Before you could send a text message or call someone in their car, there was no way to communicate to a driver - unless you had a certain telepathic love that could convey from a distance your desire to be with that person, something you might call - Radar Love. In this song, the guy has been driving all night, but keeps pushing the pedal because he just knows that his baby wants him home.
Golden Earring was founded 1961 and into the '00s was still playing with the same lineup since 1970, doing 100+ shows a year in The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. The group is from The Netherlands, where this was a #1 hit. They had only one other hit. It didn't come until 1982, with "Twilight Zone."
Like many of Golden Earring's songs, this began with the title and grew from there. Originally intended only as an album track, it turned out to be the only cut on their US debut album Moontan that they could whittle down to a single for radio. It became their showstopper at concerts, and provided a striking moment for their drummer Cesar Zuiderwijk, who would take a few steps back and leap at the drum kit near the end of the song.
The song is all in 4/4 time, and the original tempo is around 100 BPM. It's a very clever arrangement: the intro is on the beat of each bar at the start. The shuffle on the snare is semi triplets which give the illusion of the song speeding up. You have to quantize drum machines to a 6th beat. Consequently the chorus is doubled up to give the impression that the tempo has speeded up to 200 BPM. You have to transpose the 4/4 bar so it can be played with in 1 beat of the bar. It does take a bit of lateral thinking to get your head around the math, but the song is all 4/4 at 100 BPM. (thanks, Fish - London, United Kingdom)
This song is featured in the movie Detroit Rock City, about four teenage boys and their struggle to finally see the band KISS play live. (thanks, Katie - Australia)
The website www.radar-love.net details lots of info on the use and abuse of this song. It has been covered over 250 times: Notable versions include Bryan Adams, U2, Crowded House, Def Leppard, R.E.M. and Carlos Santana. It has also been used in TV shows The Simpsons, The X-Files, Beverly Hills, 90210 and My Name Is Earl. Movie usages include The Break-Up, Pushing Tin and Wayne's World 2. (thanks, Patrick - Lichtenvoorde, Netherlands)
White Lion had a minor hit with their cover of this in 1989.
UK radio station Planet Rock carried out a survey of their listeners in 2011 regarding their favourite tracks for in-car listening. This song came out top with Deep Purple's "Highway Star
" the runner-up and AC/DC's "Highway To Hell
" in third place.
The line, "The radio's playing some forgotten song, Brenda Lee's coming on strong" is a reference to the 1966 Brenda Lee song "Coming On Strong," which made #11 US. (thanks, YHF - Seattle, WA)