Golden Earring Biography
Golden Earring is a Dutch rock/pop group that was founded in 1961 in The Hague as the Golden Earrings (the 's' was later dropped). They had international chart success with the songs "Eight Miles High" in 1969, "Radar Love" in 1973, and "Twilight Zone" in 1982. In their home country they had over 40 hits and made over 30 gold and platinum albums. Current members of Golden Earring are Barry Hay (vocals, guitar, flute and saxophone, member since 1968), George Kooymans (vocals and guitar, founder of band), Rinus Gerritsen (bass and keyboard, founding member), and Cesar Zuiderwijk (drums and percussion, member since 1970).
Golden Earring was formed in 1961 in The Hague by 13-year-old George Kooymans and his 15-year-old neighbour, Rinus Gerritsen. Originally called The Tornados, the name was changed to Golden Earrings when they discovered that "The Tornados" was already in use. The name Golden Earrings was taken from a song, originally sung by Marlene Dietrich in 1947 and a hit for Peggy Lee in 1948, with which they opened their concerts. Initially a "teenybopper" band, Golden Earrings had their first chart success with their debut single Please Go, recorded in 1965. It reached number 9 on the music charts in the Netherlands. Unsatisfied with Dutch recording studios, the band's manager and co-discoverer Freddy Haayen arranged for the next single to be recorded at Pye Studios in London. The record cut at Pye, That Day, reached number two on the Dutch charts, having been prevented from rising to number one by The Beatles' "Michelle".
In 1968, the band earned their first number one hit in the Netherlands with the pop song "Dong Dong Diki Diki Dong". This was followed by the success of their psychedelic album Eight Miles High, which featured an eighteen-minute version of the title track, itself a cover of The Byrds hit. The live version, which could last 45 minutes, was considered by some to be a highlight in their first and second American tours.
Golden Earring embarked on their first major US tour in 1969 - 1970. Due to American influences, their music evolved towards hard rock, and they performed along with Led Zeppelin. Between 1969 and 1984, Golden Earring completed thirteen US tours. During this period, they performed as the opening act for Santana, the Doobie Brothers, Rush and .38 Special; and in the early seventies, when "Radar Love" was a hit, had KISS and Aerosmith as their opening act. They enjoyed a brief period of stardom but were unable to secure further chart success until 1982's "Twilight Zone", which was followed by "When The Lady Smiles" in 1984. After a rather disappointing reaction in the US to the latter, Golden Earring turned their focus towards Europe where they continue to attract SRO crowds. Golden Earring has recorded over 30 gold and platinum albums and singles, and a number of artists have covered their international hit and rock classic "Radar Love".
Golden Earring was one of the first major European rock bands to tour the United States, in 1969.
Golden Earring has released music worldwide and enjoyed brief superstar status in the seventies when Radar Love, from the album Moontan, became a hit in both Europe and the USA. Moontan itself was awarded a gold record in the US. The ultimate Earring hitsong Radar Love has its own website . On this site you will find also over 200 covers of this classic rocksong which was voted "best car song ever" by readers of USA Today in 2005 and second best "greatest driving song" in a poll of BBC's programme "Top Gear", after "Don't stop me now" from Queen.
George Kooymans wrote Twilight Zone in 1982 which brought Golden Earring a second international round of success. This song, was accompanied by one of the first rock videos, directed by Dick Maas. As MTV had just launched their music television channel in 1981, the airplay helped "Twilight Zone" secure a Top ten hit in the States.
When the Lady Smiles, from the album News, was the next international hit in 1984, again helped by a video, although it never became a hit in the US because the original video was banned from MTV due to nudity and the portrayal of the rape of a nun. A newly cut version of the clip failed to capture the true intentions of the director and Golden Earring, although When the Lady Smiles did make hit number 3 in Canada and became their fifth number one hit in their home country.
Their best selling albums ever were Moontan of which over 1 million copies were sold worldwide, and the unplugged acoustic live CD/DVD The Naked Truth in 1992, which sold over 500,000 copies in the Netherlands alone and laid the foundation of their successful unplugged theater tours that started in 1992 and continue to date. This album was followed by Naked II, and the trilogy was completed in 2005 with Naked III Live at The Panama.
Golden Earring celebrates its 45th anniversary in 2006 and has been performing almost continuously ever since 1961, except for a sabbatical year in 2000, making this band one of the most experienced bands around with an unparalleled number of live shows, as they are "the oldest rockband in the world" and are still constantly on the road.