The Final Countdown (song)
|"The Final Countdown"|
|Single by Europe|
|from the album The Final Countdown|
|Released||14 February 1986|
|Format||CD single, 7" single, 12" single|
|Genre||Rock, Synthrock, pop rock|
|Length||5:09 (Album Version)
4:03 (Radio Edit)
|Europe singles chronology|
"The Final Countdown" is a song by the Swedish band Europe, released in 1986. Written by Joey Tempest, it was the first single from the band's third studio album which was also named The Final Countdown. The song reached No. 1 in 25 countries, including the United Kingdom, and was certified gold in the United Kingdom in 1986. In the United States the song peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 and 18 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.
The song is in the key of F-sharp minor while the guitar solo is in B minor.
Origin and recording 
The song was based on a keyboard riff that Joey Tempest had written as early as 1981–82, on a Korg Polysix keyboard he borrowed from keyboardist Mic Michaeli. In 1985, bassist John Levén suggested that Tempest should write a song based on that riff. Tempest recorded a demo version of the song and played it for the other band members. At first the members expressed mixed reactions to it. "When I first heard the synth intro to 'The Final Countdown', my reaction was: 'No, this is nuts. We just can't use this,'" guitarist John Norum said, "Thank God they didn't listen to me." "Some of the guys in the band thought it was too different for a rock band," Tempest said, "But in the end I fought hard to make sure it got used."
The song's lyrics were inspired by David Bowie's song "Space Oddity". 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. "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. "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.
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."
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 as well as 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's next hit was "Superstitious," which achieved a higher chart position on the Mainstream Rock Tracks.
In Canada, the song reached the top ten on the Canadian Singles Chart, peaking at #5 and becaming the band's highest charting song in that country. "The Final Countdown" reached the UK Top 3, eventually spending two weeks at the top of the UK Singles Chart in December, and was the only single from the album that charted in the UK top 20. "The Final Countdown" reached number 1 in 25 countries, including France, Germany, Ireland, Sweden and Italy.
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. It was also frequently used 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 was 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 associated with both the introductions of the Detroit Pistons at their home games at The Palace of Auburn Hills as well as 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). It has been used as the opening theme for Henry Green's weekly radio show "Radio Therapy" on WQLT for several years and continues to see widespread airplay on similar Classic Hits and Classic Rock radio stations. On The Singing Bee, it was used preceding the final round, called "The Final Countdown." The song has been used in the video games SingStar '80s, Saints Row 2, Lego Rock Band and Just Dance 4. In 2010, the song was used in trailers for the third series of the BBC One television drama Ashes to Ashes, which is set in the 1980s. Radio DJ Benny Bashan on Israel's Galei Tzahal station has a daily portion of his show called "The greatest song ever, chosen by people who think that The Final Countdown is the greatest song ever". Listeners are invited to call in and vote for their favorite song, with the only qualifier being that they must be fans of The Final Countdown.
The song was named the 66th best hard rock song of all time by VH1. Blender included it as the 27th worst song ever, and both VH1 and Blender included it at 16 on the list of the "Most Awesomely Bad Songs...Ever".
Music video 
The video, directed by the acclaimed Nick Morris, contains footage from two concerts the band did at Solnahallen in Solna, Sweden on 26 and 27 May 1986, as well as some extra footage filmed at the sound checks for those concerts.
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 31 December 1999, as part of the Millennium celebrations, as it was the first, and to date only, Europe performance with both of the band's lead guitarists, the original guitarist John Norum and his replacement, Kee Marcello.
Cover versions 
The song has been covered by various artists; including After Forever, Dannii Minogue, Dispatched, Freezepop, Furillo, Geoff Downes, Grimethorpe Colliery Band, Immolation, Leif Garrett, London Symphony Orchestra, Melo-M, Norther, Gigi D'Agostino, Stone, The Delegates, The Protomen, Toy Dolls, and Vision Divine. Slovenian avant-garde group Laibach made a rework of the song for their NATO album, they also recorded a promo clip. 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. In an episode of Never Mind the Buzzcocks in 2008, Bill Bailey and his team mate tried to play "Back to Black" by Amy Winehouse to Myleene Klass in the Intros Round, though they deliberately shouted out "It's the final countdown!" in the song to confuse everyone on the show.
On 25 June 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, and the Maybenauts.
British band Eskimo Disco recorded a cover used in the 2009 film Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel.
A cover by a band called Deep Sunshine has brought an additional notoriety to the song : Deep Sunshine's live performance was captured on video and later became a variation of a Rickroll on Fark.com, receiving over 1 million views on YouTube. The video has been entitled "Worst cover ever" on YouTube, its success stemming for its lack of artistic value.
Pop culture 
The stage theme of Infinity Mijinion in Mega Man X6 is inspired by the song.
"The Final Countdown" is used as the entrance anthem for the home games of the French football team AJ Auxerre.
In 2009, Virgin Trains used this song in an advert to promote their services.
The song is copied in the Bollywood movie Maine Pyar Kiya
Sales certifications 
|Canada (Music Canada)||Gold||50,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Gold||500,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone
"The Final Countdown 2000" 
|"The Final Countdown 2000"|
|Single by Europe|
|from the album 1982–2000|
|B-side||"The Final Countdown" (Original Radio Edit)|
|Released||7 December 1999|
|Format||CD single, 12" single|
|Producer||Brian Rawling, Gary Miller|
|Europe singles chronology|
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," spelling the word "Cuntdown." The story was confirmed by Tempest during an interview with the American rock radio show The Tour Bus. The band's reaction to the remix was less than enthusiastic. "That remix was a disaster," drummer Ian Haugland said, "I wouldn't pass water on it if it was on fire!"
- Joey Tempest − vocals
- John Norum − guitars
- John Levén − bass guitar
- Mic Michaeli − keyboards
- Ian Haugland − drums
Chart positions 
|1986||French Singles Chart||1|||
|German Singles Chart||1|||
|Irish Singles Chart||1|||
|Dutch Top 40||1|||
|Spanish Singles Chart||1|
|Swedish Singles Chart||1|||
|Swiss Singles Chart||1|||
|UK Singles Chart||1|||
|Italian Singles Chart||1|||
|Norwegian Singles Chart||4|||
|Billboard Hot 100||8|||
|Mainstream Rock Tracks||18|||
|2000||Swedish Singles Chart||6|||
|Finnish Singles Chart||12|||
|Norwegian Singles Chart||12|||
|Australian Singles Chart||33|||
|German Singles Chart||35|||
|UK Singles Chart||36|||
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"Ève lève-toi" by Julie Pietri
|French (SNEP) number one single
8 November - 27 December 1986
"T'en va pas" by Elsa Lunghini
"Take My Breath Away" by Berlin
|UK number one single
30 November 1986
"Caravan of Love" by The Housemartins