“I’ve been drivin’ all night, my hands wet on the wheel…There’s a voice in my head that drives my heel…
Submitted for your approval, returning to my Samsung playlist, I present Radar Love by Golden Earring, a Dutch hard-rock/progressive rock band. I can’t imagine that anyone out there hasn’t heard this song at least once. Founded in 1961 in The Hague, Netherlands, most of their extensive material didn’t even chart in the US. In the 60 years of their existence, they made 25 studio albums, eight live albums, two compilation albums and an impressive 74 singles. Originally named The Tornadoes…
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 by another group.
They [achieved] their first success in 1965 with “Please Go,” as a pop rock band with Frans Krassenburg as lead singer. By 1969, the rest of the lineup had stabilized, with lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Barry Hay and drummer Cesar Zuiderwijk. By ’71, they [were] a regular presence on Dutch charts and [were] starting to climb up the ladder in Germany. They [signed] on to the Who’s Track label, which released a compilation of Dutch singles, Hearing Earring, helping the group break through in England.
The young group initially baptizes itself as The Tornadoes but, when that name turns out to have already been claimed by another band, they switch to The Golden Earrings – loosely based on a song by the British band The Hunters.
While most Dutch pop bands from the sixties stumble over the threshold to the seventies, the Golden Earring – as the band has come to call itself – emerges from the decade strong and confident.
In 1973, Golden Earring aspires to make an album that is of international allure both artistically and commercially. A lot of time is put into writing and recording what will eventually become Moontan. The mission succeeds brilliantly. Candy’s Going Bad, Radar Love, Just Like Vince Taylor and The Vanilla Queen are among the best the band has written to date.
Both Moontan’s first single Radar Love are a resounding success. First in the Netherlands, then in the rest of Europe and finally in America – where the album was released in 1974. Radar Love even becomes a big hit, with a 13th place as the highest listing. In the following years, however, the song will mainly grow into one of the ultimate car songs, which can still be heard daily on American radio stations. Radar Love has been covered by hundreds of international acts over the decades, including U2, White Lion, Ministry and Def Leppard. Both the single and the album are an undisputed milestone in Dutch pop history.
Golden Earring Biography Page (Google will have to translate.)
It’s not really normal for a band eight albums into their career to suddenly enjoy a worldwide breakout. And, for it to happen with a track over six minutes long with elongated instrumental passages and a somewhat mysterious narrative is even stranger. “…the song most likely to inspire a speeding ticket some 47 years after it was first released.” Barry Hay, the group’s lead singer and lyricist, explained in a recent interview with American Songwriter that a record company push gave then some hope.
“We signed up with Track records, the label of The Who,” Hay says. “And, they really put an effort into it, because they had a sort of monkey wrench. If they could put us together on tour in Europe, they could put us together in Madison Square Garden. So, [we’re] sort of the sons of the Who.”
“At first, the opening line was ‘I’m sitting in a bathtub.’ And, I thought, ‘That’s hardly masculine.’ Then, I came up with sitting in a car.”
“…Hay managed to come up with effortless couplets […] while tying them together in a resonant story of a mystical connection between two separated lovers. […] I remember, in those days, I was really interested in ESP. I read some shit about it. […] Like there’s an accident but, these people still have ESP, they still have contact in a way. Which is sort of a magical thing…
It also inspired a million interpretations but, Hay says that the tragic one is correct. “The guy actually dies,” he says of the song’s narrator. “That’s the gist of the whole thing. In a way, she still has contact with him. There is an afterlife.”
Unfortunately, Golden Earring is no more:
Golden Earring Co-Founder George Kooymans Retires After ALS Diagnosis
The Band Calls It Quits ~Vic
♦ The Virgin Encyclopedia of Heavy Rock (Colin Larkin/1999/Internet Archive/Pages 187-188/Sign-In Required)
♦ It’s Prog Jim, But Not As We Know It: Golden Earring (Louder Sound/Prog/Malcolm Dome/10-28-2014)
Last year, I did a post on World War I for Veterans Day as it had been 100 years, exactly, since the end of that war. I also covered how other countries memorialize and/or celebrate and, ended the post with two poems. I’ve written in a previous post about my almost Army brat status and referred to my significant other in this post.
Ken’s first foray into the ‘military’ was the Hargave Military Academy in Virginia. His mother sent him there for summer school to assist with grades after a poor eighth grade year. He stayed for his ninth grade year and did very well. Unfortunately, it was extremely expensive and he returned to regular high school for tenth grade.
At the end of his junior year, he’d had enough of regular high school and made it clear to his mother that he wanted to go into the Navy. The military was all he was interested in. So, at the tender age of 17, his mother signed him into service. He went into the reserves for two years and began to train as a Corpsman. His sea duties were aboard the USS Robinson (DD-562), a Fletcher Class destroyer, the second ship in the Navy to be named after Captain Isaiah Robinson (Continental Navy). The “Robbie” received eight battle stars for World War II service and appeared in the movie Away All Boats.
After two years of training, he went active duty…and the Navy lost its mind. Orders to report to his new ship in hand, he was sent to Charleston, SC, to be assigned to the USS Canisteo (AO-99), a Cimarron Class fleet oiler, named for the Canisteo River in New York and the only ship to bear that name. It’s crew received nine medals.
Unfortunately, upon his arrival, there was no ship to board. The Charleston Naval Base had no record of it being there and, in the meantime, he was sent to the transit barracks. While waiting, he volunteered to be a lifeguard for a week. The remaining time was spent waiting at the barracks. After three weeks, the Navy adjusted his orders and sent him to Norfolk Naval Base, the home port of the Canisteo. Upon arrival, no ship. He was, again, assigned to the transit barracks…until they could find the ship. After a four-day wait, the Navy adjusted his orders a second time and he was sent to the Brooklyn Naval Shipyard. The shipyard had no record of the Canisteo being there so, he was sent…a-gain…to the transit barracks. His ship was finally found at the Todd Shipyards in Red Hook Brooklyn, a civilian shipyard. With his orders in hand (now, a rather large portfolio of paperwork), stamped by the Navy (adjusted a third time), he headed to his ship. He reported to the Officer of the Deck and was told that he had been reported AWOL. The OOD examined the orders, informed him that his Corpsman striker slot had been filled due to his (unintended) absence and, just like that, he was transformed into part of the deck force, wiping out two years of training. He became a Bosun’s Mate striker. *facepalm*
He left active service in 1964 and rolled into the IRR, waiting for the end of his contract to expire. On March 8, 1965, Marines landed near Da Nang, marking the beginning of the ground war in Vietnam. Ken was working a full time job and was watching what was going on. By the summer of 1966, he decided that he was going to go back to the Navy, interested in the River Patrol (and PBRs) and went to see a prior service recruiter. The recruiter told him that the Navy would not give him his rank back. Ken left his office and was stopped by a Marine recruiter in the hallway. He told him to go back in and ask about the Seabees. He did so and the Navy prior service recruiter changed his tune. Off he went to Camp Endicott in Rhode Island for training. He was assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 74 and sent to Gulfport, Home of the Seabees.
He arrived in Vietnam in July of 1967. His base was Camp Haskins on Red Beach in Da Nang. The Marines were on Monkey Mountain across the bay and at Da Nang Air Base in the opposite direction, across the highway. At the beginning of the Tet Offensive, the bombing of the Air Base in January of 1968 nearly knocked Ken out of a guard tower. He was designated a builder and did his share of such but, spent most of his time running patrols with the Marines.
On November 3, 1967, a fellow Seabee had an accident with a saw while cutting some wood. A sawhorse shifted and the man injured himself, accidentally. The blade cut an artery in his thigh and Ken’s Corpsman training kicked in. He, literally, stuck his hand into the guy’s thigh to clamp the artery with his thumb and forefinger. When the rescue helicopter arrived, the coagulated blood on Ken’s arm prevented him from being able to remove his hand from the guy’s thigh. Ken got a free ride in the helicopter to the hospital with his charge. A life was saved (the actual details are pretty gruesome).
And, this concludes my long-ass tribute to my Fleet Navy/Vietnam Seabee veteran. If you have a veteran in your life…hug them. ~Vic
[Addendum: When I moved in with Ken some years ago, I was looking at his DD-214. He swore he only had one and I saw from the data that he had two. We sent off for his records and, sure enough, there were two. I discovered that, when he went to the prior service recruiter, the guy didn’t bother to check to see if Ken was still on contract. He was and, had he checked, Ken could have returned to the Navy, with rank intact, and left for Vietnam as part of the Brown Water Navy…and most likely died. The life span of PBR guys was fairly short.]
I realize that September 11 is usually reserved for the remembrance of 9/11 but, that seems to be all over the news as it is. There are other things that have happened on September 11. ~Vic
From the National Weather Service:
Carla was the most intense hurricane to make landfall on the Texas coast in the 20th century and second in recorded history only to the Indianola hurricane of 1886. Carla was the last of 6 hurricanes to make landfall on the Texas coast as a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale, with sustained winds stronger than 130 mph, in the 20th century. Carla ranks as the 9th most intense hurricane to affect the United States since 1851.
Carla made landfall on the afternoon of the 11th on the northeast part of Matagorda Island as a strong Category 4 hurricane […]. The eye of Carla moved across Port O’Connor and Port Lavaca and, then, inland just east of Victoria. Carla weakened to a tropical storm on the morning of the 12th just east of Austin.
Carla was an extremely large hurricane with devastating effects from the winds and storm surge […]. The extreme tides inundated downtown Port Lavaca with 2 feet of flood water and displaced fishing boats and tug boats on Highway 35. With the slow movement of Carla, the hurricane pushed a storm surge of 22 feet above mean sea level at the head of Lavaca Bay in Port Lavaca. This is the highest storm surge in Texas hurricane history.
[Little-known] newsman Dan Rather reported live from the second floor of a building in Texas City during the storm, an act that would be imitated by later reporters. This marked the first live television broadcast of a hurricane. Rather also alerted the public of the size of Carla in a way that “literally changed the way the world sees hurricanes”, according to a fellow reporter. Broadcasting live at the Weather Bureau Office in Galveston, Rather asked a meteorologist to draw an outline of the Gulf of Mexico on a transparent sheet of plastic. He then held the map over the black and white radar screen, which put the size of Carla into perspective, saying that Carla was the size of the Gulf of Mexico. CBS was so impressed with Rather’s work that he was offered the position of correspondent.
Carla remains number one on the Hurricane Severity Index.
Seventy-five years ago, today, the #1 song on Billboard (pre-hot 100 era) was My Heart Tells Me (Should I Believe My Heart?) by Glen Gray, his Casa Loma Orchestra and singer Eugenie Baird. Written by Harry Warren (Lullaby of Broadway, Jeepers Creepers & That’s Amore) with lyrics by Mack Gordon (Chattanooga Choo-Choo), this was the theme for the 1943 musical film Sweet Rosie O’Grady. Betty Grable sang the song in the movie.
Glen Gray & his Orchestral version was number one for five weeks from January 29 to February 26, boosted by the popularity of the musical. As a popular standard for the 1940s, other well-known artists with their own versions include Etta Jones (1961), Frank Sinatra (1945), Nat King Cole (1958) and Tony Bennett (1955). Glenn Miller & his orchestra had a go in 1944, broadcasting to German soldiers. From Dance in the City (Page 191):
“One of the paradoxes of the Nazi terror was that SS officers themselves demonstrated a fondness for swing (Vogel, 1962).
Mike Zwerin (1985), in his exploration of jazz under the Nazis, described a Luftwaffe pilot who switched on the BBC hoping to catch a few bars of Glenn Miller before bombing the antenna from which these forbidden sounds were being broadcast. Allied propagandists recognised the potential for exploiting the contradictory allure that jazz possessed with Nazi society.
The sound barrier of 1944 was marked on the one hand by the music of the Nazi marches and on the other by the big band swing of Glenn Miller. The Allies attempted to exploit the popularity of swing inside Germany. On October 30, 1944, Miller’s swing tunes were aimed at German soldiers through the American Broadcast Station in Europe (ABSIE) in an effort to persuade them to lay down their arms.
Major Miller addressed German soldiers in their own language with the assistance of Ilse Weinberger, a German compere and translator. Ilse introduced Glenn Miller as the ‘magician of swing’ and, through a strange act of cultural alchemy, tunes like Long Ago and Far Away and My Heart Tells Me were rendered in German by vocalist Johnny Desmond.”
It’s Tune Tuesday! Twenty-five years ago, today, the number one song was I Can’t Help Falling In Love, a Reggae version of Elvis’ hit from the 1961 soundtrack and movie of the same name, Blue Hawaii. Both of these versions topped the U.S. & U.K. charts.
I am also posting the clip from the movie. Elvis’ original didn’t make it to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 (which is usually where I get my number one songs from) in the U.S., getting stuck at number two behind Peppermint Twist but, it did make it to number one in the U.K. & Australia in early 1962. It was a number one hit on the Billboard Adult Contemporary Chart in January 1962:
Plus, I have to confess that, while I like Reggae, I am an Elvis fan and I prefer the original (no offense, guys!).