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"It Must Have Been Love" is a power ballad written by Per Gessle and performed by the Swedishmarker pop duo Roxette. The ballad became the duo's 3rd #1 hit in the United Statesmarker, and is one of their best-selling releases, leading the single to be certified gold in a number of countries.

The song, included on the soundtrack to the hugely popular film Pretty Woman, rivals "The Look", "Joyride" and "Listen to Your Heart" as the song most closely associated with them. In 2005, Per Gessle received an award from BMI after the song's four millionth radio play.

"Christmas for the Broken Hearted" (1987)

"Christmas for the Broken Hearted", the song's original title, was first released in 1987 after EMI Germanymarker asked Roxette to come up with an intelligent Christmas-single. It went on to become a Top 10 hit in Swedenmarker but EMI Germany decided not to the release the track.

This version of the song was not part of any Roxette album until the 1997 re-release of Pearls of Passion, where it was included as a bonus track. The B-side to "Christmas for the Broken Hearted", "Turn to Me", also featured as a bonus track.

Pretty Woman movie soundtrack (1990)

During the run of chart-topping singles from Look Sharp! Touchstone Pictures approached Roxette's record label, EMI, and the group about contributing a song to the soundtrack of the upcoming romantic comedy release Pretty Woman, starring Richard Gere and Oscar nominee Julia Roberts. Pretty Woman was released in March 1990 and went on to make more than $460 million worldwide.

Gessle has claimed that "It Must Have Been Love", by then a two-year-old recording, was chosen because Roxette did not have time to compose and record a new song while touring Australia and New Zealandmarker. Gessle and producer Clarence Öfwerman took the original 1987 recording, had Marie Fredriksson replace a single Christmas-referenced line in the song and added some instrumentation and background vocal overlays to enhance the sound. Gessle claimed the soundtrack producers initially turned down "It Must Have Been Love" but changed their minds after re-editing the film.

Although "It Must Have Been Love" was part of the Pretty Woman soundtrack, the song wasn't part of a Roxette album until Don't Bore Us, Get to the Chorus!, their 1995 greatest hits release. The album wasn't released in the United Statesmarker until September 26, 2000, with a different track listing.

Chart success

Though the lyrics refer to a lonely winter's day after the break-up of a relationship, "It Must Have Been Love" became an international hit in the summer of 1990. It was not the first single released from the Pretty Woman soundtrack but "It Must Have Been Love" became the most successful, spending its first of two weeks at #1 on the Hot 100 in June and onto sales of 500,000 copies in the U.S. Billboard magazine listed "It Must Have Been Love" as the #2 Hot 100 single of the year behind Wilson Phillips' "Hold On".The single was released in the UK in June 1990 and peaked at #3, Roxette's best showing there, and stayed in the UK Singles Chart for 14 weeks. The song was re-released in September 1993 and peaked at #10. It was due to the success of this song that Listen To Your Heart was re-issued in the UK in August 1990.It later became Roxette's second of three #1 singles in Australia, spending two weeks at the top spot in July 1990, while it also peaked at #1 in Norway, for 12 weeks, and in Switzerland. It also reached the Top 5 in Sweden, Austria and Germany, where the single spent 9 months in the Top 75, while it reached the Top 20 in Italy.

In the CD liner notes for Don't Bore Us, Get to the Chorus!, Fredriksson remarked, "Our third #1 in the U.S. ...not bad for a song that was lying around, gathering dust." The soundtrack went on to be certified three times platinum by the RIAA, with total Worldwide sales of nine million. While the song went onto receive gold certification in the Austria, Germany, United States, Sweden and New Zealand.

Music video

The video was shot in a big bedroom, with Fredriksson singing and Gessle playing the guitar. It included scenes from the Pretty Woman movie. According to Fredriksson shooting the video was a surreal experience.

... the video was a weird experience.
The director wanted all movements in slow motion so I had to lip sync the vocals in double speed.
My first lesson in how to sing an emotional ballad Mickey Mouse style.
A strange way to make a living.

-Marie Fredriksson

Track listing

  1. "It Must Have Been Love"
  2. "Paint"


Chart (1990) Peak
Swedish Single Charts 4
UK Top 75 3
US Hot 100 1
US Hot AC 2
German Single Charts 4
Australian Single Charts 1
Austrian Top 40 3
Swiss Single Charts 27
Norwegian Singles Charts 1
Irish Singles Chart 4

Alternate versions and 1993 re-release

A revised version of the song was recorded in a Los Angeles studio during Roxette's 1991 worldwide tour in support of the album Joyride. This slower country music-esque version, featuring a steel guitar solo in place of the original's piano, was included in the 1992 album release from that tour, Tourism: Songs from Studios, Stages, Hotelrooms & Other Strange Places. On the 1996 album Baladas En Español, Roxette recorded the song in a Spanish language version "No sé si es amor" ("I don't know if it's love"), reaching #6 in Spainmarker.

A re-issue of the 1990 version of the song entered the UK Top 10 in September 1993 after Pretty Woman was first shown on UK terrestrial TV.

Cover versions

När kärleken föds

In 2006, the Swedishmarker pop singer Shirley Clamp recorded a Swedish language cover version of "It Must Have Been Love" called "När kärleken föds" ("When Love is Born") that was released as a single in April of that year and peaked at #6 at the Swedish singles chart. On 11 June 2006, "När kärleken föds" entered eighth place on Svensktoppen. "När kärleken föds" had no words related to Christmas or other seasons or holidays.


  1. "När kärleken föds" - 5:08
  2. "Öppna din dörr" - 4:12

Other cover versions

  • The Chipmunks and The Chipettes covered the song on their 1980s TV series.
  • Mexicanmarker singer Rocio Banquells recorded her own acoustic version for her 1991 album Escucha el infinito.
  • Shirley Bassey covered this song on her 1995 album Sings the Movies.
  • Punk rock band Polly Esther included a cover of the song on their 2002 album Standstill.
  • A cover of the song by British eurotrance group Friday Night Posse (a.k.a. Dancing DJs) featuring Soraya was released in 2004.
  • A Hi-NRG cover by Digital Bitch featuring Sandra O was released in 2005 and included on the compilation Remixland X-Mas 2005.
  • Britishmarker pop duo Journey South made an acoustic version of "It Must Have Been Love" on their self-titled 2006 album.
  • S.K.Y. recently covered the song for the 2006 compilation S.K.Y. Presents Christmas Trance.
  • The song was covered in Spanish by Australian band Aleks and The Ramps on their album Pisces Vs Aquarius.
  • German indie singer Get Well Soon covered this song in 2008.

Live cover performances


External links

"It Must Have Been Love" music video (Youtube, EMIMUSIC)

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