Expressen’s series on Roxette concludes with columnist claiming they “aren’t hungry anymore”
Written by roxeteer on April 16, 2001 to Misc.
A couple of days ago, we had an English summary of part one of Expressen’s article series on Roxette’s history. Now we’ll continue with parts two and three. Expressen also published a column by Anders Nunstedt, entitled “Roxette is not hungry anymore”. We’ll have a summary on that one later in this article. So, read on! (Probably the longest article in TDR ever :-)
Part Two of the history is about the years 1989-92. Roxette had just released “Look Sharp!” album. In February 1989, Per suddenly heard that a song from the album, “The Look” is being played on the radio in the USA. In a short while, 500 copies of the song was distributed to US radio stations.
For Roxette, these reports were a big surprise as the album wasn’t even released in America. Soon they heard how the song had got its way to American radio stations; a 22-year-old exchange student, Dean Cushman, had recorded Roxette’s material on cassette while he was studying computer science in Borås and taken the tapes with him when he went back to Minneapolis. At home, he played the song to the staff at the radio station KDWB and people loved the song instantly.
Per and Marie travelled to the States. The band was welcomed by enthusiastic fans. “This is totally unbelievable, […] it’s like we were real rock stars,” said Marie. An official single was soon released and on March 29 it took the first place on the Billboard chart.
American success continued for the whole year, first with “Dressed For Success” — which didn’t reach the #1 spot, though — and then with “Listen To Your Heart” and “It Must Have Been Love” that both peaked at #1.
In the autumn of 1990, Roxette started working on a successor for “Look Sharp!”. Their record company EMI invested almost 2 million dollars for promotion. This meant extra pressure for Per and Marie. But they didn’t fail with the album “Joyride”. It got 4 out of 5 in Expressen when it was reviewed in the spring of 1991.
A planned summer tour in North America is cancelled, and Roxette had a short promo tour instead. In a month, “Joyride” has sold over 2.2 million copies. In May, the album reached #1 on Billboard chart.
In September, Roxette started a Swedish tour. All 104,200 tickets were sold out in a week. Swedish tour soon became a world tour of one and half years.
“We’ve become more of a phenomenon than a pop band,” says Per.
Part Three of the series concentrates on Roxette’s story from the year 1993 to present.
After the long tour, Roxette took a break. In 1993, Marie got her first child, Josefin, and Per got married to his fiancée Åsa. Later that year, the band started working on “Crash! Boom! Bang!”.
“Crash! Boom! Bang!” was a flop by Roxette standards. The album sold “only” 4 million copies and the singles didn’t have as much chart success as their precursors. The USA, which earlier was their most important market, was suddenly a problem. The record company was from the very beginning unwilling to release the album. Per thinks the main reason was that the new chief of EMI USA preferred grunge over melodic pop from Europe.
Despite the record company problems, Roxette was able to sell 1 million copies in the McDonald’s restaurants as part of a charity project. It didn’t help much, though: the album never got on the American Top 200 chart.
Roxette’s 1995 b-side compilation “Rarities” sold only 1 million copies. It was never released in the USA. During the same year, Roxette had a world tour (except North America). At the same time, speculations of the band splitting up got stronger.
“In the summer of 1995, we were in the situation that we had to take a break. Either change our lives or also end this thing. We decided to do something else for a few months. It took quite a long time before we did anything again. For a natural reason: both Marie and I got babies,” tells Per. Marie’s second child, Oscar, was born in January 1997. In August, Per and Åsa got their first child, Gabriel.
Spanish compilation of Roxette’s ballads, released in 1996, was a disappointment. So was their 1999 album “Have A Nice Day”. Roxette had found themselves a new American record company, a little label called Edel. But the album sold only 2.2 million copies. Per thinks the album was a disappointment, also musically.
Now Roxette has just released their new album, “Room Service”. In Sweden, the album and the first single, “The Centre Of The Heart,” are doing great on the charts, but in the USA they still don’t have a record company.
“We’d love to release the album there, but currently no-one’s interested,” says Per. He also says that neither he nor Marie has any expectations for the album.
“For both of us, the most important thing is that the album feels genuine, feels like Roxette. And I think we’ve found our old style again,” says Per.
Anders Nunstedt’s column in today’s Expressen is his suggestion for Part Four of the series: Roxette’s future. He doesn’t think it looks as bright as the band’s past. Even though the new album and single are #1 in Sweden, it isn’t so in the rest of the world. The most important music markets of the world, England and the USA, have both been uninterested in releasing the album. According to Nunstedt, Roxette needs to work hard to gain success again. It doesn’t help that the band has been rejecting requests for interviews (at least he thinks so) and done this little promotion.
Per and Marie have not yet announced whether or not they are going on a tour. Nunstedt considers it unlikely. The band is not as “hungry” as they used to be — and Marie’s daughter is going to school in autumn.
“Probably they will still release more albums, as it seems that they’re not going to get enough of that,” Nunstedt predicts.