Swedish hard rock veterans EUROPE are seen performing their timeless hit “The Final Countdown” in a funny Geico advertisement where an everyday office worker’s burrito is almost done in the microwave. Check out the commercial and behind-the-scenes footage from the making of the ad below.
It was late 1981, early 1982. Joey Tempest was a college student in his native Sweden when he used a borrowed keyboard to compose the haunting minor-key refrain that would one day make him a star.
“I wrote it late one night when I was just trying the keyboard out, and I saved it,” Tempest tells Geico.com about the instantly recognizable introduction to “The Final Countdown”, the iconic title track of the band’s third album and a number one hit in 25 countries in 1986.
It was while preparing to record EUROPE’s third album that his bandmates convinced him to write a song around the intro.
With its catchy synthesizers and gloriously bombastic sound, “The Final Countdown” is as much a throwback to the 1980s as leg warmers and designer jeans, despite being originally conceived as homage to David Bowie’s 1969 song “Space Oddity”.
In the 29 years since its debut, it has become a last-minute fixture in NBA and NHL arenas across the country, as well as a popular ringtone.
It has been featured in many TV shows and movies like “Pitch Perfect” and named the 66th best hard rock song ever by VH1.
On one memorable occasion, New Year’s Eve 1999, EUROPE — reunited for the first time in seven years — played the song before 500,000 people in Stockholm as part of Sweden’s Millennium celebration.
Geico is bringing the song back in the spotlight again, following other pop culture icons, including Dora The Explorer and SALT-N-PEPA, in Geico’s popular “It’s What You Do” campaign.
Currently touring in support of their 10th studio album, the punchy, hard-hitting “War Of Kings” — their fifth album since formally reuniting in 2004 — EUROPE is far from being portrayed as a nostalgia act, merely trading on past glories.
“We usually turn most of these things down, but this one was interesting,” says Tempest. “It’s going to be good for us—people can get reacquainted with us before we come on tour.”
EUROPE already trekked through the U.S. East Coast in the spring — its first time playing before American audiences in nearly a decade — and plans to return for a series of more dates early next year.
The old joke among concertgoers is that it’s usually time to head to the bathroom or the concession stand when bands announce, “We’d like to play you something from our new album.” EUROPE is playing four or five new songs on the current tour, but Tempest says they’re being greeted enthusiastically, even inspiring sing-alongs in some venues, as “War Of Kings” has garnered largely positive reviews in the rock press.
Tempest says there are no immediate plans to stop recording or touring. “We have talked about doing five or 10 more years and then we’ll talk about it again, [but] we don’t have a stop in mind,” he says. “We just want to be on the journey as long as we can. We’re enjoying it at the moment.”