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Saturday, 29 August 2020
45 RPMS - Golden Earring - Radar Love (1973)
Wow. What a great seventies rock song this was, hitting the UK charts in the autumn/winter of 1973. It was a quite lengthy, Deep Purple-influenced grinding rocker featuring several changes of ambience that don't interrupt the whole flow of the song. I remember really loving it at the time, knocked out by its rock power and simultaneous subtlety - those bits where the whole thing drops down a gear are infectious.
All I know about Golden Earring is that they were a Dutch band, which was a bit unusual at the time (only Focus had charted before, I think, apart from Eurovision acts). Their lead singer had the English-sounding name of Barry Hay and looked a bit like Russell Mael from Sparks. The song is one of those perfect, turn-it-up-loud driving rockers from the very first moment the song shifts from the briefly grandiose rock intro into a shuffling drum and bass rock groove. Then Hay arrives with his stand out vocal - "I've been driving all night, my hands wet on the wheel...". At regular intervals the song switches to the metronomic, understated driving drum and bass rhythm before crashing back into heavy rock action. It is a fine vocal performance from Hay - alternating from low parts to high pitched bits with ease, in total control of the song.
The best way to hear the song is in its six-minute album version, which features a lengthy, Purple-esque drum, bass, guitar, horns and organ break in the middle and that excellent mini-drum solo before we get back on the main bit of the road again as Hay tells us that Brenda Lee is coming on strong and the radio plays that forgotten song. Great stuff.
The 'b' side is a robust bluesy piece of rock called Just Like Vince Taylor, name checking the tragic, troubled rocker who never quite made it that inspired The Clash to cover his song Brand New Cadillac.
The song was one of those great one-off hits from a group who never had another sniff of the charts. What a one hit to have, though.