Europe

Out Of This World Rock candy Af­ter the mega-hit, a hard-won vic­tory.

Classic Rock - - Reviews -

It was an ex­tra­or­di­nary song that lifted a pre­vi­ously lit­tle known Swedish rock band to the dizzy­ing heights of global star­dom in 1986. The Fi­nal Count­down, writ­ten by Europe’s singer Joey Tem­pest, com­bined the gal­lop­ing thun­der of Iron Maiden’s Run To The Hills, the sci-fi fan­tasy of David Bowie’s Space Odd­ity, and – Tem­pest’s mas­ter stroke – a blar­ing key­board riff with the pom­pos­ity of ELP’s Fan­fare For The Com­mon Man and the pop bounce of Van Halen’s Jump.

The Fi­nal Count­down pow­ered to No.1 in twenty-five coun­tries, and from the al­bum of the same name there were two other big hits – the an­them Rock The Night and power bal­lad Car­rie. But with suc­cess came trou­ble. By the end of ‘86, gui­tarist and found­ing mem­ber John No­rum had quit, grum­bling that Europe had be­come “a teeny-bop­per bub­blegum band”.

The Fi­nal Count­down was a hard act to fol­low. Harder still with No­rum gone. And yet from a pe­riod of tur­moil and huge pres­sure the band emerged in 1988 with a bril­liant al­bum, boldly ti­tled Out Of This World. With new gui­tarist Kee Mar­cello, for­merly of glam­rock­ers Easy Ac­tion, fit­ting in seam­lessly, No­rum wasn’t missed. And the strength of this al­bum, full of high-class heavy rock, made non­sense of No­rum’s part­ing shot.

Su­per­sti­tious, the open­ing track and lead sin­gle, rocked in the grand man­ner of vin­tage Deep Pur­ple, with parp­ing key­boards adding a lit­tle echo of The Fi­nal Count­down to an epic cho­rus, and a beau­ti­ful, melodic solo from Mar­cello rem­i­nis­cent of Michael Schenker at his peak. Open Your Heart, first fea­tured on the band’s 1984 al­bum Wings Of To­mor­row, was equal to any­thing on Whites­nake’s 1987. And in Ready Or Not there was one of the great feel-good rock songs of the 80s.

The al­bum was a siz­able hit, sell­ing a mil­lion copies in Amer­ica, but when the fol­low-up, Pris­on­ers In Par­adise, was re­leased in 1991, Europe, like so many of their peers, got lost in the great grunge gold rush. Af­ter the band split in 1992, it was eleven years be­fore they re­turned, with No­rum re­in­stated.

In re­cent times, Europe have made some great records in the heav­ier style of their ear­li­est work. The Fi­nal Count­down will al­ways be their most fa­mous al­bum, but Out Of This World is ar­guably their best.

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