The Swedish pop duo began its rise to its first Hot 100 No. 1, thanks to an exchange student who brought its CD back to the States.
Long before the Internet wired the planet, the easiest way for Americans to hear Swedish pop music was to visit the country.
That's what exchange student Dean Cushman of Minneapolis was doing when he saw one of Sweden's top acts, Roxette -- duo Per Gessle and Marie Fredriksson, then 29 and 30, respectively -- in concert. Impressed, he brought a copy of the pair's second album, Look Sharp!, back to the United States and made his local top 40 station, KDWB, aware of it.
KDWB's program director, Brian Phillips, began spinning album track "The Look," powered by its crunchy guitar riffs and a "na-na, na-na-na" hook. He also sent tapes of it to other stations, and its airplay spurred EMI, Roxette's label in Sweden, to sign the duo to an American deal.