EUROPE (1983–PRESENT). Joey Tempest (vocals), John Norum (guitar), John Leven (bass), Michael Michaeli (keyboards), Ian Haughland (drums).
Best known for their pretentiously dramatic, Rocky-like hit, “The Final Countdown,” and their particularly photogenic countenances, Europe’s classic sound featured keyboards and was a combination of prog-rock and pop influences. The group’s roots were in their native Sweden where founding members Joey Tempest (vocals), John Norum (guitars), and John Leven (bass) were in the group Force, which won a national talent contest and a record contract in the early 1980s. After changing their name to Europe and releasing a pair of albums in Europe (1993’s Europe and 1984’s Wings of Tomorrow), the band inked record deal with Epic Records. At this point the lineup of the band included keyboardist Michael Michaeli and drummer Ian Haughland. The band’s next album was their breakthrough. Released in 1986, The Final Countdown featured a more keyboard-oriented sound, largely a consequence of producer Kevin Elson’s mix and production. Before the album’s release, guitarist Norum left the band. Kee Marcelo replaced him. The Final Countdown was a major hit for the band, and the video for the title track was in heavy rotation.
Out of This World followed in 1988. It was successful, but not at the level of its predecessor. By the time Prisoners in Paradise was released in 1991, musical fashions had shifted and the band disbanded shortly thereafter. 2000 saw the band reunite (featuring both Norum and Marcelo on guitars) for a single New Year’s Eve concert, and in 2003 the Final Countdown lineup, with Norum on guitar, officially reunited, releasing Startform the Dark. Secret Society followed in 2006.
Discography: Europe (Epic, 1983); Wings of Tomorrow (Epic, 1984); The Final Countdown (Epic, 1986); Out of This World (Epic, 1988); Prisoners in Paradise (Epic, 1991); Gotta Have Face (JVC Victor, 2004); Startform the Dark (T&T, 2004); Collections (Sony/BMG, 2006); Secret Society (T&T, 2006).