- Release year: 1988
- Songwriter: Per Gessle and Gyllene Tider
- Performers: Roxette (Marie Fredriksson (vocals & keyboards) and Per Gessle (vocals & guitar)
- Album: Look Sharp!
- Duration: 5:28
- Achievements: #1 in the US & Canada, #2 in Austria, #3 in Belgium, Sweden, the Netherlands and Top Tens allover
“Listen to Your Heart” is a song by Swedish pop music duo Roxette, which was originally released in Sweden in September 1988 as the 2nd single from the duo’s 2nd studio album, Look Sharp! (1988). It was written by Per Gessle with former Gyllene Tider guitarist Mats “M.P.” Persson. The song went on to become one of the most successful singles of 1989, reaching #1 in both the US and Canada around November 1989.
“Listen to Your Heart” originally peaked at #62 in the UK when it was released there in October 1989. However, following the success of “It Must Have Been Love”, the track was reissued as a double A-side with “Dangerous” in August 1990, upon which it reached a chart peak of #6 on the UK Singles Chart. In 2005, Belgian trance act DHT released a remixed version of the song, which became a top 10 hit in numerous territories, including France, the Netherlands, the UK and the US.
Per Gessle described “Listen to Your Heart” in the liner notes of Roxette’s 1995 greatest hits compilation Don’t Bore Us, Get to the Chorus! as “The Big Bad Ballad. This is us trying to recreate that overblown American FM-rock sound to the point where it almost becomes absurd. We really wanted to see how far we could take it.” Its lyrics were inspired by a close friend of Gessle’s, who was in “emotional turmoil, stuck between an old relationship and a new love. A year later, I call him up in the middle of the night after a few too many glasses of champagne, saying ‘Hey, you’re #1 in the States.'”
According to Ultimate Guitar, the track is an alternative rock ballad, with a moderately slow tempo of 86 beats per minute.
In his review of the Look Sharp! album, Bryan Buss from AllMusic said the song is “bland” and “overproduced”. Pan-European magazine Music & Media commented, “Already doing well in the US, this semi-ballad has all the ingredients of a major worldwide hit. This time it seems that the Swedes have beaten the Americans at their own game.” In 1990, David Giles from Music Week called it “another big hit”, adding that “this single is anything to go by — it made history by reaching #1 despite being available on cassette only.”
Doug Freel directed the song’s official music video, which was filmed during a live performance at the Borgholm Castle ruin on the Swedish Baltic Sea island of Öland. Freel and the video’s production crew believed the ruin to have been created especially for the video. Gessle said: “It took some time to convince them that the place actually was for real.”