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Europe - 1986 The Final Countdown



ARTIST: Europe
ALBUM: The Final Countdown
LABEL: Epic
SERIAL: FE 40241 (LP), EK 40241 (CD)
YEAR: 1986
CD REISSUE: 2001, Legacy, EK 85757 * 2009, Epic (Japan), EICP-1249

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Joey Tempest - vocals * John Norum - guitars * Mic Michaeli - keyboards * John Leven - bass * Ian Haughland - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 The Final Countdown * 02 Rock The Night * 03 Carrie * 04 Danger On The Track * 05 Ninja * 06 Cherokee * 07 Time Has Come * 08 Heart Of Stone * 09 On The Loose * 10 Love Chaser

WEBLINKS: www.europetheband.com


Background
For Swedish band Europe, this was without doubt their breakthrough effort. After two prior efforts, 'The Final Countdown' was their launching pad into the big time. The previous album 'Wings Of Tomorrow' demonstrated their potential as a hard rock outfit in the mould of UFO and Thin Lizzy, but with this album, they had taken on a commercial flavour, with Giuffria approved poodle hairstyles and threads to match. Still, they had the pulling power with lead singer Joey Tempest's looks, plus their label Epic bought in Kevin Elson to give the band that Americanized sheen they were so desperate to achieve playing out some kind of trans-atlantic turf war, with Bon Jovi in the red white and blue camp, and Europe in the yellow and blue. Though both bands were different, the success of their respective albums at the time ('Slippery When Wet' and this one..) made the comparison inevitable.


The Songs
Well, who hasn't heard the parping keyboard line from the title track 'The Final Countdown'? Or seen the video? or heard the polyphonic ringtone, or the MIDI'fied version in some Corporate Elevator? Yes, the song that spawned a thousand moans and groans years after, and a song that is synonomous with the 80's. The fact that it sold millions is beside the point right? This is not a one-track album. Far from it. Listen to the glorious power of songs such as 'Rock The Night' or the fab 'On The Loose'. Even the ballad 'Carrie' is classic Swedish tear-jerker stuff. Songtitles like 'Ninja' and 'Cherokee' make you wonder what all the cultural content was all about. 'Ninja' being the closest to material off 'Wings Of Tomorrow'.


In Summary
Though the band made huge inroads during 1987, they did so without guitarist John Norum, who had become disillusioned with the commercial direction the band had taken. He much preferred the style displayed on 'Wings Of Tomorrow', and so went off to a reasonably successful solo career. His replacement was Kee Marcello, who joined from the cult glam/AOR band Easy Action. As a result, the band lost nothing in the guitar playing stakes. Despite the ridicule and that oft-heard parping keyboard line from the title track, this remains a critical moment in Swedish AOR history.


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Comments
#1 | george_the_jack on June 28 2008 17:34:40
This is one among a few number of albums that changed the rue of middle 80s melodic rock/AOR and definitely their best effort. Although I believe Kee Marcello is a guitar wizard and a better guitarist comparing to J.Norum, Europe after his leave did not manage to reach top quality. When he decided to return it was then late...The band got carried away by the river of modern rubbish!
#2 | super80boy on February 13 2016 21:25:20
A huge anthemic romp of an album. Yeah it got blasted by hard rock/metal purists for being shamefully commercial as compared to their earlier efforts, but who cares, it still rocks. A whopping five singles and four accompanying music videos were released from this now classic album.
 
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