Tuesday, December 31, 2019

"The Final Countdown" by Europe

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  2998
Date:  01/24/1987
Debut:  83
Peak:  8
Weeks:  18
Genre:  Arena Rock, Glam Rock

Pop Bits:  This Swedish band first formed in 1979 as Force. They spent the next few years honing their skills and learning to write songs. In 1982, the girlfriend of a band member entered them into a new music competition called Rock-SM. Over 4,000 rock acts submitted tapes to the contest and Force was one that got selected to compete. They made it to the finals where eight acts competed on live TV. By that point, the band had changed its name from Force to Europe. They ended up winning the contest and the prize of a record deal. The band released two albums, both of which were successful in Sweden and also Japan. Epic Records then came calling and offered the band a contract. Their first effort for the label was "Rock the Night," a song that appeared in the Swedish film On the Loose. It would be a #4 hit in Sweden in 1985. This led to the band's third album, The Final Countdown. It was produced by Kevin Elson, who had co-produced three of Journey's biggest albums including 1981's multi-platinum Escape. The title track from the album was released as the first single in the fall of '86. It would be a #1 hit in Sweden and other European countries. The song made its way to the States at the beginning of '87. It caught on as well and made the US Pop Top 10 while getting to #18 at Rock. In March of '87 the album would peak at #8.

ReduxReview:  It's odd that this song just happened to be the one to get posted on New Year's Eve!  A final countdown for the year!  Oh that honking keyboard. So very 80s and so very recognizable. It was kind of fun when the song first came out, but it wore on my nerves quickly. That dang riff was played constantly, especially at sporting events. It was like someone stabbing me in the ears every time I heard it. I just wanted it to go away. It never did. It is still around. A recent Geiko commercial featured the tune and the band (actually, the ad was pretty hilarious). What's funny is that there is not much to the song except the riff and the title. There are two verses, but no one remembers them or probably even realizes it is about leaving Earth for a new planet because Earth is pretty much done. I was never a fan of the tune, but I will say that the riff/chorus of the song was brilliant. They created an indelible earworm that has lasted for decades. I certainly wish I had written it. I just don't really wanna hear it.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) The band never meant for this song to be the LP's lead single. With their major label debut coming up along with an impending tour, the band wanted something grand and exciting to start off their concerts and to be the album's opening track. Band member and songwriter Joey Tempest revived a keyboard lick he came up with a few years earlier and wrote the song around it. When Tempest played a demo of the song for the band, they weren't necessarily excited by it. After some coaxing, everyone got on board and realized the finished product was good and would be perfect for opening their concerts. When it came time to pick a single for the album, Tempest suggested this song, but no one else thought it would be a hit. It wasn't until their label, Epic, picked it as their choice for a first single that the band came around to the idea.  2) Countless acts around the world have done really bad cover tunes. Luckily, not many of them get recorded either in the studio or on video. However, a performance captured on video of "The Final Countdown" by a band from Sweden went viral and was quickly called the worst cover ever. Deep Sunshine got together in 2003 and was mainly a cover band with a few originals tossed in. At some point in 2006, they performed at an outdoor venue and it was recorded on video. One of the songs they played in front of what seemed like minimal people was "The Final Countdown." It wasn't...well...good. With a wanky keyboard and an off-key singer, the band slogged their way through the tune. Someone then posted a video of the song on YouTube. It somehow got picked up by the website Fark and masses of people started to view the video. It has since racked up over 5 million views. A few years later, a video from the same performance was put on YouTube showing the band doing their original song "Big Tree." They sound better on the song, but of course that didn't lead to many views - just over 2k.


No comments:

Post a Comment