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Biographies: Europe

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Reviewer: TopCat

Everything is dated back to 1978 when the bass player Peter Olsson set up, together with John Norum on guitar and Tony Reno on drums, the band Force. Very soon these three guys find the singer: Joey Tempest leaves his band Roxanne and joins theme when he was only 14, proving himself to be an admirable song writer. It’s 1981 when Joey is obliged to play the bass too because Peter is leaving the band: John Leven comes in , even if he was demanded to play with Yngwie Malmsteen; the following year was going to be the right one: ‘Rock SM’, a Swedish rock championship, was organized for the first time to help local bands to be heard. About 4000 demotapes reached the organizer Thomas Erdtman (later Europe manager!); luckily, Joey’s girlfriend tried to persuade guys to record their songs: four songs out of five will be found on the first album.

Right then, not happy with the outcome, they put the record aside and forget about the competition. Far-sighted, the demo is sent by the wise girl, something that allows Force to take part into and even to be the winner out of thousands bands. Force becomes Euorpe and persuade the stubborn Erdtman who were looking for a pop band like the Gyllen Tider, which were very popular at that time.

Joey won the price for the best singer, John the one for best guitarist; above all, the main price was the chance to record an album, even if with a small record company and being a low-budget record. In spite of, ‘Europe’ sells good and becomes very popular thanks to the high quality of the songs in it: Europe face the first Swedish tour. Fortune seems unbounded: a Japanese reporter buy this record by pure chance in a import record shop in London and he likes it very much: comes back to Tokio and plays it for a record company: the album is released in Japan. ‘Seven doors hotel’ is a real hit in the Top Ten. ‘Wings of tomorrow’, the second album, is published in 1984: it sells very well and got remarkable reviews.

Joey plays keyboard on the record and on tour; but to get the right feeling on tour and have the singer Joey in the front part of the scene they decided to get another keyboard player. Mic Michaeli from Avalon, a band born in Upplands Väsby, join those guys; very soon, also the drums player Tony is replaced by Ian Haugland: finally takes shape the band destined to be famous all over the world.A new tour starts and, at the same time, they are acting in the Swedish movie "On the loose" while Joey writes the soundtrack: ‘On the loose’, ‘Rock the night’ and ‘Broken dreams’ are the most known songs. Some barring accidents, then the third album ‘The final countdown’ is released on may 1986: the success might not be bigger, the critics better , it sells about 6-7 million. The 3rd of September 1986 the tour begins in Japan whereas the rest of the world appreciate Europe for the first time.

A unpleasant circumstance creates some problems: John Norum decides to leave the band, tired of the growing pressure, to dedicate himself to solo projects. His musical tastes were a bit different, more ‘hard’ and not so good for the style of the band; John liked Scorpions and Dokken, the group liked Toto and Journey. The only guitarist they could think about was Kee Marcello, member of the glamrock band Easy Action (the offer didn’t seem to excite him at all).So, the last show made by John was on the 31th of October 1987 in Amsterdam; Kee soon becomes a fundamental segment, by being one of the best Swedish guitar player good on keyboard too, qualified as a producer, composer, song writer and singer at last: he joins the four guys in Dortmund (Germany) in front of 16 000 people and 50 millions saw them on the television. The first world tour begins in March.‘The final countdown’ climbs the lists all over Europe, and the single turns out number one in 26 countries: on January 1987 only America is left to conquer.

It won’t resist for long: touring in spring is a chance to get tremendous appreciation (they played in 23 towns and traveled 14 565 kilometers) with ‘The final countdown’ best placed on Billboard at number 8; you can also hear Europe songs in big events such as the ending ceremony of the Olympic games in 1988. The entire world is conquered: Japan, Europe, America, Canada, The Soviet Union, Australia, South America and South Africa; and because of the high taxation in Sweden Europe moved to Nassau, Bahamas and then to Turks and Caicos, an island in West India. At the beginning of New Year the band take part to one of the main musical event in the world, Rock in Rio, while they’re starting to work on the next studio album.

The first single ‘Superstitious’ is released in July when the five guys are going on tour in America with Def Leppard: they got great reviews to support their adventure. The promotion of the album ‘Out of this world’ is initiated, worthy heir (good critics and many hit on the lists) of ‘The final countdown’: some problems connected to wrong choices made by their manager don’t allows it to be a big success. Their new tour begins in November: the first show is made in Bombay, India, in front of 60 000 people, to go on with the next one in front of the same 60 000 people at the Milton Keynes’ show with Bon Jovi, Skid Row and Vixen. The band is not happy with what their producer decides, to far from what they really want; new stuff is produced all the same, writing for the first time all together (not only Joey, to whom is due most of the success) and during their restless travels: they have to argue with the record company asking the band to write more soft things, despite of what they had already done (for instance ‘Yesterday’s news’ and ‘Break free’, played only live and released later).

A new manager arrives, he’s Herbie Herbert and the producer is Beau Hill : in 1991 ‘Prisoners in paradise’ witnesses this strained state of things. New Year’s Eve show celebrated at the Tokio Dome together with Metallica as the main band opns the last tour ... even if this show is called ‘The final countdown’! There’s something unusual: three guitar players on stage; Joey is playing often, Mic just when he hasn’t to do with keyboard or Hammond .Then the decision to take a break, a break that seems lasted too long now since they’ve been playing together no more for five years . Everyone has got solo projects. In 1993 the album ‘Europe 1982-1992’ is published as the last one due to the record company Sony, a chance to remember 17 songs of Europe. What is going to happen to these five Swedish guys? Everything is possible, "...nothing is constant, except changes"(JOEY).

© 2014 Madison Ross Media Group