Classic Rock

One thing’s for sure. They certainly don’t make pop music like this anymore (Roxette)

“**It Must Have Been Love**” by Roxette is one of the most iconic power ballads from the late 20th century, gaining substantial worldwide fame. The song, written by Per Gessle and performed by the Swedish pop duo Roxette, first appeared in a slightly different form in 1987 under the title “It Must Have Been Love (Christmas for the Broken Hearted).” It was a seasonal release that achieved moderate success in Sweden.

The song gained international fame when it was re-released in 1990 without the Christmas references, this time titled simply “It Must Have Been Love.” This version was included on the soundtrack of the highly successful Hollywood film “Pretty Woman,” starring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts. The exposure from the film catapulted the song to the top of the charts in numerous countries, including the United States, where it reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in June 1990. The song also topped the charts in Australia, Canada, and a number of European countries.

The appeal of “It Must Have Been Love” lies in its powerful emotional content, dealing with themes of love, loss, and regret. The lyrics convey the pain of a lost love and the bittersweet memories associated with it. Marie Fredriksson’s emotive delivery of the lyrics, combined with Gessle’s melodic composition, created a poignant and universally relatable song.

The song’s structure and production were typical of late ’80s and early ’90s pop ballads, with a prominent use of synthesizers, a powerful guitar solo, and a dramatic increase in intensity toward the end of the track. The production quality, handled by Clarence Öfwerman, contributed significantly to its rich and polished sound that resonated well with audiences globally.

Regarding Roxette themselves, the duo was formed in 1986, consisting of Per Gessle and Marie Fredriksson. They first met in the late ’70s and started collaborating in the mid-’80s. Roxette achieved international success in the late ’80s and ’90s, becoming known for hits like “The Look,” “Listen to Your Heart,” “Joyride,” and of course, “It Must Have Been Love.” Their music was characterized by catchy melodies, strong vocals, and a blend of pop rock elements.

Marie Fredriksson was particularly noted for her powerful voice and dynamic stage presence, which became defining elements of Roxette’s identity. Per Gessle, on the other hand, was the main songwriter and also provided vocals and guitar. Together, they crafted a sound that was both accessible and emotionally engaging, leading to over 75 million records sold worldwide.

The enduring popularity of “It Must Have Been Love” is evidenced by its frequent use in movies and TV shows beyond “Pretty Woman,” serving as a cultural touchstone for discussions of romance and heartbreak. The song also continues to receive airplay on radio stations that feature classics from the ’80s and ’90s.

Sadly, Marie Fredriksson passed away in December 2019 after a prolonged illness, but her legacy, along with that of Roxette’s, is preserved in songs like “It Must Have Been Love” that continue to touch the hearts of listeners around the world.

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