Gessle was a member of Gyllene Tider, a band that happened to share rehearsal space with Strul. At first, Marie and Gessle disliked each other: she thought he was a yuppie mama's boy, and he thought she was a screeching hippie.
When Strul split up for good in 1982, Marie decided to make a go of a solo career. Gessle, who had become her friend, encouraged her in this pursuit. In 1984, Marie released her first solo record, Het Vind (Hot Wind), and she went on tour with Gessle's band the next year.
In 1985, Marie released a second album, Den Sjunde Vågen (The Seventh Wave). Gessle then asked Marie if she wanted to form a new, English-language band with him. She agreed, and the duo decided to name themselves Roxette, after a song by 1970s British band Dr. Feelgood.