RIP Marie Fredriksson
30-05-1958 – 09-12-2019
It had been quiet for a while around her. She hadn’t released any new materials and I guess most of us were thinking she was enjoying her time with her family, her husband, her daughter and her son. But unfortunately, it was quiet because she was fighting a battle, one that she would lose after being to strong for 17 years on.
Roxette was “born” in 1986, in Sweden, when Per Gessle and Marie Fredriksson decided they would join their musical talents and try to conquer the world with English music. Per had already released some solo albums in Swedish, and with his band Gyllene Tider he has had some great successes also. On some of Per’s solo and GT work, Marie can already be heard in backing vocals or as female lead singer. Marie already had some success with bands Strul and Mamas Barn and she also had released some solo albums. Together they record their first Roxette album, called Pearls of Passion and they release their first single Neverending Love. In Sweden they sell pretty well, but the world remains quiet. Not being beaten, Per and Marie record their second Roxette album in 1988, Look Sharp! They try to get their first single, The Look, released in the States, but EMI US wasn’t having it. An American exchange student, who was in Sweden at the time Look Sharp! was released, heard the music and brought the album to the States. There a DJ loved The Look and started giving it airtime. And before they even had released the album and/or single in the USA, The Look was heading towards the number one position. So EMI US quickly released Roxette in the States and that’s how their world breakthrough became a fact.
The first song I ever heard was “Joyride”. It was on a Greatest Hits of 1991 album I had gotten for “Sinterklaas” (a Dutch celebration, resembles Santa Clause a bit) and I played it a lot. I then saved up, being only 11, until I could buy the album Joyride, which was Roxette’s 3rd studio album. It wasn’t until their 5th album, Crash! Boom! Bang! in 1994, that I would experience them live. It was my first ever concert, September 20th 1994, in Rotterdam Ahoy. Boy, was I nervous. I went together with some galls I had met at the Fanclub day earlier in 1994, one of those galls would become my best friend ever. We got up early and succeeded in getting places right in front of the stage. It was an awesome experience and my love for the band only got bigger.
In 2002 Roxette was announced to be a headliner for the Night of the Proms. Shows were being planned, fans were excited and all looked very promising. But then disaster struck and it struck hard! Marie had collapsed in her bathroom and was taken to the hospital. There they found out she had a brain tumor. Against all odds, she pulled through! She had lost the ability of speech, she lost a big part of her eyesight and she was a vulnerable, fragile lady. But together with her family, with her children, she practiced her speech and she slowly became better. She still remembered most of the Roxette lyrics and her fans kept on supporting her and her family. Per still was very active with solo works and such, and he went on an Europe tour in 2009 for his Party Pleaser album. On May 6th he would visit Amsterdam and I got tickets. It was rumored that Marie would make a special appearance . It would be the first one after her brain tumor. Us fans who were waiting outside were very excited. Would Marie truly be there? Would she sing? Or was it just a rumor? The concert started and we eagerly sang along with all the Gessle tunes that were played by Per and the band. But then, it happened. Per introduced Marie to the stage. So many of us were in tears, tears of pure joy and happiness, seeing our beloved queen of music where we loved her the most: on stage next to Per. Marie had some trouble with the lyrics, but no one cared, it was a miracle to see her on stage and we helped her through the words that had slipped her mind after all she’d been through. Not much later, Roxette was announced as the headliner for the Night of the Proms 2009-2010.
I had the pleasure of meeting Per and Marie before their Room Service concert in Munich, Germany. It was a fanclub meet & greet and it was a thrilling experience. Later I got to meet Per after his Party Pleaser gig in Amsterdam, as he had a signing session afterwards. I would then meet Per and Marie once more, after their Night of the Proms concert in Arnhem, November 14th 2009. We had enjoyed the show and a few of us fans were gathered at the exit of the venue. A van passed us by, and the people who could run, ran after it. After a short while it happened, the van stopped and a door opened. Even though it was very windy and chilly, Marie came out to greet us fans. There were hugs and many excited voices. The back of the van opened as well and Per and most of the band were inside. It was truly a great happening and a very, very fond memory which I will cherish for ever.
I’ve been a fan since 1991, got their first album in 1992 and my love has never faded. Yes, I do listen to many other bands as well, but I grew up with Roxette. Made great frindships, some that still last, because of Roxette. When I lost my grandma in 1996 (who also loved Marie’s voice), Roxette was there to comfort me. I enjoyed concerts of Roxette and Per, together with my friends, with my (now) ex and I’ve made great memories. I got married with music of Roxette (the song “I was so lucky”). I listened to Roxette when I got divorced. They have been there for me during so many important periods of my life. So when I read the news ast Tuesday that Marie had died at age 61, I cried. A lot. It hit me right in the feels. I know that fighting cancer is a hard, demanding battle, and I know Marie has fought with every bit of strength she had. So I know it’s better for her now, as I can only imagine the fight being a nasty one at the end. But somehow I wasn’t quite ready to lose my childhood hero. One of my first women’s crushes. The angel with a heart and voice of gold.
For those of you interested in Marie’s solo work, please check the above link. It includes most I could find on Spotify.
I’m almost sure that Per will keep making music, as he is a truly talented man and it would be a shame if he decided to retire. Though of course, after all that’s happened and seeing he’s 60 now, it wouldn’t be a shock if he would announce retirement… I just hope he’ll stay a while longer so I can enjoy his musical talent some more.
Rest in Peace Marie, thank you for the music, the comfort, the friends and the great memories. You are loved. You will never be forgotten.