Joey Tempest

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Joey Tempest
Tempest performing in 2018
Tempest performing in 2018
Background information
Birth nameRolf Magnus Joakim Larsson
Born (1963-08-19) 19 August 1963 (age 60)
Upplands Väsby, Stockholm, Sweden
GenresHeavy metal, hard rock, glam metal, country rock
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter, musician
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, keyboards
Years active1979–present
LabelsPolar, Polydor, Sonet, Epic
Member ofEurope

Rolf Magnus Joakim Larsson (born 19 August 1963), known professionally as Joey Tempest, is a Swedish singer based in England. He is best known as the lead vocalist of the rock band Europe.[1] He has written the band's great hits such as "The Final Countdown", "Rock the Night", "Cherokee" and "Carrie". He started performing in 1979.

Early life[edit]

Rolf Magnus Joakim Larsson was born in Stockholm, Sweden on 19 August 1963. When he was eight years old, he would sit in front of the television or radio with a tape recorder and try to capture songs from the UK or US that he liked and listen to them over and over again. He learned how to play the piano and a friend of his father's taught him three chords (A, D and E) on his sister's acoustic guitar.[2]

Larsson played football and ice hockey and competed in go-cart racing; he once came in fourth place in the Junior Cart Race, a Swedish championship. Like many of the other Europe members, Larsson grew up in Stockholm suburb Upplands Väsby. His biggest influences were Thin Lizzy and Led Zeppelin.[citation needed] During his teens, Larsson played in a number of bands such as Jet, Blazer, Made in Hong Kong and Roxanne. At that time, Larsson alternated between playing rhythm guitar and bass, in addition to lead vocals.



In 1979, Larsson settled in with a self-created stage name, "Joey Tempest", inspired by William Shakespeare's tragicomedy The Tempest as well as the song "Sparks of the Tempest" by US prog rock band Kansas. He formed the band Force with guitarist John Norum, bassist Peter Olsson and drummer Tony Reno.[3] Force immediately began building a reputation and a fanbase in the suburbs of Stockholm. In 1982, they changed their name to Europe and won the music competition Rock-SM. The first prize was a record deal with Hot Records.[3] With Tempest as the frontman, Europe released its self-titled debut studio album in 1983 and Wings of Tomorrow in 1984.

During the years with Europe, Tempest wrote numerous international big hits. "The Final Countdown" was the biggest; it topped the sales chart in 26 countries, sold 15 million copies, was played at the closing ceremony of the 1987 EuroBasket and 1988 Summer Olympics, became the musical theme of the millennium celebrations and a ringtone in hundreds of thousands of mobile phones across the world.[citation needed] After The Final Countdown, Europe released two more studio albums, namely Out of This World (1988) and Prisoners in Paradise (1991), before their final concert in March 1992. Europe ended their final tour in Portsmouth and did not perform together again until New Year's Eve, 1999 to 2000.

Solo career[edit]

Tempest in 2013

In 1995, Tempest's solo debut album, A Place to Call Home, was released.[1] He recalled it his "singer/songwriter album". The album, which was produced by Dan Sundquist, was recorded in Stockholm and London using Swedish musicians. Europe bandmate John Norum guest-starred on one of the tracks. Tempest also played guitar on the album. A Place to Call Home went platinum in Sweden and sold well internationally.

Later the same year, he commenced his first European tour as a solo artist. The following year, he was nominated for a "Best Swedish Artist" Grammy. Four singles were taken from the album, "A Place to Call Home", "Under the Influence", "We Come Alive" and "Don't Go Changing On Me".

Tempest's second solo album, Azalea Place, was released in 1997. The next solo album was recorded in Nashville by producer Richard Dodd, known for producing artists such as The Travelling Wilburys and Tom Petty. Where A Place To Call Home had Tempest writing all the material, the new album was written together with others. Among these were Chris Difford from Squeeze and Will Jennings. "Azalea Place was mostly written in the studio and was therefore more improvised and experimental", Tempest commented on the production.[citation needed] "The Match", "The One In The Glass" and "If I'd Only Known" were released as singles. "The Match" became one of the most played songs on Swedish radio and the album achieved gold status.

In the autumn of 2002, Tempest released his third solo album named after himself. The production team behind the album was "DeadMono", consisting of Malcolm Pardon and Fredrik Rinman. The team also worked with Eskobar, Lisa Miskovsky and Stakka Bo. Also collaborating on the album were Chris Difford, former Europe member Mic Michaeli and guitarist Adam Lamprell. The first session took place in Konk Studios, The Kinks old London studio, where Tempest jammed with English musicians, who had formerly played with Massive Attack. This session produced "Magnificent", "Kill For A Girl Like You" (B-side of the first single "Forgiven") and "Sometimes". Work continued in Stockholm, this time with Swedish musicians, including Mic Michaeli. "Superhuman" originated from this session. After that, Tempest kept on working with Adam Lamprell in a temporary studio in London.

Of his songwriting Tempest has said, "Dreamless and Magnificent have a lot of London in them. Losers is influenced by both London and Dublin. Living there can be very intense, almost chaotic. They're tough cities and I'd never have written the lyrics I did without living there."[citation needed] Some lyrics can also be related to his homeland, reflections on living abroad and learning to live with new people.

Resurrection of Europe[edit]

Nearly twelve years after disbanding, Europe announced a comeback with the same lineup that made The Final Countdown. In 2004, they released their sixth studio album, Start from the Dark. The seventh, Secret Society, followed in 2006, then Last Look at Eden in 2009, Bag of Bones in 2012, War of Kings in 2015 and Walk the Earth in 2017.


Tempest played the keyboards on the first two Europe albums before the band decided to recruit keyboardist Mic Michaeli in April 1984.[3] A couple of years earlier, Tempest had borrowed a keyboard from Michaeli and used it to compose the main keyboard hook of the song "The Final Countdown".[3] After a jam session in 1985, Michaeli and Tempest co-wrote the ballad "Carrie".[3] Later that year, Tempest wrote the soundtrack for the Swedish film On the Loose, as well as the song "Give a Helping Hand" for the benefit project Swedish Metal Aid, in the spirit of Band Aid.[4] The song was produced by future Europe bandmate Kee Marcello.[3] In 1986 Tempest wrote and produced the album One of a Kind for Tone Norum, John Norum's younger sister.[3] Tempest also collaborated with John Norum on the single "We Will Be Strong" from Norum's album Face the Truth in 1992. This was Tempest and Norum's first collaboration since Norum left Europe in November 1986.[3]

After Europe went on hiatus in 1992, Tempest released three solo albums.[5] The first album, A Place to Call Home featured a guest appearance from John Norum on the song "Right to Respect". Several songs on the third album, Joey Tempest, were co-written by Mic Michaeli.

Personal life[edit]

Tempest lives in London with his wife Lisa Worthington and sons James Joakim[6] and Jack Johnston[7] Larsson. Tempest talked to Bruce Dickinson about his decision to live in London on the latter's BBC 6 Music radio show in 2009.[8] He does not have any social media pages apart from the official ones for Europe listed on their website.[9]

Asked in 2009, by BBC's Liam Allen, "Are you ever embarrassed by some of the hairstyles and clothes you wore back in the day?", Tempest replied, "Not really, we were very young, we were MTV generation – we were one of the biggest bands on MTV. I just wanted to look like Robert Plant, to be honest."[10]


Tempest performing in 2018

Solo studio albums[edit]

Studio albums with Europe[edit]


  1. ^ a b Colin Larkin, ed. (1999). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Heavy Rock (First ed.). Virgin Books. p. 444. ISBN 0-7535-0257-7.
  2. ^ Paul Stenning (24 November 2013). Success – By Those Who've Made It. Pg.114,115. In Flight Books. ISBN 978-1628475869.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h 1982-1992 (CD booklet). Europe. Epic Records. 1993. EPC 473589-1.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  4. ^ sv:Swedish Metal Aid Swedish Metal Aid. Retrieved 12 December 2018
  5. ^ " – Fireworks Magazine: Issue 18". Archived from the original on 14 December 2007. Retrieved 15 April 2008.
  6. ^ "Joey Tempest and wife welcome a son". People. 22 March 2012. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
  7. ^ "Dubbel bebislycka för Europe". 4 March 2014. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
  8. ^ "Bruce Dickinson Friday Rock Show: 11/09/2009". BBC Online. BBC. Retrieved 22 January 2017.
  9. ^ "The Official EUROPE Website". Europetheband.Com. Archived from the original on 22 September 2014. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
  10. ^ Allen, Liam (15 September 2009). "Talking Shop: Europe's Joey Tempest". BBC News Online. BBC. Retrieved 22 January 2017.

External links[edit]