Marie Fredriksson, lead singer of Roxette, the Swedish pop duo that briefly dominated the American charts within the 1980s and 1990s with dramatically lovelorn ballads and catchy up-tempo singles, died Monday. She was 61.
Her administration crew, Dimberg Jernberg, didn’t specify the reason for her dying however mentioned in a press release Tuesday that Fredriksson was first recognized with a mind tumor in 2002.
Fredriksson and singer-songwriter Per Gessle fashioned Roxette in 1986. Every had achieved reasonable success in Sweden; they determined that collectively they might try for worldwide stardom. “Swedish critics said we’d never make it, but they were wrong,” Fredriksson informed The Los Angeles Instances in 1990.
American critics have been usually no friendlier. “Old pop formulas never die; they come back with different haircuts,” Jon Pareles wrote in The New York Instances in 1992, in a scathing assessment of the band’s New York debut. He added, “Roxette’s main asset is Marie Fredriksson, a singer with a sob in her voice, a platinum-blond Billy Idol hairdo and a taste for skintight costumes.”
The duo, nevertheless, broke by means of in america in 1989 when Dean Cushman, an American pupil who had visited Sweden on an alternate program, introduced a duplicate of the Roxette album “Look Sharp!” to an area radio station again residence in Minneapolis.
The station, impressed by the LP, performed the strutting single “The Look”; it turned an area hit, earlier than occurring to achieve No. 1 on Billboard’s Scorching 100 chart. American label EMI, which had not too long ago determined to not launch Roxette’s music in america, shortly reversed course.
Three extra Roxette singles topped the charts within the subsequent two years: “Listen to Your Heart,” “Joyride” and “It Must Have Been Love,” the final of which featured on the soundtrack for “Pretty Woman,” the 1990 romantic comedy starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere.
Roxette, like Abba earlier than it and Ace of Base after, achieved large success as a Swedish group singing in English, making immaculately crafted pop music. The duo didn’t simply provide counterprogramming to hair metallic and grunge, they made a pop melody really feel like a press release of lung-busting defiance, even when the lyrics have been daft poetry like “tasty as a raindrop.”
On hit energy ballads like “Fading Like a Flower (Every Time You Leave),” Fredriksson sounded as if she might conquer heartbreak by leaning on a sturdily constructed track. “I think somehow I am more vulnerable if I am singing in Swedish,” she mentioned in a video interview from 2000.
Certifying its standing as a famous person band, Roxette even obtained its personal stamp in 1991, issued by the Swedish postal service. “It’s nice having the entire Swedish nation licking your back,” Gessle mentioned in Rolling Stone.
Marie Fredriksson was born Could 30, 1958, in Skane County in southern Sweden. Her household was poor, however singing was free: She generally would get up her dad and mom by singing early morning opera into her mirror. Fredriksson cited Billie Vacation, Ella Fitzgerald and Chick Corea as early influences; later, her favorites could be Mick Jagger and Tina Turner, whom she admired each for his or her vocal talents and for his or her onstage charisma.
She performed with two bands — punk group Strul and new-wave duo MaMas Barn — and launched two eclectic solo albums in 1984 and 1986, earlier than becoming a member of forces with Gessle.
Explaining their partnership to The Los Angeles Instances in 1990, she mentioned: “People ask all the time if we’re married or romantically involved. They insist we are, but we’re not.”
Though Roxette’s reputation in america peaked between 1989 and 1991, its profession lasted longer across the globe. The band launched a complete of 10 albums by means of 2016, seven of them licensed platinum in varied international locations; movies of the duo’s songs have attracted over 1 billion views on YouTube.
Fredriksson’s profession was derailed in 2002 when she suffered from a seizure, fracturing her cranium on her rest room ground. Testing revealed that the trigger was a malignant mind tumor. Recoveries and setbacks adopted, however she stored making music (she made three solo albums after her prognosis), and in 2012 she launched into a reunion tour with Gessle.
Her sickness made it arduous for her to study new lyrics, however she nonetheless remembered all of the Roxette hits. “Touring makes her feel incredible,” Gessle informed The Guardian. “She gets so much back from the audience — it’s like she’s in the world’s oddest rehab.”
Roxette’s music was by no means stylish, however because the years glided by, it attracted vocal admirers. Derek Miller of the band Sleigh Bells, talking about Roxette with Spin in 2012, mentioned, “I don’t understand how people get this talented.”
Fredriksson is survived by her husband, music producer Mikael Bolyos — they met when Roxette was touring Australia in 1990, promptly fell in love and determined to marry 48 hours later — and two kids, Josefin and Oscar.
In a press release Tuesday, Gessle paid tribute to Fredriksson as “an outstanding musician, a master of the voice, an amazing performer,” and added, “Thanks for portray my black-and-white songs in probably the most stunning colours.”
“Time goes by so quickly,” he mentioned. “It’s not that long ago we spent days and nights in my tiny apartment in Halmstad, listening to music we loved, sharing impossible dreams.”