ROXETTE biography

Roxette is a Swedish pop double act, sometimes rock influenced, that consists of Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessle.

For a significant period of time in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Roxette stood among the top bands in worldwide sales and fame, brandishing a simple yet effective blend of pop with a slight edge and occasional hints of dance. The group claims influences ranging from The Beatles to Blondie to new wave music to Joni Mitchell and Aretha Franklin.

There was a time in 1991 when Roxette could command an arena filled with tens of thousands of fans in places as diverse as Stockholm, Mexico City, Paris, Santiago de Chile, Buenos Aires, Frankfurt, Rome and Sydney. The 1992 release Tourism: Songs from Studios, Stages, Hotelrooms & Other Strange Places - with a recording of audience members singing along to the tune of the group's biggest hit, "It Must Have Been Love" - exemplifies this temporary but impressive hold Per Gessle and Marie Fredriksson had.

Though there is no firm figure, Roxette is said to have worldwide sales of 75 million copies of its albums and singles. The group's success in the United States was arguable. While seemingly not interested in doing so, even by default Roxette could not associate its image with the now-iconic ABBA, another Swedish pop group that struggled for recognition in America while still intact in the late 1970s, but that managed, through revisionism beginning in the early 1990s, to grow into something more intriguing as a legacy.

ABBA did have some Billboard Top 10 singles and one No. 1 in the 1970s. Even though Roxette couldn't ultimately leave behind the same legacy, the group did outperform ABBA on the singles chart, achieving four No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 between 1989 and 1991. Roxette also had two No. 2 singles and a few other Top 40 peaks until falling out of sight of the Hot 100 in 1994. Even so, by that token, Roxette can be considered a highly successful singles act. The group has been certified by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) with two platinum albums - 1988's Look Sharp! (released in the U.S. in 1989) and 1991's Joyride - and two gold singles - "The Look" and "It Must Have Been Love."

In Sweden the group has had 17 Top 10 hits, and Roxette has developed a large following throughout South America, South Africa and Europe.

Roxette's music is best summed up by the title of its 1995 greatest-hits album: Don't Bore Us - Get to the Chorus! Mostly written by Gessle and produced by Clarence Öfwerman, the songs were melodic pop, what Stephen Thomas Erlewine, senior editor of the All Music Guide, called "extremely catchy and simple hooks and melodies that are sweet but not saccharine." Jon Pareles of The New York Times, however, thought that "Roxette's music is a matter of efficiency and control, not fun...and won't be accused of too much originality". Single releases tend to oscillate between lead vocals by Gessle - whose light, almost sunshiny voice fronts hits such as "The Look" and "Joyride" -- and Fredriksson - whose grainy, throatier delivery can be heard on "Listen to Your Heart" and "It Must Have Been Love," among others.

Though they have claimed that the original aim of Roxette was to apply Gessle's pop compositions to Fredriksson's vocals, they also claim that the spontaneously-written and -recorded "The Look," the group's worldwide breakthrough hit, came as a surprise with Gessle taking lead. Perhaps the claim can be questioned in light of the fact that the first single Gessle and Fredriksson released in Sweden in late 1985, "Neverending Love," was a full-on duet (similar to "Dangerous"), as were several other single releases before the group's reach expanded beyond its home country.


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