It's hard to believe that some bands have been around since the beginning of time, well rock 'n' roll time that is. GOLDEN EARRING is one of those bands who have literally been cranking out albums since the days when The Beatles were launching the British invasion to the Americas and they are still kicking around well into the 21st century albeit slowing down on their prolific discography. The band actually formed way back in 1961 in The Hague, Netherlands as The Tornados but soon changed to The Golden Earrings due to the former already being taken. 'The' was dropped in 67 and the plural 's' went bye-bye in 69. As you can imagine with a band's lifespan lasting over a half a century that the lineup would change significantly but vocalist / guitarist George Kooymans and Rinus Gerritsen who handles bass and keys have been around for the entire GOLDEN EARRING ride through the decades, centuries and yes even millennia!
While new bands were springing up by the second in the early 70s, by the time 1973 came around GOLDEN EARRING were releasing their 9th studio album MOONTAN which just so happens to be their most successful and most praised of their entire career worldwide although they were quite popular in their native Netherlands scoring an impressive amount of hits. While i'm not an expert in the GOLDEN one's discography i have heard a sampling of the singles and MOONTAN seems pretty much like business as usual for the group. Basically GOLDEN EARRING was the Dutch answer to the Rolling Stones and MOONTAN displays these hero worship tendencies perfectly right from the get go with the bluesy rocker 'Candy's Going Bad' that could easily pass as a B-side Stones track back in the day when the English music scene was hot and indubitably impacted their European neighbors to the east. Also obvious in the influence department from time to time is The Who, most clearly heard on the 'Just Like Vince Taylor' track.
Personally i find GOLDEN EARRING to be a somewhat mediocre band of only marginal interest. Everything i've heard from them (with a few exceptions) is quite derivative of the British invasion scene (Stones,Beatles, Who, Kinks) and you'd be hard pressed to even know they were Dutch unless you knew their history. So what in the world makes MOONTAN such the wonderful and the most celebrated album of their career? Well, standing tall above and beyond the call of duty are two tracks that are absolutely phenomenal and i'm sure any homo sapien who has listened to classic rock radio stations will recognize at least one of these tracks instantly. I'm talking, of course, about 'Radar Love' (can't help but hear the bass line when you read this, can you? :P) This of course was their hugest of hits charting in many countries worldwide and has even been covered a gazillion times by bands like U2, Sun City Girls, White Lion and even Def Leppard! OMG :o 'Radar Love' was their turning point when they finally learned how to tell a story with a clever bass line that was backed up by interesting musical interplay and brilliant with all kinds of twists and turns that make the track dance circles around the surrounding tracks.
The other outstanding track on MOONTAN is 'Vanilla Queen' with utterly brilliant oscillating synthesizer intro that was new wave before the term ever entered the vernacular and creates one of the most addictive melodies of their entire career and thus is my absolute favorite Golden Earring track EVERRRRRRR!!!!!! The new wave cedes into a rockin' chorus, an acoustic guitar segment and then delves into a satisfying symphonic rocker building up the tension until it crescendoes lasting a satisfying 9 minutes and 20 seconds. Every time i listen to this album i always want the album to be as good as these two tracks. Everything else just seems so uninspired compared to these gems of rock history. It doesn't help that 'Radar Love' has been played TO DEATH on the radio! It's almost like they've never recorded any other single. Personally i find this album overrated and don't enjoy listening to it. Unfortunately GOLDEN EARRING's most raved about album and my experience with their singles doesn't invite me to explore their music more. However, the two best tracks on here are brilliant but can be found on any greatest hits packages as well. Two brilliant classic tracks, many decent but uninspiring tracks. For me NOT worthy of being listed as #32 in Q & Mojo's '40 Cosmic Rock Albums' of all time. Get the greatest hits instead. That one has 'Twilight Zone!'