|"The Final Countdown"|
|Single by Europe|
|from the album The Final Countdown|
|B-side||"On Broken Wings"|
|Europe singles chronology|
"The Final Countdown"
"The Final Countdown" is a song by Swedish rock band Europe, released in 1986. Written by Joey Tempest, it was based on a keyboard riff he made in the early '80s, inspired by David Bowie's "Space Oddity". Originally made to just be a concert opener, it is the first single from the band's third studio album, also named The Final Countdown . The song reached number one in 25 countries,including the United Kingdom, and was certified gold in that country in 1986. In the United States, the song peaked at number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 18 on the Billboard Album Rock Tracks chart. A music video by Nick Morris was made to promote the single that features footage from the band's two concerts at the Solnahallen in Solna, as well as extra footage of the sound checks at those concerts.
Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United Kingdom and in the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily on the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.
Europe is a Swedish rock band formed in Upplands Väsby in 1979, by vocalist Joey Tempest, guitarist John Norum, bassist Peter Olsson, and drummer Tony Reno. They got a major breakthrough in Sweden in 1982 by winning the televised competition "Rock-SM" : it was the first time this competition was held, and Europe became a larger success than the competition itself.
Rolf Magnus Joakim Larsson, professionally known as Joey Tempest, is a Swedish singer, best known as the lead singer and main songwriter of the rock band Europe. He has written hits which include "The Final Countdown", "Rock the Night", "Cherokee" and "Superstitious".
The song was based on a keyboard riff which Joey Tempest had written, as early as 1981 or 1982,on a Korg Polysix keyboard which he had borrowed from keyboardist Mic Michaeli. In 1985, bassist John Levén suggested that Tempest should write a song based on that riff. Tempest recorded a demo version of the song and played it for the other band members. At first, the members expressed mixed reactions to it, including guitarist John Norum who was put off by the synth intro but said that he was glad they didn't listen to him. Tempest described their uncertainty: "Some of the guys in the band thought it was too different for a rock band. But in the end I fought hard to make sure it got used."
The Korg Polysix(PS-6) is a six-voice programmable polyphonic analog synthesizer released by Korg in 1981.
Gunnar Mathias "Mic" Michaeli is a Swedish keyboardist in the Swedish rock band Europe. Like many of the other Europe members he grew up in Stockholm suburb Upplands Väsby. He joined the band for their Wings of Tomorrow tour in 1984, taking vocalist Joey Tempest's place behind the keyboards.
John Gunnar Levén is a Swedish bassist in the Swedish rock band Europe. Levén and vocalist Joey Tempest are the only band members who have performed on all of Europe's studio albums.
The song's lyrics were inspired by David Bowie's song "Space Oddity".The sound of the keyboard riff used in the recording was achieved by using a Yamaha TX-816 rack unit and a Roland JX-8P synthesizer, as described by Michaeli: "I made a brassy sound from the JX-8P and used a factory sound from the Yamaha, and just layered them together."
David Robert Jones, known professionally as David Bowie, was an English singer, songwriter and actor. He was a leading figure in the music industry and is considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, acclaimed by critics and musicians, particularly for his innovative work during the 1970s. His career was marked by reinvention and visual presentation, with his music and stagecraft having a significant impact on popular music. During his lifetime, his record sales, estimated at 140 million albums worldwide, made him one of the world's best-selling music artists. In the UK, he was awarded ten platinum album certifications, eleven gold and eight silver, and released eleven number-one albums. In the US, he received five platinum and nine gold certifications. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.
"Space Oddity" is a song written and recorded by David Bowie. It was first released as a 7-inch single on 11 July 1969. It was also the opening track of his second studio album, David Bowie. It became one of Bowie's signature songs and one of four of his songs to be included in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.
The Yamaha DX7 is a synthesizer manufactured by the Yamaha Corporation from 1983 to 1989. It was the first commercially successful digital synthesizer, and is one of the bestselling synthesizers in history, selling over 200,000 units.
When it was time to choose the first single from the album The Final Countdown, Tempest suggested the song "The Final Countdown".The band had not originally planned to release the song as a single, and some members wanted "Rock the Night" to be the first single. "The Final Countdown" was written to be an opening song for concerts, and they never thought it would be a hit. When their record company Epic Records suggested, however, that it should be the first single, the band decided to release it.
"Rock the Night" is a single released by the Swedish glam metal band Europe. The song was written by vocalist Joey Tempest in 1984 and premiered on the band's Wings of Tomorrow tour the same year.
Epic Records is an American record label owned by Sony Music Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, Inc., the North American division of Japanese conglomerate Sony. The label was founded predominantly as a jazz and classical music label in 1953, but later expanded its scope to include a more diverse range of genres, including pop, R&B, rock, and hip hop. Epic has released music by artists including Glenn Miller, Tammy Wynette, George Michael, Shakin Stevens, Europe, Cheap Trick, Meat Loaf, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Ted Nugent, Shakira, Sly & the Family Stone, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, ABBA, Anastacia, Boston, Dave Clark Five, Gloria Estefan, Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine, and Michael Jackson. Along with Arista, Columbia and RCA Records, Epic is one of Sony Music Entertainment's four flagship record labels.
As Tempest stated:
It's always a nice feeling. Sometimes you hear it on the streets or someone has it on their mobile phone or something… it's a nice feeling! Actually, I did an interview about a year ago with a newspaper from America and they talked about how much it's been used in sports in America… which I didn't know so much about. Apparently it has been used a lot and it was nice to hear. The ironic thing, though, is that the song was actually written for the fans. It was over six minutes long and was never meant to be a hit or anything like that. It was meant to be an opening for the 'live' show. We were putting out our third album and we wanted a really 'grand' opening for the show. So, I had that 'riff' tucked away in a drawer since my college years and I took it out, found a tempo for it, wrote lyrics, and it turned out to be a great opening for that album and for the show, as well. Nowadays, we don't rehearse it, but when we play it live, it is still just so amazing! It does communicate so well with the audience and we really love playing it.
In 2009, Tempest told the BBC's Liam Allen, "I can trace bands like UFO in it, sort of a galloping theme like Iron Maiden had on The Number of the Beast album on quite a few songs. I wanted to make a combination of guitars and keyboards. That was a statement on that and it sort of worked out nicely."
UFO are an English rock band that was formed in London in 1968. They became a transitional group between early hard rock and heavy metal and the new wave of British heavy metal. The band's current lineup includes vocalist Phil Mogg, lead guitarist Vinnie Moore, bass guitarist Rob De Luca, keyboardist and rhythm guitarist Paul Raymond, and drummer Andy Parker. They have gone through several line-up changes, leaving Mogg as the only constant member, and had two hiatuses. The band are also notable for featuring former Scorpions guitarist and MSG founder Michael Schenker, who was a member of UFO from 1973 to 1978 and again, occasionally, between 1993 and 2003, when Moore replaced him. In May 2018, Mogg announced that he will retire from UFO after one last tour as a member of the band in 2019.
Iron Maiden are an English heavy metal band formed in Leyton, East London, in 1975 by bassist and primary songwriter Steve Harris. The band's discography has grown to thirty-eight albums, including sixteen studio albums, twelve live albums, four EPs, and seven compilations.
"The Final Countdown" became an instant success on the charts worldwide upon its release, reaching number one in 25 countries (including the UK, where it spent two weeks at the top and is Europe's only Top 10 hit to date),and is commonly regarded as the band's most popular and recognizable song. The single reached number 8 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, and is the most successful song from the album on the Album Rock Tracks chart, peaking at number 18 (and charting for 20 weeks).
The song is also the band's highest charting single in Australia and Canada, peaking at number 2 and number 5 respectively.
The music video, directed by Nick Morris, contains footage from two concerts the band did at Solnahallen in Solna, Sweden on 26 and 27 May 1986, as well as some extra footage filmed at the sound checks for those concerts.
The song has been a regular in Europe concerts ever since its live debut on the premiere of their Final Countdown Tour in April 1986. One of the most memorable performances of the song took place in Stockholm, Sweden on 31 December 1999, as part of the Millennium celebrations, as it was the first, and to date only, Europe performance with both of the band's lead guitarists, the original guitarist John Norum and his replacement, Kee Marcello.
Certifications and sales
|"The Final Countdown 2000"|
|Single by Europe|
|from the album 1982–2000|
|B-side||"The Final Countdown" (Original Radio Edit)|
|Released||7 December 1999|
|Europe singles chronology|
In 1999, the dance remix "The Final Countdown 2000" was released. It was produced by Brian Rawling, who had previously had success with "Believe" by Cher. The band's reaction to the remix was less than enthusiastic. "That remix was a disaster," drummer Ian Haugland said, "I wouldn't pass water on it if it was on fire!"In a 2013 interview with The National , Joey Tempest commented on the remix, saying, "The band were not happy with it. We were trying to get some other people to do the remix and it just didn’t pan out so it ended up becoming a last-minute thing."
|Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)||12|
|Germany (Official German Charts)||35|
|Netherlands (Single Top 100)||60|
|Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)||33|
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||36|
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The song is a favorite at sporting events, often being played to rally crowds. It has also become a staple of high school and college pep bands for the same purpose.
On 2 October 1990 just a few hours before the German reunification, the English segment of international radio broadcaster of former East Germany RBI , played the intro of the song with the female radio announcer says: "Our broadcast came to you from Radio Berlin International, the voice of the disappearing German Democratic Republic".
Blender listed it as the 27th worst song ever,and both VH1 and Blender included it at 16 on the list of the "Most Awesomely Bad Songs...Ever". However, VH1 later ranked it at number 66 on their list of the best hard rock songs of all time.
The song and band Europe appeared in a 2015 USA television commercial for GEICO insurance, playing in a lunchroom as a microwave oven's timer is counting down toward zero seconds; the script touts the intrinsic activity of the band, saying if you're Europe, "you love a final countdown: it's what you do."
A performance of the song by a band named Deep Sunshine was captured on video and later became a variation of a Rickroll on Fark.com, receiving over 5 million views on YouTube.The video has been labeled the "worst cover ever", its success stemming from its lack of artistic value.
Slovenian avant-garde music group Laibach released a cover in 1994 on their NATO album.
"The Final Countdown" is a particular favourite of guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, who incorporated elements of it into "Gone with the Wind", his 1999 reimagining of Lev Knipper's "Polyushko-polye".
Swedish metal band Sabaton has "The Final Countdown" playing to the crowd just before they enter the stage at their concerts.
American banjo players Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn performed a version of the song in May 2015 for The A.V. Club 's A.V. Undercover series.
"Tarzan Boy" is the debut single by Italian-based act Baltimora. The song was written by Maurizio Bassi and Naimy Hackett, and released in 1985 as the lead single from Baltimora's debut album Living in the Background. The song was re-recorded and released in 1993, and has been covered by several artists throughout the years.
The Final Countdown is the third studio album by the Swedish rock band Europe. Released on 26 May 1986 through Epic Records, the album was a huge commercial success selling over 15 million copies worldwide, peaking at number 8 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart and reaching high positions in charts worldwide. It was recorded at Powerplay Studios in Zürich, Soundtrade Studios in Stockholm, Mastersound Studios in Atlanta and Fantasy Studios in Berkeley. The Final Countdown is the first album to feature drummer Ian Haugland and the last to feature guitarist John Norum until Start from the Dark.
"Walk Like an Egyptian" is a song recorded by the American band The Bangles. It was released in 1986 as the third single from the album Different Light. It was a million-selling single and became Billboard's number-one song of 1987.
"Rock Me Amadeus" is a song recorded by Austrian musician Falco, for his third studio album Falco 3 (1985). The single was made available for physical sale in May 1985 in German-speaking Europe, through A&M. "Rock Me Amadeus" was written by Falco alongside Dutch music producers Bolland & Bolland. The single became the first German language song to peak at number one of the Billboard Hot 100 on 29 March 1986.
"The Tide Is High" is a 1966 song written by John Holt, originally produced by Duke Reid and performed by the Jamaican group The Paragons, with Holt as lead singer. The song gained international attention in 1980, when a version by the American band Blondie became a US/UK number one hit. The British girl group Atomic Kitten also had a number one hit with their version of the song in 2002, while Canadian rapper Kardinal Offishall had a minor hit with his interpretation in 2008.
"Upside Down" is a song written and produced by Chic members Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards. It was recorded by American singer Diana Ross. The song was issued as a single through the Motown label in 1980, as the lead single from her tenth studio album, Diana. "Upside Down" hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on September 6, 1980. It also hit number one on the Billboard Disco and Soul charts. The single was released a full four weeks after the album was released. It held down the number one spot for four weeks.
"Livin' on a Prayer" is Bon Jovi's second chart-topping song from their third album Slippery When Wet. Written by Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, and Desmond Child, the single, released in late 1986, was well received at both rock and pop radio and its music video was given heavy rotation at MTV, giving the band their first No. 1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart and their second consecutive No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hit.
"Sledgehammer" is a song by English rock musician Peter Gabriel. It was released as the lead single from his fifth studio album, So (1986), on 25 April 1986. It was produced by Gabriel and Daniel Lanois. It hit No. 1 in Canada on 21 July 1986, where it spent four weeks; No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States on 26 July 1986; and No. 4 on the UK Singles Chart, thanks in part to a popular and influential music video. It was his biggest hit in North America and ties with "Games Without Frontiers" as his biggest hit in the United Kingdom.
"Daddy Cool" is a song recorded by Boney M. and included on their debut album Take the Heat off Me. It was a 1976 hit and a staple of disco music, and became Boney M.'s first United Kingdom hit.
"Walk of Life" is a song by the British rock band Dire Straits from their fifth studio album Brothers in Arms (1985). It subsequently appeared on their live album On the Night (1993). It was released as a single in 1985 but had first been available as the B-side of "So Far Away" released in advance of Brothers in Arms.
"Too Shy" is a song written and recorded by English band Kajagoogoo, released in 1983. The first single from their debut album White Feathers, the song was an immediate hit and reached number one on the UK Singles Chart for two weeks. It was also very successful in other European countries, spending five weeks at number one in Germany, and reaching number two in Switzerland, and number four in Sweden, Austria and the Netherlands.
"Words" is a 1981 song by F. R. David. The song was originally released only in France and Monaco in the winter of 1981; later it was released in the rest of Europe. In 1983, it finally was released in America and the UK. It was a huge European hit, peaking at number one in Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Austria and Norway. In spring of 1983, it peaked at number two on the British charts. It also went to number one in South Africa in late 1982 and spent 25 weeks on the charts. In Australia, the single peaked at number 12 but spent 41 weeks on the Top 100 in two chart runs throughout 1983 and early 1984.
"Can the Can" is the second solo single by Suzi Quatro and her first to reach number one in the UK, spending a single week at the top of the chart in June 1973. It also reached number one on the European and Australian charts in whose market Quatro achieved her most consistent success throughout her career as a recording artist. The single belatedly became a hit in the US peaking at number 56 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1976. It was re-released as a B-side single in 1984, but this time it failed to chart. The single hit the charts again in 1987 in the UK at number 87, it also appeared on her 1995 album What Goes Around.
"Are You Gonna Go My Way" is the first single to be released by Lenny Kravitz from the album Are You Gonna Go My Way. It was released in February 1993. It was written by Lenny Kravitz and Craig Ross. The single has been covered by numerous artists, such as Metallica, in a medley for "MTV Hits" at the 2003 MTV Music Video Awards, Tom Jones for the Jerky Boys OST, Robbie Williams on Jones' 1999 album Reload and Melanie Brown in her solo section, on the Spice Girls Reunion Tour. Serbian hard rock band Cactus Jack recorded a version on their live cover album DisCover in 2002. A remixed version is played as the opening theme song in Gran Turismo 3. Adam Lambert covered the song in November 2012 in his swing through South Africa.
"Lessons in Love" is a single from the English band Level 42, released in 1986 from the album Running in the Family, issued one year later. This single is the band's biggest hit in their homeland, where it reached number three on the UK Singles Chart, and internationally, entering the top 10 in numerous countries, reaching the number-one spot in five of them: Spain, Germany, South Africa, Switzerland, and Finland. "Lessons in Love" is also one of the few singles from the band that broke into the Billboard Hot 100, where it reached number 12 in 1987. It is the first of five singles from their 1987 album, Running in the Family, and it made way for the success of other singles from the album. In 2012, David Quantick described it in Q magazine as "one of the best singles of the '80s".
"Such a Shame" is a song written by Mark Hollis for the English band Talk Talk's second album It's My Life (1984).
"Dr. Beat" is the first international single released by the American band Miami Sound Machine, led by Gloria Estefan, on their first English language, but eighth overall, studio album Eyes of Innocence (1984). The song which was written by the band's lead songwriter and drummer Enrique "Kiki" Garcia and was released worldwide in 1984 becoming a top success across Europe where the album impacted the charts with this hit.
"Big in Japan" is the debut single of the German band Alphaville. It is from their 1984 album Forever Young.
"Don't Go" is a song by British synth-pop band Yazoo. It was released in 1982 as the second single from their debut album, Upstairs at Eric's.