During a brief period of fame in the early '80s, Gyllene Tider managed to stir up hysteria among Swedish teens, and their first two albums sold extremely well; but the band is now mainly remembered for bringing Per Gessle into the spotlight for the first time. When Gyllene Tider failed to break abroad, the determined Gessle tried out a number of other lineups, finally scoring with the duo Roxette. Musically, Gyllene Tider may have been even more lightweight than Roxette, not to mention the lyrics, but Gessle undeniably already had a talent for hit melodies and catchy hooks in the early '80s.
Gyllene Tider was formed in Halmstad in 1977, out of a duo called Grape Rock, consisting of vocalist, keyboard player, and guitarist Per Gessle and guitarist Mats Persson. Changing their name to Gyllene Tider, they recruited bassist Janne Carlsson and drummer Mikael Andersson, financing and releasing their debut EP, Billy, by themselves. But, almost before the band had formed, conflicts started to build up, and for a short time bassist Janne Carlsson was the only member, while all the others had left for Gessle's newly founded Hjärtekrossaren. Gyllene Tider was soon re-formed though, and Janne Carlsson was replaced by Anders Herrlin and Göran Carlsson.
In 1979, the progressive label Nacksving showed interest in Gyllene Tider, but the company's outspoken politics made the band look elsewhere, and soon they earned a contract with EMI. In January, the single "Himmel No. 7" was released. The A-side almost went unheard, but the B-side, "Flickorna På TV2," was a big hit. The only single selling better that year was Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall," and enormous anticipation built up for Gyllene Tider's self-titled debut LP. It was just as successful as expected, but with its follow-up, Moderna Tider, the band took the full step to becoming teen idols. Few domestic bands could stir up the kind of panic and ecstasy that followed Gyllene Tider on their summer tours in the early '80s, and at one unfortunate occasion, three people were trampled to death when the audience started to panic.
Pals, released in 1982, was the band's first English release, but it failed to break abroad. With Heartland Café, they made another try, but to just as little success. During the promotional tour, they performed as Roxette, but it was not the Roxette that Gessle would later form together with Marie Fredriksson, but merely a renamed Gyllene Tider. After this second failure, the band split up, and Gessle started to pursue a solo career and plan for a record company of his own; until in 1986 he formed the real Roxette.
Gyllene Tider reunited for a few years during the '90s, releasing a new chart-topping album as well as going on a major tour. ~ Lars Lovén