Radar Love

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"Radar Love"
Radar love.jpg
Single by Golden Earring
from the album Moontan
B-side
Released 1973 (1973)
Recorded 1973
Studio Trident, London
Genre
Length
  • 6:26 (album version)
  • 5:07 (single version)
  • 3:44 (single edit)
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s) Golden Earring
Audio sample

"Radar Love" is a song by the Dutch rock band Golden Earring. The single version of "Radar Love" reached #10 on the Cash Box Top 100 and #13 in Billboard in the United States. It also hit the Top 10 in many countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, and Spain.

Background[edit]

The song is written from the point of view of a car or truck driver who thinks of his beloved "baby", telling that they are able to share their feelings at distance without physical means like telephone or letters. He explains how this works and, while listening to a song on the radio, makes comments on the late night traffic in the early morning hour.

Composition[edit]

Like other famous songs of the era ("Stairway to Heaven", "Aqualung", "Bohemian Rhapsody"), "Radar Love" is composed as a suite with several distinctive and quite different sections (although the tonality remains pretty much the same).

The intro starts with a guitar riff in four movements. The first movement is up from C# minor with three power chords slightly reminiscent of Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water". The second movement heads down, the third is up again, higher than the previous, and the fourth leads all down to E major.

After the intro a driving snare drum sets the pace, soon joined by a signature bassline in F# minor. This is repeated eight times in two alternating lines.

Starting at 0:47, the first verse is sung to the ongoing bassline in F# minor.

"I've been driving all night, my hands wet on the wheel..."

The verse consists of four lines and each of them is answered by a simple yet very effective guitar hook.

After the fourth line the song moves to a sort of bridge leading up to the chorus.

"When she is lonely and the longing gets too much, she sends a cable coming in from above..."

In this section, accompanied by vocal harmonies, the chords shift from E major via several changes to B major and finally C# minor at the start of the refrain.

"We've got a thing that's called radar love..."

During the chorus, starting in C# minor at 1:20, the band is joined by a brass section.

After the chorus the song returns to the previous bassline in F# minor. In verse two the singing gets funkier and so does the responding guitar which is now played with double notes.

"The radio is playing some forgotten song, Brenda Lee "Coming on Strong"..."

At the end of the second chorus at 2:30 the album version continues with a different bassline and guitar improvisations until 3:49. In the single version this part has been left out and the song turns immediately to a trademark drum solo at 2:30 (or 3:49 respectively). Ten seconds into the solo the drummer is joined by guitar, bass and trumpets playing a riff derived from the intro which builds up repeating over several variations, until collapsing in an E major chord at 3:06 (4:25).

At this point the song shortly slows down, but soon the haunting bassline restarts and the drummer returns to his driving beat.

Yet, verse three at 3:36 (4:55) is a slightly different affair, as illustrated also by the lyrics:

"No more speed, I'm almost there, gotta keep cool now, gotta take care..."

This time the voice, more hesitant than driving, is answered by bluesy guitar licks played by two guitars opposing on the stereo channels.

Energy returns with Brenda Lee coming on strong once more, and finally at 4:13 (5:32) the bridge and the chorus build up for a last ride with sounding horns.

At 4:44 (6:03) starts the outro with a variation of the haunting bassline in F# minor and all instruments gradually joining in the same chord.

Cover versions[edit]

The song has been covered by Tribe 8, Ministry, Omen, U2,[3] R.E.M., Ian Stuart Donaldson, Sun City Girls, White Lion, Blue Man Group, Def Leppard[citation needed], James Last, The NWOBHM band Aragorn, Nine Pound Hammer, Carlos Santana[citation needed], The Space Lady[4], and The Pressure Boys. The White Lion version charted at #59 on The Billboard Hot 100.[5]

Goth-pop band Ghost Dance recorded a cover of the song on the B-side of their "Heart Full of Soul" single, itself a cover of the Yardbirds track.

A pre-Mercyful Fate band featuring King Diamond on vocals recorded a cover of the song. It is featured on King Diamond & Black Rose 20 Years Ago.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Harry L. Watson; Jocelyn Neal (1 December 2011). Southern Cultures: 2011 Music Issue: Winter 2011 Issue. UNC Press Books. p. 69. ISBN 978-0-8078-6842-3. Retrieved 28 September 2015. 
  2. ^ Guarisco, Donald A.. The Best Glam Rock Album in the World Ever at AllMusic. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  3. ^ Matthias Muehlbradt, Andre Axver. "U2 Radar Love – U2 on tour". U2gigs.com. 
  4. ^ 1hoseeman (2013-03-19), The Space Lady: Radar Love, retrieved 2018-05-10 
  5. ^ "Allmusic (White Lion charts & awards)". 

External links[edit]