The Europe story!
The early years
The story about Europe starts in the beginning of 1978 when they called themselves "WC". It was five guys from Upplands-Väsby who played covers of classic rock tunes. The line-up featuredJohn Norum, Peter Olsson, Tony Reno, Micke Kling and Jan-Erik Bäckström. Micke and Jan-Erik left and the rest continued as a trio but was lacking a good singer as John handled the vocals. Another local band called "Roxanne" in which Joey sang had just that. Joey changed band and they were renamed "Force" taken from UFO's album "Force it". Joey wrote the music including "Rock on" which on the debut album is more known as "Farewell".
In 1981 Peter decides to quit and the search for a new bass player starts. Meanwhile a demo is recorded where Joey handles the bass. A rainy night Norum visits John Levén to convince him to give up the guitar to become their new bass player. As John realized he wasn't meant to be a guitarist he accepts the offer.
Levén gets an offer from Yngve Malmsten who was just about to record a single for CBS, this is April 1981. John trades places with Marcel Jacob (R.I.P). Neither Marcel or John feels comfortable with their situations and simply change places again.
In early 1982 Thomas Erdtman's newly started company Hot Records together with the evening tabloid Aftonbladet (Expressen turned down the offer) announced a competition for rock bands. The contest wasn't taken seriously by the guys, but recorded a demo of the following songs, "The king will return", "Seven doors hotel", "Rock on", "Children of this time" and "Paradize bay". Even though they didn't think it sounded well Anita Katila, Joey's girlfriend at the time sent the tape and they were selected. A total of 485 acts did 80 events throughout the country and in Solna contest "Force" changed the band name to Europe and went on to quarter final. Among the defeated bands were Ian's "Trilogy". For some gigs John Levén had to go AWOL (Absent without leave) as he was doing military service. At the final on december 12 Thomas Erdtman announced Joey's stage name and the night went into celebration mode as the band took a grand slam by awards for Best singer, Best guitarist and Best band. A LP recording for Hot Records was 1st prize.
1983 kicks off with a recording, but suffers from bad sound mostly because of hard rock was a new deal for producers and sound engineers at that time. In comparison of the first release on Hot and the second on Epic a difference can be heard. The album is simply called "Europe". In the spring a 25 gig tour is completed and "Europe" gets a Japanese release and thanks to the single "Seven doors hotel" is a instant hit. A video for "In the future to come" was recorded, but according to unconfirmed sources it was only shown once on Japanese TV.
Wings Of Tomorrow
In late 1983 Europe entered the Polar studio to record what became to be titled "Wings of tomorrow". Prior to Europe big names such as ABBA, Scorpions and no other than Led Zeppelin had been working there. The keyboard parts are handled by Joey. The album was released February 24th 1984, adjacent to that Joey and Thomas went to Japan for promotion. When back in Sweden a tour took place to support the album, now with Mic Michaeli at the keys since Joey felt restrained as a singer to stand still by the keyboards. The tour started in Mjölby at the end of April and during midsummer they went abroad for the very first time to play in Finland. On the way home Mic is asked to join the band as a full-time member. Back home Tony gets kicked out of the band since they don't think he measure up any more, while everyone else works hard for the future. After the summer Ian Haugland is recruited for the rest of the "Wings... tour". A few new songs are tested, incl. "Rock the night" and "Ninja" at the time with a slightly different lyrics than on the final album version.
The Swedish movie director Staffan Hildebrand is working on a project for LO (Swedish Trade Union Confederation) and he wants Europe to be part of it. The 30 minute movie named "On the loose" is shown to Junior high to enlighten kids to join the union when they start working. The live performance is shot in Dufveholmshallen in Katrineholm february 20, 1985. During the winter "Rock the night" is recorded for an EP as it's the highlight of the movie. The recording takes place February 13-16th when Thomas returns from New York with a contract for 10 albums on EPIC. With "Rock the night" finished Joey continued on his own with "On the loose" and "Broken dreams". The release got enormous response, the Swedes loved Europe so the band decides to go on a big tour and this time around the major hockey arenas around Sweden were sieged. It was named "On the loose tour" and was the largest ever to take place in Sweden.
The Final Countdown
The spring of ´85 was oncoming and it was time to think about a new album. Demo tapes were sent to various producers, but they got rejected. Among them Bruce Fairbairn who said "there isn't a single hit among these songs". One of them being "The final countdown". During the summer Joey is asked to write a ballad for Scorpions, which he does, but no-one from Germany ever returned and the song "One of a kind" ended up on Tone Norum's debut which was recorded later that summer. Joey was the main man during the recordings with some instrumental help from fellow band members.
Before leaving for Zürich and the Power-play studio to record "The final countdown" Joey writes a song for "Swedish Metal Aid", a project to benefit the need in Ethiopia. The song is called "Give a helpin´ hand". The session is rapid and smooth, but then the unthinkable happens, and Joey loses his voice. Everything is done but the vocals so he returns back home to Stockholm to recuperate.
When starting to feel better he participates in a comedic TV-show "Nöjesmassakern" (Massacre of pleasure). Together with everyone in the Swedish hard rock business he performs "Give a helpin´ hand" with a fever of 38°C (100.4°F). Soundtrade studio was entered to continue the recording but the voice only held for the title track. After more rest he travelled to Florida where "Ninja" is recorded but it didn't go well. Erdtman takes the two recorded songs to CBS to ask for some more time and patience. The reply is surprisingly good, the executive is blown away and doesn't mind spending another $100.000 on that guy.
Back home Joey starts to feel better and hires a vocal coach who helps him through. Going to San Francisco in the end of February he nails 9 songs in 10 days. The single became an instant hit and a Swedish tour commence in Gävle on April 29. At that time the album wasn't released because the cover wasn't ready. At the release on May 26 it got great reviews. The cover was sadly considered a disaster, but it was already delayed too much so there was nothing to do. On the final gig in Solnahallen SVT (Swedish TV) recorded the show for a broadcast during the autumn. In July "The final countdown" reaches #1 in Holland and european conquest begins. The single is eventually #1 in 26 countries, sold in more than 7 million copies around the world to date.
When doing 6 gigs in Japan in early September John Norum decides to quit. He is persuaded to continue during the autumn tour in Sweden and some promotion appearances in Europe.
Kee Marcello was asked to replace him, but refused. That answer is not accepted and with the help of a girlfriend to Kee he is talked into sense and says finally yes. His stage debut takes place in Germany 1987 at Peter's Popshow in front 16.000 people. They open the concert by kicking down a fake wall made of polystyrene. At the end of the year the album had nearly sold 2 million copies and on the important U.K market the single reaches #1 on November 2 in England.
A european tour takes place between January 24th and March 12. At Hammersmith Odeon in London a live concert video is shot and when they start the North American tour in San Francisco on April 15th both the single for The Final Countdown and the album is at #8 on the Billboard chart. To have time for all the commercial appearances in between gigs they fly by private jet hired by the record company. During their first visit on US soil SVT(Swedish Television) records a documentary called "Europe in America" which can be found on VHS and in Japan on laser disc. After a successful sold-out tour the guys return home with a platinum album for over 1 million sold copies of "The Final Countdown".
Out Of This World
We read march 1988 in our calendar and the work with the new album is in full swing. The single "Superstitious" is released during the summer and went straight to number #1 in Sweden ahead of Roxette's "Dressed for success". Meanwhile the band tours USA as special guests to Def Leppard on their "Hysteria" tour which is a major success. Sweden had to wait as the competition was too strong from bands like Bon Jovi, Kiss, Scorpions and Iron Maiden. While in New York a video was recorded at a castle to promote "Superstitious". It reaches number #38 before it plunges. In the fall a video for "Open your heart" is recorded in London and at the end of the year they start an Asian tour with a benefit gig in Bombay, India is first up. In Japan a live video for "Let the good times rock" is shot.
The European premiere took place in Malmö, Sweden on January 10. The tour was nothing but a big success with sold out arenas wherever they went. Bon Jovi's record was wiped clean when 10.500 dedicated fans came to see their idols in Scandinavium, Gothenburg. The journey went on by visits in Norway, Finland, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, Austria, Spain, Italy, England, The Netherlands, Ireland, Belgium and ended in the French city of Lille on April 6.
Prisoners In Paradise
During the summer of ´89 (not ´69 ;-)) the guys start to rehearse songs for a new album, and in the middle of it all they are asked to play Milton Keynes Festival just outside of London. They accepted without hesitation. Skid Row kicks off continued by Vixen followed by Europe and Bon Jovi ends it all. New songs like "Yesterday's news", Seventh sign", "Wild child" and "Give a little bit of lovin´" where tried on the audience. The "Kerrang" review of the gig ends....louder than Motörhead...you betcha! Back in L.A they perform a club gig at the legendary The Whiskey, by using the name "Le Baron Boys" taken from the cars provided during their stay in California.
In february 1990 they pack their gear for the annual festival in Viña del Mar, Chile. They open on the fifth day but closes the whole enchilada on day six which is also TV broadcasted. When the recording starts John puts down his bass in 2 days and Ian lays the drums in only 13 hours and returns to his family in Sweden. Unfortunately the record company doesn't believe there is a hit among the songs and the demand is clear, give us a new "countdown" or the album won't be released.
Well into 1991 the record company is pleased with the results and "Prisoners in paradise" is considered a new "countdown" and the album see's the light of day on September 23. It takes a great leap into the Swedish chart as a newcomer on #9. On New Year's Eve Europe play at Tokyo dome as special guest to Metallica with Tesla and Thunder as opening acts. 30.000 people watch the show which actually is called "The final countdown".
The Prisoners in paradise tour kicks off in Helsinki, Finland on January 7 and ends in Portsmouth, England at the end of March. The guys are all tired from touring and decide to take an undetermined break, which almost became permanent. More about that later.
The 90's after the break
During 1993 Joey and Thomas Witt compile the compilation cd "1982-1992". The compilation contains a couple of unreleased songs as well, where "Yesterday's news" is to be considered a fan favourite these days. They dedicate the album to their fans all over the world. After that he started to work on a solo career. Ian re-groups his old band "Trilogy" while Mic does some producing. John plays on several albums and Kee picks up a solo career among other engagements. This and more can be found under each member's info.
End of the millennium
Just days after Christmas 1999 Joey, John, Mic, John, Ian and Kee got together in a rehearsal room to prepare for THE gig of the millennium, On new years eve all six members of the band celebrated the end of the millennium by performing "Rock the night" and "The final countdown" in front of more than half a million people in Stockholm, Sweden. The short and very cold (-15°C) gig took place on a floating barge in the centre by Skeppsholmen, just opposite of the royal castle. By the docks people were celebrating the party of the century.
Final wordsWhen we thought this was "Just the beginning" of an era that was supposed to take us "Out of this world" the guy´s closed the "Seven doors hotel" that we enjoyed. Is this "The final countdown"? We hope not. No one knows what's "In the future to come", so now we have to live on "Memories". Everybody out there, the "Girl from Lebanon" and everyone in our "Homeland" just "Open your heart" because maybe "Tomorrow" we can be "Halfway to heaven". "Let the good times rock the night" as the "Time has come" for us to "Scream of anger". We all hope that "The king will return" so don't stay "On the loose". Some "Words of wisdom" from Joey Tempest ...."and remember, nothing is constant....except change".
THE END ?
Beginning of the new millennium
On october 2nd 2003 Europe goes public and officially states that the band is back. The line-up is reversed and John Norum is back and replaces Kee who had other obligations. A collection CD and a DVD is also rumoured. Both which landed in the shops March 3rd 2004. "Rock the night - The very best of Europe" is the title for a double cd and the DVD is named "Rock the night - the video collection" which besides 10 single videos contains interviews and live performances between 1982 and 1988.
Europe are back
In the middle of March 2004 Europe went into the studio to record a new album, and after 40 days "Start from the dark" was completed. The "The final countdown" producer Kevin Elson returned for duty on this recording. A summer tour kicks off in Norway on June 11, but the bands climax this year is a headline gig at Sweden Rock Festival in front of 25.000 people that have come from far and wide. Australia must be considered to be the most remote place that a fan has travelled from, which took 36 hours. The setlist can easily be taken from a "Greatest hits" album and the crowd loved it from the start, including the new title track of the upcoming album. It's a summer festival tour and northern Europe is covered with much joy for the fans.
Start From The Dark
September 22, 2004 is a great day for Europe and particularly John Norum. The band participates in the TV-show called "TV-Huset", the album "Start from the dark" is released and John becomes a father to Jake Thomas Norum Meldrum. The tour kicks off in october and the newly built arena Cloetta Center in Linköping holds the premiere. In Stockholm they play at a sold out Hovet, approx. 8.000 people. The european tour is crowned with a live video recording at the classic Hammersmith Apollo in London on november 15. The same arena where they recorded TFC World Tour back in 1987. The tour re-starts in Tokyo, Japan who were among the first to discover the band in 1983. Back in the west they visit Russia and the U.S where they haven't played since 1988, also Canada gets it's first visit and they play live in Toronto for the very first time. Scotland and England is also covered before a few summer festivals in Europe end the tour. A gig at Faroe Island is the most odd place this tour. The DVD "Live from the dark" is released just in time for the Christmas shopping 2005.
The Secret Of The Society
The beginning of 2006 is a period of writing new material, which will end up on the album "Secret Society". The rehearsal took place in Backyard Babies Studio. The album was recorded at Kingside Studios and mixed by Stefan Glaumann at Toytown Studios in Stockholm. The mixing was handled at Sterling Sound in New York by no other than legendary George Marino. The album cover is done by Stormstudios whose work are famous for album covers such as Black Sabbath, Yes, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyds "Dark Side Of The Moon". The characteristic Europe logo is left out which really makes up for the name Secret Society, where a lonely man is facing the corner of a room with lots of arms stretching at him through the wall, very secret indeed.
The album is released on October 25th and the Nordic tour kicks off the day after in Lund, Sweden. This tour sees more dates in Sweden and smaller cities get the chance to see Europe on their home turf. They also take the opportunity to combine the evening gigs with signing sessions in the afternoon the same day. Except for the Swedish cities the capitals in Finland, Norway and Denmark are covered before November ends. The European leg of the tour starts in the middle of January 2007 where they for the first time visit Albania. They work their way through Europe and a handful of Japanese gigs in the spring and then return for the European summer festivals. The summer ends in Rättvik, Sweden for two shows at the spectacular arena "Dalhalla" which is an old quarry. 12 selected tracks can be purchased from the official MP3 store, simply called "Dalhalla Downloads ´07". A New Year's Eve concert is held in Sibiu, Romania.
Europe are getting a very good start in the year 2008, when receiving the prize for "Best live act" at the Swedish Metal Awards. They also perform a semi-acoustic set at the classic venue "Nalen" in Stockholm. The show is broadcasted live on the web and later released on a live CD and a live DVD called "Almost Unplugged". It's also aired on Swedish TV in January 2010. Again some summer festivals are done where two might be more memorable than others, namely special guests for Deep Purple. At Öja slottsruin in Ystad John Norum got to play "Smoke on the water" together with the headliners.
We take a Last Look At Eden
In the fall of 2008 the pre-production starts for the upcoming album, and the actual recording of "Last look at Eden" began on December 8 in Bohus Studios in Kungälv, just a few miles north of Gothenburg city. Producer Tobias Lindell is behind the knobs and buttons for this session, and the main part is done before Christmas. The album is dedicated to Michelle Meldrum (R.I.P) who tragically past away in May 2008, and the song "In my time" is in memorium to her.
They carry out 3 gigs in Chile in the spring of 2009, and a new song called "Mojito girl" is tested on the audience to much appreciation. Mother earth rocked harder than the band this time when they experienced an earthquake, and poor Mic knocked his head on the bedside table.
The title track "Last look at Eden" is released as a single in the nick of time before their performance at Sweden Rock Festival. The gig is considered as one of the best, perhaps THE best on this years festival and saw more people in the audience than the iconic band "Heaven & Hell" where people actually left during the show disappointed. The summer festival tour is crowned by two gigs, one in the heart of Gothenburg, Sweden where approx. 100,000 people came to see them for a free outdoor show and one as headliners at Bloodstock Open Air in Derbyshire, England. A lot of disappointment had been spilled on the festivals forum regarding Europe headlining a metal festival, but they rocked the socks of the audience and gained much praise for the show.
The first week of the album release it's the most sold album in Sweden, and therefore top of the sales chart. After 17 years and 5 months Europe re-enters "Tracks" on October 3, at #16 on the Swedish chart with "New love in town". The chart is hosted on national radio, SR P3. They stay in top 20 for 9 weeks and peaks at #6. Last time on the chart was in May 1992, which marks a record since no other artist have been away for so long. As of October 23, 2009 "Last Look At Eden" is certified with gold by IFPI cert.nr:3975.
In November they are invited to play at Classic Rock Magazine's annual party at Relentless Garage, and the critics claim that Europe is better than ever. After this they embark on a support act tour with Swiss rockers Gotthard. Too much annoyance for Gotthard fans Europe kicks ass every night with crystal clear sound, but Europe fans are obviously very pleased, so are the band.
The year ends with two Christmas shows in Gothenburg and Stockholm, Sweden.
The European tour starts in Amsterdam on January 17, 2010 infront of a sold-out Paradiso. The audience response is phenomenal and gives the band a real energy boost for the upcoming shows. Other sold-out shows on the tour include Paris, Zlin, Manchester and the second night in Tokyo. When in the far-east they visit Taiwan for the first time in 20 years to much joy for the ecstatic audience.
The song "Last look at Eden" is featured in Volvo's commercial spots for the all-new S60, "The collaboration was professional and quick and the result terrific. ‘Last Look at Eden' fits perfectly," says Joey Tempest.
More to come.....as the story continues....and history is in the making.