The Final Countdown (song)

The Final Countdown (song)

Infobox Single
Name = The Final Countdown

Artist = Europe
from Album = The Final Countdown
B-side = "On Broken Wings"
Released = February 14 1986
Format = CD single, 7" single, 12" single
Recorded = 1985
Genre = Glam metal, Hard rock
Length = 5:11 (Album Version)
4:03 (Radio Edit)
Label = Epic (Sony BMG)
Writer = Joey Tempest
Producer = Kevin Elson
Certification = Gold (UK)
Last single = "Rock the Night"
This single = "The Final Countdown"
Next single = "Love Chaser"
Misc = Audiosample
Upper caption = Audio sample
Name = The Final Countdown
Audio file= Europe_-_The_Final_Countdown.ogg
"The Final Countdown" is a rock song written by Joey Tempest for Europe's third studio album "The Final Countdown" (1986). It was the first single released from the album. It is arguably one of Europe's most recognizable and popular songs. The song reached No. 1 in 25 countries cite web
title=Rock group Europe plan comeback
] , including the United Kingdom. The song peaked at No. 8 on the "Billboard" Hot 100 and 18 on the "Billboard" Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. The single was certified Gold in United Kingdom in 1986.cite web
title=BPI Certifications

Origin and recording

The song was based on an old keyboard riff that vocalist Joey Tempest wrote as early as 1981–82,cite album-notes |title=1982–1992 |albumlink=1982–1992 |bandname=Europe |year=1993 |notestitle= |url= |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |pages= |format=CD booklet |publisher=Epic Records |publisherid=EPC 473589-1 |location= |mbid=ea6be413-fbd7-49f2-8546-e162d481e857] on a Korg Polysix keyboard he borrowed from keyboardist Mic Michaeli.cite book |last= Tengner |first= Anders |coauthors= Michael Johansson |title= Europe - den stora rockdrömmen |publisher= Wiken |language= Swedish |year= 1987 |month= |isbn= 91-7024-408-1 ] cite video |people=Europe |date2=2005-11-18 |month2= |year2= |title=Live from the Dark |url= |format= |medium=DVD |publisher=Warner Bros. Entertainment |location= |accessdate=2008-06-26 |time= |quote= ] In 1985, bassist John Levén suggested that Tempest should write a song based on that riff. The lyrics were inspired by David Bowie's song "Space Oddity".Citation | last=Ling | first=Dave | author-link= | title=Counting Down Again | newspaper=Classic Rock | volume= | issue=75 | pages=p.60–67 | year=2005 | date=January 2005 | url= ] 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.cite web |url= | Features > Bands > Europe |accessdate=2007-12-23 |format= |] "I made a brassy sound from the JX-8P and used a factory sound from the Yamaha, and just layered them together," Michaeli said.

When it was time to choose the first single from the album "The Final Countdown", Tempest suggested the song "The Final Countdown". Originally the band had never planned to release the song as a single, and some members wanted "Rock the Night" to be the first single.cite video |people=Europe |date2=2006-10-04 |month2= |year2= |title=The Final Countdown Tour 1986: Live in Sweden - 20th Anniversary Edition |url= |format= |medium=DVD |publisher=Warner Bros. Entertainment |location= |accessdate=2008-06-26 |time= |quote= ] "The Final Countdown" was written to be an opening song for concerts, and they never thought it would be a hit. But when their record company Epic Records suggested that it should be the first single, the band decided to release it.Citation | last=Thompson | first=Erik | author-link= | title=Hårdrockens Historia 1986 | newspaper=Sweden Rock Magazine | volume= | issue=31 | pages=p.102 | year=2005 | date=October / November 2005 | url= ]

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."cite web
title=Interview: Joey Tempest (Europe)

Release and reception

"The Final Countdown" was released in the spring of 1986 and became the most successful song from "The Final Countdown" on the American rock charts and arguably the band's most recognizable and popular song. It appeared on "Billboard" magazine's "Billboard" Hot 100 chart, reaching the top 10. The following week it debuted on the Mainstream Rock Tracks, where it peaked at number eighteen in its eighth week and remained on the chart until its twentieth week. The band would wait until "Superstitious" to be released which got a higher chart position on the Mainstream Rock Tracks.

Outside of the United States, the single was released worldwide. In Canada, the song reached the top twenty on the Canadian Singles Chart. It remained in the top twenty for three weeks and became the band's highest charting song in Canada. "The Final Countdown" reached the UK Top 5, eventually spending two weeks at the top of the UK Singles Chart in December, and was the only the single from the album which would chart in the UK top 10. "The Final Countdown" also reached number one twenty four other countries which included France, Germany, Ireland, Sweden and Italy. "The Final Countdown" would peak at number four on the Norwegian Singles Chart.

The song enjoys notable popularity in many sports arenas and stadiums; public address booths have often played the opening keyboard riff to rally the home crowd; it has also become a staple of high school and college pep bands for this same purpose.cite web
title=Interview: Joey Tempest (Europe)
] It also is used frequently in the American television show Arrested Development as the opening theme of G.O.B.'s magic show. The song was used for the American commercial of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games and is used as an entrance theme for professional wrestler Bryan Danielson in Ring of Honor. It was the unofficial song of the Eurobasket 1987 held in Athens Greece (it was the main song theme played during the time -outs) and it is still heavily associatied with the surprise and unprecedented victory of the Greek Men's Basketball team over the team of the Soviet Union in the last seconds of that Cup final (1987).

Music video

, Sweden on May 25 and 26, 1986, as well as some extra footage filmed at the sound checks for those concerts. When the music video was released it received heavy airplay on music television all over the world which helped drawing attention to the album "The Final Countdown".

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 December 31, 1999, as part of the Millennium celebrations, as it was the first Europe performance with two lead guitarists, John Norum and his replacement Kee Marcello.cite web |url= | - Fireworks Magazine: Issue 18 |accessdate=2008-04-15 |format= | ]

Cover versions

The song has been covered by various artists, both local and famous; including Freezepop, After Forever, Dannii Minogue, Gigatron, Geoff Downes, Laibach, Norther, Dispatched, the Toy Dolls, Immolation, Leif Garrett, Furillo, Vision Divine, The Delegates, and the Latvian cello band Melo-M. Contrary to popular belief, the melodic death metal band Children of Bodom has never done a cover version of the song - the wrongly credited versions are usually those by Norther and Dispatched. cite web |url= |title=Children Of Bodom Hate Crew Official Website |accessdate=2008-06-09 |format= |work ]

On June 25 2008, Hump Day Dance Party hosts Rev. Flavor and Dr. Drase played two hours of versions of "The Final Countdown" in celebration of their last radio show broadcast on WLUW 88.7 FM Chicago. For the occasion they asked bands to contribute covers of the song. Versions played that night included various 8-bit (music) covers, "The Final Crackdown" by Drop the Lime, a version translated into Polish and done by the group J+J+J, a live beatbox/freestyle rap version with Chicago rapper Sharkula & Yea Big, a cover by the band Dr. Murderer, a freestyle version done by Treasure Mammal live from his car, a version by the band Autumn on Acid, a "sad" banjo version by Rick Franklin, and a re-edit mashup by Greek radio personality Steve Damien. The hosts closed out the show with a live version played in-studio with a 10-person band including members of the Blue Ribbon Glee Club & the Hidden Mitten.

The Final Countdown 2000

Infobox Single
Name = The Final Countdown 2000

Artist = Europe
from Album = 1982–2000
B-side = "The Final Countdown" (Original Radio Edit)
Released = December 7, 1999
Format = CD single, 12" single
Recorded =
Genre = Eurodance
Length = 3:47
Label = Epic
Writer = Joey Tempest
Producer = Brian Rawling, Gary Miller
Certification =
Last single = "Sweet Love Child"
This single = "The Final Countdown 2000"
Next single = "Got to Have Faith"
Misc =
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 single release caused minor controversy as the first pressing had a misprint that left out the first "o" in "Countdown". The story was confirmed by Tempest during an interview with the American rock radio show "The Tour Bus".cite web |url= |title=Audio Interview |accessdate=2008-04-15 |format= |work=The Tour Bus ]


*Joey Tempestvocals
*John Norumguitars
*John Levénbass guitar
*Mic Michaelikeyboards
*Ian Hauglanddrums

Chart positions


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