Clockwise from left: Ian Haugland, Mic Michaeli, Joey Tempest, John Levén, John Norum.
We're leaving together,
But still it's farewell,
And maybe we'll come back to earth, who can tell?
I guess there is no one to blame,
We're leaving ground,
Will things ever be the same again?
—The Final Countdown
Europe are a Swedish melodic hard rock band mostly known for the mega-hit "The Final Countdown". The band's roots can be traced back to 1979 when they started out as Force, but in 1982 they started performing under the name Europe.After becoming quite successful in their home country with two successful albums under their belts, Europe achieved their greatest success internationally with their third album, The Final Countdown, with its famous title song becoming a number one hit worldwide thanks to the growing popularity of Hair Metal. While Europe begins and ends with this song as far as a lot of people are concerned, they had other hits, such as the Power Ballad "Carrie" (which was actually a bigger hit than "The Final Countdown" in America when it was released in 1986).
Joey Tempest - vocals (1979-1992, 2003-)
John Norum - guitar (1979-1986, 2003-)
John Levén - bass (1981-1992, 2003-)
Mic Michaeli - keyboards (1984-1992, 2003-)
Ian Haugland - drums (1984-1992, 2003-)
Kee Marcello - guitar (1986-1992)
Tony Reno - drums (1979-1984)
Marcel Jacob - bass (1981)
Peter Olsson - bass (1979-1981)
1983 - Europe
The debut album, the first prize of Rock-SM 82, was recorded over two weekends whenever there was studio time available, and bassist John Levén had to take illegal absences from his military service.
1984 - Wings Of Tomorrow
The second album featured a more experienced and well-rounded Europe. Recorded in the famous Polar Studios in the center of Stockholm, "Wings" features traditional heavy metal lyric subjects and competent songwriting throughout, with many of the songs still in the band's set, such as "Scream of Anger", "Open Your Heart" and the title track.
1986 - The Final Countdown
The work for Europe's breakthrough album was delayed when Joey Tempest got serious voice troubles from an infection.
1988 - Out Of This World
The first album with John Norum's successor, Kee Marcello.
Author Tract: "Homeland" on Prisoners In Paradise and the unreleased song from the same sessions, "Mr. Government Man" might just be songs inspired by the band moving to Bahamas to avoid high Swedish taxes and Joey being charged a big sum of money for evading his country's obligatory military service. Also, "Last Look At Eden" is inspired by the political situation in the USA.
Black Sheep Hit: Guitarist John Norum felt that way about "The Final Countdown", and the associated style, so he left the band. He eventually returned when they reunited.
Breakup Song: "Carrie", their best known example. "Prisoners in Paradise" as well.
Executive Meddling: Their fifth album was originally titled Break Free and was finished in November 1990, but their record label was reportedly not satisfied with the material and asked the band to write more hit songs. The album was eventually renamed Prisoners in Paradise and released in September 1991.
A more positive example revolves around "The Final Countdown". When they wrote it, the band were just looking for a cool concert opener, and had no plans to release it as a single. One suggestion from Epic Records later, they had their biggest worldwide hit.
Filk Song: "Seven Doors Hotel" is based on the horror film The Beyond. Yes, that one. Not surprisingly, it passes off as horrific for some not familiar with Europe's earlier music.
"Seventh Sign" is based on the apocalyptic film The Seventh Sign.
Lighter and Softer: The Final Countdown, of course. Europe was a very different band, bordering on Thin Lizzy-influenced metal that sometimes resembled Iron Maiden. They got lighter with the next release, Out Of This World.
Lyrical Dissonance: Their more recent albums, particularly Start From The Dark. The music is full of dark, brooding guitar tones, with down-tuning. The lyrics, however, are very positive and encouraging.
Sixth Ranger: Kee Marcello. Also The Other Darrin in the videos for "Rock The Night", "Carrie" and "Cherokee", songs for which he did not record.
Something Blues: "Devil Sings the Blues" on Secret Society, "Not Supposed to Sing the Blues" on Bag of Bones.
Stage Names: The only members to use their birth names are John Norum and John Levén. Joey Tempest is Joakim Larsson, and Mic Michaeli and Ian Haugland's real first names are Gunnar and Hĺkan, respectively.