Among all the bands I have written about for my series on the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the fans of Golden Earring have been among the fiercest, upset that someone like myself would know of the band simply through their two biggest American hits, “Radar Love” and “Twilight Zone,” both fantastic songs. But having listened to this album on the advice of a fan of the band, I get it. This band is one that deserves to be thought of as among the best of the British invasion, even though they’re Dutch. They have songs that remind one of such bands as the Beatles, the Hollies, the Rolling Stones, and even AC/DC and Duran Duran. While maintaining their own amazing instrumentation they also demonstrated an ability to turn their beautiful and dark songs into a wide ranging exploration of genres. This is a band that should be much better known, and it’s not as if they only have a couple of songs that are good. This collection has 50 songs on CD and then another fifteen (with a lot of duplicates) in live and music video versions, and it’s not as if there are any bad songs here. Most of the songs are classics, and the rest are at least good.
Since I listened to these cds in my car (alas, my computer doesn’t have a cd drive), I wasn’t able to do my usual track by track reviews, but there are more than 50 songs here so that would have been an interminably long review. The first of the albums here shows the band starting out with Beatlesesque melodies. But even at this stage of their career they were more than copycats. “Daddy Buy Me A Girl,” the fourth song on this collection, mixes innocent sounding music and vocals with dark lyrics about the struggles to find a faithful and loyal woman with hints of slavery. And the material only gets darker and more melancholy from here, intermixed with songs about nonsense like “Dong-Dong-Di-Ki-Di-Gi-Dong,” which should have been a hit. The band explores death in material like “Another 45 Miles,” “Kill Me (Ce Soir),” and “My Killer, My Shadow.” They have strange songs about girls like “She Flies On Strange Wings” and “Weekend Love,” along with “I Can’t Sleep Without You.” They explore the exoticism of India in “Bombay” and picture heaven going to pieces in “Paradise In Distress,” one of the last songs here.
It is not as if the band was only a studio creation, as this collection demonstrates the band’s considerable live chops on the first eleven songs of the DVD as well as tracks like “Just Like Vince Taylor,” “Slow Down,” and “I Can’t Sleep Without You.” So whether you like the dark music videos by Dick Maas, the live tracks, or the band’s studio songs, this compilation gives you all the information you need to know to realize that this band was one of the greatest British Invasion acts ever, only they were from the Netherlands. And it is that fact which probably kept them from getting more hits. “Radar Love” and “Twilight Zone” are neither the two blandest nor the two best of the songs here, and I don’t love them any less hearing the context of the band. Instead, the fact that Golden Earring was able to make so many really great songs, with a commitment to songwriting craft, a high degree of variety, and some amazing instrumentation makes the fact that they only had two hits a bit sad. This is a band that deserved far more success, and it is easy to understand why those who have taken the time to listen to the band’s material as a whole would be a bit upset that the band is known for only two songs that don’t even hint at all of the weird and wonderful approaches taken to rock music over the course of a long and productive and accomplished career for Golden Earring.