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Europe - The Final Countdown (1986)

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  • 80's Score80's Score80's Score80's Score 80's score: 3.52
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“The Final Countdown” is a song by Swedish rock band Europe, released in 1986. Written by Joey Tempest, it was ...

“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 1980s, with lyrics inspired by David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”. Originally made to just be a concert opener, it is the first single and title track from the band’s third studio album. 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.

Release and reception

“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.

Music video

A still from the music video for “The Final Countdown”

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.

Live performances

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.

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