Radar Love

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"Radar Love"
Radar love.jpg
Single by Golden Earring
from the album Moontan
B-side (UK and US)
ReleasedAugust 1973 (Europe)
  • 16 November 1973 (UK)
  • 15 April 1974 (US) [1]
StudioTrident, London
  • 6:26 (Album Version)
  • 5:04 (Single Version)
  • 3:51 (UK Single Version)
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, Canada,[4] Australia, Germany, and Spain.


The song is written from the point of view of a truck driver who says he has some sort of psychic connection with his girlfriend — "radar love". He senses that she urgently wants him to be with her, and it makes him reckless. His recklessness causes him to have a fatal accident, but even in the afterlife the song's narrator and his lover still have radar love.[5]


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

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. According to bass player Rinus Gerritsen the intro was inspired by Carlos Santana.[6]

During the chorus, starting in C# minor at 1:20, the band is joined by a brass section and the drum beat is doubled to give the impression that the tempo has speeded up.[7]

The song references Brenda Lee's "Coming On Strong" from 1967 as a "forgotten song".


According to Rustyn Rose at Metalholic, the song "is a rock masterpiece, from its hooky chugging bassline, to its simple but unmistakable riffs, to its catchy anthemesque chorus. Even the jam which rides the song out is note for note classic".[8]

The song has been chosen by many magazines and websites as a Top 10 driving song. Often it ranked in the top three. In polls it was chosen as the best radio song by readers of the newspaper Washington Post in November 2001. It resulted the #1 driving song in Australia (Australian Musician Magazine, November 2005), beating two AC/DC-songs, and in Canada (BBC Canada, March 2006).[9] In 2011 it received a vast number of votes as the "Ultimate Driving Song" in a poll at PlanetRock and "finished well ahead of its nearest rival, Deep Purple's Highway Star".[10]

The bassline, guitar improv and drum solo riff was used in the late 1970s and early 1980s as part of the opening credits and theme to the long running Australian current affairs programme Four Corners produced by ABC before it segues into the official theme, Robert Maxwell's "Lost Patrol".

Cover versions[edit]

According to https://radar-love.net/, the song has been covered more than 500 times, among others by Tribe 8, Ministry, Omen, U2,[11] R.E.M., Ian Stuart Donaldson, Sun City Girls, Dutch group Centerfold, White Lion, Blue Man Group, Def Leppard,[citation needed] James Last, NWOBHM band Aragorn, Nine Pound Hammer, Oh Well, Joe Santana, the Space Lady[12] and the Pressure Boys. White Lion's version charted at #59 on the Billboard Hot 100.[13]

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.

WaveGroup Sound covered the White Lion version of the song on Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s.

In popular culture[edit]

The song was featured heavily in the Reaper episode "Love, Bullets and Blacktop", the name of a fictional movie. The song was said to be on the movie's soundtrack. The song is featured in The Simpsons episodes "Bart on the Road" and "Poppa's Got a Brand New Badge", the 2017 movie Baby Driver, and at the beginning of George Clooney's 2021 film The Tender Bar.[14] It is sung in the closing credits of the Bob's Burgers episode "Bobby Driver" by Bob and Edith. It also appears in 1993 Sega Genesis's game version Rock n' Roll Racing by Silicon & Synapse (now known as Blizzard Entertainment).

Chart history[edit]


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[32] Silver 250,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ "Golden Earring singles".
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ Guarisco, Donald A.. The Best Glam Rock Album in the World Ever at AllMusic. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  4. ^ "RPM Top 100 Singles - August 3, 1974" (PDF).
  5. ^ Beviglia, Jim (14 April 2020). "Behind The Song: "Radar Love" by Golden Earring". American Songwriter. Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  6. ^ Golden Earring – Radar Love: The story behind the song.
  7. ^ Songfacts: Radar Love by Golden Earring
  8. ^ Rose, Rustyn (19 June 2011). "GOLDEN EARRING 'Radar Love' ~ Anatomy Of A Song". Metalholic. Quasi Mojo Partners. Archived from the original on 31 March 2015. Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  9. ^ Radar-love.net, Did you know that?
  10. ^ Ultimate Driving Song: The Top 50
  11. ^ Matthias Muehlbradt, Andre Axver. "U2 Radar Love – U2 on tour". U2gigs.com.
  12. ^ 1hoseeman (2013-03-19), The Space Lady: Radar Love, archived from the original on 2021-12-12, retrieved 2018-05-10
  13. ^ "Allmusic (White Lion charts & awards)".
  14. ^ Hough, Q.V. (7 January 2022). "Soundtracks of Cinema: 'The Tender Bar'". Vague Visages. Retrieved 13 January 2022.
  15. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 19. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  16. ^ "Golden Earring – Radar Love" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 8 November 2020.
  17. ^ "Golden Earring – Radar Love" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 8 November 2020.
  18. ^ "Golden Earring – Radar Love" (in French). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 8 November 2020.
  19. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 5072a." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  20. ^ "Golden Earring – Radar Love" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  21. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Radar Love". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 8 November 2020.
  22. ^ "Golden Earring – Radar Love" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 8 November 2020.
  23. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  24. ^ "Golden Earring Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  25. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  26. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  27. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  28. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970-1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  29. ^ Canada, Library and Archives (January 16, 2018). "Image : RPM Weekly". Library and Archives Canada.
  30. ^ Musicoutfitters.com
  31. ^ Cash Box Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles, December 28, 1974
  32. ^ "British single certifications – Golden Earring – Radar Love". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 28 October 2016.

External links[edit]