Europe – The Final Countdown
Europe is a Swedish album-oriented hard rock band formed in Upplands Väsby, Stockholm in 1979 under the name Force by vocalist Joey Tempest, guitarist John Norum, bassist Peter Olsson and drummer Tony Reno. Since its formation, Europe has released nine studio albums, three live albums, three compilations and nineteen videos.
Europe rose to international fame in the 1980s with its third album The Final Countdown (1986), which became a substantial commercial success and sold over three million copies in the United States.The band is a pioneering force in the glam metal/blues metal genres and their third album, The Final Countdown, is considered a masterpiece of the genres. Europe was one of the most successful rock acts of the 1980s and sold over 20 million albums worldwide.The band has achieved two top 20 albums on the Billboard 200 chart (The Final Countdown and Out of This World)and two top 10 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart (“The Final Countdown” and “Carrie”).
Europe went on hiatus in 1992, reunited temporarily for a one-off performance in Stockholm on New Year’s Eve 1999 and announced an official reunion in 2003. Since then the band has released four albums, Start from the Dark (2004), Secret Society (2006), Last Look at Eden (2009) and Bag of Bones (2012). Europe will release its tenth album, War of Kings, in 2015.
The band is mainly influenced by Thin Lizzy, KISS, Ronnie James Dio, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, UFO, Michael Schenker Group, Journey and Gary Moore.
The first incarnation of the band was named Force and came together in 1979, in Upplands Väsby, Stockholm, and was integrated by vocalist and keyboardist Joey Tempest, guitarist John Norum, bassist Peter Olsson and drummer Tony Reno.”I remember when we started the band Force we were playing covers in the rehearsal room, because we just wanted to learn our instruments, like all bands,” Tempest said, “Then one day I said maybe we should do our own stuff. Nobody had any ideas, so I brought mine into the rehearsal room, and that is when we started writing our own stuff.”
The band sent several demos to record companies, but were told that in order to be published they had to cut their hair and sing in Swedish. Two years later, Olsson left the band and was replaced by John Levén.Just a couple of months later, Levén joined Yngwie Malmsteen’s band Rising Force, and Malmsteen’s former bassist, Marcel Jacob, joined Force. This only lasted for three months, though; Levén apparently had issues with Malmsteen, so he and Jacob traded places again.
In 1982, Tempest’s girlfriend entered Force in the Swedish rock talent contest Rock-SM. Competing against 4000 bands, they won the contest thanks to two songs, “In the Future to Come” and “The King Will Return”. The reward was a record deal with Hot Records. Tempest won the individual award for Best Lead Singer, and Norum won the award for Best Guitarist.Just before the contest, Force changed their name to Europe. The self-titled debut album was released the following year, and sold well both in Sweden and Japan. The album charted at number 8 in the band’s home country and the single “Seven Doors Hotel” became a Top 10 hit in Japan.
The second album Wings of Tomorrow was released one year later and the single “Open Your Heart” got interest from CBS Records who offered them an international contract in 1985. “I think one of the most important albums for the band was Wings of Tomorrow,” Tempest said, “We were learning how to write songs and John started playing some really cool stuff on the guitar. We became a better band and that was a good period for the band.”Keyboardist Mic Michaeli was soon recruited to play in live concerts, and became an official member of the band shortly after. At the same time, Tony Reno was fired because of his lack of motivation and alleged slacking off on rehearsals. His replacement was Ian Haugland.
In 1985 Europe recorded the soundtrack for the film On the Loose, which gave them the hit “Rock the Night”. Several months later Joey Tempest was asked to write a song for the charity project Swedish Metal Aid. He wrote “Give a Helping Hand”, which would feature the biggest stars of Swedish rock and metal. The income from the sales of the single, which was produced by Easy Action guitarist Kee Marcello, was donated to the starving people of Ethiopia.
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