THE BEGINNING AND THE SUCCESS
At the beginning, they called themselves Force. Then, Joey Tempest changed the name into EUROPE (1984). It took him some time to convince that this name could bring them to a huge success guaranteed. Now they are known worldwide.
- Joey Tempest – lead vocals, acoustic & rhythm guitar, keyboards (1979–1992, 1999, 2003–present)
- John Norum – lead & rhythm guitars, backing vocals(1979–1986, 1999, 2003–present)
- John Levén – bass, backing vocals (1981, 1981–1992, 1999, 2003–present)
- Mic Michaeli – keyboards, piano, backing vocals, rhythm guitar (1984–1992, 1999, 2003–present)
- Ian Haugland – drums, percussion, backing vocals (1984–1992, 1999, 2003–present)
Live Until 1984 Live during the Prisoners in Paradise Tour 1991-92 & during “Bag of Bones Tour” 2013
- Tony Reno – drums, percussion (1979–1984)
- Peter Olsson – bass (1979–1981)
- Marcel Jacob – bass (1981; died 2009)
- Kee Marcello – lead & rhythm guitars, backing vocals(1986–1992, 1999)
– BAND MEMBERS –
Europe band is undoubtedly a legendary band who knew a big success in the mid 80s and early 90s. But, surely their succes continues until in our days. This group formed in Upplands Väsby, in the swedish capital Stockholm suburbs is “responsible” for the great hit The Final Countdown that, shortly after launch, becoming the anthem of events in vogue at that time.
Europe was found in 1979 and was appearing under the name Force. John Norum, the Norwegian guitarist was actually the first to launch this band, including his school mates Joey Tempest (he was his best friend in those days as until now), the bassist Peter Olsson and drummer Tony Reno. Since its formation, Europe has released ten studio albums, three live albums, three compilations and nineteen videos.
The band has known a great international fame in the 1980s with its third album, 1986’s The Final Countdown, which sold over three million copies in the United States. Actually, Europe sold over 23 million albums worldwide and has achieved two top 20 albums on the Billboard 200 chart.
A strong commercial success, that release sold over three million copies in the United States alone. Europe was one of the most successful rock acts of the 80s. Incorporating a bombastic sound in debt to both heavy metal and progressive rock, 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”).
From 1986 to 1992, Europe sold over 20 million records worldwide, making them the 4th most successful act from Sweden in musical history. For a non-American group, their success in the U.S. has been immense, selling over four million albums over their career.
Europe went on hiatus in 1992, reunited temporarily for a one-off performance in Stockholm on New Year’s Eve 1999, and finally announced an official reunion in 2003. Since then, Europe has released four studio albums: ‘Start from the Dark‘ (2004), ‘Secret Society‘ (2006), ‘Last Look at Eden‘ (2009), and ‘Bag of Bones‘ (2012). They continue to have popular tours.
Born in 1979 from the underground rock music scene in the outskirts of Stockholm, Sweden, a young band called ‘Force’ sprung from the suburbs to win national acclaim in the early 80s, emerging victorious in a nationwide talent contest. Their main influences were arena-ready British hard rock bands of the 70s such as UFO, Thin Lizzy, and Led Zeppelin. Winning a recording contract, core members Joey Tempest (vocals), John Norum (guitar) and John Leven (bass) re-named themselves “Europe”.
They went on to record and release two spirited albums, “Europe” and ‘Wings of Tomorrow‘. They broke through the musical mainstream in both Scandinavia and Japan. The band toured widely on the strengths of these two records, and, in 1984, they recruited new members Mic Michaeli (keyboards) and drummer Ian Haugland. The success these albums generated on their home soil as well as in the Far East landed them an international record deal with Epic Records in New York.
In 1986, Europe went on to release their third album, ‘The Final Countdown‘, which was produced by Kevin Elson (who had notably worked with Journey and Mr Big). Upon its release, gaining major momentum from Moscow to Manhattan and Stockholm to Sydney and elsewhere, that album conquered the airwaves and the epic arena rock anthem that was its title track succeeded in penetrating the global psyche.
The prominent (and now arguably legendary) keyboard riff and memorable melodies catapulted “The Final Countdown” into the top ten charts in the U.K and U.S., and it ended up reaching number one in 24 countries. Selling in excess of six million units and resulting in an extensive world tour, “The Final Countdown” became a global phenomenon.
It was at this time that John Norum chose to leave Europe to pursue a solo career, and he was replaced by another well-known Swedish guitarist, Kee Marcello. About two years later, Europe emerged again with their fourth album, titled “Out of This World”.
Produced by Ron Nevison (who had worked with UFO, Thin Lizzy, and Heart), this album delivered what had become the trademark Europe melodies and inspiring musical arrangements. Also a remarkable success, Europe embarked on a second world tour, and they notably were the first international rock-act to perform behind the ‘Bamboo Curtain’ in Bombay, India in front of a 60,000-strong audience of melodic rock.
The release saw the band’s welcome return to the road as they embarked on an extensive tour in Europe, the United States and the Far East.
Shortly thereafter, the band returned to the studio to record their 7th studio album titled “Secret Society” which was released in October 2006.
Marking the most daring and innovative Europe album to date, “Secret Society” is both a return to their roots as well as a celebration of their collective musical experience and willingness to explore brand new territories. Followed by another world tour, the band continue to work hard to establish themselves yet again. It can be said that there are few bands from the 80’s that still remain creative and relevant today with an edgy and modern sound.
Following their summer 2008 European tour, Europe returned to the studio to record and then release their eighth studio effort, “Last Look at Eden”. The band’s latest work is “Bag of Bones”, which they released in April 2012. Vocalist Joey Tempest remarked that he thought he’d “made a hardcore classic rock record with the blues knocking on the door.” Showing that the group has still got it, the album debuted at #2 on Sweden’s top album chart and has been certified Gold in Sweden while also receiving strong sales throughout Europe and in the U.K.
– WORLDWIDE SUCCESS (1985–92) –
In September 1985, Europe was approached by an executive from Epic Records. They helped Europe start the recording of its next album with Journey producer Kevin Elson. The result was The Final Countdown. Released on May 26, 1986, the album gave the band its international breakthrough, was certified Triple Platinum in the USA and reached number 8 on theBillboard 200 chart. The title track, which was based on a keyboard riff composed by Tempest as early as 1981-82, was released as the first single and became a worldwide success, peaking at number 1 in 25 countries, such as the UK, France, Spain and Germany. The power ballad “Carrie”, which peaked at number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart,”Cherokee” and a re-recorded “Rock the Night” were other hits from the album.
Not satisfied with the album’s keyboard-dominated production nor the band’s commercialized image, John Norum decided to leave Europe in November 1986 to pursue a solo career: “I didn’t really like the direction the band was going in,” Norum said, “We became this teeny-bopper, bubblegum band and I hated that whole image, the spandex, poodle-rock type of thing. I was more into the heavier, guitar-oriented stuff and it seemed like the keyboards were taking over more and more, and we were becoming more commercial. So I decided to leave. I just wanted to move on and do something else.”
Kee Marcello was asked to replace him, and after some consideration, he decided to join the band. Marcello joined the band at its commercial peak, no less than three singles from The Final Countdown reaching the US Top 40. The following year included successful tours through Europe and the USA.
The follow-up to The Final Countdown was entitled Out of This World and was released in 1988. The biggest hit from the album was “Superstitious” which peaked at number 31 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 9 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks. “Superstitious” would be the last Europe song to chart in the USA. The album was certified platinum in the States and peaked at number 19 on the Billboard 200 chart. More touring followed, including an American tour with Def Leppard and a festival gig at the National Bowl in Milton Keynes, England withBon Jovi, Skid Row and Vixen.
In September 1989, Europe did a gig at the Whisky a Go Go club in West Hollywood, California, under the pseudonym Le Baron Boys. That name would later be used as a title for a much-circulated Europe bootleg, which contained demo recordings from 1989-90.
Two years later, the album Prisoners in Paradise was released, but received limited media attention due to the “boom” of the grunge movement, started by Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam. Although the sales were low compared to previous albums, the single “I’ll Cry for You” managed to hit number 28 on the UK charts. On New Year’s Eve 1991, Europe kicked off a new tour with a show at the Tokyo Dome, in which Tesla, Thunder and Metallica also performed. The show was called “Final Countdown ’91”.
After ten years of living, recording, and touring together, Europe decided to take a break at the end of the 1992 tour. “I remember in the tour bus afterwards we were talking about where the whole thing was going and I think at the time the consensus of the band was we really felt ready for a break, ” Joey Tempest said, “We felt that it was time to put some roots down and I was really into the idea of making my own solo album. ” In that time, Tempest and Marcello released solo albums whilist the other members participated in several different projects and bands. In return, Europe was dropped from Epic Records.
The band members started to discuss the possibility of a Europe reunion in 1998. “Mic and Ian came over to see me in Ireland,” Tempest said, “Then whilist we were there, John Norum called from LA, and we were like “Yes maybe now is the right time to get things started again”. For the 2000 millennium celebrations, Europe was asked to do a concert in Stockholm on New Year’s Eve 1999. That would be Europe’s first and to date only, concert with both of their lead guitarists, since both John Norum and Kee Marcello had accepted the offer to play that evening with the rest of the group. They played “Rock the Night” and “The Final Countdown”.
Over the years, there were several reunion rumors, and on October 2, 2003 it was made official: Europe announced plans for a new album and world tour. The band then switched back to the Final Countdown line-up, with John Norum as the only lead guitarist. “There was no doubt that we wanted John back, and John wanted to get back,”
Joey Tempest said, “For me it was important to get that spark going again that we had before.” Kee Marcello claimed that he was too busy with his own projects. “I told them I didn’t want to participate in a new studio album because musically, I want to go in a different kind of direction than the music Europe stands for,” Marcello said, “Then we talked for a while about doing a six-piece tour – it didn’t turn out that way because of different reasons.”
The songwriting for a new album, Start from the Dark, began early in 2003.”It was just a matter of moving forward and writing songs for the new album,” Tempest said, “That was always our intention. We thought that if we were gonna make a comeback, we wanted to do it properly, and that meant we wanted to write and record some new songs, a new album.”
For the recording of Start from the Dark, the band decided to work with producer Kevin Elson, who had also produced The Final Countdown. “We could either go with a younger producer, or we could go with someone that we knew, someone experienced who is on the same wavelength as the band,” Tempest said, “So in the end we decided that Kevin would be the perfect choice.”
In the summer of 2004 Europe went on a festival tour through the European continent. The concert setlists included the old hits, but also introduced the title track from Start from the Dark. The album was released on September 22, 2004, the same day that John Norum became a father.
Start from the Dark featured a more modern sound compared to Europe’s previous albums. “We wanted to be doing something at least that was a little bit relevant now; bit of a dry mix, detuned a bit,” Tempest said, “So we felt like we didn’t want to do an 1980s album per se, we just wanted to start like a fresh band really.”Eventually, the album sold in excess of 600,000 copies worldwide.
Europe released its seventh album, Secret Society on October 26, 2006. “We think it’s one of the strongest albums that Europe has ever done,” Tempest said, “There is definitely some more melodic stuff on this one. Start from the Dark was very raw and made a statement, which is cool but for us it felt like a debut album in a way, so we wanted to branch out a bit on this one and take it to new levels.”
On January 26, 2008 Europe did a semi-acoustic live concert at Nalen in Stockholm, calling the event Almost Unplugged. The band was accompanied by a string quartet and played reworked versions of its own songs, as well as cover versions of songs by bands that have influenced Europe’s sound throughout the years – Pink Floyd,UFO, Led Zeppelin and Thin Lizzy. The show was broadcast live over the Internet on Europe’s official website. It was released on CD on September 17, 2008 and on DVD on August 19, 2009.
On July 23, 2008 Europe did a co-headlining concert with Whitesnake in Padua, Italy. During Whitesnake’s performance of their encore “Still of the Night”, Joey Tempest joined David Coverdale on stage for the last chorus. In August 2008 Europe was the opening act for Deep Purple for two concerts in Sweden, in Linköping on August 8 and Ystad on August 9. John Norum joined Deep Purple on stage in Ystad for a performance of “Smoke on the Water”.
On July 21, 2009, bassist and former member of Force, Marcel Jacob, committed suicide. He was 45 years old.
Europe’s eighth studio album, Last Look at Eden, was released on September 9, 2009. The title track was released as a single in June. The band has described it as a modern retro rock album. “This time, we’re taking some new directions with our songs, and we’re exploring different styles,” they stated, “There is a definite classic rock vibe on some of the tracks… a tip of the hat to grooving’, funkin’ 1970s rock songs – but ones we have bought into the here and now.” The second single, “New Love in Town”, was released as a digital download on September 3, 2009.
In an interview with Abhijeet Ahluwalia for EspyRock on November 30, 2009, Joey Tempest outlined the future of Europe, announcing the follow-up to Last Look at Eden will come in 2011: “We’re gonna keep working at this rate we’re working at, which is pretty good. We’ll probably come out with an album in 2011 and tour in 2012 again. We’re looking 2-3 years ahead all the time, and in the next 5 years I see Europe with 2 more albums, 2 more world tours and hopefully having established ourselves even better in a lot of territories around the world.”
On August 6, 2011, Europe headlined the closing ceremonies of the 22nd World Scout Jamboree in Rinkaby, Sweden before an audience of 40,061 Scouts and Guides which included King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and Queen Silvia of Sweden.
On July 12, 2011, Europe confirmed that Kevin Shirley would produce their ninth studio album. The recording sessions started on October 3, 2011 On January 24, 2012 the band announced the album title, Bag of Bones. The album was released on April 18, 2012 in Japan by Victor entertainment and on April 25 in Sweden by Gain Music Entertainment. “Bag of Bones” debuted at number 2 on the Swedish album chart on May 4, 2012 and was certified Gold in Sweden on July 12, 2012.
The band played at the Sweden Rock Festival in 2013, with their performance recorded for a 30th anniversary double CD, DVD and blu-ray disc, which was released in October 2013.
Europe’s tenth studio album, War of Kings will be released on March 2, 2015 by UDR Records. It was produced by Dave Cobb, producer for bands such as Rival Son.
Source: europetheband, worldlibrary