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Roxette’s Biggest Billboard Chart Hits: ‘It Must Have Been Love,’ ‘The Look’ & More

The Swedish pop duo dominated with four Hot 100 No. 1s in 1989-91.

As previously reported, Marie Fredriksson, half of powerhouse, power-pop duo Roxette, has passed away at age 61.

The Swedish twosome, comprising Fredriksson and male counterpart Per Gessle, blasted onto Billboard‘s U.S. charts in 1989, famously after an American exchange student traveling in Europe brought back Roxette’s music and gave it to his hometown top 40 Minneapolis radio station KDWB, which began playing “The Look.” The song launched at No. 50, impressive for a new act, on the Billboard Hot 100 dated Feb. 11, 1989, and, eight weeks later, hit No. 1.

“[Our managers] told us ‘The Look’ had entered the Billboard chart at No. 50,” Gessle recalled to Fred Bronson in the Billboard Book of Number One Hits. “I’ve been a Billboard subscriber since ’81, so I know that going in at 50 is quite high.”

Roxette (named after a 1974 Dr. Feelgood song) would lead the Hot 100 again in November 1989 with ballad “Listen to Your Heart,” driven by Fredriksson’s soaring lead vocal. Reflecting the era, the song made history as the first Hot 100 No. 1 not released on 7-inch vinyl, but only as a cassette single. It also found a new audience, and a second chart life, when D.H.T.’s cover rose to No. 8 on the Hot 100 in 2005.

Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessle of Roxette
Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessle of Roxette photographed in London in 1990. Mike Prior/Getty Images

The pair added its third Hot 100 No. 1, “It Must Have Been Love,” from the blockbuster film Pretty Woman, in June 1990. Gessle had originally written it as a Christmas song. It first became a holiday hit in Sweden, but once the lyric “it’s a hard Christmas Day” was changed to “it’s a hard winter’s day,” the song became evergreen for all seasons.

Roxette notched its fourth Hot 100 topper, “Joyride,” in May 1991 and the tandem remains the Swedish recording act with the most No. 1s in the chart’s history.

The pair tallied nine total top 40 Hot 100 hits, and, in 2018, Gessle reflected on its history, and Fredriksson’s vocal prowess. “The whole idea with Roxette to begin with was very much that I was the writer and Marie was the singer,” he said. “She always made my songs better than they were.”


“I think that’s one of the tricks: You have to find people who make you stand on your toes,” Gessle mused. “Marie’s capability of singing triggered me to write even better songs, because suddenly I had someone who could sing them. A song like ‘It Must Have Been Love’ … it was just one take by Marie in the studio, this amazing vocal. We made some great records. I’m really proud of that era.”

Here is a recap of Roxette’s Biggest Billboard Hits, ranking the act’s nine top 40 Hot 100 entries.

1, “It Must Have Been Love,” No. 1 (two weeks), June 16, 1990
2, “The Look,” No. 1 (one week), April 8, 1989
3, “Joyride,” No. 1 (one), May 11, 1991
4, “Listen to Your Heart,” No. 1 (one), Nov. 4, 1989
5, “Dangerous,” No. 2, March 3, 1990
6, “Fading Like a Flower (Every Time You Leave),” No. 2, Aug. 31, 1991
7, “Dressed for Success,” No. 14, July 29, 1989
8, “Spending My Time,” No. 32, Jan. 4, 1992
9, “Church of Your Heart,” No. 36, April 4, 1992

Roxette’s Biggest Billboard Hits are based on actual performance on the weekly Billboard Hot 100, through the Dec. 14, 2019, ranking. Songs are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at No. 100 earning the least. Due to changes in chart methodology over the years, eras are weighted to account for different chart turnover rates over various periods.