In Upplands-Vasby, a suburb of Stockholm, Joe Tempest (vocals), John Norum (guitar) and John Leven (bass) founded a band called Force in 1979. After winning a national talent contest, they recorded two Rush-influenced albums for the local market before signing to 'Epic' in 1986. Norum left and Kee Marcello (ex-Easy Action; guitar), Michael Michaeli (keyboards) and Ian Haughland (drums) joined the now re-named group Europe.
Featuring English lyrics, their first album, the self-titled, Europe (1983), was launched onto the world; a world at this time dominated by other Synth. laden ballad driven Pop Metal Rockers. The time, it appeared, was right for the likes of Europe. But their first album, as well as the follow-up, Wings Of Tomorrow (1984), failed to give them any high grades. It would be their third outing The Final Countdown (1986) that put them on the map, for it included the hits Carrie and The Final Countdown (which achieved a U.K. 1 charting as their first 45 single and the album got a 9 overall, with an even 8 respectively in the U.S.). The track Rock The Night helped as well. The Final Countdown track and single would be their biggest charter by achieving triple platinum, but in doing so it went beyond their ability for it set a standard they could not maintain there-after. In the mean time their success was supported by heavy touring worldwide, giving them huge support in the U.S. and Japan. The next album, Out Of This World (1988), pushed a new hit up the charts, Superstitious (34 U.K./31 U.S.), but the follow-up Prisoners Of Paradise (1991) sold poorly (despite a U.K. 61 charting). Joe Tempest soon after signed a solo deal with 'Polygram'. They were never able to duplicate their past success again and broke up soon after.
For the 2000 millennium celebrations, Europe was asked to do a concert in Stockholm on New Year's Eve 1999. That would be their first, and to date only, concert with both of their lead guitarists, since both John Norum and Kee Marcello had accepted the offer to play that evening with the rest of the group; they played Rock the Night and The Final Countdown.
Over the years, there were several reunion rumors, and on October 2, 2003 it was made official: Europe announced plans for a new album and world tour.
The big launch was in the summer of 2004 when they went on a festival tour through the European continent. The concert set-lists included the old hits, but also introduced the title track from Start from the Dark that would be released on September 22, 2004, the same day that John Norum became a father; the album featured a more modern sound compared to previous albums.
The seventh album, Secret Society arrived on October 26, 2006.
On January 26, 2008 Europe performed a semi-acoustic live concert at Nalen in Stockholm, calling the event Almost Unplugged. The band was accompanied by a string quartet and played reworked versions of its own songs, as well as cover versions of songs by bands that have influenced their sound throughout the years, like: Pink Floyd, UFO, Led Zeppelin and Thin Lizzy.
On July 21, 2009, bassist and former member of Force, Marcel Jacob, committed suicide; he was 45 years old.
The eighth studio album, Last Look at Eden, was released on September 9, 2009. The title track was released as a single previously in June; the band has described it as a modern retro rock album.
The next album album, Bag of Bones arrived on April 18, 2012.
Europe's tenth studio album, War of Kings was released on March 2, 2015 by 'UDR' Records. It was followed in March 2015 by a 14-date tour of the UK co-headlining with Black Star Riders, supported by The Amorettes.