholm too, where he re-hashed his mumbo jumbo about "Roxette" whatever that is… No, seriously, it was yet another successful interview. We are very thankful for our conversations with Per, and from the looks of it, so are you!
We also finally got the confirmation from EMI that Roxette was back in the studio! No one knew what was coming out of it, a new album maybe? Well, we got quite a few releases in the end. Most importantly, the Skåne recordings ended up in two new tracks: "Reveal" and "One Wish."
German EP, anniversary cancelled — or perhaps not?
On April 1, TDR published not one, but two April Fool's Day jokes. The first article was about a German Son of a Plumber EP, including a song called "Zwischen 3 & 8 (esse ich kein Frühstück)", and the other one had the sad announcement of the Roxette 20th anniversary celebration being cancelled because of Per's miscalculation. "The 20th Anniversary was actually last year… in 2005. So we're cancelling the plans we had made for this year," an embarrassed Per was told to have said in an interview.
But we did also have some real news in April. In a Spanish interview, Per revealed that Marie was going to release a new album in Swedish. The release was slated for May. Marie Dimberg, their manager, didn't want to confirm anything at that point, but it took only a week when "Min bäste vän" was officially announced by the record company EMI. The album consisted of Marie's favorite songs ("best friends," as the album title implies) from the end of the '60s and beginning of the '70s.
In April, it was time for a yet another exclusive Gessle interview. While he was visiting Helsinki promoting SOAP, we were offered the possibility to meet him in the luxurious Hotel Kämp and even got a funny photo of him posing as a boxer. During the 15-minute interview, Per revealed for the first time that there in fact is a recorded song called "Myth" — a song that had got mythical proportions among the fans — and that it will be included in the forthcoming "RoxBox" collection.
Per, who never seems to stop taking on new tasks, told in the end of April that he'll start producing a radio show, "Nordic Rox," concentrating on Swedish and Scandinavian music, on US Sirius Satellite Radio. The three-hour show is broadcast every Sunday evening.
Marie's album and new Roxette single get released
In May, we met Per for yet another interview, this time in Amsterdam. In the interview he told that there will be no Son of a Plumber tour and that he's already preparing for new Roxette releases. Maybe we'll see more of Son of a Plumber in the future, but at this point it sounded like it's the end of that chapter in Per's career. The last single from the album, "I Like It Like That," was released at the end of the month.
Also in May, the first single, "Sommaräng," from Marie's new album was released. The album was released in June. The single entered the Swedish charts at #21 and the album at #3. Unfortunately the album didn't reach higher on the charts.
In mid-June a new Roxette single was released all of the sudden, although just a remix single. "The Rox Medley" contained "The Look," "Joyride," "Listen to Your Heart," "Dangerous," "It Must Have Been Love" and "Fading Like a Flower (Every Time You Leave)" compressed in 4 minutes and 41 seconds. First it was only a radio single, but later it was digitally released and announced to be included also as the b-side of "One Wish."
RoxBox tracks revealed — fans get angry; TDR renewed — fans get angry
The long-awaited track listings of the new releases, the greatest hits compilation "Hits" and the 4-cd+dvd collector's item "The RoxBox," were finally revealed in August. And what a controversy they — especially the RoxBox — caused. The fans felt betrayed after they saw that "RoxBox" wasn't entirely a demo collection, but it also included previously released hit songs. The discussion heated so much that Per himself sent a letter that was published on The Daily Roxette frontpage.
"It has never been our intention to have a box-release leaning heavily towards demos, remixes, song sketches or live material. Like I mentioned before the idea with this particular item is to present the big picture of what Roxette is all about. We don't want that flow of quality productions to be interrupted by 7-minute remixes or lukewarm demos. Quality over exclusivity has always been our choice," he wrote in his reply to the fans.
The first article with the tracklistings and the one with Per's letter provoked over 700 comments from the readers.
In November, the fans got a new reason for their anger. Their faithful old Daily Roxette changed its layout and content management system for the first time since September 2001. The fight for getting the old, orange TDR back still goes on in the discussion boards. It looks, however, that this is the layout and the platform we'll stick to, but we are constantly bringing in fixes and new features for our readers' enjoyment.
Song of the year: "Listen To Your Heart"
In October, Per Gessle and Mats "MP" Persson were awarded by BMI after "Listen To Your Heart" reached its 3 millionth broadcast on American radio. 3 million times equals a total playing time of 27 years, non-stop. "Listen To Your Heart" was also awarded as the Song of the Year — 17 years after its original release!
Marie told in an interview with TT Spektra that the thought of a big comeback is long gone, but she could still have the energy for a mini tour. We are yet to see if that happens. In the same interview, Per told a funny story from his trip to NYC: "When I was in New York this summer and went through immigration, the officer asked me what I did for a living. 'Musician' I answered. Then he wondered if he should know about me. 'Well, I wrote that' I said, and pointed to the radio which was playing 'Listen to Your Heart'. That was fun."
"Listen To Your Heart" was also voted as the best Roxette video ever by the readers of tv4.se website.
New US deal with the old record company
In October in an interview with The Daily Roxette, Per told that they have once more signed a record deal with Capitol/EMI in the US. The first new release, the US version of "The Hits," was planned to be in the stores on December 26. The release date has since been pushed back, and the current plan is to release the album, "A Collection of Roxette Hits: Their 20 Greatest Songs," on January 16.
In the interview Per also told more about the biography music journalist Sven Lindström is writing. "It's written in a 'quotation'-style à la 'Please Kill Me' (read it if you haven't already, it's stunning!!!) which means that everything in the book are quotes from people. The most interesting thing with this technique is that you get different opinions and views regarding the same subject. How confusing!!! Scandals? Hope not…"
Perhaps as a reply to the fans' demands, in October Per started to publish old Roxette demos weekly on the Roxette website. The start didn't go exactly as planned. Just before the first demo was going to be released, the servers where roxette.se is hosted crashed severely and the song was made public on Per's MySpace page — which also had technical difficulties on that black Monday. Luckily things were sorted out during the following days and fans heard the previously unreleased demos they so much long for. The demos that were published on the site were:
- "One Wish" (Tits & Ass demo, May 20, 2006)
- "Crush On You" (Tits & Ass demo, July 30, 1998)
- "Dance Away" (Tits & Ass demo, February 9, 1988)
- "My World, My Love, My Life" (Tits & Ass demo, December 28, 1999)
- "The Centre Of The Heart" (Tits & Ass demo, autumn 1997)
- "Fool" (Tits & Ass demo, December 27, 1999)
- "Dangerous" (Tits & Ass demo, February 1987)
- "Stars" (Tits & Ass demo, July 9, 1998)
- "It Hurts" (Tits & Ass demo, August 1995)
In November, we published two interesting interviews. First, we got an exclusive interview from Marie's husband, musician and golf enthusiast Micke Bolyos. Then, just a few days later, we got the permission to publish the full translation of Marie's interview in a Swedish magazine Tara.
What to expect in 2007?
Roxette will release "Reveal" as a single on January 23, not worldwide, but "here and there." The single version has been slightly altered from the version that was released on "The Hits" and "The RoxBox." As said, the US version of the greatest hits album will be released on January 16.
Per's biography is expected to be published in September 2007.
According to Expressen, Per is planning a summer tour. As usual, the management doesn't confirm anything, but we can be sure that Per won't be spending next year on holiday.
And for The Daily Roxette, next year is something very special. It will be our 10th anniversary since this newspaper was first published in May 1997.
The Daily Roxette team wishes a Happy New Year to all our readers!
Visa, Thomas, Judith, Lars-Erik & Colin
Technical errors may occur.