The longest lasting and most successful pop group ever to come out of Scandinavia are making themselves ready to hit the road again.
We’re talking about Roxette, of course—the dynamic duo consisting of Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessle, who’s melodic songs with their irresistible hooks and soaring choruses spread like wildfire all over the world some 25 years ago. And guess what, the heat is still on.
The brand-new collection Roxette XXX – The 30 Biggest Hits is a testament to the band’s incredible staying power. Two CDs with 30 songs, most of which can be heard over the airwaves just around the corner as well as on the other side of the planet, while you read this.
We’re talking hits. Smashes. Global anthems. Out of the 30 songs handpicked for this album, 28 were released as singles. They are complemented by two stand-out album tracks—both “(Do You Get) Excited” and “Perfect Day” being culled from the group’s 11-million+ selling third album Joyride, released in 1991.
Roxette’s 1989 breakthrough single ”The Look” kicks off the show. And rightly so. Soon after the song entered the # 1 position on the US Billboard singles chart in March 1989, it also found its way to the top in 24 other countries. Within weeks, Roxette was a global pop phenomenon.
”Listen To Your Heart”, ”It Must Have Been Love” and “Joyride” became three more US #1 songs in 1989-91, establishing their position as something far bigger and more forceful than your average MTV act. And in between there were even more contenders, as if Roxette were peppering the charts with a relentless flow of singles aiming for the top; “Dressed For Success”, “Dangerous”, “Fading Like A Flower”, “Spending My Time”, “The Big L”, and “Queen Of Rain”.
This initial and seemingly never-ending stream of classic pop singles earned them a special place in the hearts of millions of fans. They topped that with two world tours that proved what Roxette could do on stage. And trust us, fans who saw a Marie Fredriksson on fire back in 1991-92 or 1994-95 never seem to forget it.
But that’s just a part of the explanation. The real secret behind Roxette’s longevity is in the songs. As the group’s chief songwriter, Per Gessle has supplied enough melodies, hooks, choruses, and lyrical twists to turn the group into something resembling a living jukebox.
And with the combination of Marie Fredriksson’s powerful soul/rock voice and Gessle’s laid back pop cool, Roxette had a palette big enough to cover emotions from the deep blue sorrow of “Spending My Time” and “The Sweet Hello, The Sad Goodbye” to the Friday night ecstasy of “Real Sugar” and “Opportunity Nox”.
Also included on this collection are three examples of how Roxette manage to sound epic while playing down the romantic drama rather than emphasizing it. Just check out the three of the singles from their 1994 multi-platinum album Crash!Boom!Bang!—“Run To You”, “Vulnerable”, and of course the majestic title track.
Times changed in the 90’s, and so did Roxette. Songs like the garage-rocker “Sleeping In My Car”, the ’60s inspired pop whimsy of “June Afternoon”, the mesmerizing “Wish I Could Fly” and the euro pop frenzy “Stars”, saw the band expanding their sound and exploring new musical directions while still maintaining their unique melodic sense.
Having allowed themselves a well-deserved break in the mid ’90s, Roxette returned and released two albums with a slightly updated sound at the turn of the century— Have A Nice Day in 1999 and Room Service in 2001. But despite the group’s ability to change with the times, the songs core stayed the same.
Ballads like the wistful “Anyone” and “Milk And Toast And Honey” had all the characteristics of classic Roxette in them, just as “The Centre Of The Heart (Is A Suburb To The Brain” felt like a fresh take on their cheeky, fast-moving pop side.
But in the fall of 2002, it seemed the story would end. The band was about to release the new single “A Thing About You”, when Marie Fredriksson collapsed at home. She was rushed to the hospital and diagnosed with a brain tumor.
Her fight back in to life was heroic, and took the better part of the decade. In 2009 Marie was well enough for Roxette to re-form, which started a new and totally unprecedented phase of an already remarkable career. When the group in the beginning of 2011 kicked off their comeback world tour in the Russian city Kazan, nobody realized that they would perform in front of 1.5 million people in 46 countries before the tour finally reached its end in Mexico City in September 2012.
While on the road, Roxette released two new albums, Charm School (2011) and Travelling (2012), and more singles. “She’s Got Nothing On (But The Radio)” was a great return to form, which again did the trick of occupying the world’s top radio charts, while Peter “Bassflow” Boström’s clever remake of the shamefully overlooked 1991 single B-side “The Sweet Hello, The Sad Goodbye” easily proved the timeless quality of Roxette’s best work.
With a new world tour kicking off in Russia, Roxette are ready for yet another sing along party with their loyal army of worldwide fans called Roxers. “Roxette XXX – The 30 Biggest Hits” is a great reminder of why everybody wants the show to go on.
1 THE LOOK
2 DRESSED FOR SUCCESS
4 IT MUST HAVE BEEN LOVE
5 HOW DO YOU DO!
6 WISH I COULD FLY
7 SPENDING MY TIME
8 ALMOST UNREAL
9 THE BIG L
10 FADING LIKE A FLOWER
12 JUNE AFTERNOON
13 QUEEN OF RAIN
14 OPPORTUNITY NOX
15 PERFECT DAY
2 SLEEPING IN MY CAR
3 LISTEN TO YOUR HEART
4 RUN TO YOU
5 REAL SUGAR
6 MILK AND TOAST AND HONEY
9 THE CENTRE OF THE HEART (IS A SUBURB TO THE BRAIN)
10 A THING ABOUT YOU
12 YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND ME
13 SHE’S GOT NOTHING ON (BUT THE RADIO)
14 (DO YOU GET) EXCITED?
15 THE SWEET HELLO, THE SAD GOODBYE (BASSFLOW REMAKE)
::: RenownedForSound.com’s Editor and Founder –
Interviewing and reviewing the best in new music and globally recognized artists is his passion.
Over the years he has been lucky enough to review thousands of music releases and concerts and interview artists ranging from top selling superstars like 27-time Grammy Award winner Alison Krauss, Boyz II Men, Roxette, Cyndi Lauper, Lisa Loeb and iconic Eagles front man/songwriter, Glenn Frey through to more recent successes including Newton Faulkner, Janelle Monae and Caro Emerald.
Brendon manages and coordinates the amazing team of writers on RenownedForSound.com who are based in the UK, the U.S and Australia.