This is "The Big 10 - The Essential Tracks", in which we take a closer look at particular artist's or band's back catalogue, and choose the 10 finest moments. These are our subjective choices, so if you want to ask how on earth we could leave off such and such song from the list, you can... and the answer is... because we could.


Editor's foreword: I recieved this article from Urban a few days ago, and started working on it on tuesday morning. Didn't get it finished and thought that I'd get it ready for publishing later that day. A few hours later the news of Marie Fredriksson's death reached us... this is now our tribute to her and her magnificent voice. We send our heartfelt condolences to her family and friends. Rest in Peace. The songs will live on forever... but "Things Will Never Be The Same".

RIP Marie

Roxette - The missing link between Pop and AOR? The worst act from Sweden? Nah. That's clearly Ace Of Base. Some people actually thought of them as the new ABBA? Christ on a bike. Before coming together to form Roxette, Per Gessle and Marie Fredriksson were established artists in Schweden. Gessle being the frontman and songwriter of Gyllene Tider (Golden Times/Era), which had three #1 albums between the years of 1979-82 and one not so successful English release, The Heartland Cafe in 1984. In fact. The Heartland Cafe was released in USA under the monicker of "Roxette" and sold a couple of hundred copies or less. Thus the origin of the name. "Neverending Love" in the summer of 1986, the first proper start and Per/Marie version of the band.

They have sold more than 75 million records worldwide, achieving gold and platinum certifications for Joyride and Look Sharp! The latter release in 1988 their big break-through album of course, even though EMI America had previously rejected the duo as unsuitable for the US market, and they did not have a recording contract over there. You might have heard this story before. However. While studying in Sweden, an American exchange student from Minneapolis, Dean Cushman, purchased the album and brought it home, giving a copy of it to his local Top 40 radio station, KDWB 101.3 FM. "The Look" quickly became popular, and became their first #1 in the US on 8 April 1989.

"Hello, You Fool, I Love You". Joyride, released in March 1991, became a critical and commercial success. It topped the charts in a number of countries and became their best selling album. It stayed at #1 in Germany for 13 weeks, while staying on the US album chart for over a year. "Joyride" the single became Roxette's first #1 in good old Sweden and it topped the charts in more than 25 countries around the world, including Germany, Australia and the US, it was their fourth and last/latest US No. 1. It's clearly their best album in my opinion even if the title track is kind of annoying.

In September 2002, Fredriksson was hospitalised after a fainting spell at home. She was then diagnosed with a brain tumor, which was later successfully removed in surgery. It would however take another 8 years until they performed live together as Roxette again. The comeback, followed by three new albums, Charm School (2011), Travelling (2012), Good Karma (2016), was ended on 18 April 2016, due to concerns about Marie's health and the doctors advised her from playing live. What to expect next? No idea really. Right now, the humble tribute to the band and songs of Roxette. The Big Ten.

10. Watercolours In The Rain
9. Things Will Never Be The Same
8. I Remember You
7. Sleeping In My Car
6. Dangerous

5. It Must Have Been Love
Back in 1987 EMI Germany asked the duo to come up with an Christmas single. The holiday themed song became a hit in Sweden, but EMI Germany decided against releasing the single. It eventually ended up on the soundtrack of Pretty Woman (starring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts) in late 1989. They simply removed the Christmas lyrics and brackets (Christmas For the Broken Hearted) and it would prove to be their most successful single release. The song spent two weeks at #1 on the Hot 100 in June 1990, and stayed for two additional weeks at No. 2, spending a total of seventeen weeks in the top 40. In Germany the single spent 9 months in the top 75, which goes to prove that the A&R people at EMI Germany were completely bonkers.

4. Listen To Your Heart
""I know there's something in the wake of your smile. I get a notion from the look in your eyes". The Heart to Heart song differed from previous singles on Look Sharp and instead resembled the slick power ballads of Heart and especially 'What About Love'. Spending a single week at No. 1 in the US in November 1989 and it's actually the first US Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 to be not commercially available on 7-inch vinyl. It's nearly impossible to imagine the duo without this tune, in the same way it's impossible to imagine Sweden without vikings, fika, meat balls, ikea, dynamite, and blonde women. Perfect arena rock.

3. I Love The Sound Of Crashing Guitars
"Hey you long haired vintage Jesus. Break the guitar into 1000 pieces".. The proper firecracker and dipping their toes into the Brit-Pop vs. Classic Rock music waters only made sense in 1994. Whatever their intentions, their timing was sort of right on yet off? Hardly one of their biggest hits. However. Gessle's penchant for crafting easy-on-the-ears melodies vs. the moody era of lumberjacks and woolly jumpers, make this song a nice change from the usual 'don't bore us, get to the chorus' arrangements. And seriously, who doesn't love the sound of crashing guitars? Crash! Boom! Bang!

2. Spending My Time
"What's the time? Seems it's already morning. I see the sky, it's so beautiful and blue. The TV's on but the only thing showing is a picture of you".. A superb vocal performance, excellent soft FM-Rock ballad, and an fine message about watching the days gone by. According to Gessle, "I believed this was going to be our biggest hit ever, which might have happened if not our American record company had fired a lot of...ah, never mind. When Koppelman took over the US company in 1992 more than hundred people got replaced. Those folks who got sacked were the same people who made Roxette happen in 89-91". "Oh, I get up and make myself some coffee. I try to read a bit but the story's too thin. I thank the Lord above, that you're not there to see me in the shape I'm in"...

1. Fading Like A Flower
"In a time where the sun descends alone. I ran a long long way from home to find a heart that's made of stone".. Fading Like a Flower is Gessle's attempt at making their adaptation of AOR or at least that's what they must have told themselves at the time. Always eager to pick up the occasional Heart and Starship influence, this particular flower blossom like Ann Wilson in spring time. The song was a top ten hit in most EU countries and #2 in the united states of America. Something tells me this song is almost impossible to ignore once heard and likely deserves extra credit for its simplicity. Catchy Hook!

This list by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

The list as a YouTube playlist

Individual lists:

Kimmo Toivonen:

10. It Just Happens
9. She Doesn't Live Here Anymore
8. My World My Love My Life
7. It Must Have Been Love
6. Almost Unreal
5. Sleeping In My Car
4. (Do You Get) Excited?
3. Spending My Time
2. Listen To Your Heart
1. Fading Like A Flower

Mira Suutari-Toivonen:

10. Crash! Boom! Bang!
9. Spending My Time
8. You Don't Understand Me
7. Only When I Dream
6. Anyone
5. It Just Happens
4. Queen of Rain
3. Fading like a Flower
2. Listen To Your Heart
1. It Must Have Been Love


(c) 2019 RockUnited.Com



10. Dangerous
9. Queen Of Rain
8. It Just Happens
7. (Do You Get) Excited?
6. I Love The Sound of Crashing Guitars
5. Sleeping In My Car
4. Spending My Time
3. It Must Have Been Love
2. Listen To Your Heart
1. Fading Like A Flower