Golden Earring went from a corduroy wearing progressive band to a spandex-wearing mainstream hard rock band in a period of one year. Occasionally, this kind of change can sometimes hurt a group, however this strengthened a band that’s been around since the bowl cut days (circa 1961). Prior to this, they were rather successful with their nineteen-minute cover of The Byrds’ “Eight Miles High” and their single “Back Home” going to number-one in the Netherlands in 1970. Even though they previously released a set of fair albums, this image change was necessary for commercial success.
In July of 1973, the Dutch rock band released their ninth studio album, Moontan. Hairy chests and colorful clothing was what now Golden Earring was presenting. They were also progressing more towards mainstream hard rock. They were successful. In 1973, their single, “Radar Love” became a radio hit and went to number-one on the Dutch charts and reached number-thirteen on the Billboard charts in the United States. It also hit Top Ten in many countries, including the UK, Australia, Germany, and Spain. It became a showstopper at concerts and helped the band achive worldwide fame. Golden Earring went from small ballrooms to the grand stage.
Moontan opens with the track “Candy Says”. It includes a heavy guitar riff attached with Barry Hay’s future-eighties vocals, implicating just as how Golden Earring was ahead of their time. “Suzy Lunacy (Mental Rock) blends hard rock with glam and sounds as if, T-Rex wrote a song for The Rocky Horror Show. On “Just like Vince Taylor,” Golden Earring imitates the mainstream hard rock style, sounding like KISS and Aerosmith. This was perfect because both groups opened for Golden Earring during their 1973-1974 tour, which might’ve been the influence for a sound like theirs. There is some long and consistent instrumentation that can be boring on some tracks including “Are You Receiving Me” and “The Vanilla Queen”. Nevertheless, these tracks showcase Golden Earring in their natural habitat, progressive rock.
Moontan holds more than just a single. From the first chord to the last, it fuses various genres. It was an that was overshadowed by its lead single. Moontan was the pivotal point in Golden Earring’s career, never achieving the success here again, until ten years later, with their hit “Twilight Zone.”
Favorite Tracks: “Candy’s Going Bad,” “Suzy Lunacy (Mental Rock),” “Radar Love”
Least Favorite Tracks: “Are You Receiving Me,” “The Vanilla Queen”
Listen to Golden Earring’s Moontan here.