Monday, February 25, 2013

One Hit Wonders

Ever notice how some bands come out of nowhere, smack you in the face with something new you just can't get enough of, and then it's like they fell off the planet?  So many bands fizzle before they flame and are unable to build a fire with all that smoke.

I remember listening to albums thinking this was the band that was going to be the next big thing--not the next Beatles, Hendrix, or Rolling Stones--that never has and never will happen.  But so many bands take the music world by storm and before you know it their CD boxed set is one disc...

Some of those "one hit wonders" did leave their mark though, and despite that small taste of the big time many spent years toiling in the clubs, bars, and auditoriums of nameless cities and towns the world over. Some artists actually had strong loyal followings and successful careers.  Unfortunately cracking the "Top 40" in the United States is not as easy as it seems, does not always follow a logical pattern, and is no guarantee of a second taste.  It's like the old saying, "Never underestimate the intelligence of the American public."

Every decade has a laundry list of bands that made a quick splash and faded into the background.  For sanity and credibility reasons I will skip past the "hits" that landed on K-Tel records (that is a blog for another day) and talk about bands that seemed to have an edge when they came out but failed to catch on and stay...bands that are now the answer to trivia questions in living rooms and bars across America...

A quick short list would include Ides of March, Shocking Blue, Mountain, Sugarloaf, Missing Persons (despite having Terry Bozzio on drums), Argent (post Zombies), Quicksilver Messenger Service, and It's a Beautiful Day...remember them? Another band, one that strikes an ironic chord thanks to its name, is Flash in the Pan.  In 1979 the Knack were billed as the next big thing from Liverpool...huh?

Reminiscing over songs and bands that came and went, I always seem to come back to one group in particular...Golden Earring.  A band from Amsterdam, Golden Earring first started playing together in 1961 and are still touring and recording today.  As if that wasn't crazy enough...the original line-up is still together.  I do not believe I can find five people in the United States who can name the members of Golden Earring...and I do not believe I can find five people who have not heard the song "Radar Love."

If there is a band the defines the term "garage band" it is Golden Earring.  Half a century on a tour bus is not exactly the best way to go through life--and it sure as hell ain't the worst.  I remember getting mad when radio stations played the dreaded "edited" version  of the song and cut out most of the instrumental section.  In 1973 this was the song to rock-out eyes burn just thinking about it.

The beauty of the song was it appealed to both sides of a teen romance.  Guys could rock it loud while the girls could rest assured that no matter how long it took, no matter how far away, Romeo was coming back to rescue her...he just had a really cool car instead of a horse.

Golden Earring did manage to release another hit in the US, "Twilight Zone," which was released in 1982.  Nothing however, will ever come close to the success they had with "Radar Love."  I chose the version here because it is the original studio version and the photo is from the original "Moontan" album cover...which of course was not allowed in the United States at the time.  Good thing nobody told Blind Faith the USA was "prudish" when it came to album covers...

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