Roxette: everything about the Swedish pop duo

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As Roxette, Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessle epitomise the pop and rock of the 1980s and 1990s like no other Scandinavian band. With over 80 million records sold, Roxette is one of the most successful Swedish pop groups of the last century. Find out everything about the band’s history and their most famous songs here!


Roxette was a famous Swedish pop duo consisting of Gun-Marie Fredriksson (vocals) and Per Gessle (vocals, guitar). The group was active from 1989 to 2001 and from 2009 to 2016.

Active1989 – 2001 and 2009 – 2016
MembersGun-Marie Fredriksson (vocals), Per Gessle (vocals, guitar)
Live and session memberPelle Alsing
Copyright and legal information: Author: Dmitry Avdeev; Material:,_September_2012.jpg; Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0,, unchanged.

Who are Roxette?

Roxette was a Swedish band that enjoyed great international success, especially in the 1980s and 1990s. They took a break from 2001 to 2009, partly due to singer Marie Fredriksson’s cancer. They made a comeback in 2009, which lasted until 2016.

Gun-Marie Fredriksson

Roxette: Marie Fredriksson
Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessle at a concert in Halmstad, Author: Malin Kettil

Gun-Marie Fredriksson, known as Marie Fredriksson, was the singer and keyboardist of Roxette. She was born on 30 May 1959 in Össjö in southern Sweden and studied at the Svalöf Academy of Music. She then signed a record deal with her band MaMas Barn.

In 1984 she started her solo career, which led to a high profile in Sweden. After working as a backing singer in Per Gessle’s band for some time, the two musicians decided to form Roxette in 1989.

She was married to the musician Mikael Bolyos and they had two children together. Although she took his surname, she kept Fredriksson as her stage name.

Marie Fredriksson had been battling cancer since 2002 and died as a result of the illness on 9 December 2019.

Per Gessle

The second member of the pop duo, Per Gessle, was born on 12 January 1959 in Halmstadt. Before he and Marie Fredriksson formed Roxette, he played in the band Gyllene Tider, which became famous in Sweden with songs such as Flickorna på TV2 (“Girls on the 2nd Channel”). He has also worked with numerous other musicians such as ABBA member Frida.

From the beginning of the 2000s, Per Gessle increasingly released solo albums, sometimes under the pseudonym “Son of a Plumber”, as his father was a plumber.

Music career: the history of Roxette


Roxette was founded in 1986, when Per and Marie had already known each other for several years as they had already worked together musically. Among other things, Marie had been a background singer in Per’s band, while she also worked on her own projects such as Het vind (1984). The band name alludes to the song Roxette (1974) by the band Dr Feelgood.

Roxette: Foundation and international breakthrough
Marie Fredriksson, Per Gessle and Eva Dahlgren; Author: Thomas Evensson; Material:; Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0,, unchanged.

International breakthrough

Roxette made their international breakthrough just three years later when an American student bought the album Look Sharp on holiday and passed it on to a radio station in his home country. As a result, Roxette achieved international fame from 1989 onwards.

Roxette: most successful albums

The most successful albums include Look Sharp! (1988), which helped Roxette to their international breakthrough, Joyride (1991), Roxette’s first number 1 in Sweden and Tourism (1992). After that, the band’s musical style changed with the album Crash! Boom! Bang! from lighter pop to a more rock-heavy style. Nevertheless, the following albums, including Have a Nice Day (1999) and Room Service (2001), were also successful and reached the top 5 in the charts.

From 2011, three more albums were released: Charm School (2011), Travelling (2012) and Good Karma (2016). Charm School even reached number 1 in the charts in Germany and Switzerland. Travelling and Good Karma were somewhat less successful, but partially made it into the top 10 internationally.

The most famous songs

  • It Must Have Been Love (1986)
  • Listen To Your Heart (1988)
  • The Look (1988)
  • Fading Like A Flower (1991)

Marie Fredriksson’s cancer

The duo’s break from 2002 onwards was due to a brain tumour that Marie Fredriksson had been diagnosed with. Although, as she wrote in her biography, she was in a very poor physical condition and could only perform sitting down at times, she did not give up Roxette.

In an interview, Marie even said that she had considered separating from her husband because she didn’t want to burden him with the changes caused by the illness. According to Bunte, doctors estimated that she only had about a year to live.

But the musician fought on and continued to perform in public and make music with Roxette intermittently until 2016. When her doctor advised her not to continue touring due to her health condition, Roxette cancelled the planned concerts. The duo’s last live concert took place on 8 February 2016 in South Africa. Marie died on 9 December 2019 in Danderyd near Stockholm.

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