Roxette’s Australian Chart Joyride

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Roxette’s Australian Chart Joyride

Roxette. Photo by Gie Knaeps/Getty Images.

They had been releasing music together in their homeland of Sweden since 1986 (and even earlier individually), but 1989 was the year Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessle went global. Kicking off their Australian chart career with a number 1 hit, Roxette visited the top 20 a total of 12 times over the next five years.
'The Look'

Year: 1989
ARIA peak: number 1

Famously brought to the attention of a Minneapolis radio station by an American exchange student returning home from Sweden, The Look was actually the fourth track lifted from album Look Sharp! in Europe. Per Gessle’s attempt at emulating the sound of ZZ Top – Gimme All Your Lovin' was his guide – the song quickly exploded at US radio and had a similarly immediate reception in Australia, where it spent six weeks at number 1. Per has revealed that the first two verses consist of the original guide lyrics – placeholder words that would be eventually replaced. They never were. 

'Dressed For Success'

Year: 1989
ARIA peak: number 3

How do you follow The Look? By going back to the album’s lead single, which had already proved itself by reaching number 2 in Sweden. With its Wild Thing-ish guitar riff (also heard on Transvision Vamp’s Baby I Don’t Care that year), Dressed For Success became a second smash for Roxette and set Look Sharp! up for a 62-week stay inside the top 50, peaking at number 2 for four weeks in October 1989.

'Listen To Your Heart'

Year: 1989
ARIA peak: 10

Such was Roxette’s chart dominance in 1989 that when power ballad Listen To Your Heart was released in Australia, it joined their two previous hits on the chart to give the duo three simultaneous top 40 hits (albeit only for one week). The music video for Listen To Your Heart was filmed during a concert among the ruins at Borgholm Castle in öland, Sweden.


Year: 1990
ARIA peak: number 9

The previous European hits from Look Sharp! exhausted, Dangerous was chosen as the final single from the album, and gave Roxette a fourth consecutive top 10 hit in Australia. The track was slightly remixed from the album version and also came with a music video shot at Borgholm Castle.

'It Must Have Been Love'

Year: 1990
ARIA peak: number 1

When asked to contribute a song to the soundtrack for rom-com Pretty Woman, Roxette revisited their 1987 Christmas single, It Must Have Been Love (Christmas For The Broken Hearted), a stand-alone release that had not featured on debut album Pearls Of Passion. With the festive components removed from the track, the revised It Must Have Been Love returned Marie and Per to the top of the ARIA singles chart (for two weeks) and helped the film’s soundtrack also top the albums chart (for four weeks).


Year: 1991
ARIA peak: number 1

Given their success up until this point, it was a surprise to approximately no one when brand new track Joyride became Roxette’s third number 1 hit (for three weeks). Released a month ahead of their third album of the same name, Joyride got its title from the way Paul McCartney had described writing songs with John Lennon in an interview Per had read and its “hello, you fool, I love you” hook from a note his then-girlfriend (and later wife) left on his piano. The whistling at the end of the song? Per told Billboard, "I did the whistling myself. It's overdubbed 12 times, but I did it."

'Fading Like A Flower (Every Time You Leave)'

Year: 1991
ARIA peak: number 7

Maintaining the uptempo-ballad-uptempo-ballad pattern of releases stretching back to Dressed For Success, Roxette chose Fading Like A Flower as the second single from Joyride, which had by this point spent two weeks at number 2 on the albums chart and would go on to remain on the top 50 for 46 weeks in total.

'The Big L'

Year: 1991
ARIA peak: number 20

Roxette’s run of consecutive top 10 hits – seven, if you haven’t been paying attention – came to a halt with the third single taken from Joyride. L stood for Love in this upbeat track which came with a nightclub-meets-circus-themed music video.

'Spending My Time'

Year: 1991
ARIA peak: number 16

True to form, Roxette next lifted a ballad from Joyride, which resulted in a slightly improvement in their chart fortunes. The pair’s American record label had originally favoured Spending My Time as the lead single from the album, but were talked around by Per and Marie. A fifth single was released from Joyride, but Church Of Your Heart missed the ARIA top 50 completely.

'How Do You Do!'

Year: 1992
ARIA peak: number 13

As indicated by its subtitle, Songs From Studios, Stages, Hotelrooms & Other Strange Place, Roxette’s fourth album, Tourism, was mostly recorded on the road, and included live performances of The Look and Joyride from the Sydney Entertainment Centre. The only hit single from the album in Australia, How Do You Do! was cut during sessions in Sweden in April and May 1992. Tourism reached number 3 on the albums chart, remaining in the top 50 for 13 weeks.

'Almost Unreal'

Year: 1993
ARIA peak: number 17

Originally written for Bette Midler comedy Hocus Pocus, this between-albums single ended up on the soundtrack for the live action adaptation of video game Super Mario Bros (starring Bob Hoskins) instead. Some of the lyrics were revised, although the title of the film for which it was originally intended remains in the chorus. 

'Sleeping In My Car'

Year: 1994
ARIA peak: number 18

Roxette’s final top 20 hit in Australia was the lead single from fifth album Crash! Boom! Bang!, which in turn became their last studio album to reach the top 10, peaking at number 3. Sleeping In My Car was the final song written for the album, composed by Per when he realised the tracklisting was lacking a breakout pop moment. Roxette enjoyed one last minor top 50 hit with Run To You, the album’s fourth single, and found themselves back in the albums top 10 for one final time with 1996’s Don’t Bore Us – Get To The Chorus! compilation.


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