Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessle were both established artists in Sweden before they met in 1979, later forming Roxette. Fredriksson, while working on her first solo album, agreed to help Gessle out with his latest work in progress, The Heartland Cafe, doing background vocals for it. Some fans consider this to be the first Roxette project, but Roxette themselves haven't officially recognized this as any sort of beginning. Sometime after The Heartland Cafe was released, Capitol Records expressed interest in the Swedish duo and they promptly released an English-language album.From the 11-track Heartland Cafe, released in 1984, Capitol took six of the tracks and released an EP in the United States under the title Heartland. Heartland Cafe turned out to be somewhat successful in Sweden, but suffered on the international scene. A single hit reached America, Teaser Japanese, but gained no recognition on MTV and was thus quickly forgotten. The band also lost popularity in Sweden, and it was then when Gessle decided that it was time to do something new, and Roxette was formed in the ashes of his old band. Since then, Roxette has released thirteen additional albums, four of which are collections of their previous works, such as 1995's Don't Bore Us, Get to the Chorus! Many fans argue that their album Joyride is one of the best, citing its long stint on the best albums chart for Billboard and wild international success as justification to this claim. Joyride the single topped the charts in multiple countries including Germany, Australia, and the U.K. It reached number four in the U.K. and spent a week at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. The album was also nominated for the 1992 Juno Award in the category "Best Selling Single by a Foreign Artist". After the release of Joyride, Roxette enjoyed a spell of moderate success. Then in 2001, they released Room Service which according to many critics was their second best album. It is a highly engaging pop album with irresistible hooks and catches. The first single, The Centre of the Heart quickly hit the number one spot in Sweden. Both Gessle and Fredriksson have since engaged in solo projects as well as kept up with writing music for Roxette.
In the end of the 80s and in the early 90s, Roxette, a pop-rock duo from Halmstad, Sweden, stood among the top bands in worldwide sales and notoriety, 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.
Perhaps, years after the fact, Roxette's popularity can be difficult to understand or appreciate in light of what critics considered its infectious but nonetheless lightweight music, lightweight even compared to what was otherwise on the airwaves at the time. Regardless, there was a time in 1991 when Roxette could command an arena filled with tens of thousands of fans in places as diverse as Buenos Aires, Frankfurt 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 believed to have worldwide sales of as many as 75 million copies of its albums and singles, no minor achievement for any pop act. The group's success in the United States alone 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 70s, but that managed, through revisionism beginning in the early 90s, to grow into something more intriguing as a legacy.
ABBA did have some Billboard Top 10 singles and one No. 1 in the 70s. 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 October 2005 Roxette was honoured by the American musical publishing organisation BMI with an award for four million airplays on US radio of 'It Must Have Been Love'. Four million spins, on US radio alone, equals 36 years of non-stop airplay. Statistics show that the song is still so popular that there are always at least two American radio stations playing 'It Must Have Been Love' around the clock. It's hard to find a better definition of the word evergreen.
In sweden the group has had 17 Top 10 hits, and Roxette has developed a large following throughout South America.
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Roxette is a Swedish pop music duo, consisting of Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessle. They enjoyed worldwide success from the late 1980s until the mid-1990s, gaining nineteen UK Top 40 hits and four US #1 singles with, "The Look", "Listen to Your Heart", "It Must Have Been Love" and "Joyride". Two further singles "Dangerous" and "Fading Like a Flower" hit #2.
After a hiatus in the mid-1990s, their popularity continued in other territories such as Europe and South America, where they earned various Gold and Platinum awards until the beginning of the new millennium. The duo took an extended hiatus from recording and touring, when in 2002, Fredriksson was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Roxette took to the stage together again for the first time in 8 years, in 2009, during Gessle's European Party Crasher tour.
Their songs continue to receive radio airplay. "It Must Have Been Love" and "Listen to Your Heart" have both recently received awards from BMI, with both songs achieving four million radio plays. They have sold an estimated 45 million albums and 25 million singles worldwide, with over 3.5 million record sales in the United States, achieving platinum for Joyride and Look Sharp! there.