Europe’s 1986 global hard rock hit “The Final Countdown” has been given a new life on the strength of its use in a GEICO commercial. And a new interview with singer Joey Tempest finds him revealing that it was influenced by a surprising source, David Bowie’s breakthrough single, “Space Oddity.”

“He was really fascinated with space, which fascinated me,” he told Fox News. “David Bowie, talking about “floating in a tin can” — I was very taken by that. That was in my mind when I started working on the lyrics for ‘The Final Countdown.’ I had the music first, and I played it over and over and over again, in my basement. I sang different things until I got to “the final countdown,” which fitted it really well. My thought was, the world is expanding and we’re leaving; we’re going up there in space. So the ‘Space Oddity’ lyric really sparked that idea.”

Tempest, who is “pretty sure” that “Space Oddity” was the record that he “got into,” added that he couldn’t have predicted its success. “Yeah, we never really expected that,” he continued, “especially because it was over six minutes long. As a band, we thought it was an interesting song, and it would be a great opener for our show; something to capture people’s attention. We kept it as an opening track for a while, but then everybody started telling me, “You gotta switch it and put it at the end.” Then we started using it as an encore.

Coincidentally, both “The Final Countdown” and “Space Oddity” have advanced to the second round of our Rock Star Wars competition “The Final Countdown” is taking on Kiss’ “Rocket Ride” while “Space Oddity” is up against Van Halen’s “Outta Space.”

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