Best known in the U.S. for their hard rock material, Golden Earring have been the most popular homegrown band in the Netherlands since the mid-'60s, when they were primarily a pop group. The group was founded by guitarist/vocalist George Kooymans and bassist/vocalist Rinus Gerritsen, then schoolboys, in 1961; several years and personnel shifts later, they had their first Dutch hit, "Please Go," and in 1968 hit the top of the Dutch charts for the first of many times with "Dong-Dong-Di-Ki-Di-Gi-Dong," a song that broadened their European appeal. By 1969, the rest of the lineup had stabilized, with lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Barry Hay and drummer Cesar Zuiderwijk. They experimented with their style for several years before settling on straightforward hard rock initially much like that of the Who, who invited them to open their 1972 European tour. Golden Earring signed to the Who's Track label, which released a compilation of Dutch singles, Hearing Earring, helping the group break through in England. Released in 1974, the Moontan LP spawned the single "Radar Love," a Dutch number one, U.K. Top Ten, and U.S. number 13 hit.
They toured America opening for the Doobie Brothers and Santana, but the lack of a follow-up ensured that their popularity remained short-lived in America, even though they remained a top draw in Europe over the rest of the 1970s. The band experienced a brief American comeback in 1982 with the album Cut and the Top Ten single "Twilight Zone," but as before, Golden Earring could not sustain their momentum and faded away in the U.S. marketplace. ("Radar Love" did enjoy a second round of popularity in the U.S. when pop-metal band White Lion covered the song in 1989.) Nevertheless, the band persisted over the ensuing decades, recording and performing well into the new millennium and remaining a concert draw in the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe. Although they have not toured North America since the mid-'80s, Golden Earring did record their 2003 album, Millbrook USA, in Millbrook, NY at the studio of Frank Carillo (whose duo album with George Kooymans, On Location, saw release in April 2010). The bandmembers have also recorded as solo artists in Europe. ~ Steve Huey