The Death of Gun-Marie Fredriksson, Lead Singer of the Pop Rock Group “Roxette!”

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The 1980s & 1990s were a great time to be a teenager and young adult. There were so many things to discover and music groups were at the top of the list. There was Debbie Gibson, Madonna, INXS. Cutting Crew, Culture Club, Living Colour, the list goes on and on. Here enters the pop group Roxette, with Marie and her blonde cropped hair and powerful voice. Hits like, “It Must Have Been Love,” “Listen to Your Hear” and “Joyride” played a huge role in the teen years of my friends and I and growing up in such a small country town. These were some of our Wonder Years and they were some great years!

Roxette singer, Gun-Marie Fredriksson known as Marie Fredriksson, has died. As part of the Swedish duo, who gained fame in the 1980s and ’90s, Ms. Fredriksson was known for her breathy voice, larger than life onstage presence and her short blonde haircut. The Swedish superstar was not only a pop singer, but also a songwriter, pianist and painter, known for forming pop rock duo Roxette in 1986 alongside Per Gessle. The duo achieved international success in the late-1980s and early-1990s with their albums Look Sharp! and Joyride, and had six top two hits on the Billboard Hot 100: “The Look”, “Listen to Your Heart”, “Dangerous”, “It Must Have Been Love”, “Joyride” and “Fading Like a Flower”.

Early Life – 

Fredriksson was born on 30 May 1958 outside the small Swedish village of Össjö. She was the youngest of five children born of Charles Gösta Fredriksson (1914–1981) and Inez Dagmar Fredriksson (née Hoffert, 1922–1998). When she was four years old, her parents sold their farm and relocated to Östra Ljungby, where Charles took a job as a postman and Inez became a factory worker. Three years later, her oldest sibling Anna-Lisa was involved in a fatal traffic collision; her car was crushed by a tanker truck while she was travelling to purchase a dress for her engagement party. Marie explained: “She was 20 – and I can barely remember her today. But I remember the grief, how the family was torn apart. Completely. After that I had to fend for myself. I was only seven years old.”

1989–1992: Roxette’s international breakthrough

“The Look” was issued as the third single from Look Sharp! in Sweden, and was a top ten hit upon release in January 1989. The following month, the track unexpectedly entered the Billboard Hot 100 despite the duo not having a recording contract in the US; the local branch of EMI had previously rejected Roxette as “unsuitable for the American market.” “The Look” topped the chart after just eight weeks and went on to peak at number one in a total of 25 countries. The parent album eventually sold over 9 million copies worldwide. “Listen to Your Heart” was their second number one on the Hot 100, while the album’s final single, “Dangerous”, spent two weeks at number two. Fredriksson ended 1989 performing on-stage as part The Husbands, a cover band formed by Lasse Lindbom and Niklas Strömstedt.

In 1990 she contributed a cover of the Evert Taube composition “Så skimrande var aldrig havet” (English: “The Sea Was Never So Sparkling”) to the tribute album Taube. The same year, Touchstone Pictures approached Gessle to compose a song for the upcoming film Pretty Woman. As he did not have time to compose a new song—Roxette had recently embarked on their first international concert tour a new edit of their 1987 single “It Must Have Been Love” was created, and featured prominently in the movie. The track became their third number one on the Hot 100, and remains one of Roxette’s best-known and most successful singles. The following year, the duo released their third album, Joyride, which remains their most successful release, with worldwide sales of over 11 million copies. The title track gave them their fourth and final number one on the Hot 100, while “Fading Like a Flower (Every Time You Leave)” peaked at number two. The album was promoted by the “Join the Joyride! Tour”, their biggest and widest ranging tour

On 11 September 2002, Fredriksson complained of feeling unwell after jogging with her husband. She collapsed in a bathroom after becoming nauseous, with the impact of the fall fracturing her cranium. She then had an epileptic seizure. Scans later indicated she had a brain tumor in the back of her head. The diagnosis led to the cancellation of Roxette’s “Night of the Proms” appearances. After waiting several weeks for the effects of the fracture and resulting concussion to subside, she underwent successful surgery to remove the tumor, which was malignant, and she endured months of chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Sadly after Marie passed away on Monday, December 9, 2019 in Djursholm, Sweden at the age of 61. She left a legacy of music and works that will keep her memory in the minds and hearts of many!

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