by Brian A. Wilkins
December 10, 2019
My good friend Blake had a memorable, funny comment when we were roommates at Iowa State University in 1994. “Black men aren’t supposed to be Roxette fans.” He said that after observing the fact I had three Roxette CD’s in my collection. That’s what happens when you’re black and grow up in 1980s Iowa.
Roxette vocalist and keyboardist Marie Fredriksson passed away yesterday in Djursholm, Sweden at the age of 61. She had been battling brain cancer for over 17 years. She is survived by her husband of 25 years, Mikael Bolyos, and their two children.
Roxette blended right into that 80s and early 90s genre of feel-good, groovy, happy music. They are one of those proverbial Generation X groups. It seemed that throughout my high school years, you could not go more than an hour without hearing a Roxette song on the radio. Our generation is mostly in their 40s and 50s now. People we grew up listening to and admiring are dying constantly (Michael Jackson, Prince, Charlotte “Mrs. Garrett” Rae, etc.). But Roxette’s music will never die.
Most people were introduced to Roxette in 1990 when their song “It Must Have Been Love” was featured on the Pretty Woman soundtrack. The song was one of four Roxette singles to hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. As much as I like that song, it does not make my top five Roxette songs of all time.
5. The Look
It first reached #1 on April 8, 1989, during the second semester of my eighth grade year. Oh what ever happened to that red-head girl named Jenny Smith? She had the look!
The song peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 on my 15th Birthday, 9th grade, March 10, 1990. I was working the closing shift at Taco Bell on Merle Hay Road in Des Moines that day. I also think that was one of the two nights we got robbed at gunpoint in my two-plus years working there. DANGEROUS!
The song was released in July of 1990, but did not start picking up steam in the USA until 1991. It eventually reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on May 11, 1991. I got my driver’s license for the first time just two months earlier. I’m sure it’s easy to figure out why this song is near and dear to my heart.
2. Dressed For Success
This song has so much historical significance in my life. It peaked at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 on July 29, 1989. It was the summer between 8th and 9th grade, the bridge between junior high and high school. It was the fourth consecutive year I was at a different school and different town due to my parents’ divorce. I was messed up in the head. But Roxette reminded me of what I needed to do if I wanted the girls to like me.
1. How do you do
I once played this song over and over for four straight hours driving from Marshalltown, Iowa to Sioux City, Iowa in the snow. It only reached #58 on the Billboard Hot 100 on November 14, 1992, my senior year in high school. But it’s my favorite Roxette song.
Thank you for the memories Marie Fredriksson. Love you and hope you’re enjoying the other, better side!