13 Songs, 53 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Europe had released two independent albums prior to 1986’s The Final Countdown, but from its opening notes it was clear that this set was their masterpiece. In fact, those opening notes would come to define Europe’s entire career. The title song has long since become an indelible piece of pop culture. With its insidiously catchy neo-classical riff, “The Final Countdown” can be whatever its listener chooses: an epic and imaginative piece of power metal, the theme to a fantasy movie or a sports event, the funniest song of all time, or, better yet, all of the above. Nothing else on the album is nearly as much fun—how could it be?—but the rest of the tracks offer a stellar lineup of ear candy. If not for the title track, Europe's signature hits might have been “Rock the Night” and “Carrie.” The band had a star in singer Joey Tempest, whose crystalline vocals made “Cherokee” and “Time Has Come” feel spectacular, even if they were fairly silly. Longtime fans will be drawn to the live bonus tracks, including “The Final Countdown” and a superior version of “Carrie.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

Europe had released two independent albums prior to 1986’s The Final Countdown, but from its opening notes it was clear that this set was their masterpiece. In fact, those opening notes would come to define Europe’s entire career. The title song has long since become an indelible piece of pop culture. With its insidiously catchy neo-classical riff, “The Final Countdown” can be whatever its listener chooses: an epic and imaginative piece of power metal, the theme to a fantasy movie or a sports event, the funniest song of all time, or, better yet, all of the above. Nothing else on the album is nearly as much fun—how could it be?—but the rest of the tracks offer a stellar lineup of ear candy. If not for the title track, Europe's signature hits might have been “Rock the Night” and “Carrie.” The band had a star in singer Joey Tempest, whose crystalline vocals made “Cherokee” and “Time Has Come” feel spectacular, even if they were fairly silly. Longtime fans will be drawn to the live bonus tracks, including “The Final Countdown” and a superior version of “Carrie.”

TITLE TIME
5:10
4:07
4:32
3:46
3:46
4:12
4:00
3:47
3:08
3:27
5:11
3:59
4:40

About Europe

Originally a progressive rock group, Europe didn't achieve success until they reworked their sound into bombastic yet melodic pop-metal. In their first incarnation, the Swedish band was called Force. Featuring core members Joey Tempest (vocals), John Norum (guitar), Tony Reno (drums), and John Leven (bass) -- the band won a national talent contest in the early '80s, which led to a record contract. After changing their name to Europe and releasing two albums in Sweden (Europe and Wings of Tomorrow), the band landed an international deal with Epic Records. By this time, Reno had left the group and been replaced by Ian Haugland. Keyboardist Mic Michaeli had also joined the lineup.

In 1986, Europe released The Final Countdown. On the album, Michaeli's keyboards take a prominent role (they provide the main riff in the hit title track), which nicely complemented the band's smoother pop melodies. The change in style proved successful, as the record became a Top Ten hit in the U.S. and U.K.; both "The Final Countdown" and "Carrie" became Top Ten singles as well. Norum left the band by the end of the year and was replaced by Kee Marcello. Released in 1988, Out of This World continued the formula of the previous record. It was also a success, although its numbers didn't match those of The Final Countdown. Three years later, Europe released their fifth studio album, Prisoners in Paradise, which featured the hit title track as well as the midtempo ballad "I'll Cry for You," before calling it quits the following year. The band, including Norum, reunited for a New Year's Eve performance in Stockholm in 1999, resulting in the announcement of an official reunion three years later. The band subsequently recorded and released their sixth album, Start from the Dark (2004), then followed it with Secret Society (2006) and Last Look at Eden (2009), the latter of which debuted at number one on the Swedish album chart. Bag of Bones (2012) had a blues-rock feel, while War of Kings (2015) was a heavy, doomy, faintly psychedelic affair strongly inspired by their childhood heroes Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Led Zeppelin.

After embarking on a 30th anniversary tour, dubbed The Final Countdown, the Swedish rockers returned in 2017 with a brand new album. Walk the Earth was produced by Dave Cobb (Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell, Dolly Parton) and recorded at London's Abbey Road Studios. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

  • ORIGIN
    Stockholm, Sweden
  • FORMED
    1981

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