What would you answer if someone should ask you "What do you know about Roxette"?
Well, probably many would say, she is a Swedish blond, a pop singer, most known from her 80s and 90s hits, like "The Look," "Listen to Your Heart," "It Must Have Been Love," and "Joyride.". Right? Wrong!
The blondie is not Roxette. She is Gun-Marie Fredriksson or as better known by her artistic name Marie Fredriksson. And no, she never used Roxette as her artistic name: she is actually the one half of a pop rock duo called Roxette.
So, Roxette is a Swedish pop rock duo, consisting of Marie Fredriksson (vocals) and Per Gessle (vocals and guitar). Formed in 1986, the duo became an international act in the late 1980s, when they released their breakthrough album Look Sharp! Their third album Joyride, which was released in 1991, became just as successful as its predecessor. Roxette went on to achieve nineteen UK Top 40 hits and several US Hot 100 hits, including four US number-ones with "The Look," "Listen to Your Heart," "It Must Have Been Love," and "Joyride." Other hits include "Dangerous," "Fading Like a Flower," "Dressed for Success," and "The Centre of the Heart."
Before coming together to form the duo, Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessle were already established artists in Sweden, with Fredriksson releasing a number of solo albums and Gessle being the lead singer and songwriter of Gyllene Tider, a Swedish pop group of the 70s and 80s, with three No. 1 albums.
While working on her first solo album, Het vind (Hot Wind), Fredriksson performed the background vocals for Gyllene Tider's only album in English, The Heartland Café. The 11-track album was released in February 1984 and sold 45,000 copies in Sweden. According to Gessle, the group's first English-language release was in response to interest expressed by EMI's American label Capitol Records. Capitol took six of the tracks and released an extended play (EP) record in the US with an abridged title, Heartland, but the company insisted on a different name for the band. Gessle and the other members of Gyllene Tider (Swedish for "Golden Times" or "Golden Age") chose the title of a 1975 Dr. Feelgood song, "Roxette". So, Roxette started as an alternate name for Gyllene Tider!
The newly named Roxette issued one near-invisible release in the US, "Teaser Japanese", whose video reached MTV's studio but received no rotation to speak of. It, and subsequent singles, fared better in Sweden, and Gyllene Tider briefly toured the country to support the album. However, "the album died soon enough and the international career died before it even started", Gessle wrote. "We decided to put Gyllene Tider to rest... until further notice." Gessle then turned solo work, recording his second Swedish-language solo album, Scener, released in 1985 and again featuring Fredriksson on background vocals. While Fredriksson recorded her second solo album, Den sjunde vågen (The Seventh Wave).
Then, the Managing Director of EMI suggested that Gessle and Fredriksson should sing together. Gessle translated a song called "Svarta glas" ("Black glasses") into English, which became their first single, "Neverending Love". They released it in the summer of 1986 under the name "Roxette" and reached the Swedish top 10, selling 50,000 copies thus becoming the first international hit of the duo Roxette.