Fredriksson and Gessle were already established performers in their native Sweden by the time they formed Roxette. Gessle was the lead singer of the popular band Gyllene Tider and Fredriksson was a solo artist who occasionally performed with groups. She even joined Gyllene Tider a number of times as a backing vocalist and appeared on their first English-language album, The Heartland Café.
The name "Roxette" was taken from the 1975 Dr. Feelgood song of the same name.
The first song Fredriksson and Gessle recorded as a duo was "Neverending Love," which became a Top 10 hit in Sweden.
Roxette became international superstars when their single "The Look" gained traction on US radio until it became their first #1. An American exchange student from Minneapolis brought the song back home to his local radio station. The program director had a hunch the song would blow up and started sending copies of the tape to stations across the country.
The band takes much of its inspiration from late '60s rock because, as Gessle explains, "The songs were based around strong melodies."
Roxette never got into the drug scene, but Fredriksson and Gessle could drink almost any band under the table – especially Fredriksson. "Marie would always outlast them all," Gessle told I Like Your Old Stuff
. "She was an Amazon."
In 1990, Roxette was asked to write a song for a low-budget movie with a little-known leading lady. Not expecting much, they offered an older Christmas tune that had done well in Sweden. The movie was Pretty Woman, the actress was Julia Roberts, and the song was "It Must Have Been Love" – all three became instant smashes.
In 2002, Fredriksson underwent surgery for a malignant brain tumor. Although the operation was successful, the tumor left her with lasting side effects, including blindness in her right eye, fatigue, and the inability to read and write. Eventually, ill health forced her to quit touring in 2016 after the release of Roxette's tenth studio album, Good Karma. She passed away from the brain tumor on December 9, 2019 at the age of 61.