John Norum Admits Initially Refusing To Put ‘The Final Countdown’ On The Europe Album
Bands often experience certain turning points in their careers, and their decisions at that moment affect the band’s entire musical journey. John Norum once made such a decision for Europe regarding ‘The Final Countdown,’ the song that many people would recognize immediately when they hear its melody. According to what he said in an interview with VW Music, although the song was eventually released, he initially considered not including it in the album.
“When I first heard the demo, it was about six minutes long,” said the musician, remembering his first impression of the song. “I was very much into heavy hard rock and heavy guitars – still am – and I was like, ‘We can’t put this song on the album. There’s no way. Just listen to the keyboard intro; this is too poppy.’ I was like, ‘Are we becoming Depeche Mode?’ Even though I like them a lot, I hated them in the ’80s, but I like them now.”
He continued, “So, I wasn’t very positive in the beginning, but when we recorded it, we had a lot of fun, and all of the other guys wanted to do the song, so I said, ‘Why not?’ And the solo came out great; I’m thrilled with the way the solo came out. It became a classic, and it’s a lot of fun to play live; you see the people going crazy and jumping up and down. I like the song ‘The Final Countdown’ more today than I did when we recorded it in the ’80s.”
‘The Final Countdown’ actually has a complicated journey. It was initially written as a concert opener, but nothing more than that. Although the band members had a lot of fun playing it, they didn’t consider including this song on the album from the beginning. A record that wouldn’t even have a place on the album later became the title of their third album and was released as their first single in 1986.
It was a little further from the rock line they wanted to follow, closer to pop tunes, but it was fun to play and listen to. Indeed, the song appealed to a much wider audience than their other tracks and has remained mainstream for many years. It was featured on many television programs, sporting events, or any occasion with a crowd. It is still quite possible to hear this song at any sporting event, competition, or award ceremony.