EUROPE – Rock the Night: The Very Best of Europe

EUROPE - Rock the Night: The Very Best of Europe


Release date: March 3, 2004

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Can you think of any bands from the times of big fluffy hair back in the Eighties that hasn’t reformed by now? Sure there are a few left, but did any of those bands that just crossed your mind have any impact or significance? Probably not. The Swedish Hard Rockers called Europe (with a Norwegian guitar player, I may stress, for at least for the first three records) must be the only one left – so when they announced their next chapter, the circle is now pretty much complete, dare I say. Did we miss them? Are they still capable of making great music, or is this comeback just another hit ’n’ run to smell the old flavor of the green bills?

Listening to this compilation CD, a double treat with more than 2 hours of music, only released in Scandinavia as far as I know – yes indeed, Europe has been missed, and I am first in line to welcome their return. Whether or not they still can make good records and be at least as significant and relevant as needed, that’s “in the future to come”, to quote one of their earlier songs. And their motives? Who cares … with the Swedish tax system in mind, these guys deserve all they can get.

Europe released five studio records in their ten years of existence, and given that the band members themselves had a hand in the selection here, they still stand behind each release. You find a solid dose of songs even from the first two records (some still hail 1984’s Wings Of Tomorrow as their best work, but it was very “cool” by the diehard metal fans to make that claim when the band made it big), and, of course, the barrier breaking massive success The Final Countdown is represented by, amongst others, its title track, and hit singles “Rock The Night” and “Carrie”. (Why “Ninja” and “Love Chaser” are left out is beyond me though …)

1986 was not only the year when Europe hit the jackpot, it was also the year they also parted ways with their eminent guitar player, John Norum, who went on to form a solo project (where the first single, “Love Is Meant To Last Forever”, simply was a remake of the song that started the whirlwind). Enter Kee Marcello, still one of the genres most underrated players, and the band enjoyed decent success with Out Of This World, an album that, in my always very humble opinion, saw the band at quite a developing stage. Europe was (and maybe still is) a band that got better and better every year, but Out Of This World was a step back. Maybe they didn’t know what to do after The Final Countdown, or maybe they needed more time to implement Marcello as a band member and co-writer? The reunion, one of the most tasteless words these days I might add, sees Norum back in business, by the way.

A world tour and a good year later, Europe made its final attempt with Prisoners In Paradise (Swedish tax system again?) in 1991, an album where the band chemistry reached the peak and the songwriting was more like a band effort than ever. It’s not easy to understand why Prisoners… in fact is the best represented album on Rock The Night…. It might come as a surprise to the people who pick up these discs at their local gas station, that the boys went on and delivered a more stellar record even after Joey Tempest’s girly bedroom wall-world domination in 1986.

All in all, Rock The Night…is perhaps a “best of”, but perhaps it’s really more of an “essentials with a few bonuses” CD. I mean, though all the material is top notch from a melodic rocker’s point of view, a “best of” would be narrowed down to a single record with 16 tracks, not 32. What Rock The Night… is, is a reminder – a strong one – about a great band that had an impact on the music scene, by a band that deserves its own chapter when the musical history book is written, who had an influence over a whole generation of fans as well as other musicians. Let the good times rock.


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