JOEY TEMPEST: How IRON MAIDEN Influenced EUROPE In Band's Early Years

December 30, 2023

In a recent interview with BBC Radio Manchester's Mike Sweeney, EUROPE frontman Joey Tempest explained how British rock has been his greatest influence ever since he formed his first band, FORCE, with friend John Norum in their hometown of Upplands Väsby, Sweden in 1979. "We had Swedish bands, but we preferred to listen to English lyrics and English players," he said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). "And the experience in DEEP PURPLE's early stuff, how they mixed jazz, blues and everything and hard rock, and also what I find interesting about hard rock coming from the British Isles or anywhere in Ireland, there was a classical influence, there [were] classical pieces in there. So the European rock bands, in the DNA we have from classical composers, we brought it in. Even the song 'The Final Countdown' has got some classical elements. Even early EUROPE stuff, the very heavy progressive stuff had it and a lot of other artists from over here. It came a lot from the U.K."

He continued: "We went to see DEEP PURPLE on the 'Perfect Strangers' tour in '84. We went to see THIN LIZZY a lot, RAINBOW, WHITESNAKE. That was the best. For us, it was the bee's knees. It was that incredible. So we just went into rehearsal, said, 'We wanna be like them, we wanna tour like them.'

"When QUEEN started to crank it up and… It's hard to go back that far, but I have to say that IRON MAIDEN, even though maybe our music differs slightly, was very instrumental, because we're talking early '80s, and they were on the go. DEF LEPPARD was coming as well, but IRON MAIDEN was on the go, and we listened to those albums, even though our music didn't sound exactly the same, but they were instrumental," Tempest added. " They had the attitude, the melodies and they were just going for it, and we loved that as well."

More than a decade ago, Tempest said that when he wrote EUROPE's biggest hit, the aforementioned "The Final Countdown', he drew from two very different elements of British music: heavy metal and art rock.

"'The Final Countdown' has that very English galloping tempo," he said. "I took inspiration from IRON MAIDEN's 'Run To The Hills' and UFO's 'Lights Out'. And for the lyric, the story of the last days on Earth, I went back to David Bowie's 'Space Oddity'. That was the first single I ever got. Bowie's dream world was so fantastic."

Nearly 10 years ago, Tempest credited MAIDEN bassist Steve Harris with giving him "the best piece of advice" he has ever gotten. Joey told Classic Rock: "I remember bands like IRON MAIDEN and DEF LEPPARD opened the door for us. When we first went to Japan, IRON MAIDEN had already been there and paved the way for us without even knowing it. I met Steve Harris and we were talking about touring and people around the band, and I remember him saying to be prepared that we would have to part ways with old friends and colleagues down the road and fire people. It was strange advice, but it was very good. It was good to know that all bands go through that and you're not alone."

EUROPE recently released a new song titled "Hold Your Head Up". The track, which is described by the band as "a punchy uptempo rocker with reminiscent elements of early EUROPE," was recorded in August at Atlantis Studios in Stockholm with producer Klas Åhlund (GHOST, ROBYN) and was mixed by Stefan Glaumann (RAMMSTEIN, DEF LEPPARD),who also mixed EUROPE's "Secret Society" album.

"Hold Your Head Up" was made available to stream and download on September 29 across all reputable digital platforms, including Spotify, Apple, iTunes, Amazon Music, Deezer, Tidal, Pandora and YouTube Music.

EUROPE's twelfth studio album is expected to be recorded in 2024 and released in late 2024 or early 2025.

The "Hold Your Head Up" video offers a glimpse into the brand-new documentary that the band have been busy filming with producer/director Craig Hooper (DEEP PURPLE, SAXON) for Coolhead Productions simply titled "Europe - The Movie". The film will tell the story of the band, from formation until present day, telling of their rise to success in the mid-1980s, through hard times and heartache, to coming back in the millennium, and the current successes the band has achieved. This is set for release in early 2024.

EUROPE recently completed the "Time Capsule" European tour which included 21 concerts across Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Norway, Sweden, France, The Netherlands, and the U.K., including two nights at the famous London Palladium. These anniversary shows consisted of a career retrospective "evening with" performance featuring all the hits together with deep cuts and fan favorites from all of their 11 studio albums.

EUROPE's latest album, "Walk The Earth", was released in October 2017 via Hell & Back Recordings (Silver Lining Music). It was recorded at famed Abbey Road Studios in London with Grammy Award-winning producer Dave Cobb (RIVAL SONS, Shooter Jennings, Jason Isbell, Chris Stapleton).

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