Sweden's first pop export of the 90s, Marie Fredriksson (b. 30 May 1958, Ístra-Ljungby, Sweden) and Per Gessle (b. 12 January 1959, Halmstad, Sweden) enjoyed international success thanks to a highly commercial combination of a striking image and catchy pop/rock melodies.

Gessle became a solo artist in the early 80s having previously played in the new wave band Gyllene Tider. He was 'discovered' by former Abba manager Thomas Johannson who was looking for songs for a Frida album. Meanwhile Fredriksson had released three popular solo albums.

Johannson teamed them up in 1985 and they became Roxette. Recording at Gessle's studio in Halmstad, the band released their debut set the following year. They soon conquered Sweden, with 1988's Look Sharp! becoming the second bestselling album in Swedish history.

They broke through in the US in February 1989 with the number 1 single 'The Look', which also reached UK number 7 in April. Subsequent singles 'Dressed For Success' (US number 14, May 1989), 'Listen To Your Heart' (US number 1, August 1989) and 'Dangerous' (US number 2, December 1989) continued the band's phenomenal success.

The ballad 'It Must Have Been Love', which was used on the soundtrack of the Richard Gere/Julia Roberts movie Pretty Woman, became the band's third US chart topper in April 1990, and a number 3 UK single.

'Joyride' topped the US chart in March 1991, was a number 1 single throughout mainland Europe, and earned the band their highest UK chart placing when it reached number 4 the same month. 'Fading Like A Flower (Every Time You Leave)' stalled at US number 2 in June, and signalled the end of the band's run of American Top 10 singles.

'Almost Unreal' reached UK number 7 in July 1993, and was followed into the Top 10 in September by a reissue of 'It Must Have Been Love', but subsequent singles failed to match the band's early 90s purple patch.

Four new tracks were included on their greatest hits package in 1995.

After a five-year absence, the band returned in February1999 with the single 'Wish I Could Fly' and a respectable album.

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© 2000 Paul Rands, MissM and Simon Gledhill
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