Per Gessle with bandmate and best pal Marie Frediksson. Image Credit: AP

Admit it. You know at least one Roxette song. Everybody does! From the late 80s until the mid-1990s, Per Gessle and Marie Fredriksson's music was topping the charts and soundtracking Pretty Woman's most heartbreaking scene.

After a lengthy hiatus - what Per dubs "an unlucky pause" - in 2002 when Marie fell ill, Roxette have picked up from where they stopped off to return not only with new album Charm School, but also to embark on a world tour, that brings them to Dubai on May 20.

In an exclusive chat with e+, guitarist and songwriter Per spilled all about their break from music, the enduring popularity of their hits and the "magic" of seeing the crowd singing along to their tunes...

This album and tour have been dubbed a ‘comeback'. Do you agree or do you feel that you never went away?

Well, it's definitely a comeback for Marie. You know she was really ill and nobody expected her to return to music. And to be honest I never expected Roxette to do anything more. So in that sense it feels like a big comeback. We didn't have big plans, just decided to do something together and see what happens and suddenly it became a world tour. We're, of course, very grateful for that.

Can we expect lots of new material at the Dubai gig?

We're doing at least three of the new songs every night. It depends… we try to change the set list once in a while. Of course people want to hear the big hits, but we have a great catalogue of music. We've released so many singles and people know all our songs and that feels great.

Do you enjoy playing your old tunes?

To tell you the truth, I hate rehearsing it, but I love to play it for the crowd, because as soon as you have them in front of you it turns into magic.

You've been together for so long. What's your secret to longevity?

We just enjoy working together. The same goes for the musicians we have with us. We have had the same producer since we made the first record and we're enjoying ourselves.

So, no bust-ups?

We're human, and of course we have our fights, but at the end of the day we have the same ambition and we just enjoy being together.

What sort of music do you love?

I always say I'm a child of my record collection. I used to listen to pop and rock records when I was six or seven, and it is in that style of music like the 60s and the 70s where my heart lies. Even today when I write songs it's based on that tradition. It's melody-oriented and I still listen to a lot of music from that era.

What's your songwriting process - lyrics or melody first?

I try to write both at the same time. Not necessarily the whole lyric, but I try to find the title and the essence to what the lyric should be about. I read an interview with Paul Simon and he said he writes a lot of music based on rhythm and drum patterns. That's something I can never do.

What's your favourite Roxette album?

Look Sharp! still stands out because we found a very different and distinctive sound. We were young, really hungry and ambitious and we just had everything against us. And then we came out with this album - all those songs like Listen to your Heart, Look Dangerous, Dressed for Success and Pain. There are bits and pieces on every album that I like.

If you could tour with any band, who would it be?

One of my favourite bands, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. They're really good, especially the music they made 10 years ago.

Any songs you've always wanted to cover?

When you do a cover, it should be something that's really surprising. I think we should do something like Cars by Gary Numan. There are some good pop songs we could do in a really fantastic way.

Finally - be honest! - how long does it take you to get ready for a night out?

It takes about 15 minutes. I'm pretty quick compared to my wife!