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.
Suggestion credit: 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.
Suggestion credit: 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.
Suggestion credit: 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.
Jake from Burke, Virginia"Radar Love" sounds very much like an alternative rock tune and it came out in 1974, long before the trend even began, serving as proof that good alternative rock was around even then.
Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn July 5th 1974, Golden Earring performed "Radar Love" on the NBC-TV program 'The Midnight Special'... Exactly two months earlier on May 5th, 1974 entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #99; and on July 21st , 1974 it peaked at #13 (for 1 week) and spent 20 weeks on the Top 100... Between 1974 and 1986 the Dutch quartet had six Top 100 records; with one reaching the Top 10 ("Twilight Zone" at #10 (for 1 weeks) on March 20th, 1983 and it spent over a half-year on the Top 100, 27 weeks)..
Jorge from Bronx, NyGreat driving song,White Lion did also well on the cover!
Robert from Georgetown, ScUsed to ride my bike in NJ and listen to KB Radio 15 and hear this song. No helmets for bikes, just cruise around with my bike radio. KB would blast through as would CKLW and WLS! Those were the days!!
Michael from Deridder, LaI played this on guitar perfectly on Rock Band 3. 100% Hard Guitar!!!!!!!!!
Rob from Denver, CoAs I recall, in a 1974 interview, one of the band members stated the driver in the song dies passing the last car That bummed me out, which is why I remember what he said.
Frankie Colletta from Fort Pierce, FlTo my beautiful wife Kathleen on Cape Cod. Just listened to RADAR LOVE while riding my bicycle here in Florida, thinking how much I love you and how much you love me. This song speaks to how it feels sometimes being apart but that there will always be a bond. Next song that came on-MORE THAN A WOMAN-was all about you too, lover girl.
Around 1968 I saw Golden Earring perform RADAR LOVE on a Tuesday audition night at the Fillmore East in NYC. They were awesome, of course. Guess I liked them more than Bill Graham did because I don't think they ever got the gig.
If you like to run, walk or bike and RADAR LOVE isn't on your IPOD you are missing a chance to do some real sweating.
Don from Boston, Magreat song, way beyond it's time, who cares about the time, the down beat is great!!
Tom from Dallas, TxThe facts are wrong. This song is not about CB radios or based on that. Radar Love - the connection: "She sends a cable comin' in from above We don't need to talk at all We got a thing that's called radar love" But if you like the song cause you think is about cb radios thats cool too. I think most great songs are up to your interpetation and thats why you like it.
Angela from Chemslford, United Kingdomit is great!
Mike from Boulder, CoI just set my metronome to 100 BPM. Not a chance. Not Radar Love by Golden Earring. Maybe that comment was meant for another song because it's not even close to accurate for this one.
Mike from Boulder, CoIt's all 4/4 but it never switches between half/double time as it says in the facts. That is just not true. It's a (syncopated, but mostly) quarter note feel. If it were half time the snare would fall on 3 of each measure but it's good old 2 and 4 the whole time. Please count for yourselves
Anthony from Dewsbury, United Kingdomcan anyone figure out: is there a time signature change going from the intro to the first verse and again later on in the song? I'm trying to configure a drum machine and it seems impossible and I know - freaking bonkers !!
Nico from Amstelveen, NetherlandsThere's an exhibition dedicated to this song, in the Rockart Museum in Hoek van Holland, The Netherlands. http://www.rockart.nl/ The phrase "Brenda Lee's Coming On Strong." was inspired by the music that the author, Barry Hay, heard when he was with his mum in the bar in The Hague where she worked. In that bar, the song Brenda Lee's "I'm Sorry" was played often at the beginning of the evening, but the title of that song did not fit into the spirit of Radar Love, explains Barry Hay in the exhibition. So he preferred to mention another song of hers in Radar Love.
Lars Ulrich from CopenhagenI like this song. I finally saw the lyrics and saw I have been playing this song wrong. Instead of "Brenda Lee's Comin on Strong" I thought he was saying "Brandy Leigh is coming on strong and I wondered who Brandy Leigh was. Now I know... btw METALLICA RULES
Lester from New York City, NyThe album after Moontan, 'Switch', was great.
Ron from Almere, NetherlandsOriginally it was intended that the track Vanilla Queen would be the single from the Moontan-album. Having second thoughts, Radar Love was chosen instead.
Bobpape from Austin, TxWes in Springfield- You're wrong about that, buddy! I was all caught-up in that CB craze of the 70's. In fact, I had a base radio, a huge antenna on the roof, a "slider", a big amp, a CB radio in my car with a big amp, etc. Anwway, there were quite a dew get-togethers (I forget the CB term) arranged over the radio where a lot of women also showed up. And a lot of the base radios were run by women, although mainly in the daytime. In any given ger-together of CB'ers I'll bet thatat least one thirds were women! Maybe things were different in VA.
Ben from Hilversum, NetherlandsI've seen them play. (99) It was a great concert. Happy laid back people (beautyfull women!) the drummer went 'animal' and stretched the drumsolo in Radar Love up to about 5 minutes. It was out of this world. The Golden Earring. (Yeah)
Jay from Atlanta, GaCountry singer Tammy Wynette discovered Golden Earring (and subsequently produced their first album).
Tim from Philadelphia, PaThis song gets an F...for Freakin Unbelievable...
Tim from Groningen, NetherlandsThe Golden Earring is one of the most successfull bands of the Netherlands. The band was founded in 1981 in The Hague, their early name was The Tornadoes, later they changed it into Golden Earrings (named after a song from Peggy Lee) and in 1969 the 's' was abandoned. They had 46 hits, 27 of them became top-10-hits and 5 became #1-hits.
Bryan from Morgantown, KyI'm a longtime radio guy and we radio people have our favorite mistaken requests, i.e.: wrong titles. This one gets requested alot as "Hey can you play 'Red Alert'?"
Frank from Mars, MeOld hippy lore: "half past four" meant RPM's.
Ruth from North Attleboro, MaI was 10yrs when Rader Love was all over the air waves. I have loved it since! Great rock & strong sex song. My 24 yr old son had it on today, thats what took me here, im 43! Have a good one on me.... Ruth In Mass.
Jay from Atlanta, GaDanny from KY, I don't think he dies at the end of the song. When the lyrics state "One more radar lover gone", this is his way of ending the conversation or "signing off". Sort of like "over and out", truckers even used to have a saying: "We gone.....bye-bye!".
Ev from Tuscaloosa, AlMy interpratation of this song is how two very close lovers can sesne each others feelings when apart
C from No., EnglandAs I understood this song, it speaks of a man maintaining a semi-schizophrenic connection with a dead lover, and the guy eventually goes crazy and crashes his car.
I have no idea where i heard that, though.
Fyodor from Denver, CoIn his book, "I Was A Teenage Sex Pistol," Glen Matlock, the Sex Pistols' original bass player, tells of meeting Golden Earring's bass player and complimenting him on his bass line in this song, to which the Golden Earring shrugged and walked away, about which Matlock then writes, "Guess he's heard that before."
Dennis from Anchorage, AkI never associated this song with truckers, and see no reason to. The guy picked up a vibe that his woman wanted him, and he jumped in his car to go to her. It's that simple.
Steve from Hastings, EnglandOne of my all time favourites...Great band ... Very popular in Holland...And in my house, where we get great reception of a Dutch rock radio station...
Johnny from Los Angeles, CaDanny, No. This song rocks. Best driving song. Great guitar and drums and bass and that's about it. GO RADAR LOVE!!!!!!! Here comes the drum solo and awesome guitar solo maybe best ever (I'm listening to it,)
Vic from Wheeling, IlPretty cool drum solo.
Pat from Brampton, CanadaThe lyrics make reference to "The radio's playing some forgotten song - Brenda Lee's 'Coming On Strong'." "Coming On Strong" actually was a #11 pop hit for Ms. Lee in 1966. While Golden Earring had only 2 US hits, they had a string of charttoppers in their native Holland, lasting over a decade. Finally, given the Dutch origin of the song, it likely has nothing to do with CB radio, which was largely an American phenomenon.
Danny from Laurel, KyWill someone please tell me if the guy dies at the end of the song. . . .
Wes from Springfield, Va"Before couples got together after meeting on The Internet, they hooked up the old fashioned way - with CB radios." I have another problem with this statement... CB radios were primarily a guy thing.
Wes from Springfield, VaActually, the CB radio craze was in full force in late 1975, when C.W. McCall's hit "Convoy" came out. (The FCC had to open up new channels to accomomodate it.) I lived though those times and never sussed that this song is about CB radios - and, in fact, I don't think it is. I think it's more about sympathetic vibrations between lovers than CB.
Ferdinand from Hilversum, NetherlandsThe song appeared in Wayne's World.
Ben from Perth, CanadaGood tune awesome (but simple) base line really catches your attention!
R from Seattle, WaClassic case of mis-heard lyrics. I always thought it was "It's a half-assed Ford and I'm shifting gears".
Darryl from Cagary, CanadaThere's also another facet to this song. While maybe not so dominant in Europe as in North America, was the romanticazation of the trucker. I remember listening to "Convoy" by C.W. McCall and watching Claude Aikens (Sonny Pruitt) and Frank Converse (Will Chandler)on the American TV show, Movin' On. It was fad that lasted for several years in the mid-70's. The lyrics pick it up, "...Brenda Lees coming on strong - The road has got me hypnotized." This makes reference to country music that was played on all night radio stations, and often pushing rigs to make your deadline at night caused many at that time to artificially stimulate themselve lest they fall under the highway's spell.
Darryl, Calgary, Canada
Homer from Versailles, IlThis song was playing on the radio as Bart, Nelson, Milhouse, and Martin went on a road trip on the Simpsons episode "Bart On The Road".