This 80’s Hit Has a MN Radio Station to Thank for its Success
Did you know that Swedish duo Roxette has a Minneapolis radio station to thank for the success of their 1988 song "The Look?"
While doing some music research this week I discovered a fun local fact about a popular 80's hit we play on 96.7 The River. According to a December 2019 article by Billboard following the death of one half of the duo Marie Fredriksson, nobody took Roxette to be an international hit-making act. Hailing from Sweden, the pair hardly registered in Europe much less the US. It was a series of lucky breaks that launched them to stardom in the U.S. and -- eventually -- the world.
According to Songfacts.com, it was an American exchange student returning home from Sweden who introduced Minneapolis Top 40/CHR radio station KDWB to Roxette and their song "The Look." Minneapolis native Dean Cushman purportedly gave a copy of Roxette's album Look Sharp! to KDWB program director Brian Phillips, imploring the station to play the band on the station. Phillips, initially ignored the album. When Cushman asked for it back, however, Phillips finally gave it a listen. After hearing the track "The Look," he believed it could be a No. 1 hit and made it his mission to make it so. "The Look" was added to the station's on-air rotation, quickly becoming a hit locally, and Phillips began dubbing the song onto cassettes and sending them to other radio stations. Stations from coast to coast began spinning "The Look," becoming a national hit song purely by word-of-mouth. All that thanks to a Minnesota foreign exchange student and a Minneapolis radio station!
Read a more in-depth version of the story as told by Billboard here.